Media Release – 16 March 2011

The National Gallery of Australia announced last week that Ballets Russes: the art of costume will be extended until Sunday May 1.  

Ron Radford AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia said, “We are delighted to offer this additional viewing time for the Australian public to see Ballets Russes: the art of costume, especially as we have been able to extend its showing to include the Easter and Anzac holiday break. 

“These costumes are the most fragile works of art in the national collection; it will be a long time before they can be displayed again in such numbers.”

The costumes by such renowned 20th century artists as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georgio de Chirico, Georges Braque and Léon Bakst were first acquired for the national collection in 1973; the National Gallery has been acquiring works over the following decades to create one of the world’s most extensive collections of Ballets Russes costumes. This exhibition includes 50 costumes that have not been seen since they were last worn on stage in the 1940s including newly conserved works and acquisitions made in the last few years.

98% of visitors to Ballets Russes: the art of costume have rated the exhibition as ‘impressive’ or ‘very impressive’.  Visitors’ favourite works include the Costume for a squid c 1916 by Natalia Goncharova on display for the first time after extensive conservation, and Costume for The Blue God c1912 worn by Vaslav Nijinsky, often referred to as the greatest male dancer of the 20th century which still includes traces of his blue make up.

Guided tours – free with an exhibition ticket – are held twice per day and have proved very popular as a way for visitors to gain further insight in to this exhibition and the cutting edge company of the Ballets Russes.

This weekend the National Gallery presents its second week of Live at the Sculpture Garden, a series of events inspired by the collaborative nature of the Ballets Russes.  Set in the stunning surrounds of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Australia, the events combine art, music, comedy, cabaret and fashion.  Tickets include a night time viewing of the Ballets Russes exhibition and feature performers Deni Hines. The events are hosted by media personality James Valentine who will also perform with his quartet.

Live at the Sculpture Garden is a ‘platinum experience’ that is part of Canberra’s new Enlighten Festival.  Remaining event dates are Friday 18 and Saturday 19 March.  These events in March follow the highly popular Starry Nights events held last year in association with Masterpieces from Paris.

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 Live at the Sculpture Garden

Immerse yourself in a night of art, cabaret, comedy, music and fashion. Performances are in the National Gallery of Australia’s Sculpture Garden and the ticket includes late-night viewings of Ballets Russes: the art of costume, regular guided tours of the exhibition and late night shopping in the exhibition shop.

Friday 18 March

Experience comic genius Sammy J followed by the seductive tunes of Jackie Marshall and The James Valentine Quartet.

Saturday 19 March

Multi-award winning comic Felicity Ward followed by ARIA Award winner Deni Hines and The James Valentine Quartet.

Tickets for Live at Sculpture Garden:

Adults $45; NGA Members/concession $40

Purchase tickets at:
nga.gov.au or ticketek.com.au

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