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Don’t think that public art is a priority right now? You might be a redneck.

By cmdwedge - 17 April 2011 63

From the Canberra Times

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has labelled people opposed to public art as ”rednecks” and ”philistines” as the Government gears up for another costly installation.

A development application has been lodged for new public art on the corner of Rudd and Moore streets in Civic, outlining two pieces called Blue Sky Shard and Magenta Fold.

Mr Stanhope said yesterday he anticipated some Canberrans would be opposed to the artwork, which cost the ACT Government $400,000. ”I expect people that are genuinely redneck or have philistine-type instincts to continue to rail against it, but I’m absolutely committed to it,” he said.

Thank God that Stanhope has fixed everything else in the ACT, desperately requiring public funds. So much so that we can afford to blow cash on public art instead of hospital beds, better roads, et al.

Whew!

What’s Your opinion?


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63 Responses to
Don’t think that public art is a priority right now? You might be a redneck.
PBO 9:55 am 18 Apr 11

I would like to see Comrade Stanhope be completly transparent about the tender process. Who was consulted and what were their qualifications? How much of a hand did he have to play in the process? What does he get in return for seemingly favorable treatment of “artists” and their “art”?

johnboy 9:54 am 18 Apr 11

p1 said :

I just think it is sad that there are no artists in Canberra they could commission to build this junk vibrant and society enriching art.

Surely, rather then $400k on a big thing from interstate, they could get eight $50k bits of art from up-and-coming young locals? Sure, they might get some crap less critically acclaimed pieces as a result, but in the long run, if even one in eight turns out to be good, they are no worse off. Plus, with eight, they might be able to put some down south….

Yes, but that would mean less invitiations to lovely parties p1, and that might be what it’s all about.

Well that and being praised as a visionary at lovely parties by interesting people.

p1 9:49 am 18 Apr 11

I just think it is sad that there are no artists in Canberra they could commission to build this junk vibrant and society enriching art.

Surely, rather then $400k on a big thing from interstate, they could get eight $50k bits of art from up-and-coming young locals? Sure, they might get some crap less critically acclaimed pieces as a result, but in the long run, if even one in eight turns out to be good, they are no worse off. Plus, with eight, they might be able to put some down south….

chewy14 9:30 am 18 Apr 11

How out of touch can one man be?
If only we had a decent opposition and a public that would stop voting the same way out of habit.

Thumper 9:25 am 18 Apr 11

I’m generally for public art but recently Stanhope has seemingly gone on a personal crusade to fill the town with what one could describe as monuments to his rule.

As for the comment, it is rude and extremely arrogant and certainly not what one would expect from someone of his standing. It’s time for him to stand down.

bitzermaloney 9:00 am 18 Apr 11

That’s one way to win friends and influence people…. though might not be a vote winner.

PeterK 7:59 am 18 Apr 11

Yet another pathetic comment from a joke of a man who is no more than an overpaid public servant who continues to prove how ridiculously out of touch he is with the community he has been untrusted with looking after.

I am sure that the people (rednecks or philistines maybe) who sit in the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department for 15 hours on a Tuesday night waiting for treatment at our underfunded and rundown hospital will be comforted by the fact their taxes continue to pay for overpriced and ugly artwork all over town while the rest of the infrastructure continues to crumble around them. What name will you give them Jon? I call them “voters”.

Let’s all hope too that following complaints from inmates about the food at the 5 star AMC criminal resort and day spa, that Stanjoke reacts accordingly like the solid leader he is and employs a 2 hat chef in there to make sure the lawbreakers have access to their lobster and Moet that they so desperately deserve and are entitled to. That’s right Jon, make sure you look after those “rednecks” and not your other tax paying, law abiding citizens.

This guy lost the plot a long time ago. If you want to start a name calling war Jon, how about we start calling you “Gadaffi” because you are no better than that dictator. You can’t even run a toy government properly you clown…

miz 7:52 am 18 Apr 11

This namecalling of the wider public by Mr Stanhope shows how defensive he really is about the public art issue. I think that Mr Stanhope would find that most of his constituency are ‘philistines’. Personally, I love the idea of public art, but fail to see how it gets prioritised over far more essential services. It’s the equivalent of whitewashing the house to hide the fact that the kids are dressed in rags.
IMHO, Canberra is becoming the real struggletown, while Mr Stanhope just fiddles.

altkey 7:10 am 18 Apr 11

As a graduate in useless studies (art history) I had to laugh at Stanhope’s outburst. I think the vast majority of the public arts that has been commissioned during Stanhope’s time as Chief Minister has been of questionable quality and worth and tax payer funds could have been utilised in a much better way. My aesthetic judgements aside I also have issue with the funding of such an activity when essential services that benefit all members of the ACT community such as hospitals, schools, police, emergency services etc are not adequately funded. Priorities please.

gooterz said :

Apart from the silly windmill thingo’s has there been any public art on the south side of the lake or any spending really?

