4 September 2009

ABC Unleashed: Whip it Good!

As the Spring Racing Carnival begins in earnest this weekend, Michael Hutak says new rules restricting how jockey's whip their horses are causing controversy.
Outside Melbourne Cup time, Australia's multi-billion dollar horse racing industry usually attracts the attention of the wider general public for all the wrong reasons: betting scams, race fixing, money laundering, "colourful" racing identities, horse doping and claims of animal cruelty are the typical narratives.
However, 2009 has been a year for rougher-than-usual hand-wringing for racing's bosses, faced with a public outcry over horse fatalities in jumps racing, the disturbing re-emergence of positive swabs for performance-enhancing drugs, cyber-attacks from the Russian mafia on Australia's booming online betting shops, and, taking centre stage at the moment, sweeping changes to the rules regarding the use of the whip in races.

14 April 2009

‘Reality’ bites at the La Budget Biennale

Displays of unbridled wealth are tipped to give way to retro recession chic at this year's Venice Biennale, the world's oldest, most-venerated annual contemporary art event. Held this year in the shadow of the global financial crisis, the international art market, a luxury market, is set to be reminded that collecting art is mostly discretionary. Michael Hutak reports.

Like last year’s return to minimalism on the catwalks, this year’s 53rd International Art Exhibition will reflect global belt-tightening with a back-to-reality motif from Swedish curator, Daniel Birnbaum. "Making Worlds," says Birnbaum, will emphasize process and materials and will be "closer to the process of production and the venues of creation and training -- the studio, the laboratory -- than traditional museum-style exhibitions”.
Accordingly, we can expect a more muted stanza in 2009 when the four-day preview or 'vernissage' kicks off on June 4. Displays of unbridled wealth are tipped to give way to a revival of recession chic, and the corporate celebrations aboard the flotilla of luxury yachts, in six-hundred year old palazzi, and at swank already booked out hotels like the Cipriani, or just about any along the Grand Canal or the Lido, will be careful this year to avoid any association with the holders of so-called toxic assets.