A Visit To The Artless Gallery Of New South Wales

I expect howls of outrage from the artists, as well as from the patrons of the Art Gallery of NSW, but as I am now on the other side of the country and have hunkered down into a safe position and adjusted my sights, I can begin sniping.

My target is not the makers of the art as such. I admire them for their skills – some at painting, some at sculpting, some at mulcting the public purse. They have managed to get their art into the gallery, been paid for it, and have gotten far enough down the road before the wraps came off to effect an escape. That’s better than John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde were able to manage and I take off my hat to their success. If the man who signs the cheques for the art gallery loses his fountain pen they are all in trouble.

Note: Sad art about sad subjects is sad. Bad art about bad subjects is bad. Non-art is just not…

Okay. That’s the creatives done – now for the curatives…the people who spend public money to show off the stuff they bought with public money to the public…who get to see it for free. Free if they are not NSW taxpayers.

Is there a Bunnings handy? Or an IKEA? Or a GEC showroom? If there is, why not pop down there and have a look at the new light bulbs. They’re good value, and if you put electricity into the back of them and point them at the walls, people can see the art. With a bit of luck, some of the light bulbs will have a colour temperature higher than a glow-worm and the colours that the artists actually put on the canvas will be visible.

Or you could persist with the remnants of the ceiling skylights and a few yard lamps and let the whole thing look like a 1975 French film shot on old Ektachrome. Most of the artists are dead anyway, and apart from the occasional haunting, you probably won’t have any problems.

Worried about the colours fading? I got news for you – most of the canvases you have on the walls are painted in brown and brown lasts.

On a brighter note, the galleries that have windows do have colour, and the shop and café are well-lit. Otherwise you couldn’t see the price tags.

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The Show For Free Is Never Free…

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I would never consider a visit to Melbourne complete without a day spent looking at whatever is on show at the National Gallery Of Victoria – whether it is at the St. Kilda Road building or the Federation Square site. The collections differ, but they are ever-changing and eclectic. I can’t pretend to like it all but I do like some of it.

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Please feel free to hum and haw about these, but the blue pool of constantly circulating water with the ceramic bowls in it is aural as well as visual. They bonk and ding around the basin all day and are ultimately soothing.

The scooters? That’s the Fed Square division of modern art. As is the wonderful chair…

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In the St. Kilda Rd. permanent collections you see more of the older canvases and sculptures. I have still not figured out how they hang them on the wall and how they change the exhibits year from year.

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One word of caution – there are bookshops and cafeterias at each venue and they beckon. Few wallets can resist.