Ben Quilty on Empathy, Angry Art, Backlash And That Jesus Photo

By Brigid Delaney
Ben Quilty’s The Last Supper, 2016, oil on linen. Photograph: Ben Quilty/Supplied AGSA
Over drinks, Ben Quilty is gently teased by the nickname “Jesus Quilty”, owing to the cover of Good Weekend the weekend prior, which featured a portrait of the artist wearing a crown of thorns. Ben Quilty is one of Australia’s most famous living artists. It’s certainly unusual for a painter of his age to have an exhibition of this size and scale mounted of his work. Another art world insider tells me Quilty’s appeal says as much about us as it does about him: that we are so starved of men who passionately stand for something that when someone like him comes along – particularly someone so accessible, articulate and media-friendly – the response is one of great hunger. [More]
Ben Quilty: ‘Just turn the mirror on yourself and it starts to reflect everything’. Photograph: Saul Steed