I was recently contacted by Tom McCulloch about a book burning in Mildura (Victoria) in 1978. He tells me that following the Mildura Sculpture Triennial of that year he had an Exhibition Exposition printed which included illustrations of Nick Spill’s photo “Art in the Hands of Capitalism”, which was apparently the trigger for the City Council to declare the book in breach of its ban on ‘nudity, pornography, obscenity and blood-letting’ in the Triennial. Tom says that the photo shows Nick and his girlfriend simulating sex in a rather satirical, humorous way.’
‘Much more scandalous,’ Tom continues, ‘was the Book’s inclusion of letters to the Council from artist Peter Tyndall, in which he put some logical questions about the Council’s right to ban artists from experimenting with boundaries, etc.’ The incident was widely reported in 1978 and the visiting German artist Klaus Rinke later made this burning part of his exhibit at the Art Gallery of NSW in the Biennale of Sydney.
Recently some facsimile copies were made and sold at the Mildura Arts Centre, and Tom also spoke at a recent symposium in Mildura, where his paper was received enthusiastically; the remaining copies of the reproduced book sold out at the coffee break.