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Kremlinology at the National Portrait Gallery

By johnboy 16 February 2007 57

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.

What’s Your opinion?


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57 Responses to
Kremlinology at the National Portrait Gallery
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mutley 11:43 am 21 Feb 07

with his right hand Irwin is doing something invisible to the captive animal,

No wonder it’s smiling

Absent Diane 9:31 am 21 Feb 07

Yep and the fact that they are using his death to make even more money, is jut plain weird.

Lets face it… everyone sucks.

Mr Evil 9:10 am 21 Feb 07

“I hate that cocksmoker. I laughed my arse off when he got stung by that stingray.. he was sick in the head.”

Good call AD!

I’m sick of hearing about Bindi and Terri bloody Irwin: the whole thing is like an episode of Home and Away!

I want to see the video of him being stung, as I bet the arsehole was trying to do something stupid, like hugging the Ray, when he got stung.

Germaine Greer should be hung – preferably by the neck until dead.

Absent Diane 9:03 am 21 Feb 07

it would be interesting to see what the talking elephant would have to say… although we would need someone that can translate korean.

Thumper 8:07 am 21 Feb 07

No self respecting elephant would be seen in the same studio as Greer.

She want it to pose with nude children.

Hasdrubahl 6:34 am 21 Feb 07

Germaine posing nude with the elephant would be more interesting…

simbo 1:35 am 21 Feb 07

Incidentally, Germaine’s finally got around to penning a response to this in her column in the Guardian linked here.

Apparently the much-used nude pic isn’t the one being taken down (although it is in the collection) – the actual one being taken down has her in a T-shirt. And I’m sure the vengeful mob amongst you will be glad to know that people sharing your sentiments have been throwing things at her house – mostly eggs, the occasional jam donut, plus some instances of corned beef and dead rabbits.

Also, to quote:
It is of course disgraceful that it has taken the Australian national portrait gallery six months to get round to exhibiting any portrait of Steve Irwin. Indeed, if the photographer Robin Sellick had not given them one free of charge in December, there would still be no likeness of this most famous Australian at the gallery. Sellick’s picture was taken at Australia Zoo with a female elephant called Siam; with his right hand Irwin is doing something invisible to the captive animal, who, according to the gallery’s statement, was waiting to make her daily appearance before the crowds as part of the entertainment at Australia Zoo. With a bare 15 minutes for the shoot, Sellick, who usually takes a whole day, could only keep snapping, hoping to get the kind of perversely suggestive image for which he is famous. As Siam became more restless, Sellick besought Irwin to show his vulnerable, caring side, which Irwin did by tilting his head and simpering. His left thumb is hooked rather coyly in a pocket; his lime-green shirt is undone to the fourth button, and pulled open to display his bosom in a manner not altogether manly.

I don’t know whether her “Stevo’s a poofter” claims are going to get her into even more trouble or not…

Maelinar 4:25 pm 18 Feb 07

Astrohoff ?

Hasdrubahl 4:08 pm 18 Feb 07

astrojax’doff ?

astrojax 12:24 pm 18 Feb 07

and by the by, thumper, no. you may not. i believe ‘astroboy’ is already taken and i would not presume to ask to call you ‘thumped’, or something equally not actually your name.

auntiesocial 11:44 am 18 Feb 07

Ummmm……….The portrait is of the Elephant, a well known symbol of our very own Commonwealth Bank.

Steve is just the prop……the Elephant was too big to use a traditional backdrop.

terubo 5:35 pm 16 Feb 07

For me, the portrait is an uplifting experience.

Al 5:05 pm 16 Feb 07

ooo yuk…
I’m not listening… lalalalalalalalalalal

lateralis 4:40 pm 16 Feb 07

I think the irony is that when the gallery gets around to it, Germaine will be well hung again.

terubo 3:39 pm 16 Feb 07

I thought it was pretty liberating, actually.

Al 3:35 pm 16 Feb 07

Agrees with Kimba. Just the thought of G Greer naked is making me decidely queasy, let along the sight of the actual picture…

Hasdrubahl 3:06 pm 16 Feb 07

For some reason the gallery won’t accept my portrait of Sheik Hilali.

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