Melbourne art critic reviews melting Murdochs without noticing Rupert or Lachlan | Rupert Murdoch

When contemporary art critic Robert Nelson reviewed a one-day art project in Melbourne over the weekend, he noted that the audience was looking at an installation by a British conceptual artist in “confusion”.

“One could sense that viewers were searching for an explanation in themselves,” Nelson wrote in his review of Jeremy Deller’s work, Father and Son, which included life-size gray candles in the form of a seated old man and a younger man who slowly burned to a puddle all day.

But it was the art critic himself who was amazed. Nelson wrote hundreds of words about the significance of the Turner Award-winning artist’s work without realizing that the father and son paintings were by Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.

Of course, we have all made mistakes, but rarely are they as public as the one published in Time on Print and online on Sundays. Remarkably, no one behind the scenes questioned why the author had not mentioned Murdochs in his piece, even though the similarity in the many published images was easily visible.

No one seems to have noticed other news reports about the exhibition, including Guardian Australia’s melting moguls: life-size Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch candles burning in the Melbourne installation on Saturday.

A spokesman for Nine, publisher of Age, declined to comment.

In his honor, Nelson wrote a sort of mea culpa on Tuesday: “Sometimes the eyes are not enough … I just did not realize that the two obsolete specimens were Murdochs.”

In the “eerie installation in a deconsecrated church in Collingwood,” Nelson saw in Sunday’s review the Bible’s Father and Son – not the father and son of Murdoch’s media empire.

“Everything about the installation in St. Savior’s Church of Exiles, Collingwood, was ecclesiastical – right down to the quote from the Gospel of John, in which Jesus declares his respect for Heavenly Father,” Nelson wrote Tuesday.

“But I did not realize that the figures represented Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, the media princes, whose various circumstances do not automatically appear to you to be theologically motivated.

“It definitely puts another spin on the work; and if you were really focused on the details of the Murdoch mannequins that were burned, the concept would come close to farce. “

Nelson had an “out” but admirably chose not to take it. Some readers thought his original review involved a “conscious decision” to suppress the Murdoch name.

“A witty Jane Scott, director of the Horsham Art Gallery, was kind enough to write, ‘Brilliant review … without actually mentioning the unmentionable,'” Nelson said.

“I want to bask in the glow of this subtle game; but in all openness, I just did not realize that the two obsolete copies were Murdoch’s. “

He also admitted that there were clues as he walked around the art gallery, which he chose to ignore because he believes in “trusting my eyes”.

“My ears heard someone talk about ‘Lachlan,’ but the whisper did not really penetrate my critical visual armor,” he said. “If I suppressed the connection, it was all in my unconscious. It would have been nice to possess the virtue of resisting more Murdoch descendants; but the truth is, I did not listen to my ears.”

But in the end, Nelson transcends what he calls “embarrassment” and claims that the fact that he missed the context is insignificant.

“The original interpretation along the written lines – as the artist himself suggested – remains sound,” he wrote on Tuesday. “The additional fact may contribute an additional layer of interpretation, but it does not make one required layer of interpretation. “

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