Friday, November 6, 2009

Henson re-emerges..

18 months after the controversy swirled around the removal of his photographs of naked adolescents, photographic artist Bill Henson appeared at the Art Gallery of NSW to launch a book by one of his greatest supporters, gallery director Edmund Capon

Capon's I Blame Duchamp is a series of art essays and is the last offering before Capon's imminent retirement after 30 years of building the state gallery into one of the world's great cultural institutions.

As an assistant director of the Far Eastern Section at the world's greatest museum of art and design, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Capon was a relative unknown when hired to head the NSW Art Gallery for an interim period. He never left and has exhibited an amazing ability to schmooze politicians suffering from cultural cringe and wealthy benefactors alike, whilst enthusing an often apathetic public. Today, exhibitions draw capacity crowds and the legendary portrait contest, The Archibald creates endless controversy and has become an annual public favourite

Edmund has no plans for when he retires soon except to "travel back to London and tour Europe". "But I'll be back here to live" says Capon.

As for Henson who has exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum  in New York and at the Venice Bienalle, he went into a public hiatus when the chic Ros Oxley Gallery in Paddington was raided by police in May 2008 and 2 huge portraits of naked 13 year old youths were removed. He remains unfazed by the media frenzy that engulfed the nation and brought condemnation from the Prime Minister downwards as public figures lined up on opposing sides during the very public battle with claims of "kiddie porn". He revealed that many of his former youthful models had come forward as adults to lend him support. Ironically, the shock jock driven scandal sent prices of his work sky-high.