Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:23 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:23 | SYDNEY

Cultural exports target the elites


Sam Roggeveen


24 January 2008 13:57

Alison Carroll's rejoinder to my admittedly slightly petulant comments on cultural exports funding (see here and here) tends to make my point for me. She cites two recent well-attended Australian art exhibitions partly funded by DFAT and the Australia Council, one held in Japan and the other in Korea, as marks of the success of the program. But if people really were lining up around the block to see these shows, why was government funding needed at all?

Presumably it is because these hordes of people would not have showed up had they been asked to pay what it actually costs to stage the exhibition. So in essence, the Australian taxpayer has subsidised Japanese and Korean art lovers. These tend to come from the more influential classes of society, so maybe such exhibitions do win Australia some important friends. But let's not pretend such funding allows for mass cultural outreach. Cheap air fares, Crocodile Dundee  and Ian Thorpe have had far more influence on that score.