Last month we reported how Director of the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) Tony Ellwood had welcomed the announcement of significant funding from the Victorian Government to assist with styling an all-new summer event for Melbourne city 2013/2014. Melbourne Now, whose raison detre is to actively engage with Victorian people in all sorts of new and interesting ways, will open 22nd November 2013.
From art and design, to architecture, music, film and fashion the show Melbourne Now will be the largest and most ambitious contemporary art exhibition the NGV has ever staged. It will include a major component for children, interactive projects as well as constructive state-wide programs. Today Ellwood announced the involvement of over 130 remarkable contemporary artists, 30 curators and designers all working together to produce innovative, immersive and thought-provoking works.
The Minister for the Arts, Hon Heidi Victoria MP said: “Melbourne Now is set to be a stunning showcase of the creativity of our city and state – and the diversity of our artistic talent – right here, right now. I can think of no better focus for the largest exhibition the NGV has ever staged in its 152 year history. It is an ambitious undertaking and one that the Victorian Government welcomes and is delighted to support.”
An ambitious, far-reaching exhibition held across two sites – NGV International and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne Now will showcase visual artists and creative practitioners.
The idea is to reveal just how they are profoundly contributing to creating a place within a unique and dynamic cultural framework. It is also about highlighting the identity of the city, confirming its place within our state and the nation of Australia for visitors both local and international.
Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV said that Melbourne Now is an ambitious project that represents a new direction for the NGV in terms of its scope and its relationship with audiences. “This exhibition is collaborative in every sense. Through community forums, commissions, acquisitions and designer engagement, Melbourne Now will survey what is current in creative practice in ways that are truly engaging and unexpected”.
Melbourne Now is a legacy project for the NGV, meant to have a lasting impact on its collections audiences and the relationship it fosters between the arts community and the city
Sound and light displays, used previously for the Napoleon exhibition in 2012 to great acclaim, will be a highlight alongside interactive community exhibitions and artworks.
The range of media and art forms will be deliberately broad and include design, architecture and dance, recognizing these forms as integral parts of Melbourne city’s creative mix.
Max Delany, Senior Curator Contemporary Art, NGV said the exhibition will be an “immersive, inclusive and participatory exhibition experience, providing a rich and compelling insight into Melbourne’s art, design and cultural practice at this moment”.
The exhibition will promote a new model for the way in which audiences engage with the creative community.
The first list of artists chosen make up an impressive list, which will be added to over the coming months by over 100 artists and their works. In addition to more than 20 NGV curators, Melbourne Now also welcomes the involvement of collaborating guest curators including Simone LeAmon, Ewan McEoin, John Nixon, UnMagazine, Fleur Watson, among others…For the moment those involved are:
Lauren Berkowitz, Ross Coulter, Daniel Crooks, Destiny Deacon, Julia deVille, Marco Fusinato, Bianca Hester, Matt Hinkley, Hotham Street Ladies, Rory Hyde, Peter Kennedy, Jess Johnson, Christopher Langton, Lucy McRae, Linda Marrinon, Sally Marsland, Toni Matecevski, Laith McGregor, Tom Nicholson, John Nixon, Patricia Piccinini, Patrick Pound, Reko Rennie, Darren Sylvester, Yhonnie Scarce, Caleb Shea, Ronnie van Hout and Fleur Watson.
Melbourne Now plans to showcase 250 works including major new pieces and commissions such as:
• A major sound and light installation of overwhelming sensory intensity by Marco Fusinato, whose work will also feature in a forthcoming exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in August
• A new video commission focusing upon Melbourne’s laneway networks by Daniel Crooks
• Artists’ collective The Hotham Street Ladies, who will transform the foyer of NGV Australia into an icing-coated share-house
• An interactive children’s commission by artist and designer Julia deVille involving a room filled with taxidermied animals in a Victorian-era setting
• Leading avant-garde artist John Nixon is involved in two projects, as curator of an exhibition of drawings; and a series of performative installations and children’s choir by his art-music collective The Donkey’s Tail
• Patrick Pound’s ‘Museum of Air’, drawn from aspects of the NGV’s collection interspersed with the artist’s vast and esoteric archive, exploring the idea of air, wind and being blown off your feet
• Three ‘exhibitions within the exhibition’ focusing upon architecture, design and the demographics of the city, curated by Fleur Watson, Simone LeAmon and Ewan McEoin respectively
• A curated section by UnMagazine involving an extensive network of artists, designers and writers
• An architecturally-designed Community Hall, to serve as a meeting room, stage, platform and catwalk.
It will host a rotating program involving the widest range of community expression from choirs, workshops, multicultural groups, performance artists, cake decorators, philosophers and poets, among many other community members.
Sound like an ambitious and interesting concept that many Melbournites will be very willing to embrace.
Mr Ellwood is stepping well outside the square, which can only be good for both creativity and art, as well as stimulating the intellectual life of the city. Knowing his standards of excellence, it will be very well done to be sure.
Roll on Summer !
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Federation Square
NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne
22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014. 10am – 5pm.