19 May 2018

MoMA New York art exhibition at the NGV in Melbourne

For the 2017 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, the National Gallery of Victoria/NGV put on a fine exhibition called Van Gogh and the Seas­ons. This exhibition featured works lent by intern­ational museums, and attracted a huge number of Australian visitors.

This year the NGV, in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art New York, is presenting MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemp­or­ary Art as the 2018 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces ex­hib­it­ion. From 9th June–7th Oct 2018, the exhibition is providing a unique survey of the Mus­eum’s iconic collection. The key works are arranged ch­ronol­ogically into 8 them­atic sections, tracing the development of art and design from late-C19th urban and industrial transformation, until the global present.

MoMA is dedicated to championing innovative modern and contemporary art. The Museum opened in Manhattan in 1929, with the plan to be­come the greatest modern art museum in the world. This is seen in its inter-disciplinary collection of c200,000 works by c10,000 artists, shared between 6 curat­or­ial departments: Archit­ect­ure & Design, Drawings and Prints, Film, Media & Performance Art, Painting & Sculpture & Photography

This Melbourne exhibition features c200 works from MoMA, in­cluding some never-before-seen in Australia. Starting in fin-de-siecle Paris, the em­ergence of a new art at the dawn of the C20th is repres­ented by some of MoMA’s earliest acquis­itions, includ­ing master­works by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne.

Van Gogh, Portrait of Joseph Roulin, 1889

Cezanne, Still Life with Apples, 1896

Paintings and posters are displayed with objects from MoMA’s Architecture and Design collection, many of which draw out issues common to arch­it­ects, designers and artists — creating a new visual language for the modern era. These include: an archit­ectural model by Le Corbusier that featured in MoMA’s first arch­itecture exhibition in 1932; graphic designs, furnit­ure and textiles by artists involved in the influential workshops of my beloved Bauhaus. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, for example, used metals and indus­t­rial methods not common in fine art then. Josef Albers and Marcel Breuer are also included in the exhibition.

Works by pioneering cubists & futurists eg Pablo Picasso appear next to the radically abstracted forms present in artists like Kazimir Malev­ich and Piet Mon­drian. Then we see the surreal visual language of artists like Sal­vador Dalí and Frida Kahlo, and the spontaneity advanced in works by Al­exander Calder, Jackson Pollock and oth­er prominent Abstract Express­ion­ists. Then see Marcel Duch­amp, Ed­ward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko and Roy Lichtenstein.

Picasso, Architect’s Table, 1912 

Finally, newer developments in art, from Minimalism to Post Modern­ism and into early C21th art, display ideas at the NGV that in­form cultural and nat­ional identity.

The exhibition explores the growth of major art move­ments and represents 130+ years of radical artistic innovation. It reflects the wider technological, social & pol­it­ical movements that transformed C20th society and contributed to the form­at­ion of our C21st globalised world. And it reveals the ways in which art­ists have sought to be agents of change, transforming society and creating new worlds. There is a scholarly catalogue, a prog­ram­me of talks, tours and events, and the curated NGV Friday Nights programmes.

MoMA in New York is the perfect supplier of innovative art because it is the major museum of modern art anywhere, att­ract­ing 3+ million visitors annually. MoMA was the first museum to recognise photography, cinema, arch­itecture and indus­t­rial design as dedicated depart­ments that belong in an art museum.

Kahlo, Self Portrait with Cropped Hair, 1940

The National Gallery of Victoria 1861 is the perfect recipient of inn­ovative art because it is oldest and most visited public art museum in Australia. The collection has 70,000+ art works from many centuries and cultures! Additionally the 2018 Winter Masterpieces Exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the new NGV’s St Kilda Road galleries.


Andrew said...

I am very much looking forward to seeing the exhibition. MoMA is just brilliant.

We Travel said...

Change and modernity are not linear or predictable, are they. How did the two galleries select which modern art movements to include?

Hels said...


it IS brilliant. In this morning's Australian, MoMA's art director Glenn Lowry wrote that MoMA's mission has changed dramatically across the decades. The founding director in 1929, Alfred Barr, helped define the concept of modernism at a time when galleries treated modern art as an afterthought.

I did too *blush*. I thought that if art movements hadn't existed by WW1, they weren't worth studying.

Hels said...

We Travel

modernity is such a slippery concept, yes. I wouldn't have even known when to start the MoMA Exhibition of Modern and Contemporary Art - with the Impressionists? Expressionists? Fauvists? or with Cubism? Futurism? De Stijl? Dada.....?

So people will examine the exhibition and make their own comments about omissions etc.

Parnassus said...

Hello Hels, An exhibit on this scale is an embarrassment of riches! The most difficult task would be to organize the exhibits in your mind so that some sense is made of all these threads of modern art. I am sure this is an occasion that will call for many repeat visits.

I wonder if they included Edward Hopper's iconic House by the Railroad, which needless to say is one of my favorites. I understand that it was the very first painting that MOMA accessioned. (Incidentally, I have some issues with Wikipedia and other sources' discussion of this painting, especially architecturally!)

Hels said...


yes! it is IMPOSSIBLE to organise all the exhibits in my mind. That is why important exhibitions normally tackle smaller and more defined themes eg "van Gogh's life and work 1888–90."

Thank goodness the NGV will be presenting the key works ch­ronol­ogically and in 8 them­atic sections. In any case I have a limited concentration span and after 2.5 hours, my eyes go to mush. So I suspect that a repeat visit will definitely be necessary.

Re the individual art objects that are included in the Melbourne Exhibition, either wait for me or others to visit the gallery in late June, or buy the excellent catalogue on line. Well worth following up.