Hazel Dooney

Ashley Crawford, The Age Newspaper, 25 April 2007

Artist Hazel Dooney spent yesterday afternoon arguing with the organisers of Art Melbourne ’07, who had acquiesced to censoring her art work in the Renault New Generation Art segment of the event. The Royal Exhibition Buildings had expressed concern about the content of the exhibit being accessible to minors and wanted the work re-arranged so that the sexually explicit images would be invisible to the visiting throngs.

The work, titled Sex Tourist, consists of a narrative of six panels. The organizers requested that Dooney rearrange the sequence to make the more explicit panels less visible.

“The work tells a story,” the artist said. “The images form a narrative that would be disrupted if they were not hung in order.”

As the event opened on Thursday evening the exhibition centre’s management had a white sheet draped across the entrance to the space where the work was displayed. Dooney had been uninformed by this move and scrawled ‘CENSORED’ across the sheet in red lipstick which, if anything, incited even more curiosity than the paintings might have if they had remained visible. Before long, the space was overflowing with viewers.

Renault Australia, evidently now unhappy that its brand had been associated with Dooney’s art, had also originally asked the artist to execute decals to be displayed on five Renault cars outside the entrance of the show at the Royal Exhibition Buildings. Those were removed, again without the artist being informed, early Friday morning.

“The venue manager requested that we curtain the stand due to the nature of the installation,” said the exhibition manager, Samantha Bloodworth, who works for Single Market Events Pty Ltd who organized Art Melbourne 07. “This does not reflect our organisations opinion of the artistic merit of the work,” she said.

Bloodworth said that overall, however, the event had been a resounding success with a number of the galleries selling-out the work on display.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Ward.