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Luxury art award goes to picture of trash

The Australian, 12 April 2013  
 

A PAINTING depicting "hard rubbish" has won the $80,000 Bulgari Art Award, which was announced at the Art Gallery of NSW today. The painting, by Melbourne artist Jon Cattapan, is in a triptych, and features images of discarded household items. It will become part of the gallery’s permanent collection and hang initially in its main foyer. The prize, sponsored by the luxury label, consists of $50,000 in cash and a six-month residency in Italy worth $30,000. Cattapan, a father of three, said the stint in Italy will enable him to focus on developing his art away from the distractions of everyday life. “The most precious things for artists is time, this prize is going to buy me (that),” he said. Art Gallery director Michael Brand described Cattapan as, “a rarity among leading artists of our time in the way he is willing to confront social and political issues with his subject matter”. The Bulgari award is intended for mid-career artists but is not open to entries. The gallery’s curator of Australian art, Wayne Tunniciffe, selects the recipient with the approval of the trustees. Last year’s inaugural award went to Brisbane realist Michael Zavros, who is well known for his fondness of luxury labels and occasionally depicts them in his work. Zavros also won the 2010 Moran portraiture prize with a painting of his daughter lying under an Alexander McQueen scarf. Zavros’s Bulgari award painting, The New Round Room, hung in the same place where Cattapan’s works now hang but it is no longer viewable in the AGNSW. “It’s in storage, which is not ideal,” Brand said.

 

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 April 2013