Dedicated to the Dedicated: Whitlam, the Arts and Democracy

Art Free
Dedicated to the Dedicated: Whitlams exhibition supplied image
Study for Bird Ritual, John Coburn. With kind permission from the Coburn family

Time Out says

Gough Whitlam's collection of Australian art legends is being shown publicly

There once was a time when Australia's prime ministers took an active interest in the arts, and there was arguably no greater arts champion than Gough Whitlam, who revolutionised arts funding and controversially purchased Jackson Pollock's 'Blue Poles' for the National Gallery of Australia for $1.3 million in 1973. He famously said: "a society in which the arts flourish is a society in which every human value can flourish."

In 1979, Whitlam and his wife Margaret were gifted with an extraordinary collection of works by Australian artists as a thank you for their leadership, including pieces by John Olsen, Brett Whiteley, Lloyd Rees, John Coburn and Arthur Boyd. The collection is the centrepiece of this exhibition, which traces Whitlam's relationship with the arts.


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