Winter 2018 in Australia will see the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), present MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art, continuing its focus on expanding knowledge about the evolution of art in our time from the age of Modernism until today.
MoMA opened in Manhattan in 1929 and its collection of over 200,000 works of art by some 10,000 + artists, ensures it is the foremost museum of modern art in the world today. Its main curatorial departments include Architecture and Design, Drawings and Prints, Film, Media and Performance Art, Painting and Sculpture, and Photography.
The ‘new art’ at the dawn of the twentieth-century will be represented by masterworks by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne, cubist and futurist artists such as Pablo Picasso and Umberto Boccioni.
They will appear from June 9 – October 7, 2018 at NGV International alongside the radically abstracted forms in works by such artists as Piet Mondrian, alongside the surreal visual language of paintings by artists like Salvador Dalí and other prominent Abstract Expressionist artists.
The first decade of the twentieth century became a watershed for the modern age, with movements in art considered aspects of what is currently known as Modernism, a term adopted by the art community to describe the diverse range of architectural and decorative styles, as well as applied and graphic arts, created between 1880 and 1940.
A model of the Villa Savoye, Poissy-sur-Seine, France 1932 was designed by Swiss born French architect Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret) who maintained the new age deserved brand-new architecture. “We must start again from zero,” he proclaimed.
His austere, white-walled villas built after World War I in and around Paris are memorable for their cool beauty and airy sense of space. “A house is a machine for living in,” he wrote
The new architecture came to be known as the International Style. Of its many partisans; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius in Germany, Theo van Doesburg in Holland–none became better known than Le Corbusier. He was a tireless missionary, addressing the public in manifestos, pamphlets, exhibitions and his own magazine.
Le Corbusier was already an accomplished painter and sculptor and he wrote books literally dozens of them on interior decoration, painting and architecture. They preached his doctrine and defined his recipe for his new International Style: to raise the building on stilts, mix in a free-flowing floor plan, make the walls independent of the structure, add horizontal strip windows and top it off with a roof garden.
However this makes him sound like a technician, and he was anything but dressing like a bureaucrat, in dark suits, bow ties and round horn-rimmed glasses.
French painter Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) worked on the theory an object could be broken into planes of colour-and he began to work from apples – his still life with apples (1895-98) before he expanded into figures.
In the stampede to modernize practically everything no attempt was made to distinguish in form between functional and non-functional streamlining.
Everything had to be sleek; sleek cars and sleek people abounded.
All objects moving or stationery, were encased in sleek, aerodynamic bodies emblematic of the era’s obsession with speed and efficiency.
Trains and ships glimmered with glass and mirrors, gold and silver leaf. The Orient Express evoked the mystery, romance and period flavour its dining car decorated by French glass artist Rene Lalique.
Following WW II, works from the 1960s, from ideas of Minimalism through Post Modernism, will be explored with the work of such as Andy Warhol who believed commercialisation and marketing his works were an art form too, producing all from his ‘Art Factory’.
This included the art of personal promotion, as he elevated people who had achieved more than fifteen minutes of fame into the modern celebrities we know today.
Graphic designs, furniture and textiles by artists involved in the influential workshops of the very influential Bahaus School (19191- 1933) led by artist instructor Marcel Breur who had to flee the country when the Nazi’s closed it in 1933.
Tomohiro Nishikado’s pioneering computer game Space Invaders (1978); and the original set of 176 emoji developed by Shigetaka Kurita in 1999 – characters which have since multiplied and become the visual language of the digital age will also be on show.
Significant works of late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century art, including major pieces by artists whose ideas have informed much of the contemporary art of our time, including those focussed on cultural and national identity, as well as mobility in a globalised world.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2018
June 9 – October 7, 2018
St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Internationally exclusive to Melbourne, MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art has been in development for more than two years and is curated by Samantha Friedman (Associate Curator, Drawings and Prints, MoMA), Juliet Kinchin (Curator of Modern Design, MoMA), Christian Rattemeyer (The Harvey S. Shipley Miller Associate Curator of Drawings and Prints, MoMA) and Miranda Wallace (Senior Curator, International Exhibition Projects, NGV).
The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, a dynamic program of talks, tours and events, and the curated NGV Friday Nights programs, including live music, food and performances.