Arts / ‘Dimension and depth’ in NGA program

‘Impression, Soleil levant’ by Claude Monet, 1872, Paris, Musée Marmottan

FOUR months into his reign as director of the National Gallery of Australia and Nick Mitzevich has announced that the national institution will open two major international exhibitions over winter and summer next year.

It was already announced that “Love And Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces From The Tate” will run from December to April, but now the gallery has unveiled plans for two more blockbusters—“Monet: Impression Sunrise” from June to August and “Matisse/Picasso” from December 2019 to April 2020.

The 2019 program involves partnerships with some of the world’s top museums and galleries including the Tate, Musée Marmottan in Paris, and loans from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery in London.

But blockbusters are just the tip of the iceberg and partnerships with Wesfarmers, the Seven Network and other sponsors are also supporting new initiatives aim at bringing art to diverse audiences.

From October next year, for instance, indigenous arts partner, Wesfarmers Arts, with the NGA, will commission a new work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art to be shown on the world stage.

Mitzevich has made no bones about his wish to revitalise the NGA, so Canberra will be seeing two “bold” new sculpture galleries, the opening of a Yayoi Kusama infinity room, and both a new interactive creative learning centre and, in a major investment in education, a new permanent children’s gallery.

One of the director’s pet projects will be a major rehang of Australian art, of which he says: “We are excited to be re-imagining Australian art, telling new stories through the eyes of many great artists and bringing the best of international art to Canberra.”

New collection initiatives include the acquisition of a four-metre high wax “candle” sculpture, “Francesco 2017”, by Swiss artist Urs Fischer, captured in red paraffin wax, which will melt over time as visitors watch its metamorphosis.

Other shows will be “Sally Smart”, “Māori Markings: Tā Moko”, “Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia”, “Lichtenstein To Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection”, and “Hugh Ramsay”, while the travelling exhibitions “Picasso: The Vollard Suite”, “The National Picture: The Art of Tasmania’s Black War”, “Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial”, Sidney Nolan’s “Ned Kelly” series, “David Hockney: Prints” and “Art Deco” will take  national collection on tour around the country.

“The dimension and the depth of the 2019 artistic program defines the significant role of the national collection, ensuring the National Gallery continues to be an important reference point for art for all Australians,” Mitzevich says.




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