Review: Visual Arts/photography
This is my December 2014 overview on accessing Australia’s major visual art gallery exhibition programs though their websites. – and the status of photography.
These art galleries market online to their local audiences and to convince those interested in visual arts, including photography, to spend our discretionary dollars to travel to see the collections and special exhibitions.
Please note, this is our selection of galleries, it does not cover every venue in Australia. Also note the bias towards photography. We like dedicated exhibition spaces for when there is a collection and consider there should be easy web links to that collection. The ratings are my reaction to the levels of helpful information through the websites that assists the general public to find all the current large, small, temporary or collections exhibitions – that is, what’s to see today if I make the effort to visit.
Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery/ Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. (same place, two venues near each other).
The website connection (click here) to the range of exhibitions is very clear. A simple scroll down reveals what special exhibitions are on and what you will expect to see around most of the exhibition spaces. There is a good level of information on the collection exhibitions and other side exhibitions. It is an easy format to follow to see what is on in the many galleries. This gallery has a good photographic collection but shows very little of it. It does not have a dedicated photography exhibition space. Loss a point for the lack of photography.
The main exhibition is the Japanese Fashion. Limited interested for me. The other Japanese exhibitions are of more interest and free; Hanga: Modern Japanese prints; and then there is We can make another future: Japanese art after 1989; there is also some video work, Hiraki Sawa: O – these I would have to know more about before I made a visit, being not the greatest admirer of time based art – that is video.
2014 Rating: 8/10
Perth: Western Australia Art Gallery.
The website exhibition listing is clear (click here).
The collection links provides ample information on their collections on exhibition. Australian Design is the first exhibition listed. The next is of more interest – new passports, new photography, an exhibition of the Gallery’s recent acquisitions of contemporary photography. Looks good.
There’s a video exhibition (hmm!) plus some collection exhibitions (always good).
Overall there’s more than enough for locals and visitors to get along. But not enough to justify a special interstate visit.
2014 Rating: 7/10
Hobart: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
The website exhibition link works well. Just scroll down and there is all the information they offer. But that’s it. Some links to more images and information would be helpful to increase the interest. The visual arts component is mixed and looks as if there would be interest for most art gallery visitors.
2014 Rating: 6/10
Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia
The website exhibition links to a range of large and small exhibitions and is easy to follow. Much of the permanent collections and new acquisitions are linked. Their permanent exhibitions are always worth a visit so any hints and links are well worth the effort by the web managers.
The main exhibition is: Fashion Icons: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. This on is not for me – but I am sure others will be interested.
Special mention of Alex Seton’s work – see image at the top of this page – so click on the image for the link to the relevant page. Alex also has some work at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra – click here
2014 Rating: 7/10
Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria
The website exhibition links to a range a large and small special exhibitions.
The main exhibition is about Fashion (what’s going on here, this is the third fashion exhibition on this page?) The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. As with the other fashion exhibitions, this one has no appeal for me. And their video confirms my lack of interest – click here. Yawn!
So back to the rest – click here. I have to say that the combined power of these exhibition does nothing to convince me to get on a plane to Melbourne. If I was in town for other reasons I may make the effort to wander through especially as their collection exhibitions are always a place to spend time.
Special Mention One: There is a link to the ‘NGV Collection’ that provides a meager introduction to their permanent collections. This public gallery has absolutely magnificent collection exhibitions that are more than equivalent to any special blockbuster. They have decided not to let the world know this. Actually I should not tell you this either, as each time I am in Melbourne I try to find time to go into several of the permanent exhibition spaces and sit (if there is a seat!)and take in great artworks. And when I do this, there are always very few people in these exhibitions.
Special Mention Two: The NGV has a great collection of photography and used to have a small exhibition space upstairs on St Kilda Road. It disappeared a year or so ago. So photography lovers be aware. This is no longer a place to visit often for photography and there is no sign of much on the website. Point off for their lack of respect for photography!
Special Mention Three: The NGV has changed its website almost annually of late. The present site seems to be simpler with less information. For instance, if you want to know about their vast collections, then this is all you get – click here. Is someone joking!!! Maybe they have cut back their marketing resources for online marketing as this web site does not reflect the realities of the place. On a positive note it now easier to navigate around when compared to the previous which was a mess.
