• Welcome to another wonderful blog in the growing community of KingsCrossBlogs. These linked blogs reveal the the heart and soul of this vibrant bohemian district. You are invited to enjoy the many stories of our world and to leave your comments, or e-mail us the story of your Kings Cross experience. Down the track we plan to publish a selection of these in a blog of their own. Meanwhile, happy reading, and all the best from the exciting Kings Cross community.
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March 2006

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  • Blog-O-licious Kings Cross (Home Page)
    Your base camp for blogging info, rules, definitions, invitations to blog and more. Here you learn all about KingsCrossBlogs and how you can be part of it too.
  • Rosie: Pure Inspiration
    A new musical by Stannard & Hatherley based on the life of a real life flower seller who sang arias to her customers while she dreamed of being a star.
  • Jest A Joke
    Jokes and humor collected on the streets of Kings Cross and looking for a laugh or two.
  • The Passionate Librarian
    This very special local can't help but be passionate about the piano, the marathon, and the special books she discovers lost in the 'stacks', that special book heaven where book treasures await discovery...
  • Photo-Licious: Kings Cross In Black And White
    All the colour of Kings Cross in Black and White. A personal snapshot of a much loved locale.
  • Story's of Bernie's BOURBON
    Memories and photo albums from the magical days when the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar was an International Icon and a home away from home for locals.
  • CRYPTS and CATS: A Menu Of Secret Places And Special Treasures Around Kings Cross
    Unusual and special places and 'things' within 20 minutes walk of Kings Cross. Some are hidden in out of the way corners, some off limits to the public, but all rich jewels of our neighbourhood.
  • Archibald Prize Challenge
    Official Website for the Legal Challenge (still ongoing) to the 2004 Archibald Prize award. For all the issues, the latest news, background info, and questions answered click here.
  • Landscape Classes In Sydney
    Saturday is Landscape day at East Sydney Academy of Art, this is the journal from this enthusiastic group of artists.
    The process of painting from the idea to the finished composition. Art Classes for beginners to learn the basics and advanced artist's to learn the methods of the Old Masters and apply that knowledge to conteporary art.
    Learn to draw the figure at East Sydney Academy of Art. There is also sketch Club every Tuesday and Wednesday night for those not requiring lessons.
  • Hens Nights The Blog
    We all know Kings Cross is the best place to party, but you may be surprised at how these brides celebrate their special party.
  • The Kings Cross Art Wall
    One small wall at the Neighbourhood Service Center can display just a few artworks by individual Kings Cross artist's. They all go on this site however where the tapestry of Kings Cross artists weaves together into an online exhibition for the world to enjoy.
  • East Sydney Academy of Art Notice Board
    Student info, class times, term dates, and general art school notices and items of interest from this boho center of excellence in the arts.
  • Diary Of An Artist In A New World
    The online journal of Kings Cross artist Tony Johansen.
  • Gatherr
    A fluid stream of cultural consciousness. The online multimedia scrapbook of Kings Cross artist Tony Johansen.


    Website of an artwork by local artist, Tony Johansen, the first cross-media Archibald Prize entry.
    Paintings, sculpture, poetry, and photography, of a Kings Cross artist.
    Official website for the new musical by Stannard & Hatherley, based on the life of Kings Cross identity Rose Shaw.
    A special idea for a quality bride's hens night: a real figure drawing class in a local art school.
    Tap Gallery, and its heroine, Lesley Dimmick has hosted exhibitions, performance and theatre for thousands of emerging artists over the last 16 years.
    Called the 'Democratic Archibald' the exhibition hosts rejected work from the Archibald Prize. This is the official website.
    The official Kings Cross Partnership web-site. The indispensible resource for Restaurants and bars, business, services, and entertainment in the Kings Cross area, for visitors and locals alike.


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  • Thursday, September 23, 2004

    Yes, in each of the 1935 and 1967 Archibald Exhibitions there have been drawn portraits. According to the terms of the bequest of J. F. Archibald the Trustees could hang any work they choose for the Archibald exhibition, including artworks that do not comply with Archibald's terms for the winner. This is because Archibald is silent on the subject of an exhibition, except to say that the Trustees may hang the winner.

