Bums, tits and Philistines

The Age reports that ‘Call me a philistine’: Parliament House artwork containing nudity upsets Liberal MP Craig Kelly

 Liberal MP Craig Kelly says the prominent female buttocks featured in the work are inappropriate, even if the exhibit comes with a “partial nudity” warning.

On the first floor of the building, not far from the House of Representatives chamber, an exhibit titled The Art of Shakespeare is on display. It’s a showcase of 14 works inspired by the Bard’s plays – including The Witches, an eye-catching piece by Wendy Sharpe.

untitled

One Facebook user could even detect the sinister influence of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the art lover who famously owns two Henson photographs.

“This is what happens when the progressives take control,” the commenter wrote. “Standards slip.”

Kelly went on to say “Obviously everyone has different tastes but I would say a naked backside is a bit far – the average punter on the street would question this,” he said.

“People can call me a philistine, that’s fine.”

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Okay Craig, you re a Philistine.

One of the reasons that we have curators for major art collections is that we assume that people who have a professional training in the selection of art for exhibition will make a better and more informed choice than the Philistines.

The problem with your objections as they always make you look like a prude.

It’s quite legitimate to criticise, or comment on, a work of art but it needs to be criticism that is informed by an understanding of the particular artist, genre or period from which the painting comes. To criticise a work of art on the basis that you think paintings of female buttocks should not hang in galleries, And are consequently offended by viewing them, puts you out of step with most of the major galleries in the world.

Here is a small selection of things that will probably offend you mightily.

The Three Graces by Peter Paul Rubens_
The Three Graces by Peter Paul Rubens_
Rubens: Judgement of Paris
Rubens: Judgement of Paris
The judgment of Paris - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The judgment of Paris – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Why would someone go out of their way to demonstrate that there are Philistine. Probably because they believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity. But labelling yourself as Philistine does come at some cost.

But then, this is probably the highlight of a fairly badly illuminated career in Federal parliament.

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