Can the people be trusted to choose art? wonders The Art Fund in the UK. They certainly can in Australia. English-born Melbourne artist Vincent Fantauzzo has won the Archibald People’s Choice Prize with this gobsmacking portrait of child actor Brandon Walters, who played the young boy Nullah in Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia. It's the second year running Vincent has won this prize, and with a portrait of an actor. In 2008 he won it with his triple portrait of Heath Ledger (CLICK). I remarked on the cleverness of that portrait (CLICK). This one is even more impressive. The panoramic frame, the boy's hard stare and the shaft of sunlight cutting across his face, putting one eye in deep shadow, all reflect a dramatic movie image befitting an actor as well as creating a deeply psychological portrait. This aboriginal boy is a real person staring back at you.
And the winner of the $50,000 Archibald Prize 2009? Sir Les Patterson and his panel of Philistines strike again (CLICK). The Art Fund should be asking the question: Can the Art Establishment be trusted to choose art?