Police Raid Art Gallery

The facts: Victorian Police have raided St Kilda’s Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts and removed work by artist, Paul Yore. No charges have been laid. (See The Age and the Port Phillip Leader.)

The artist: Paul Yore is winner of $8000 Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award 2013. Last year he was exhibited at the NGV’s Atrium at Federation Square. There is an interview with him from last year, along with un-pixelated photographs of his art in Desktop.

The gallery, St Kilda’s Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, is one of Melbourne’s oldest council funded art galleries with a reputation for quality exhibitions. It is well known for its annual post-card exhibition. I have no doubt that the curatorial team had appropriate warnings (warnings are so commonplace now in exhibitions).

The exhibition, “Like Mike” is a homage to Australian artist Mike Brown.

The curators of the exhibition are Jan Duffy and Geoff Newton. Jan Duffy is an experienced curator as is Geoff Newton who is a well known as the director of Neon Parc gallery. Geoff Newton, from my knowledge of him and his work, is a man who seriously wants to advance art.

It is not clear exactly who the complainants are. The newspapers quote an “Adrian Jackson a Middle Park resident” and “Port Phillip resident Chris Spillane”. Chris Spillane is a Liberal Party candidate for the local council accused of racism. Adrian Jackson is ex-Australian Army, a want-to-be politician who has run as an independent candidate, who was expelled from the Liberal Party in 2003. Given their backgrounds Jackson and Spillane don’t appear to be the usual gallery visitors. (For more on their motivations see my recent post, Political Motivations Behind Police Raid.)

Local Port Phillip City Council members, Councillor Andrew Bond an independent and a former church youth group leader, has called the exhibition “obscene” and compared it to hardcore pornography.

This story is more about the ambitions of certain people involved in local politics creating a controversy to be noticed and the Victorian Police being unable to learn from the experiences of their NSW counterparts with the raids on Bill Henson and Juan Davila’s exhibitions. This is yet another sorry and pathetic part in the story of Australian censorship. (See my 2008 post: More Art Censorship as events are likely to play out in the same way.)

About Mark Holsworth

Arts administrator, artist, musician, philosopher and writer. Writes Black Mark - Melbourne Art and Culture Critic. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

22 responses to “Police Raid Art Gallery

  • artandarchitecturemainly

    This is “yet another” sorry and pathetic part in the story of Australian censorship…. when are you thinking back to? The banning of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1969 or something more recent?

  • Mark Holsworth

    Police raiding Bill Henson in 2008 is the yet another. In 2008 the Melbourne City Council censored another art exhibition at Platform. There are many earlier examples.

  • rore

    i would love to photocopy this and wheat paste it up around melbourne

    • Mark Holsworth

      Don’t worry, I’ve done it electronically already with several hundred people and counting today.

  • Jeff

    Good to know that politicians still take an active interest in the arts. Did these two bring their children along? Politicians are often very keen to press for educational aspects to art.

    • Mark Holsworth

      I hope that these wanna-be politicians don’t have any children; think of those poor kiddies having parents like that and years of therapy would be required for them to lead a normal life.

  • Ian Milliss

    It’s exactly what happened to Mike Brown himself in the mid 60s. He’d be proud to know that something done as an homage to him can still inspire the same sort of idiotic moral panic amongst the wowsers.

    • Mark Holsworth

      I would say ironic but unfortunately it is simply sad that Australian police can’t learn from past experience. Australia is right for moral panic at the moment when politicians, church, bankers and footballers are exposed as corrupt people will point out that contemporary art is obscene.

  • Political Motivation Behind Police Raid | Black Mark

    […] complaining about the exhibition in The Leaders’s article. For more on these people see my post, Police Raid Gallery.) In public question time Chris Spillane’s agenda is made clear in the minutes of the […]

  • Adrian Jackson

    I was not at the Linden Gallery kiddy porn open night on 17 May 13 but I was told that children were present running around the gallery. It was not until a week later that a feeble small sign was placed on the room the porn was in warning visitors that it was for adult only. There is not entry fee and loose access control to the Linden (no attendant at the front door).

    It is interesting that few if any commentator on this issue have actually seen the exhibition as I have. I am a Port Phillip ratepayer too and the council has blown (no pun) over $300,000 PA on this poorly run gallery which is a relic of the former St Kilda Council era.

    On amlagamation in 1994 as part of the Port Phillip Council St Kilda brought a $10,000,000 debt while South Melbourne and Port Melbourne brought no debt

    • Mark Holsworth

      Hi Adrian, you are obviously very unfamiliar with standard gallery practices along with contemporary art. Exploiting the allegation of kiddy porn to achieve a political agenda over council funding of Linden Centre for Contemporary art is an insult to all the children that have been abused.

  • Adrian Jackson

    Be careful who you call a racist too. Opposing Zionism (a political movement) is not racism. Zionist oppression of the Palestinians is racism. Zionism is similar to Fascism.

    • Mark Holsworth

      Learn to read Adrian. I did not call you a racist, I mentioned that other people have called you a racist. Personally I don’t want to get to know you enough to find out.

  • Adrian Jackson

    I was not “expelled” from the Liberal Party in June 2003. I was “suspended” for 12 months and could have rejoined but I didn’t. Why would I? The reason I was suspended is on the Crikey comment section to this Linden story too but in short I was suspended for opposing the invasion of Iraq. Even in a debate in the Liberal Party State Council (Friday night) in October 2002 at Geelong half the speakers were opposed to the proposed invasion. As an former Regular Army Officer I know the war was illegal, probably based on phoney intelligence and would be a disaster. All proven true.

  • Adrian Jackson

    You mentioned “accused of racism” in your weak case against me. The inference is there. But your writing is so full of half truths and a partisan positions. Condescending comments to about not understanding how art galleries work – so what. I have pointed out that you are a poor researcher and you do not like it sonny boy.

  • Like Mike | Black Mark

    […] I saw some of the exhibition Neon Parc, Sarah Scout and Utopian Stumps. I was unable to see the Linden Centre of Contemporary Art because they had shut their doors without explanation after the police raid on Saturday 1st of June (see my post Police Raid Gallery). […]

  • Paul Yore Justice Delayed | Black Mark

    […] more on the Paul Yore case see my post: Police Raid Gallery and Political Motivation Behind Police […]

  • All Charges Dismissed | Black Mark

    […] months after the police raid on Linden Gallery Magistrate Amanda Chambers dismissed all charges and ordered the police to pay […]

  • Mark Holsworth

    I was painting my house at the time and didn’t want to get paint in my hair.

  • Mark Holsworth

    I know I’ve already written a post about it. http://melbourneartcritic.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/barry-keldoulis-is-fucked/
    It seems that the current NSW laws are crazy if art fair directors have to tour the fair with barristers.

  • Mark Holsworth

    No you are not reporting, Adrian. John Elder is reporting; you are just acting like the gleeful troll that you are. If you think that what you are doing is reporting you are a delusional troll.

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