    What the Trustees cannot do is award the Archibald Prize itself to any artwork that does not comply with the bequest. This is because Archibald specifically states that the WINNING artwork must be both a portrait and painted. By law the words of a charitable bequest cannot easily be changed or disregarded.

    posted by Challenge Team @ 1:47

  • Saturday, November 27, 2004

    As with any institution or person they no doubt would like that to be the case. But, as with the rest of the world, they have experienced a full range of wins and losses. In short: they wish, but lets get real here.

    A very high profile loss was when Gallery Director, Edmund Capon was overheard expressing what was no doubt his honest opinion as to the merits of a certain painting. Chalk up one very expensive defamation loss to an angry artist.

    Naturally, their most famous win was the Dobell case itself. Some artists felt agrieved over the Dobell painting. In the end the Court ruled that it was the plaintiffs who were in the wrong. Not because they didn't like the painting, but because to accept their argument required reinterpreting Archibalds words, and in law that is a big no-no, the words of charitable bequests are protected as if sacred.

    In both the Dobell and Bloomfield cases the AGNSW Trustees were seen by the Court as defenders of Archibalds exact words. In the instances where the trustees tried to change Archibalds intent by introducing arbitrary new rules, as in 1922, 1929, and 1940, the Crown Solicitors of those days argued against the legal action, and in no instance did the Trustees get their way.

    The weight of legal precedent has always been the protection of the original intent of any charitable bequest. Most people would see this as a good thing overall. Where would we be if charitable organisations that benefit from peoples wills were to decide to reinterpret their work? If the Red Cross decided they no longer wanted to do the work that their founder had in mind, there would be public protestors calling for the sacking of the revisionist leadership. Art may not be as important as the lifesaving work of the Red Cross, but the law sees no distinction when it comes to bequests.

    Unfortunately for the Art Gallery Trustees this time around it is very difficult to argue that Ruddy's large drawing fits the express intent of the will of the late J.F. Archibald.

    posted by Challenge Team @ 1:28 AM1 comments Thursday, October 07, 2004

  • Thursday, October 07, 2004

    Over the years it has changed- that is inevitable, and desirable. Other things are at issue here. It should be noted that change is possible under Archibald's will. He left huge leeway. The only things set in concrete were that it has to be a portrait, that it has to be painted, that it has to be done by someone resident in Australasia during the 12 months before the competition. Thats all. Archibald said he PREFERED someone distinguished, and there has always been a presumption that became a legal precedent in 1983 that it be painted from life.

    That very contemporary and very creative portraits can be produced within restricting frameworks is the very story of art itself from the Sistine ceiling to Whiteleys 1978 Archibald winner "Art, Life And The Other Thing" the very best artworks tend to explore the boundaries and definitions of human parameters. The worst possible outcome from the legal challenge would be for the Prize to be reduced to a conservative traditionalist exhibition. Besides that would itself be against the spirit of Archibalds Bequest. He made it plain that his intent was to nurture excellence within Australian portraiture.

    Change then is part of Archibald Prize life. Restricting change never has been part of this court action, rather the problem is two-fold. Firstly there is the matter of law pertaining to charitable bequests. Simply stated it is very difficult to change charitable bequests. Before the law the wishes of the benefactor are extremely important. There is a recognition of a sacred responsibility in regard to the way trusts are discharged. In effect, it is Archibalds money, the true beneficiaries are the artists who win the prize, and the trustees have a legal obligation to adhere to Archibalds will as much as is possible. Secondly, and to some more importantly there is the issue of fairness due to inconsistency. At the top of the Entry form in bold letters the Trustees invite artists to submit paintings, and then repeat it twice. To be very clear they also state at the top of the form that for the purposes of the prize they will apply the definition of a portrait as determined in the 1983 court judgement "a picture of a person painted from life". That court action was a result of the Trustees taking John Bloomfield to court because they believed he had not adhered to Archibalds will. Fairness demands that they apply the same standards to themselves.

