Monthly Archives: April 2009

Smoking Art


It’s well known that Manly council has an issue with smoking.  If you’re a smoker, don’t bother going to Manly as you will be illegal almost anywhere you go from the beach to the restaurants.  But who would have thought their art would also require the political correctness treatment.

Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo an artist who lived in the Manly council was an art educator and advocate.  Manly council’s own art gallery owes its existence to his hard work.   The obligatory cigarette hanging from his mouth was a symbol of the man as much as his times.  Everyone smoked, and it only made sense for him to add his belove cigarette into this self-portrait.

Now either by mistake or design, when it came to promoting the great man on their website, Manly council initially took their no smoking stand a little too far. 


The modified image

The modified image

They have since change back to the original  image (which can be seen if you click on the image above), but it does leave me wanting to say something…and I have a blog.

Please understand all you well intentioned do-gooders, art in all forms are historical artifacts.  They tell us more than just information on the topic of the work.  They tell us about the times they were made in and the person who made them.  Big brother tampering of this sort decreases their  significance as mirrors onto ourselves for future art historian.   This smoking self-portrait like a smoking gun tell us something.  A future where smoking may not exist will see it and be surprise that such a  habit was acceptable, even something that characterise a man. 

Still don’t agree with me?  Okay,  you don’t like a piece of art, fine.  Just agree that you don’t and move on to the next piece of art (probably one with dogs playing poker) and leave the real art to those who care about the past and future.