Douglas Gordon Calls Boycotting the Sydney Biennale “Irresponsible”

Douglas Gordon at the Opening of the
Douglas Gordon at the Opening of the "I am also… Douglas Gordon" Exhibition at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv-Yaffo Photo: Talmoryair

Nine artists have chosen to boycott the Sydney Biennial over the organization’s link with Transfield, the company which runs the detention centers on the islands of Naura and Manus. But Scottish artist Douglas Gordon doesn’t get the point.

“I don’t see any significant change that would have happened if we had all boycotted the event,” he told the Guardian’s Philip Olterman. “You have to be somewhere in order to make change. If people want to use the Biennale as a platform to make a point, we need a stage.”

He goes on to say that boycotting the event would have been ineffective and “irresponsible.”

“If you really want to make a case for something, get your facts together, ask people how you want to marshall forces and do something,” the artist continued. “You can’t just say: ‘I don’t like this.’ Even the head of the board leaving has nothing to do with what the protest was about. People are still being ferried to Papua New Guinea. Nothing significant has changed there.”

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