Harvest at GOMA

Review: Visual Arts
Harvest: Art, Film + Food at the Queensland Art Gallery – GOMA

productOur public galleries have wonderful collections. Collection exhibitions are often overlooked by the public as the marketing foolishly concentrates on the block busters and special exhibitions. This is a shame as the collection exhibitions are wonderful.

I welcomed the opportunity to visit Harvest: Art, Film + Food. To see this mix of art was indeed a welcomed experience.

In short, I recommend a visit to see this exhibition, but I would not recommend that you fly interstate just to see it. But if you are in the area for another reason, than yes, make sure you get over to GOMA and see this exhibition and the others within the Queensland Art Gallery’s two buildings.



I was sitting quietly contemplating the exhibition, when I overheard a staff member explain that this was a collection exhibition as the former Director had left the gallery for Melbourne and the gallery had been left with not much in the coffers.  I am not sure if the story was true or if was just someone having a complaint, but either way the result is a good one. ( I have to resist telling you who the staff member was).


I was amused by some of the reactions of the reviewers. One reviewer, click here, stated that there was an unfocused curatorial approach to the exhibition. Actually I think this does not matter as the thematic approach meant that they could include all manner of works. And on the three days I visited, the exhibition was constantly busy so whatever the gallery was doing, it was bringing in a diversity of audience – and it was school holidays, so there were lots of parents and children.


This is one of those events that demonstrate the real power of public art galleries. There were lots of artworks to contemplate within this exhibition, and then there were several other good collection exhibitions elsewhere in the galleries.


I consider all the marketing for this exhibition that went on about cooking and special food occasions as being a waste of time and energy for the general public.  I am sure that the invited reviewers all enjoyed the free lunch. But surprisingly I go to gallery to take my time with the visual arts. Maybe there could have had a special menu in the cafe.

These special side events are inserted to increase the hype and possibly to win over the reviewers. This gallery’s management should be far more confident about these collection exhibitions. People love to see selections of the gallery’s collections. The theme assists by possibly getting the people in and giving them a reason to come to a collections exhibition. But I do wish the gallery would not over-hype the marketing for these shows.

Here’s a few photographs of the exhibition to give you an idea of the diversity of works.














So even though curatorial it is curious exercise, I do recommend that you go and see the collection works on exhibition. It is worth it. The diversity of works offered all sorts of opportunities to enjoy some good contemporary and older stuff.

As for the exhibition catalogue. Hmm! I got bitten there. It is half about the exhibition and then mostly presents specialist recipes by a bunch of boys. I gave the first half a serious study but in the end I consider it was not worth the expenditure. (Now open to lend it to anyone for as long as you wish)

I was also curious about the display in the main foyer. Yes it was a bit of fun, but it was not really all that relevent to this gallery of contemporary art. Click here for their special website on this.

My recommendation applies to the exhibition. I have ignored the curatorial theme, the catalogue, and all the superfluous marketing about eating and film.

The review from the Guardian – click here

Review from Daily Review – click here.

An article on The Conversation – click here.

An article from The Blurb – click here

There were even a few seats here and there. A couple more seats within the exhibition would have been better. I do like to take my time and to sit and contemplate and I noticed lots of others do as well. Yes there is generous seating outside the exhibition overlooking the river, but it is much preferred to occasionally take a seat inside and take in the art. It is part of the visitor experience.


Recommended: Rating 7/10


Paul Costigan, 7 July 2014.


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