MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Contemporary and Modern Art
National Gallery of Victoria
New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s incarnation at the National Gallery of Victoria was a tremendously successful exposition that allowed Australian to experience such greats as Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko and many more that do not need further introduction firsthand.
The diversity of the exhibition was underpinned by more than two-hundred creative emissions spanning a period from the genesis of what is commonly referred to as present-day craft by pursuing a distinctly multi-disciplinary approach – i.e. from architectural pieces to exhibits rooted in the realm of free form performing arts and everything in between - and it was the first time that an exhibition occupied the whole of the first floor of Melbourne’s NGV.
The book is an ode to this eclectic display and documents the themes that served as the foundational conceptual foundation for the exhibition.
Choosing Roy Lichtenstein’s simplified composition that made his Drowning Girl from 1963 as the cover image for the catalogue, which an example par excellence for his unemotional reproduction from newspapers and magazines and contemporaneous pop art at large, signifies the DNA of this well-curated tour de force that did not need to rely on the big drawcards as it served enough substance by highlighting finer nuances to carry itself.
The fact that the NGV did not rely on e.g. Andy Warhol as a flagship creative for the exhibition and instead juxtaposed his oeuvre with that of Ai Weiwei in the preceding exhibition speaks volumes about NGV’s curators’ foresight and skill, which adds not only additional levels and dimensions to the emissions of idiosyncratic creators but results in something more integrated than the aggregate of its components would suggest.