There is some public art on the south side of the lake but you would have to look hard to find it – the sculpture I am thinking of is on Alexandrina Drive just past the Yacht Club

Skidbladnir 12:56 am 18 Apr 11

Arrogance:
1) Highhanded self interest;
2) Contempt for others.

The solution to the problem is right there in the article:
Mr Stanhope said community response to public art was becoming more muted and said the majority of the feedback he now received was positive.
”I believe there is a growing community acceptance of the influence and value of public art,” he said.

Apparently the majority of detractors have resigned themselves to the Government’s (and the Arts Panel’s) total lack of substantial or quality consultation, so any remaining detractors have been sidelined as uncultured rednecks, regardless of any validity to their comments, or the fact they’re actually the dissenting taxpayers getting stuck with the bill.
Why does the ACT Arts Panel, made entirely of arts academics and art establishment, keep buying from interstate artists who are at the peak of their popularity and price cycle, and now considered part of that same arts establishment?
The Panel are probably under the illusion taxpayers are simply offering art criticism, instead of having legitimate concerns about the decisions being made and the fact that even though they might think something is priceless so needs to be bought regardless of the price tag it carries, its not actually their money they’re spending.

Disabuse them of those beliefs, whinge in writing directly to the Minister, and don’t bother with pleasantry.
Educate him about anything that strikes you as a stupid idea of his, question the budgetary basis of his procurement, or just hold him responsible for the decisions of five member Arts Panel that answer directly to him.

Email is free and results in a Ministerial reply, ideally your question will cross multiple bureaucracies and result in some kind of investigation, helping clog a bureaucracy if your questions are phrased interestingly around an unusual (but coherent) topic.

(For example: “homeless people can’t eat bronze, and blue\orange lit sculptures will not keep them warm.
How many homeless families would benefit from a a similar-scale injection of public funds into the social services system?
Using FY10-11 DHCS estimates, how many warm meals, blankets, and referrals to the Commonwealth SAAP would be provided if an extra $600,000 were to be provided to soup kitchen or Outreach?
Were the itinerant population of Mount Ainslie used as a stakeholder reference group? Etc…)

gooterz said :

Apart from the silly windmill thingo’s has there been any public art on the south side of the lake or any spending really?

Fair point, the last one I can remember south of LBG was that head in Deakin.
We must have missed the policy announcement that public art will only ever get placed where Stanhope or the Arts Panel gets to see it or want their property values maintained.

I-filed 11:09 pm 17 Apr 11

In principle I’m in favour of public art. But having spent 10 to 15 minutes waiting on hold every single time I have phoned Canberra Connect in the last few months, like Jack Waterford in the Canberra Times I would prefer Mr Stanhope invested the money in the ACT Govt call centre 132281. Those call centre operators tell me they are critically short-staffed, copping abuse from the public, and stressed. Arrogant, rude Labor government deserves the NSW treatment at the next election.

gooterz 7:11 pm 17 Apr 11

Apart from the silly windmill thingo’s has there been any public art on the south side of the lake or any spending really?

I’m not going to judge if $400,000 is worth it for the artwork, but wouldnt it be nicer if they did alot of art for alot of people not just really amazing half a million dollar art for people to stare at while on a smoke break!

damien haas 5:40 pm 17 Apr 11

Sadly in adversarial politics, its not enough that a person disagrees with you. In adversarial politics they are wrong, and somehow morally questionable.

Francisco_DeAncona 4:39 pm 17 Apr 11

Stanhope is a joke and a worthless leader. Calling his constituents “redneck or have philistine-type instincts” because they have a difference of opinion on an expensive and unnecessary art installation, is immature and just show’s how out of touch with reality he is.
Has he ever done anything that is actually good and not trivial??

John Moulis 4:00 pm 17 Apr 11

Ah “philistines”. Haven’t heard that for a while, one of the favourite put-down terms used by Phillip Adams and others in the chardonnay left.

When I was involved with the student newspaper at the CCAE (Uni of Canberra) in the late 1980s it was common for student newspapers to have an anonymous column called On the Right Side. I wanted to write such a column for our paper but our very left wing editor-in-chief wouldn’t allow it. I then hit on the idea of calling it On the Right Side by Phil E. Stein and it was allowed 🙂

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