Over 200 key works from the Museum Of Modern Art, New York make their way to the National Gallery Of Victoria as part of Melbourne’s Winter Masterpieces exhibition. “MoMA at NGV: 130 Years Of Modern And Contemporary Art” explores the evolution of art and design through the 19th & 20th century.
Marking a major first in the Australian art scene, “MoMA at NGV: 130 Years Of Modern And Contemporary Art” sees over 200 pieces from MoMA’s permanent collection on display in Melbourne, many of the pieces having never been exhibited before in Australia.
“This exhibition showcases an unparalleled collection of modern and contemporary art collected by The Museum of Modern Art”
Focussing on 19th and 20th century artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Louise Bourgeois, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and the Instagramable, Andy Warhol. Transitioning into the 21st century with seminal works by the likes of Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Olafur Eliasson, Andreas Gursky, Rineke Dijkstra, Kara Walker, and Camille Henrot.
With a somewhat casual delivery, the exhibit leads the viewer on an informative tour through modern art history, outlining key works across their respective movements, as well as providing background on the time periods that inspired said pieces. While an exhibit of this stature, one would naturally assume a focus on modern and pop art, interestingly the curators chose to include works from classical masters such as Cezanne, Van Gogh and Matisse, giving a broader view of the evolution of art themes that would go on to be called “Modern Art”. (Golda Meir said, “The public history of modern art is the story of conventional people not knowing what they are dealing with”)
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Those who have had the pleasure of visiting the MoMA in New York, may notice that some of the more iconic pieces that are on permanent display did not make the trip across the Atlantic to the NGV (pieces such as “Golden Marilyn Monroe” by Andy Warhol, “Starry Night” by Van Gogh, or the breathtaking “Water Lillies” by Monet). Fortunately, visitors are treated to such visual delights as Van Gogh’s “Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin”, Robert Indiana’s “LOVE 1967” and the immense two meter by three meter “Map 1961” by American artists Jasper Johns. As an interesting addition to the exhibit, modern design is also on display, with furniture by the likes of Dutch designer Gerrit Rietveld and French born Olivier Mourgue.
Like any visual medium, colour attracts, so it’s of no surprise that the pieces that drew the most eyes (and Instagram accounts) were found in the Pop art section. Of particular interest, was “Drowning Girl” by American artist Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn Monroe” screen-prints, presented gloriously in a three-by-three panelling, showcasing 9 variations of the pop classic.
The Works Speak For Themselves:
Themes & Ideas:
Split across eight theatrical sections creating an experience as opposed to merely an exhibit, each section encompasses a particular movement and associated theme, in order to tell the story of how art evolved from classicists like Matisse, to modern day wunderkind’s like Jeff Koons.
Arcadia And Metropolis
Featured Artists: Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh.
This theme focusses on the slow transition from classical styles, into slightly more daring avenues, in relation to the changing world at the time. Late nineteenth century saw rapid urbanisation and increased industrialisation, as new technology swept across the western world, so too did a new form of art.
The Machinery Of The Modern World
Featured Artists: Marcel Duchamp, Umberto Boccioni, Georges Braque, Robert Delaunay, Le Corbusier, Pablo Picasso.
Inspired by industrial production and scientific discovery, this section draws the viewers gaze towards the art movements of Cubism, Futurism, and Duchamp’s daring “Ready Made”. These pieces are more industrial and express a rather bleak and cold perspective of the early twentieth century.
A New Unity
Featured Artists: Piet Mondrian, Lyubov’ Popova, Joost Schmidt, Marcel Breuer.
Focussing on Russian avant-garde, De Stijl, Bauhaus, movements born in Russia and the Netherlands and Germany, this section looks at the way modern art influenced architecture and design, and media as a whole. Most commonly seen in movie posters today, this is where it originated from.
Inner And Outer Worlds
Featured Artists: Salvador Dal, Constantin Brancusi, Edward Hopper, Frida Kahlo, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso.
Late nineteenth/early twentieth century artists exploring the human psyche through Surrealism, haunting and unusual, this section can be summed up in its entirety by two words, Salvador Dali.
Art as Action
Featured Artists: Louise Bourgeois, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko.
Abstract Expressionist works by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock accompany sculptures by Louise Bourgeois and Alexander Calder. Moving away from all notions of traditional styles of painting.
Things As They Are
Featured Artist: Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg, On Kawara.
The explosion of pop art marked the 60’s and 70’s thanks to its connections to the media during a time of activism and political opinion. Here is where you will find your screen-printed Marilyn Monroe’s, “Love” posters from Robert Indiana, and anti-war/pro civil rights pieces.
Featured Artists: Jeff Koons, Zaha Hadid, Cindy Sherman.
With Modern art now being seen as passe and no longer fresh and new, the 80’2 and 90’s brought about new media and a new form of digesting ideas and art. This ushered in the tumultuous movement known as “Postmodern”. Social and political issues were still the main influence, but the subject matter and delivery became more harsh and confronting.
Featured Artists: Shigetaka Kurita et al, Roman Ondak, Olafur Eliasson, Camille Henrot.
This section reflects upon the MoMA’s collection as a whole, collecting works from across the globe and from varying cultures. A style shift from Postmodern to Contemporary.
This will be the first time that such a large number of works from MoMA’s collection has been displayed in Victoria in twenty-two years. Many of the works in this exhibition have never been seen in Australia before.MoMA at NGV traces the development of art and design over the past 130 years, and showcases the men and women who shaped the modern art world we know today.On behalf of the Victorian Government, I congratulate the NGV for its vision and hard work in developing this historic exhibit.
– The Hon Daniel Andrews (Premier of Victoria)
“The collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria provides a unique opportunity to see extremely important works from…our collection…as well as the history of modern and contemporary art in general”
– Glenn D. Lowry (Director, MOMA)
‘This exhibition showcases an unparalleled collection of modern and contemporary art and design, which has been collected by The Museum of Modern Art. We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside The Museum of Modern Art to bring such an extraordinary and diverse selection of works to Melbourne. Visitors to the National Gallery of Victoria will be able to experience first-hand the monumental change and creativity in the development of modern art and consequently over time, and appreciate such an array of contemporary art and design with greater understanding.’
– Tony Ellwood (Director, NGV)
Ticket & Event Information:
“MoMA at National Gallery of Victoria: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art” from the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
9 June 2018 – 7 October 2018
Member $23 | Adult $28 | Concession $24.50 | Child (5-15 years) $10 | Family (2 adults + 3 children) $65
Purchase tickets here (American Express card holders can enjoy a 15% discount off ticket price)