MELBOURNE CUP : THE FIX IS IN
Horse racing is a status symbol. Just like art. The really, really rich folk are gagging for it. Think mining and media magnates, corporate sponsors, exclusive mailing lists and old family ties. Donning Fascinators and Top Hats and networking the Bird Cage to within an inch of their lives. Thinking on it though, the Racing Industry has been more successful in attracting (and keeping) Public and Private Funding than art has. Horses are easier to market than artists. Not that it’s a competition.
You could say that the artworld equivalent of the Melbourne Cup is the Archibald Portrait Prize. Gai Waterhouse and Del Katherine Barton have a lot in common. Mainstream appeal and they both win everything. Though Gai’s horse won more than the Archibald winner does, her horse took home over 6 million bucks for coming home first. Around 300-400 horses are nominated to race in the race of races each year. The field is then shortlisted down to 24 runners. So it’s less competitive to be an Archibald Finalist than to race in the Melbourne Cup. We didn’t make it to Flemington for the race, preferring to take in the action from the safe distance of Federation Square where the queues for the toilet are shorter. Here is how it looked. Natalie Thomas