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New York’s MoMA marks 130 years of art in Melbourne

New York’s iconic Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has brought over a collection of modern and contemporary masterpieces to this side of the world for one of the most exciting events to hit the world of art in the southern hemisphere. Co-organised by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), MoMa at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art premiered recently at the NGV International in Melbourne.

The exhibition of epic proportions features more than 200 works by renowned nineteenth and twentieth-century artists and will go on until October this year. Just reading the line up of celebrated names is enough to make us weep multicoloured tears of watercolour and oil — Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Louise Bourgeois, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Diane Arbus, Agnes Martin and Andy Warhol among many others gracing the walls of the NGV International for this exclusive exhibition.

Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl (1963)

Hold those brush strokes and pace yourself for there is more to come. Contemporaries of the twenty-first century will also have their works on display. Significant names include Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Olafur Eliasson, Andreas Gursky, El Anatsui, Rineke Dijkstra, Kara Walker, Mona Hatoum and Camille Henrot. For those of you with a particular interest to the regional scene, works from Asian artists such as Isamu Noguchi, On Kawara, Tomohiro Nichikado, Huang Yong Ping and Shigetaka Kurita will also be featured.

The exhibition is the largest installment of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition series to date and for the first time ever it will encompass the entire ground floor of NGV International. MoMA is historic for many reasons not least for being the first museum in the world to recognise photography, cinema, architecture and industrial design as deserving dedicated departments that belong in an art museum. Thus, in a display of its multidisciplinary approach to collecting art, the exhibition will also feature works from all six of the museum’s curatorial departments — Architecture and Design, Drawings and Prints, Film, Media and Performance Art, Painting and Sculpture, and Photography.

Andy Warchol, Shot Marilyns (1964)

The aim of MoMA at NGV is to present an exploration of the emergence and development of major art movements over the past 130 years, displaying radical artistic innovation of this period. As we make our way through a time of unbounded digital transformation in an ever globalised world, this exhibition is a reflection of wider technological, social and political developments that transformed our society from late nineteenth-century urban industrialisation, through to the present.

To achieve this, the exhibition is separated into eight chronological thematic sections. ‘Arcadia and Metropolis’ examines how artists at the dawn of the 20th century responded to the rise of cities.

Vincent Van Gough, Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin  (1889)

‘The Machinery of the Modern World’ highlights the simultaneity of foundational avant-garde movements (Futurism, Cubism, Orphism, Dada.) ‘A New Unity’ presents the cross-media manifestations of the Russian avant-garde, de Stijl, the Bauhaus and Joaquín Torres-Garcia’s School of the South. In ‘Inner and Outer Worlds’, iconic Surrealist paintings are seen alongside contemporaneous works that negotiate the relationship between interior and exterior landscapes. ‘Art as Action’ highlights key examples of Abstract Expressionism and expands to include other forms of kineticism in the 1950s.

Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel (1951 Third Version)

The exhibition’s largest section, ‘Things as They Are’, encompasses the varied production of the 1960s and ’70s, from Pop art to Minimalism and Post-Minimalism. ‘Immense Encyclopedia’, focuses on gestures of appropriation and reflections of identity from the 1980s and ’90s. The last section of the exhibition, ‘Flight Patterns’, considers contemporary ideas of movement, migration, and globalisation. Installation and performance works (Olafur Eliasson’s Ventilator, Simone Forti’s Huddle, and Roman Ondak’s Measuring the Universe) will also run throughout the course of the exhibition.

This incredibly exciting exhibition will be on display at NGV International from 9 June 2018 – 7 October 2018. Make your way to Melbourne with a wide choice of direct flights from Kuala Lumpur.

Tickets and information are available via the NGV website.


Tengku Muzhaffar Petra
Watches and Culture Editor