My favourite place (in the city)

Last year I used to visit at least once a week but it’s been far too long now. I’ve become lost in that haze of searching for work to fit within my very specific needs that I haven’t been to my happy place – the NGV!

When I worked off Flinders Lane, right near Degraves St I would visit the NGV Australia, the NGV International or both weekly. I could spend my lunch hour listening to something wonderful on my iPod while admiring the art. I highly recommend this if you work nearby.

To be specific the NGV Australia Level 2 is one of my favourite places in Melbourne’s CBD. It houses the 19th and 20th century Australian art components of the NGV Collection, The Joseph Brown Collection plus the current exhibitions of the Australian fashion & textiles gallery and the Australian photography gallery.

Since I’d last visited the Jreissati Family Gallery (gallery 8 ) has had a complete facelift. I guess it’s part of the new hang of the 20th Century Australian Art Galleries for the NGV 150th birthday celebrations and I adore what’s been done.

Because I love it so much I’m going to walk you through the beautiful new space – the artwork as well as the slight movement of fixtures which help direct you through the gallery. Here we go!

I could easily walk you through the entire space but I’ll behave and only point out a few highlights. On the right hand wall when you walk in there are now seven lovely John Brack pieces. Joy Hester’s (Untitled) (Head of a woman with hat) splits the Bracks from a mass of Sidney Nolan works, the bulk of which are on the back wall in an interesting new display.

A wall of NOLAN

Tucker, Boyd, Percival are all still here with the ceramics case now splitting the space in two. Around the corner there’s a nice placement of Jeffrey Smart’s Kapunda mines (1946) next to three Russell Drysdales.

Continue along and a wall of abstracts follow. My favourite piece in this section is Godfrey Miller’s Still life with musical instruments (1958). This piece appeared in the Heide exhibition ‘Cubism & Australian Art’ but I don’t recall seeing it. Unfortunately my photo doesn’t do it justice but the colour in this work and the light and shade I find much more striking than his two pieces across the corridor in the Joseph Brown Collection (Trees in quarry 1961-1963 & Still life with jug 1949-1954). Visit, then you be the judge.

Godfrey MILLER Still life with musical instruments (c. 1958)

Gallery 7 had also undergone a re-hang but not as heavily as gallery 8. There are some lovely new pieces but the bulk is unchanged. I may write up a new post on these changes soon.

The 19th Century Australian Art collection in galleries 5 and 6 next door was closed, possibly in the middle of a new hang, on the day I went in. – which is in itself exciting.

If you’re available at 12.30PM on Thursday 17th March 2011 I’d recommend attending a Floor Talk: The NGV Collection – 20th century Australian art. It’s a free event occurring in my favourite place. Enjoy it on my behalf, I’ll be at Uni at a film screening…

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