Culture Heist


The fight for the soul of a
great public institution

“Judith White has written about the centrality of every society’s need for a vibrant artistic culture.” – Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO

“Documents what most in the arts have observed with increasing dismay – a world characterised by the rise of philistine commercialism and the decline of art.” – Sydney Morning Herald

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Culture Heist breaks the silence about the conflict at the heart of our much-loved cultural institutions – the struggle between the public good and the forces of corporatisation.

In 2013 the Art Gallery of New South Wales announced the most ambitious museum expansion plan in Australian history. Four years later the funds have not materialised, while disquiet has grown about changes in the Gallery and the impact of spending cuts.

Culture Heist is an insider’s account, with implications for art lovers and museum-goers everywhere. It invites the broadest discussion to address the issues facing the arts in Australia and explore ways to protect great public institutions.

Published by Brandl & Schlesinger May 2017

With a Foreword by former Judge of the NSW Supreme Court, The Hon David Levine AO, RFD, QC


Judith White was executive director of the members’ organisation, the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales, from 2000 to 2008 and again in 2014 and 2015, and is author of the Society’s history Art Lovers.

Born in Lancashire, England in 1948, she holds two degrees from Oxford University, has worked in publishing and journalism and speaks Spanish, French and Italian. Cultural history remains her abiding interest and was the theme of the Society’s first members’ tour to Cuba which she led in 2015.

She lives on the Tweed River in northern New South Wales.