Raymond Gill on myths, the mainstream and the press

Arts Hub is pleased to bring you this final response to Robyn Archer's Platform Papers issue: The Myth of the Mainstream, courtesy of Currency House. And Raymond Gill, arts editor for The Age isn't holding back.
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Arts Hub is pleased to bring you this response to Robyn Archer’s Platform Papers issue: ‘The Myth of the Mainstream’ from Raymond Gill, arts editor for ‘The Age’. Republished with kind permission of Currency House.

Robyn Archer is such an enthusiastic advocate for the arts that one always expects a certain amount of hyperbole in her pronouncements. While her embellishments are good-naturedly accepted, if not expected, when she’s spruiking an arts festival, one would expect something more researched and thought-through in an essay importantly titled The Myth of the Mainstream: Politics and the Performing Arts in Australia Today. Instead, she offers up a random series of thoughts and impressions, then shoehorns them into an argument about how media, government, the major arts companies and compliant audiences have allowed the ‘mainstream’ to swallow culture in Australia, rather like an artistic ‘Blob’. Oh, why can’t Australia be less like the 1950s and more like Iceland, where Archer recalls its ‘phenomenal economic success […] and that an Icelandic parent’s proudest experience is seeing their offspring become a poet’ (no reference given)!

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Raymond Gill
About the Author
Raymond Gill is arts editor of 'The Age' newspaper.