The other morning, the Director of MoMA from New York, Glenn D Lowry was on ABC Breakfast. He was knowledgable and elegant. He was there to talk about MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art. Either Michael or Virginia asked him when did art cease to be modern or contemporary since 130 years takes us back to 1888, before most of us were born. Mr Lowry dealt with that pretty elegantly but, as a side issue, it made one wonder all over again why the big extension to the AGNSW is to be called Sydney Modern when we have a Museum of Contemporary Art just around the corner on Circular Quay.
Enough of that; MoMA at NGV sounds stupendous: consisting of ‘over 200 key works, arranged chronologically into eight thematic sections’. I could tell you the names of the sections but, apart from taking up a lot of space, they may not leave you much the wiser. Better to go and see the exhibition as it ‘traces the development of art and design from late 19th century urban and industrial transformation through to the digital and global present’.
As you would expect, most of the visual arts stars of the period are represented: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, then cubists and futurists Picasso & Boccioni, abstractions like Mondrian, surrealists Dali & Kahlo, to abstract expressionists like Calder & Pollack. It’s a big show and a big deal until 7 October, time enough to get to St Kilda Road.
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