Hans Heysen’s home, The Cedars in Hahndorf image via The Australian
Hans Heysen’s home, The Cedars in Hahndorf image via The Australian

A great piece from the sporadically posting but always entertaining Grumpy Art historian on reviewing the reviewers. He takes issue with the gushing nonsense becoming increasingly common in reviews of art exhibitions and the way that they really don’t engage critically with much of the art or exhibitions that they profess to review (the piece is also a very good review in and of itself of the current royal Academy Giorgione exhibition).

A thoughtful article by William Scates Frances on those ‘Aussie’ posters by artist Peter Drew that have been popping up around the streets of Australian cities. He points out that taking these images of historical figures and simply labeling them as Aussie raises (or ignores) broader issues and ends up sweeping ‘racist histories’ under the rug by projecting ‘acceptance back into the past.’

This week in ‘anything about Leonardo is newsworthy’ sees a group of ‘researchers’ who plan to recover Leonardo’s DNA from his paintings and ‘plan to use advanced genetic analysis techniques to determine his eye and hair colour, as well as face shape and skin tone.’ I look forward to the time when we can all 3D print our own Leonardo clones to help us out around the house…

The big news in the arts from the past week is about the Federal Budget and the recently announced recipients of the new ‘Catalyst’ funding. Deborah STone in ArtsHub has a breakdown of who was awarded how much and for what in the first round of Catalyst funding. In the visual arts money was awarded to things like the NGV’s planned exhibition of Indian artist Subodh Gupta ($51 640) and a large grant to an exhibition of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island works at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco  ($485 450), and the one that has already hit the news is the huge grant to purchase the house of South Australian artist Hans Heysen. In the federal budget the general reaction of experts is muted, the arts didn’t receive any extra money, but nor was it further slashed. Jason Potts from RMIT stated that ‘The main thing that happened with the arts in the 2016 budget is that nothing happened with the arts in the 2016 budget. The arts and culture are obviously not to be part of this coming election campaign.’ See more responses in this round-up in The Conversation.

An article in The Art Newspaper reports that Statistics show that less than a third of the biggest exhibitions in the US go to women.