NGA’s new director plans to ‘pack a punch’

Nick Mitzevich.

“WE have to be courageous and adventurous”, the newly-appointed National Gallery of Australia director, Nick Mitzevich, told the assembled press this morning.

“We have lots of things to say and do but you’ll have to wait a bit longer and let us craft events for the next two years, but we will have lots of discussion.”

It was obvious at today’s media meet and greet that Mitzevich would ensure Canberra would hear things from the horse’s mouth from now on—“I prefer that you ask me, come and see me,” he urged.

His intention was to build a strong and robust gallery and building “the footprint of Australian art“ in the world, and he pointed out that already there was an NGA exhibition in New Delhi and that the exhibition “American Masters 1940–1980” coming in late August were both exhibitions drawn from the gallery’s own collection, but with an international outlook.

The high visitation figures for the last year and news of a surplus at the end of the last financial year meant that, contrary to some reports, the national collecting institution had a strong financial basis.

As well, he said, “we have one of the best collections in the world, so we have to be bold”, adding that the gallery would do “big, brassy shows but also small shows that pack a punch”.

“I am totally unfaithful in the way I look at exhibitions—big, brassy, or small,” he added, promising to “seduce” a broad age range of visitors as he had successfully done in his previous job as head of the Art Gallery of South Australia.

“I am director and also chief curator,“ he said when “CityNews” asked him about his likely relationship to his head curators, “I am proud to lead the gallery, but it’s only as good as the exhibitions it curates, and primary research is at the centre… I’m putting myself in the middle of that.”

And would he buy another “Blue Poles”, or a work of the same potency?

“Of course,” Mitzevich replied.

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