The NGV requires a new approach to marketing urgently! (The 5/10 below is generous – I am still tempted to make it 4/10)
2014 Rating: 5/10
Sydney: The Art Gallery of New South Wales
The page of links on the exhibitions page is easy to navigate.
The ‘what’s on‘ page is a long list including the collections exhibitions (yah!! this is good – they believe in their own collections), the current exhibitions, the coming exhibitions and lots of events. There are lots of links to useful information from this one page. This is all a good example of providing easy access for the general public.
The current big show is Pop to Popism – and apparently it is worth a visit – click here for a review. As I travel to Sydney often, there’s good chance I will have a look.
The NSW Gallery does has a fabulous set of permanent exhibitions. The main link is up on the top of the page in the menu under ‘collection’. Once in here there are multiple entry points with loads of images and information about all the collections. I speak from frequent experience as I often just pick on several rooms and spend half an hour there.
Photography? The Art Gallery of NSW has a dedicated photography exhibition space. This is now one of just two major state/national galleries with dedicated photography exhibition spaces. So if you are interested in photography, then go visit the Art Gallery NSW anytime you are in Sydney! Here’s a link to their collection – click here (extra point for great photography)
2014 Rating: 9/10
Canberra: The Australian National Gallery
The gallery’s main page links easily to the current exhibitions. Unfortunately if you did not know better, you may have concluded that there is not much on. Wrong.
Besides the advertised exhibitions, there’s a host of changing and permanent exhibitions to be seen including the fabulous new wing totally devoted to historic and contemporary Indigenous Visual Arts.
Then add in Australian contemporary and historic international and Australian arts, decorative arts, and the great sculpture gallery. Then there is Asian arts, the arts of India, and art in the gardens outside. There’s the bonus of he dedicated photography gallery.
So the question is, why not link all this through from an obvious permanent dedicated link or two down the bottom of the listings on the current exhibitions page? I have said this before but apparently the gallery remains not interested in telling anyone about their fabulous collections.
James Turrell is the big exhibition right now. Expensive and of medium interest for me. I await some positive reviews – click here.
2014 Rating: 7/10
and now for some of the others…
Sydney: The Museum of Contemporary Art
The top of the gallery’s main page links to the what’s on. From there it is fairly simple to see the information on the main exhibitions spaces. Generally free entry – with a fee for Chuck Close. Actually Chuck Close is of interest but maybe not worth a special visit. With that thought I walked past the other day and decided not to go in.
Culture Marketing Rating: 7/10
Sydney: The Australian Centre for Contemporary Photography
The main page links to everything you need to know. Free entry. The main exhibition is Anne Ferran, Shadow Land. Anne Ferran’s work is always interesting but much of recent work is not photography. Other than that, there appears to be not a lot to see – how things have changed!
2014 Rating: 6/10
Sydney: The White Rabbit Gallery
2014 Rating: 6/10 (easily higher if there were more images of the current exhibitions)
(it remains a favourite place to visit in Sydney)
Brisbane: The Queensland Centre for Photography
They lost their funding and the venue closed in early 2014. So sad!!!!!!!!!
Melbourne: The Centre for Contemporary Photography
The main page links to current exhibitions. Just that they have provided several links to several galleries and the same exhibition is on across all four separately linked galleries. Bit annoying. Free entry.
Culture Marketing Rating: 6/10
Melbourne: The Monash Gallery of Art: the home to Australian Photography
The Monash Gallery of Art offers very easy to access their website when looking for information on exhibitions. They show photography and list themselves as the Home of Australian Photography.
2014 Rating: 8/10
Melbourne: The Heidi Museum of Modern Art
The main page has image links to the current exhibitions. Simple and accessible navigation with adequate information.
2014 Rating: 7/10
Canberra: The Canberra Museum and Gallery
The main page for the main museum and gallery (there are other local museums through the website) has simple image links to ample information about the current exhibitions and collections. Simple and effective. Limited interest in their current exhibitions.
2014 Rating: 6/10