MEDIA RELEASE – 22 July 2010

 Get set to witness the biggest transformation of the National Gallery of Australia since its creation in 1982. This spring, visitors to the Gallery in Canberra will walk though a striking new entrance and be greeted by 11 specially designed Indigenous art galleries, showcasing works from the largest collection of Australian Indigenous art in the world.

For the first time in one place, visitors will experience the great diversity, richness and complexity of Australian Indigenous art, which is as alive today as it was thousands of years ago. The Gallery‘s collection spans generations and is representative of the arts of Indigenous groups from all over Australia.

The new galleries include rare nineteenth-century objects and early bark paintings, Albert Namatjira‘s delicate watercolours, early Papunya dot paintings from the 1970s, bold ochred paintings from the Kimberley and contemporary politically charged works by urban artists in the twenty-first century.

When visitors first enter the Gallery, they will see one of the most significant works in the national collection in a circular, light-filled space: The Aboriginal Memorial 1987– 88 of 200 hollow-log coffins from Arnhem Land.

Another new addition is the Great Southern Hall, a purpose-built function space for art events, openings and corporate functions, which opens up onto the new beautifully designed Australian Gardens. American artist James Turrell has created a monumental ?Skyspace‘ sculpture in the new gardens, in the shape of a magnificent dome through which viewers can view the ever-changing light patterns of the sky.

The ?New Look? National Gallery of Australia also includes a new, expanded Shop, showcasing beautifully designed products and creative gift items: contemporary Australian design, dedicated high-quality children‘s books, Asian textiles, a great selection of specialist art and design publications and more.

A whole program of exhibitions and special events will celebrate the opening season at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Commencing with Robert Dowling: Tasmanian son of Empire in July, it continues with Life, death and magic: 2000 years of Southeast Asian ancestral art in August and concludes with the blockbuster Ballets Russes: the art of costume, featuring costumes designed by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Giorgio de Chirico as well as drawings, stage scenery and photographs. The famous Ballets Russes revolutionised ballet with its sensational fusion of art, movement and music.

Tickets prices vary for each exhibition.

Robert Dowling: Tasmanian son of Empire | 24 July – 30 Oct 2010
Robert Dowling was Australia’s most successful portrait painter in the mid 1880s and the first to achieve success overseas, yet he remains little known today. This exhibition brings to light this forgotten artist, showcasing Dowling’s comprehensive body of work.
Ticket prices: Adult $10 | Concession/member $7 | Children 16 & under FREE

Life, Death and Magic: 2000 years of Southeast Asian ancestral art |13 August – 31 October 2010
This exhibition introduces the lively, often frightening, sometimes fantastic supernatural world of ancestors and nature spirits. The serene stone monuments, large gold ornaments, architectural decorations, huge ancient bronzes and images of mythical beasts, created to entice the divine and repel the demonic, date from prehistoric to modern times. Ticket prices: Adults $15 | Concession/Member $10 | Children 16 and under FREE

Opening of New Building Stage 1 | Spring 2010

 In the spotlight: Anton Bruehl photographs 1920s–1950s | 23 Oct 2010 – 6 Feb 2011
From his studio in New York, Australian-born Anton Bruehl created inventive and perfectly realised colour photographs for Condé Nast magazines such as Vogue. His work ranges across advertising, images of stars of stage, screen and socialites to his personal photography in the classic documentary tradition.  This is a FREE exhibition.

 Space Invaders: Australian . street . stencils . posters . zines . stickers | 30 October 2010 – 27 February 2011
Off the street and into the gallery. This exciting exhibition looks at work from the past 10 years by 35 contemporary artists from around Australia. This is a FREE exhibition.

 Ballets Russes:  | 10 December 2010 – 20 March 2011 (open from)
A major exhibition of the Gallery’s renowned collection of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes including costumes by artists Natalia Goncharova, Michel Larionov, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Georges Braque, André Masson and Giorgio de Chirico. Ticket prices: Adults $20 | Members/Concession $15 | Family ticket $50 | Children $5 Children 6 & under FREE

Art from Solomon Islands | 26 Feb – 29 May 2011
This is the first major exhibition in Australia bringing together the finest traditional arts from the Solomons. Drawn from museums and galleries across the Pacific, the exhibition features works with pitch black, glossy surfaces, iridescent nacreous shell, distended faces and fluid limbs—distinctive features of Solomons arts. This is a FREE exhibition.

 For more information visit www.nga.gov.au

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