No artistic institution has flourished as much under the Howard Government as the National Portrait Gallery. The fogeys of the conservative back bench have little interest in art but when they pay attention to it they tend to prefer “proper pictures” that don’t require any thought to understand. (for all irony that most portraiture requires the outside context of biography to make sense)
So as the only cultural institution beloved of the Government it’s certainly intriguing to read in the Courier Mail that the Portrait Gallery has taken down the picture of Germaine Greer (according to the Wikipedia “widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of the 20th century”) and replaced it with a photograph of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.
[Steve Irwin 2005
by Robin Sellick]
“The portrait gallery said its decision to put in to storage a study of Greer, by Jacqueline Mitelman, in preference to the portrait of Irwin, donated by Melbourne celebrity photographer Robin Sellick, was in response to “strong public demand”.
“I can totally see the irony in the situation,” a gallery spokesman said. “But it was just coincidental. Seriously it was not a politically motivated decision whatsoever.”
Having appreciated the irony perhaps they might have decided not to make the grand gesture?
But no, let’s tear down the nasty feminist and put up the boofy idiot!
UPDATED: Thanks to Simbo for the head’s up, Germaine has responded by questioning Irwin’s masculinity. If only they could both be dead.