Melbourne, Victoria is currently cooling down with dry autumn days, evoking the cold climate of a winter yet to come.
It seems a long way off until our souls and spirit will, once again, be refreshed as blossoms start blooming beautifully in Spring, before Summer brings forth its customary warmth.
The range of exciting exhibitions recently announced as debuting for the Spring-Summer Season 2019 – 2020 at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is both diverse and impressive.
It’s definitely worth marking your diary now, for the following will all be outstanding shows to see and booking early, advised.
The season includes one exclusive exhibition, bringing the streets, subway stations and sounds of New York city to Australia. As Spring turns to Summer the world premiere exhibition Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines will be held December 1, 2019 – April 13, 2020 at NGV International, introducing two of the most influential American artists of the twentieth century to the newer generations.
Basquiat and Haring shared the somewhat radical notion to exceed boundaries, by creating a complex commentary through their radical imagery. It would help both artists during the 1980’s, to cross lines perhaps many had not considered before. Their visual language reflected while revealing, the ‘intersections between their lives, practices and ideas’.
To kick start Spring, more than 140 photographers will be represented in the exhibition Civilization. Spring is about new beginnings, new life, new possibilities and new opportunities to secure the future.
Expanding knowledge about ourselves, our humanity and our evolution as a nation, as well as global citizens by viewing both contemporary and period art, will only help that process.
Over 200 original photographs exploring the broad spectrum of human life in the urban environment – from habitation, work, leisure, transport, communication, education, art, science and technology‘ will be sure to draw the crowds.
Larger-than-life sculptures and paintings will be front and centre of a comprehensive survey of works by Kaws aka American artist and designer Brian Donnelly.
His animating show Kaws: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness will be an exciting event for the whole family.
His pop culture iconic images will be sure to attract those who admire his distinctive artistic vocabulary and there is no doubt the kids will love them.
Recently his painting of the Simpsons went up for sale at Sotheby’s and fetched 14.7 million against an estimate of one…
… and they believe his star is still ‘rising’!
Kaws: Playtime will spearhead the spring-summer installation for the NGV Kid’s Studio, always a popular location.
Following the photographic theme as a specialty will be two exhibitions of wondrous works by two women; Olympia Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou who lives and works in Melbourne and those of Petrina Hicks: Bleached Gothic…
She likes to ‘… both create and corrupt the process of seduction and consumption’.
Collecting Comme will celebrate the NGV’s expansive collection of Comme des Garçons designs, generously gifted to the NGV by Mr Takamasa Takahashi.
Japanese Modernism will feature large scale works by young contemporary Japanese artists, including woodblock prints, costume, interior design, graphic design and more.
Works by Australian abstract artist Roger Kemp: Visionary Modernist will be featured in a retrospective, the first since his death in 1987, including his emotive Ballet Russes series.
NGV Director Tony Ellwood AM has successfully introduced blockbuster contemporary art shows during summer for the last five or six years now and the Victorian Labour Government through its Minister of Creative Industries Martin Foley, gives the gallery ongoing support.
This enables it to provide a platform on which to present an exhibition program with remarkable depth, from both leading local and international practitioners.
Tony Elwood is very much a visionary, who has ensured the gallery has gone from strength to strength, achieving record numbers for its exhibitions since his arrival. It now has twice as many people visiting the NGV on an annual basis, than the Art Gallery of NSW.
He has challenged current generations to embrace the visual art forms, which best reflect both their own ideology and attitudes, and they have just kept coming back for more and more. His Friday night viewings with contemporary music are exceedlingly well attended and often have to be extended to accommodate the crowds.
He observed the works to go on display in Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines, will be…
‘…drawn from an array of public and private collections from around the world… providing… a unique scholarly context for their rise to prominence and lasting influence, firmly embedding them in the lively and diverse social context of 1980s New York.’ he said. ‘Haring and Basquiat respectively created powerful and enduring bodies of work rich with symbolic meaning and emotionally-charged political commentary,’ Tony Ellwood noted.
He has invited participation from the widest possible audience. The dialogue between the two will be sure to engage the viewer who will be able to gain a comprehensive insight into each of these influential artists and their practices.
Both Keith Haring (1958-1990) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) had tragically short careers. More than 300 of their artworks, including some created in public spaces, will be featured; painting, sculpture, objects, works on paper, photographs, original notebooks and more.
Viennese born Scholar Dr. Dieter Buchhart, guest curator of Crossing Lines noted…
‘Haring and Basquiat redefined the role of art in public space and public debate. This exhibition draws out their passionate engagement with social issues, such as racism and the AIDS crisis, revealing the political context underpinning their practices’ he said… continuing… ‘Keith Haring insisted art was for everybody and brought his unique art vocabulary into public spaces to distribute and democratize his art and ideas,’ said Buchhart.
Basquiat’s undisputed masterpiece, Untitled, 1982, which depicts a skull, one of the artist’s most acclaimed motifs, against a complex, layered background, will showcase the artist’s use of expressive line, gesture and colour.
Haring’s Untitled, 1983 will reveal how, through a complex composition of figures, lines and a computer, he offered his followers a salient commentary on the rise and eventual domination of mass media and computer technology.
The final section of the exhibition will feature Haring’s A Pile of Crowns for Jean-Michel Basquiat, a moving tribute created after his friend’s death on August 12, 1988. It is composed of a pile of Basquiat’s distinctive crowns, which have been made radiant through Haring’s masterful use of line and symbolism.
A selection of his signature tarp paintings will also be on display, including Untitled (Australia), 1984, created on his only trip to Australia. At that time, he executed his ephemeral water wall mural at NGV International.
Contemporary artist Yhonnie Scarce and Melbourne architecture studio Edition Office are winners of the 2019 NGV Architecture Commission and their scheme entitled In Absence will invite audiences to better understand and celebrate the long history of indigenous design and architecture, when installed in the Grollo Equiset garden.
On any day of the week in both its Melbourne locations, the National Gallery of Victoria is a hive of activity, across all age groups and all cultural backgrounds.
Be sure to visit soon and mark your diary with a range of exhibitions designed to stimulate and engage your interest in the world around you.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019