Detail: Rosslynd Piggott High bed 1998
National Gallery of Australia
click detail to view full image
The National Gallery provides access to works of art locally, nationally
The National Gallery provides access to works of art to the public through
its displays and exhibitions, loans, educational and public programs,
and through printed and electronic publications.
During 2000–2001, 893,583 people visited the National Gallery’s
collection and touring exhibitions, 589,569 people visited the Gallery
in Canberra, while 300,643 people visited the Gallery’s travelling
exhibitions throughout Australia; internationally, 3,871 visitors attended
Arthur Boyd and the exile of imagination, a National Gallery of
Australia travelling exhibition displayed at Australia House in London.
The exhibition program was delivered to a diverse audience. Australian
and international visitors enjoyed tours by voluntary guides and staff;
and students and teachers supported the exhibition and education programs.
Display of the collection
The National Gallery regularly changes the displays of its permanent collection
in order to provide access to a wide range of works of art. This ensures
that fragile items are rested, that recent acquisitions are shown to the
public, and that popular items are rotated so that the widest range of
works of art from the four main collecting areas are on display.
Displays mounted within the permanent collection galleries complemented
the major exhibitions and highlighted areas of the Gallery’s collection.
These displays have included: Oceanic art (on display from 3 February
2001) which provides an historical prelude to the Australian art galleries;
Floriform: Ceramics and the image of nature (23 September 2000
– 25 March 2001), a display mounted to coincide with the Floriade
festival; and Japan and Australia: A ceramic dialogue (31 March
– 16 September 2001), drawn from the Australian art permanent collection
to accompany the Monet & Japan exhibition.
Twenty-one exhibitions were presented at the National Gallery during 2000–2001
(see Appendix 5). Four major exhibitions were the highlights of the year:
Inside Out: New Chinese art, a travelling exhibition curated by
Gao Minglu, organised by the Asia Society, New York, and the San Francisco
Museum of Modern Art, was the first major international exhibition of
contemporary Chinese art. Inside Out closed on 4 August 2000 and
attracted 32,308 visitors.
Aboriginal Art in Modern Worlds returned to the Gallery following
its European tour, including a groundbreaking and highly successful season
at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg where it was shown with
the title World of Dreaming. The focus of the exhibition was the
continuing relevance of Australian Aboriginal art traditions in the contemporary
world. The ceremonial poles, Aboriginal Memorial, filled the temporary
exhibition gallery foyer, providing a dramatic and contemplative entry
to the show, which also included works by John Mawurndjul, Nym Bandak,
Rover Thomas, Emily Kam Kngwarray, Fiona Foley and Tracey Moffat. The
exhibition, on show during the Sydney Olympics, attracted a total attendance
of 49,135 in Canberra.
Federation: Australian art and society 1901–2001 celebrated
Australia’s first 100 years of nationhood. The exhibition presented
a visual journey through our first century as a nation and showed how
artists have contributed to the story. The seven themes of the exhibition
, The Beginnings; The Land; Cities and Suburbs; Boom and Bust; Patriotic
Duty; At Ease; and Encounters, highlighted Australia’s diversity,
indigenous communities and multiculturalism. The exhibition and its national
tour was supported by the National Council for the Centenary of Federation.
A total of 42,308 people visited the exhibition in Canberra.
Monet & Japan gave Australians an unequalled opportunity in
this country to see 39 of Monet’s paintings from the world’s
greatest collections in the company of an extensive selection of Japanese
prints and paintings. The exhibition explored the multiple aspects of
Monet’s intimate relationship with Japanese art as it unfolded throughout
his long career. Following the highly successful Canberra season, with
a total attendance of 227,872, the exhibition moved on to its only other
venue, the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
The Children’s Gallery exhibition Lost in Space included
art enhanced by technology and an interactive website. It was followed
by Childhoods Past: Children’s art of the twentieth century
(from the Frances Derham Collection) which has recently travelled throughout
Travelling exhibitions are a vital part of the National Gallery’s
strategy for providing access to works of art for a wide audience outside
Canberra – in regional and remote centres and metropolitan areas
throughout Australia, as well as internationally.
The four new exhibitions in 2000–2001 and the eight ongoing travelling
exhibitions highlight the strengths of National Gallery’s collections
of Australian and international art. In all 934 works of art (691 works
from the Gallery’s collections and 319 inward loans) were shown
in travelling exhibitions this year. During 2000–2001, the 12 travelling
exhibitions were visited by 300,643 people at 42 Australian venues (details
are given in Appendix 6).
Other travelling exhibitions in 2000–2001 included:
Techno Craft: The work of Susan Cohn 1980 to 2000 was the first
survey of a contemporary jeweller and metalworker to be mounted by the
National Gallery. The exhibition featured jewellery and tableware –
both commercially produced and individually made pieces – as well
as installation works by one of Australia’s leading craftworkers,
Susan Cohn. The exhibition tour includes venues in six states across Australia.
Keeping Culture: Aboriginal art to keeping places and cultural centres
is a unique initiative, combining an exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal
Art – travelling to venues in the Coorong/Murray River region in
South Australia, Tasmania and the south coast of New South Wales –
with an internship program for regional indigenous curators. The exhibition
showcases some of the exemplary art and craft practices of Aboriginal
people, highlighting the diversity of artistic traditions across Australia
as well as celebrating the contemporary art practices of particular regions.
This project was made possible with the generous assistance of the Thomas
Foundation and was supported by Visions of Australia, the Commonwealth’s
national touring exhibitions grant program.
Painting Forever: Tony Tuckson displays in depth the most beautiful
and representative paintings and drawings by Australia’s renowned
abstract expressionist, Tony Tuckson. This is the first major survey of
Tony Tuckson’s work since 1976 and offers a unique opportunity to
discover and reassess one of Australia’s most important 20th-century
artists. The exhibition charts Tuckson’s progress from a talented
student of figurative watercolours and postwar murals to a pre-eminent
abstract expressionist and is touring to venues in four states in Australia.
In addition the Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn Gift Suitcase Kits and
1888 Melbourne Cup travelling exhibitions have continued to tour
to schools and community groups in regional Australia, and this year included
audiences in Wangaratta in Victoria, Glenn Innes in New South Wales and
Yorketown in South Australia.
Loans and transport
During the year the National Gallery lent 1,632 works for exhibition,
including travelling exhibitions and works loaned to Commonwealth official
residences. For details of outward loans see Appendix 9. To assist requests
for loans, the Gallery developed Guidelines for Borrowing Works of
Art was, which can be found on the Gallery website nga.gov.au. The
Gallery borrowed 854 works from 110 public and 76 private lenders during
the year (for details of inward loans see Appendix 9).
The Partnership Program with metropolitan and regional galleries and
museums continues to play an important role in increasing access to the
national collection throughout Australia, and fosters close professional
links and the exchange of skills between the Gallery and participating
institutions. The program currently has 17 members.
A key responsibility for the Gallery’s Registration Department
is the coordination of transportation, packing, customs clearance and
security, and the safe dispatch and arrival of works of art required for
acquisition, loans and exhibition. The exhibition, Monet & Japan,
was a complex logistical challenge for the Gallery in the year. The Commonwealth
Government’s art indemnity scheme, Art Indemnity Australia, covered
loans to the exhibition and made it possible for the exhibition to tour
to Western Australia.