The Weekend Australian - Review - - Profile - Tim Dou­glas

Had you been any­where near Syd­ney’s Ox­ford Street on Satur­day night, you may have spied — through the dogged driz­zle and those neb­u­lous clouds of glit­ter — a gi­ant gold stiletto wend­ing its way through the city. The shoe, nat­u­rally a float at the an­nual Gay and Les­bian Mardi Gras, was made even more con­spic­u­ous by the fact it was teem­ing with a crew of 60 blond-wigged Andy Warhols (or should that be Andys Warhol?) Andy’s Shoe — the 20ft-high cre­ation of Greg Clarke and an homage to the Amer­i­can pop artist’s 1950s il­lus­tra­tions of women’s footwear — was part of a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Art Gallery of NSW and the SGLMG. On board on Satur­day were some of the gallery’s most se­nior cu­ra­to­rial and ex­ec­u­tive staff, waltz­ing Warho­lian in the name of equal­ity. Sure, some might ar­gue the float was sim­ply a canny way of pro­mot­ing the gallery’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion, Ad­man: Warhol Be­fore Pop, but I don’t buy into the cyn­i­cism. Pro­gres­sive col­lab­o­ra­tions such as this foster great faith in ma­jor arts in­sti­tu­tions. Hats — and shoes — off to you, AGNSW, More of this, please. The AGNSW has in re­cent years be­come ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing its pa­rade rained on, and by one man in par­tic­u­lar: Paul Keat­ing. The for­mer prime min­is­ter, who in 2015 pub­licly rounded on gallery di­rec­tor Michael Brand’s $450m re­de­vel­op­ment plan for the 143-yearold gallery, spent Wed­nes­day just a stone’s throw from the sand­stone in­sti­tu­tion on Syd­ney Har­bour with David Walsh, the straight-out­taHo­bart MONA founder and mil­lion­aire gam­bler. The pair met re­cently when Keat­ing vis­ited Walsh’s Tas­ma­nian sex and death mu­seum and have since struck up a friend­ship. Just what their con­ver­sa­tion en­tailed is any­one’s guess, but one might imag­ine it in­volved the two pas­sions the mu­seum mogul and the Mahler tragic share: num­bers and art. The pair is un­der­stood to have been hav­ing a “big pic­ture” dis­cus­sion. Un­less they’re talk­ing about bring­ing out from Swe­den artist David Aberg’s 86,000sq ft paint­ing Mother Earth, we might as­sume Walsh has a plan in the works. The tim­ing is good. MONA’s sin­gu­larly fas­ci­nat­ing On the Ori­gin of Art ex­hi­bi­tion wraps up next month. Be­tween MONA (soon to re­lease its Dark Mofo line-up) and its plans for ex­pan­sion in­clud­ing a casino (MONAco) and a lux­ury ho­tel (HoMo; yes, really), phi­lan­thropist Penny Clive’s De­tached or­gan­i­sa­tion rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the city cen­tre, and Tas­ma­nian Mu­seum and Art Gallery going from strength to strength un­der Janet Card­ing, the coun­try’s only fe­male di­rec­tor of a state art gallery, Ho­bart would seem to be the new cul­tural cen­tre du jour. Any­where else and you’re just camp­ing out, right, Mr Keat­ing? Twit­ter: @TimDou­glas_Aus

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