NGA Photography

WorldisbeautifulBanner3_187203Opening 4th December 2015: The world is beautiful

Below are words taken from the NGA’s Artonline PDF – see my comments below.

The world is beautiful: photographs from the collection

The world is beautiful is an exhibition of exceptional photographs from the 1920s to now from the NGA’s collection, presenting rare and memorable work by the great names in photographic history including Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Max Dupain, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman and many more.

When the NGA opened its doors in 1982, it already held a collection of photographic treasures that was considered the richest holding of photography in Australia.

As a collection intended to include masterpieces of international photography and present an encyclopaedic account of Australian practice, it held major works by most of the twentieth century’s most highly regarded photographers.

Since that time, the collection has grown both in size and scope: our use of the term ‘international’ now refers not just to Europe and North America, but pictures from our immediate region as well as northern Asia, Africa and Central and South America. From around 7000 prints, the collection has now grown to over 30,000 items.

The world is beautiful mines this incredible collection to capture some of the evident delight that photographers take in turning their cameras on the world and re-imaging it, making it beautiful through the power of their vision and understanding in ways that, in turn, can miraculously change our way of experiencing it.

The world is beautiful opens on 4 December in the Project Gallery.

image: William Klein Christmas shoppers, near Macy’s, New York 1954, National Gallery of Australia, purchased 1993

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Some comments:

Yay – there’s a new NGA gallery for photography! This along with the number of photographs within the NGA Australian art new galleries, should encourage the many people interested in photography to visit Canberra and the NGA. but..

as of today – the NGA has not listed this exhibition on their website. It seems that NGA marketing and/or their website managers do not like photography. (update: now listed, 26 Nov)

There is so much to see at the NGA but their website is their worst enemy at letting people know – and they expect people to plan ahead to come to Canberra without knowing the full extent of what is on exhibition throughout the whole place?  That ‘present exhibitions’ page should include links to the sculpture court, sculpture gardens, asian art, indian art, indigenous art, photography, decorative arts, special exhibitions (nolan), colonial australian art, modern and contemporary australian art,  and soon the new international art galleries. What is their marketing doing?

and they said above that international photography now includes Asia, Africa and Central and South America. Yet they list as highlights the usual suspects from the Euro-American photographic worlds.  I am sure the exhibition will have a better balance . So fingers crossed that we will see beautiful photography gems from the other worlds such as Japan, China, Indonesia, India etc alongside the usuals.

and yes – a review to follow – after 4th December.

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Paul Costigan

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