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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia • Page 26

Publication:
The Agei
Location:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Page:
26
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

8 TODAY.ARTS THE AGE WEDNESDAY 11 AUGUST 1999 Leadership Disneying up: selling art's soul to survive v. 4 X-1 fit it-K iV' I ft ft -t if ,1 David Pledger THE award of the Victorian Arts Centre's 1999 Kenneth Myer Medallion for the Performing Arts to David Pledger recognises one of Victoria's most innovative theatrical artists. Pledger, 39, has worked as an actor, writer, teacher, collaborator and director. The establishment of his own company, Not Yet 1 1 's Difficult, in 1994 has consistently challenged audiences' views of what theatre should be. Far from being linear in content or format, NY1D productions including William Shakespeare: hung, drawn and quartered, Chicago Chicago system 98 and Taking Tiger Mountain by Stetegy embrace theatre, film, dance and multi-media.

Kor an experimental company. Pledger works with comparatively large casts 1 5 is common. Hath show is workshopped intensively over weeks or months, or two years, in the case of its self-titled debut. The methodical rehearsal period employs techniques as varied as martial arts, sport and the Suzuki Tadashi system, based on ancient Japanese acting methods. I'ledger is fascinated by voice, space and the body viewed in a socio-political context.

These elements, combined with focused audience engagement, have become his company's trademark. For the audience, the initial impact is visual: Pledger's troupe perform in unusual venues outdoors or in theatres stripped of the usual encumbrances. There-was no seating for their 1997 highly formalised satire on sports culture. The AustralAsian I'ost-Cartoon: Sports lidition. the basis of a forthcoming SHS TV documentary.

From today an exhibition of photographs, props, video footage and posters from NY1D productions is at the Victorian Arts Centre's Vic Walk Gallery, as well as the work of 1990 Medallion winners, Daniel Keeneand Ariette Taylor. DINA ROSS Picture: CRAIG ABRAHAM Attending the arts program (from left) Leon Paroissien, Sue-Anne Wallace, David Bradford and NGA's Brian Kennedy. 'W' -V cl i vi a 1V -t By MICHAEL SHMITH TODAY we welcome a new pejorative term to the language: Disneying up. This American cousin to dumbing down really means the same, but has a more direct application. Disneying up is what happens when a museum is forced to make an exhibition so popular that it loses its artistic significance.

Such as putting a Mickey Mouse ear on Vincent van Gogh. Explaining this yesterday, during the lunch break at Australia's first Museum Leadership Program, at the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne, was Dr David Bradford, senior lecturer in organisational behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and the author of Power up: transforming organisations through shared leadership. Bradford maintains that Disneying up is one of the perils of an arts system, which, like America's, is heavily dependent on corporate rather than government funds. "American museums are struggling with this because of our dependence on external funding," Bradford said. "Part of our charter is to speak to large audiences, people who have not visited museums before, and to improve taste.

But how do we do this in ways without Disneying up?" One way, Bradford suggested, is to give visitors more to do. "At its best, any museum ought to be an active experience: the more I know, the better The role of technology is one way to go. In essence, I can have a choice. You don't just get an audio-tour, you get components, where I can have the picture described, its history, similar pictures; I have a choice about what I want to learn." Disneying up is one of the many questions being pondered by the 40 delegates, from Australian museums and galleries, attending the week-long leadership program, which is concentrating on leadership, strategic planning and marketing. It is flili Iff 'it I tiff Stj i Kennedy was happy to report that I he camaraderie seemed good.

"What the course lends to do is illustrate the complex range of skills that people have to work in museums and galleries," he said. One of these skills, Kennedy said, is not popularity. "As I've often said, 'I'm not here to he popular; if I am popular, dial's fantastic, but I'm here to do the job'. If you're not being criticised, you're probably not doing anything." The director of the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Margaret Hich, welcomed the chance to hear Bradford and the other speaker from the Getty course, Dr Jeanne l.iedtka, associate professor of business administration. University of Virginia.

"They have really done lliings that have changed die whole industry," Rich said. "We have the chance to hear what everyone is getting out of it. There are people here with scientific, historical and visual-arts backgrounds. But it is the necessity of planning, working out what decisions are and taking people with you. That's what we have in common." the first of its kind in this country and is modelled on the annual I.

Paul Getty Trust Museum Management Institute's course, held al Berkeley University, California. Bradford, who has lectured al the Berkeley courses, sees the Melbourne program as essential in providing delegates with a wider understanding of an ever-changing, ever-responsive, ever-criticised industry. "People go into litis field not because they have the objective of managing museums or galleries, they go in because they like the content," he said. "Now they're faced wilh the fact they're managing a to $.10 million institution, and there is a whole series of other questions they have to deal with. This is to give a sense of overview of some of the organisational issues, so they can fulfil their core responsibilities in a better and less overwhelmed way." Attending yesterday's sessions in an observing capacity was the director of the National Gallery of Australia, Dr Brian Kennedy.

Three ol his staff are attending full-lime, including the recently appointed head of Australian art. Mr John McDonald. 1 1 a mi i John Waters' PECKER. Will 10. 310,516, 7 20.

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30 4 00 30 9 00PM mm mi ww shjt (in ru wmt HutsoiMi ipg M01HW3063igtfW TWWiiruowitrriG) Age PhotographicgQ0g DOOF, DOOF, DOOF, DOOF. Tired of shouting a conversation in a noisy nightclub? If so, and you're single, career orientated and sociable, then place an ad in the Introductions section of The Age. Call 13 22 43. II.H4iiI;HI,',l.l,'IJ!lln JltiUil.HHUilillM.I.'IIIHIIIIM.ItilriJUJMIIIti.l.'lliVIM I I III ill I 1 1 1 1 II I I il I III II I II I I 1 ill III Exclusive photographs token by The Age photogropfwrs ore ovollobte rot sole from The Ago Photosoles Deportment. 77m Age Photosoles Oeportmenl has on extensive photographtc library of colour and block while images Blot con be reproduced lor Individuals or businesses In morty formats.

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Pages Available:
1,281,085
Years Available:
1854-2000