Murdochs without noticing Rupert or Lachlan. When the Art critic of the Age Robert Nelson reviewed a one-day project of art in Melbourne over the weekend, he observed that the audience was watching an exhibit by an artist from the UK conceptual artist who was in “puzzlement”.
Nelson claimed that he could feel the viewers searching for answers within Father and Son’s work by Jeremy Deller. The piece contained a set of candles in the shape of a seated man and a younger man, slowly burning to one puddle throughout the day.
The art critic wasn’t the only one puzzled. Nelson wrote several hundred words about the significance of the Turner prize-winning artist’s works without realising the portraits of father and son were actually of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.
We’ve all made mistakes but rarely are they as well-known as the one published in the Age both in print and online on Sunday. Remarkably, no one behind the scenes questioned the reason why the author hadn’t mentioned the Murdochs in his piece, even though the likeness in the multiple pictures that were published was evident.
Nobody seems to have noticed other news reports about the exhibition, including Guardian Australia’s Melting moguls: life-size Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch candles burn in Melbourne installation on Saturday.
A spokesperson for Nine Publishing, the publisher of The Age, declined comment.
Nelson To his credit, Nelson has written a meaculpa on Tuesday “Sometimes there’s just too little… I just hadn’t realized that the two antiquated specimens was the Murdochs.”
In the “spooky installation in a deconsecrated church in Collingwood” Nelson saw, in the Sunday’s report, the Father and the Son of the Bible – not the father and son of the Murdoch media empire.
“Everything about the setting at St Saviour’s Church of Exiles, Collingwood, was churchy – right down to the quotation from John’s Gospel, where Jesus affirms his respect for his Heavenly Father,” Nelson wrote on Tuesday.
“But I didn’t know that these people were Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Muldoch, media princes whose diverse dealings don’t automatically strike me as religiously motivated.
It puts a new spin on the subject. If you were to concentrate on the particulars of Murdoch burning mannequins, it would be almost absurd.
Nelson was offered an “out” but admirably chose not to take his decision to not take it. Many readers believed that his first review was an intentional choice to censor Murdoch’s name.
“A humorous Jane Scott, director of Horsham Art Gallery, was nice enough to write “Brilliant review … without actually mentioning the unmentionable’,” Nelson said.
“I’d want to bask in the radiance of this subdued gamesmanship; however, in all honesty, I just didn’t realise the two antiquated examples were the Murdochs.”
He also acknowledged that there were clues as they wandered through the galleries of art. But he chose not to pay attention because he is “trusting his eyes”.
He said, “My ears heard someone talking about ‘Lachlan’. However, the whisper did not penetrate my visionary armor.” “If I shut off that connection, it was in my unconscious. It would have been nice if I could resist any more Murdoch public image. But the truth is that I was not paying attention to my ears.
Nelson eventually transcends the “embarrassment” by asserting that the fact Nelson missed the context is insignificant.