The Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture

The Prime Minister's Christmas Card


By Lindsay Barrett

Jackson Pollock's 'Blue Poles' was hailed as a masterpiece by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam when it was acquired for a record price by the Australian National Gallery in 1973. But far from being the jewel in Whitlam's cultural crown, the painting became instead a symbol of the Whitlam Government's flamboyance, extravagance and excess.

Both political history and cultural analysis, The Prime Minister's Christmas Card: Blue Poles and Cultural Politics in the Whitlam Era traces the events surrounding the notorious purchase of 'Blue Poles' and the life of the ill-fated Whitlam Government. It provides a fascinating glimpse into Australia's social, cultural and economic history, its changing class dynamics, and its shifting geo-political status. It also offers a new and original perspective on Australian politics and culture in the Whitlam era.

About the Author

Lindsay Barrett teaches media and communications at the University of Western Sydney.

264 pages, paperback, black and white images.

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