    The issue of unfairness is an emotional resonse to the matter. In the courts it is more about the legal protection of charitable bequests. Either way it is a pity that what might be seen as an unwise Prize decision should obscure the appreciation of art.

    posted by Challenge Team @ 1:55 AM2 comments Thursday, September 23, 2004


    The mixed media clause is of recent origin and follows a number of entries that were paintings but that had various media added to some paintings. This is a clause that may need clarification and to be defined in line with the intent of J.F. Archibald now that it has had the unintended consequence of possibly causing Craig Ruddy to believe that his large entry is eligible to win the Archibald Prize.

    In the case where non-painting materials form a small portion of a picture, such as in the Mittelmann winner of a few years ago, it is hard to imagine most fair minded people not agreeing that it is anything other than a painting with a small amount of drawing media on top of it. In the case of the Ruddy work it is hard to imagine most fair minded people not agreeing that it is clearly a drawing. It doesn't matter that some people would like to rewrite dictionaries to fit what they want to read. In the process, the whole question of a mixed media clause comes into question. That is for the court to decide. Certainly in the past the court has taken care to ensure that the express intent of Archibald is paramount.

    Rather than risk the courts striking the clause out, perhaps the AGNSW Trust should take urgent steps to review whether or not the Ruddy work steps over the line of what Archibald intended.

    Curiously, Archibald made no provision for finalists or exhibitions of selected work, so there is no reason in the bequest not to broaden acceptable works for the Archibald exhibition, even to include new media, performance, installation and so on. It is only in the awarding of the prize that Archibald's intent is clear, that it must be a 'portrait...painted...' and it is in the awarding of the prize itself that the Trustees are restricted from awarding it to anything other than a painting, painted from life. And so it has been until now.


    Nothing would be simpler than if the AGNSW Trust announced they were reviewing the 2004 judgement in light of the question: is it a painting or is it a drawing? Then relooking at Archibalds words, and, incidentally their own words in the entry form.

    If it's a case of simply wanting the definition of painting to include works that are drawings then I suggest a visit to the dictionary, and then taking that up with messers Webster, Oxford et al. Desire to reinvent the meanings of words does not make it so. Afterall there is a reason there are two different words in question here. It is because they refer to different kinds of artworks.

    It is difficult to imagine any objective look at the question (as to whether or not the work fits both the words of Archibald or the Trusts own invitation to artists to submit paintings), could come to any conclusion other than to re-evaluate the eligibility of the Ruddy work as a legitimate winner.

    If the Trust were to take this course there would be very little reason to pursue the Supreme Court action and large amounts of legal fees could be saved as well.


    Many people have asked the question what is in this for me? Implying that the point would be monetary reward. Sorry to dissapoint, however, idealism and a sense of injustice have nothing to do with money.

    All we seek is a declaration from the court that the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales judge the prize in accordance with the will of J.F. Archibald. If anyone gets monetary compensation out of this it should be Craig Ruddy, for inconveniences caused by the Trustees decision. Personal gain has never been my goal with the Archibald Challenge.

    Ultimately, it is hoped, the big winners will be all Australian portrait painters due to consistant judging standards according to Archibald's intent.


    Some people have assumed the challenge is due to dislike of Craig Ruddy's work. Not true, in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. The Ruddy portrait of David Gulpilil is a beautiful poetic drawing, a wonderfully sensitive work. It is unfortunate that the ill-considered decision of the Trustees to award the Prize to an ineligible entry has put Craig in this unfortunate position.
    Whilst fairness to all Archibald Prize entrants requires the 2004 Archibald Prize to be rejudged (or 2004 declared a no-award year) Craig Ruddy should perhaps be compensated for the troubles this decision has caused. Keeping the equivalent of the prize money may well be the ultimate result, and we would support this as being reasonable in the circumstances.
    The 2004 decision is the responsibility of the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and it is they who have had a summons to appear before the Supreme Court. The challenge to the 2004 Archibald Prize is directed at them.