Another announcement: more cultural infrastructure to dramatically increase the exhibition space at the Art Gallery of NSW. The architects are Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa who were once engaged to carry out one of the planned extensions to the Museum of Contemporary Art, but then something happened or didn’t. At least they have experience of the perils of such projects in NSW.
Anyone who doubts the need for more space in the Sydney gallery should look to the program at its Melbourne counterpart. Most dazzling is Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great from 31 July. Reference to the Empress is justified; it was part of her project to make Russia a cultured European nation. Well, at least she acquired some good pictures. Over 400 of them will include what is claimed to be ‘the finest group of Dutch & Flemish art to come to Australia’.
The Hermitage is also sending works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Velazquez. Such pictures will certainly appear to advantage; the Hermitage is not an easy place to like with its garish exterior, milling crowds and the collection hung like a vast auction sale.
Also not to be missed: Melbourne Symphony’s important performance in Hamer Hall of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem next week (11-12 June) to be conducted by Sir Andrew Davis who is following Britten’s wishes by drawing soloists from Russia, UK and Germany.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free