Powerful artist and figure in the art world, Brook Andrew wears an appropriate post-colonial cap
posted by Jeremy Eccles | 08.12.20
A year ago, I welcomed the arrival of the incomparable Emily Kngwarreye on the lists of 20 Influential Artists drawn up by Artsy.com in the USA. Sadly, she disappeared from her 2020 list, but, excitingly, Wiradjuri artist and Sydney Biennale director Andrew Brook appeared there in 18th place among predominantly black or native names. Rightly, he is hailed for “having placed colonialism, Eurocentrism and race relations largely at the center of his work”.
And it’s been quite a year for the Melbourne-based man; for the rival US website, Art journalAndrew is making his second appearance on his annual list of art brokers, dropping from 81st in 2019 to 42nd this year. And once again, he is noted for “reversing the historical Eurocentric bias of the biennial system and for bringing indigenous knowledge systems to the fore. Meanwhile Andrew is working on a theater script and in 2022 he will act as an advisor to the Nordic pavilion, renamed the Sami pavilion, for the 59th Venice Biennale ”.
Not far behind Andrew at Art journal is Liz-Ann Macgregor of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. She too swept north, from 61st to 44th, hailed for maintaining her show during this year of closures and iso, but further, they said, “Macgregor’s reputation at the national level has been upheld. when the government, after failing to implement the $ 250 m arts bailout announced in June, got her to lead a “creative economy task force” to advise on her allocation.
Did this task force report, I wonder?
Our two resident Australians are ranked more powerful than such notable names as Banksy and Ai Wei Wei, and higher than perhaps the Australian members of the Murdoch dynasty – James and Elisabeth. It appears that leaving News Ltd gave them time to get into the arts – James managing an $ 80 million buyout of Basel Art Fair and Elisabeth moving from her philanthropic foundation Freelands to the board of directors of the Arts Council England.
Could her position in newly oppressed Hong Kong have destroyed Suhanya Raffel’s position of power in art? For the director of the M + gallery who guaranteed to show the large Sigg collection of Chinese dissident art has disappeared from Art journalthe lists of. Perhaps its silent withdrawal is better than the precipitous – and recorded – fall of American artist Nan Goldin from 2nd in 2019 to 91st!
Given that a survey conducted in Singapore in June Sunday opening hours rated “artist” as the number one non-essential work. And in Europe, UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak spoke of only being able to save “viable jobs”, which clearly did not include musicians, artists and actors. Because the advice he gave them was: “Everyone has to adapt”. So it was no surprise that no real artist felt like real power in 2020 – with the top positions going to the Black Lives Matter campaign, a Jakarta collective that is leading the upcoming Documenta, the #MeToo movement, and two academics. which are “decolonizing Western museums”.
Power, as usual in the arts, is elsewhere!
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MCA Director Liz-Ann Macgregor, photographed by Anna Kucera