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NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA IN MELBOURNE – A SHORT VISIT – DECEMBER 26, 2015

December 31, 2015

NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA IN MELBOURNE

The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum in Melbourne. Founded in 1861, it is the oldest public art museum in Australia. The NGV operates across two sites: NGV International, located on St Kilda Road in the heart of the Melbourne Arts Precinct of Southbank, and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, located nearby at Federation Square. The St Kilda Road building, designed by Sir Roy Grounds, opened in 1968, and was renovated by Mario Bellini and reopened in 2003. The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia was designed by LAB Architecture Studio and opened in 2002.

History

The NGV was founded in 1861. Victoria had been an independent colony for only ten years, but in the wake of the Victorian gold rush, it was the richest colony in Australia, and Melbourne was the largest city in Australia. In addition to donations of works of art, donated funds from wealthy citizens have been used by the NGV to purchase Australian and international works by both old and modern masters. The NGV currently holds over 70,000 works of art. The Felton Bequest, established by the will of Alfred Felton in 1904, has purchased over 15,000 works of art for the NGV.

The National Gallery of Victoria Art School, associated with the gallery, was founded in 1867. It was the leading centre for academic art training in Australia until about 1910.The School’s graduates went on to become some of Australia’s most significant artists.

The NGV’s Australian art collection encompasses Indigenous (Australian Aboriginal) art and artefacts, Australian colonial art, Australian Impressionist art, 20th century, modern and contemporary Australian art.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, domestic art began to thrive (particularly with the Heidelberg School in what was then an outer suburb of Melbourne) and the NGV was well-placed to add an excellent collection of key Australian works, which trace the metamorphosis of imported European styles into distinctively Australian art. The NGV houses many of the most recognisable Australian paintings, including Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer and Tom Roberts’

International Collection

The NGV has an encyclopaedic collection of art. In addition to the Australian collections, international collection areas include European painting (historical and modern), fashion and textiles, photography, prints and drawings, Asian art, decorative arts, Mesoamerican art, Pacific art, sculpture, antiquities, and contemporary art. It has strong collections in areas as diverse as old masters, Greek vases, Egyptian artifacts and historical European ceramics, and contains the largest and most comprehensive range of artworks in Australia.

The international collection includes works by Bernini, Bordone, Canaletto, Cézanne, Constable, Correggio, Degas, van Dyck, Gainsborough, Gentileschi, El Greco, Manet, Memling, Modigliani, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Poussin, Rembrandt, Renoir, Ribera, Rodin, Rothko, Rubens, Tiepolo, Giambattista Pittoni, Tintoretto, Turner, Uccello, Veronese, and other masters.

In 2011 the NGV celebrated its 150th birthday and acquired a highly important masterpiece by Correggio, one of the most influential figures of the Italian High Renaissance. The work, titled Madonna and Child with infant Saint John the Baptist, was painted circa 1514–15. The painting was purchased at Sotheby’s London for $5.2 million and is the single highest priced acquisition in the NGV’s history.

 

A SHORT VISIT TO THIS MUSEUM

THIS IS WHAT I SAW AT THE  MUSEUM

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ENTRANCE TO THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF MELBOURNE – SHOWING THE LATEST GALLERY SHOW “. Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei explores the influence of two of the most consequential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries on modern art and contemporary life, focusing on the parallels and intersections between their practices. Surveying the scope of both artists’ careers, the exhibition presents more than 300 works, including major new commissions, immersive installations and a wide representation of painting, sculpture, film, photography, publishing and social media. Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei have each redefined the identity and role of the artist in society. Parallels also exist between the ways in which both artists have transformed our understanding of studio production and artistic value. Both are also renowned for their engagement with media and communications, and for the cultivation of celebrity and their own personas, in order to speak to social contexts beyond the world of art. The exhibition is a dialogue between artists from different cultural contexts encompassing ‘a tale of two cities’ – New York and Beijing. Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei reflects the time and place of the artist through the activities of two exemplary figures: one representing twentiethcentury modernity and the ‘American century’; the other our twenty-first century moment and what has been postulated as the ‘Chinese century’ to come. “

 

 

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Chandelier with Restored Han Dynasty Lamps for the Emperor 2015 steel, crystal, lights Ai Weiwei Studio, Beijing Chandelier with Restored Han Dynasty Lamps for the Emperor is a new work in a series of light installations and chandelier forms that Ai Weiwei has produced since 2002. The shape of the work is inspired by an antique Han dynasty lamp discovered in an emperor’s tomb and said to represent eternal life and light. As the artist has noted: ‘The emperors truly believed that the afterlife would be just like life above ground. They had precious burial objects made from heavy materials, such as porcelain, jade, jewellery and even clothing made of jade. They tried to prevent the body from disappearing after death. The underground tombs were illuminated by candle-lit lanterns – they called them “eternal lights”’. Composed of thousands of interwoven crystal prisms, Ai’s monumental chandelier creates a lavish spectacle of light refracted through multiple forms, oscillating between opulence, beauty and extravagant kitsch. As an antique, imperial form reproduced at an immense scale through modern manufacturing techniques, Ai’s chandelier also invites us to reflect upon the relationship between antiquity and modernity and the global trade in Chinese decorative arts.

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Forever Bicycles 2015 stainless steel bicycle frames Courtesy Ai Weiwei and Lisson Gallery, London The assembly and replication of readymade bicycles in Ai’s Forever Bicycles series, ongoing since 2003, promotes an intensely spectacular effect. ‘Forever’ is a popular brand of mass-produced bicycles manufactured in China since the 1940s and desired by Ai as a child. Composed from almost 1500 bicycles, this installation suggests both the individual and the multitude, with the collective energy of social progress signalled in the assemblage and perspectival rush of multiple forms. Forever Bicycles disconnects the bicycles from their everyday function – reconfiguring them as an immense labyrinth-like network. The multi-tiered installation also achieves an architectural presence, much like a traditional arch or gateway to the exhibition.

 

New York / Beijing Andy Warhol fanatically recorded his everyday life on audiotape, celluloid and photographic film. He moved effortlessly between underground, avant-garde and glamorous social circles and his photographs of the 1970s and 1980s provide an intimate insight into his social world. They also show his keen observation of the urban life, architecture, advertising, popular culture and personalities of his adopted New York City. When Warhol visited China in 1982, he turned his photographic gaze to the people and significant sites of a culture in transition. Ai Weiwei lived in New York for a decade from 1983 onwards, and his New York Photographs document the young artist’s social context as part of the city’s Chinese artistic and intellectual diaspora community. The images also show his participation on the margins of the New York art world; his commitment to social activism; his involvement with influential poets, such as Allen Ginsberg; and his identification with the work of Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns and Warhol.

 

 

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A SLIDE FROM AI WEIWEI – WARHOL SHOW

 

 

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A SLIDE FROM AI WEIWEI – WARHOL SHOW

 

 

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A SLIDE FROM AI WEIWEI – WARHOL SHOW

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OUTDOOR ART AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

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JOHN WARDLE SUMMER PAVILION AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

 

 

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JOHN WARDLE SUMMER PAVILION AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA (DETAIL)

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AUGUST RODIN – MONUMENT TO BALZAC

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BRUCE ARMSTRONG – UNTITLED

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GEOFFREY BARTLETT – MESSENGER

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Moses Bringing down the Tables of the Law, 1872-1878 – John Rogers Herbert – The painting was commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1872, but it took Herbert another six years to complete the artwork. It was exhibited for the first time in Melbourne in 1878 and hung in the old gallery at the State Library for a number of years. At the time, it was the largest and most expensive painting the gallery had ever acquired

 

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