NGV Australia

current exhibitions

The Work of Broached Commissions
Friday, 17 August, 2018 to Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Lucy McRae
England born 1989 arrived Australia 1982
Prickly lamp (detail) from the Broached Colonial collection 2011
timber, steel
Photo: Scottie Cameron
© Lucy McRae

Established in 2011, Broached Commissions was founded as a creative agency whose purpose is to commission designers to produce ambitious and finely crafted, collectable design pieces with the capacity to reflect on or disrupt the traditions of design. Through a series of thematically rich collections, Broached Commissions has cemented a position that is unique in the world of Australian design. Each collection is anchored within an overarching creative framework, providing a sounding board against which designers can propose works that must respond to a central narrative, binding the work together.

This exhibition presents works from across four Broached Commission collections: Broached East, Broached Colonial, Broached Exceptions and Broached Monsters. Together the exhibited works convey the ongoing Broached Commissions project of interrogating globalisation, and the upheavals it causes, through the history of material culture.

Creative director of Broached Commissions, Lou Weis, says: ‘We believe that design gives form to power. Ambition has no inherent form; designers invent it. On behalf of others – governments, corporations and individuals – designers create the tactile experience of persuasion and desire. In particular we are interested in design since the Industrial Revolution and the peak of the colonial period. It is from this period forward that modern Australia comes into being’.

Friday, 31 August, 2018 to Monday, 28 January, 2019

Evening coming in on Sydney Harbour 1975
oil on cotton on canvas
228.2 x 190.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by Mrs Adrian Gibson as the winner of the 1975 Sir William Angliss Memorial Art Prize, 1976
© Wendy Whiteley

George Baldessin and Brett Whiteley were born in the same year – 1939 – and in the 1960s and 1970s experienced meteoric success in their respective cities of Melbourne and Sydney.

Primarily a printmaker, sculptor and graphic artist, Baldessin’s practice reflected the rich multicultural humanism of Melbourne, infused with inspiration from France, Japan and Italy, his country of birth. Whiteley, principally a painter, printmaker and sculptor; was a product of the Sydney art scene, who found early success in London and basked in the avant-garde culture of New York before returning to Sydney. For a period, Whiteley became the most public of all Australian artists.

Despite their differences, their art shares many startling and unusual synergies. Both were figurative expressionists, attracted to popular culture, and to avant-garde and existentialist ideas. Both were innovative in their use of mediums, were brilliantly provocative in their artistic language and ultimately created an art that epitomised their epoch. Tragically, both men also died unexpectedly young.

This exhibition combines some of these artists’ most iconic works as well as others that have never been exhibited before. It includes masterpieces from Whiteley’s Christie series and Baldessin’s enticing etchings that redefined for a generation of Melburnians their attitude to eroticism and the urban environment.

Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions is a visually exciting and innovative blockbuster exhibition that brings together for the first time the work of these two giants of Australian art.

Ken Unsworth
Friday, 14 September, 2018 to Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Ken Unsworth
born Australia 1931
Mind Games 2014
medical models, aluminium table, wooden chairs, steel ball, electrical components
150.0 x 120.0 x 350.0 cm (variable)
Collection of the artist
© Ken Unsworth

Free entry

NGV Australia, Federation Square

Ground Level, Level 2 & 3 Foyers

14 Sep 18 – 17 Feb 19


At eighty-six years of age, Ken Unsworth is a senior Australian artist who draws upon an extraordinarily diverse repertoire of skills, techniques and devices. He is an enigmatic creator known for his conceptual sculptures and sculptural installations, mechanical relief works, land art events and innovative performances that combine theatre, dance and art.

Truly, Madly surveys significant aspects of Unsworth’s career. It includes a number of the artist’s early kinetic sculptural works that have been re-commissioned for the exhibition. In addition to these, Unsworth is currently developing a new work which involves the realisation of a sculptural project based on his drawings and paintings. The exhibition includes around twelve major works.

Ken Unsworth was born in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1931, where he developed a mania for AFL football, trams and VB. He attended Melbourne Teachers’ College and the University of Melbourne and later the National Art School, Sydney. From 1955 he worked as a secondary teacher and then as a lecturer in art at various tertiary institutions. His academic teaching career paralleled that of being an artist and continued until 1988.

Truly, Madly is being developed in close association with the artist and is the first major exhibition of his practice to be held in Melbourne. It is presented in the foyer galleries at NGV Australia and features a new site-specific installation Unsworth is developing to interact directly with the building.

Polly Borland
Friday, 28 September, 2018 to Sunday, 3 February, 2019

Untitled (Nick Cave in a blue wig) 2010
type C photograph
1815.0 x 1500.0
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased NGV Foundation, 2012
© Polly Borland

The NGV presents an exhibition of new and recent works by celebrated Australian artist Polly Borland. Borland is a Melbourne born artist who now lives in Los Angeles and is known for her photographs of noted figures including Queen Elizabeth II, Nick Cave and Gwendoline Christie. The recent period of Borland’s practice has seen her explore more abstract and surreal imagery. Borland creates images that invite the viewer to see the human form in unfamiliar ways, infused both with humour and an unsettling disquiet. The exhibition comprises works from several of Borland’s important recent series, including Monster, Bunny, Smudge, and a series of new works.

Friday, 12 October, 2018 to Sunday, 24 February, 2019

Martyn Thompson
London Design Festival, 2017
Photo: Martyn Thompson
©Martyn Thompson

Recognising excellence in Australian design, the Rigg Design Prize is the highest accolade for contemporary design in Australia. The triennial prize is awarded to an Australian design practice displaying outstanding creative achievements in contemporary design.

The shortlist for the Rigg Design Prize 2018 includes ten Australian design studios working in the field of interior design and decoration. For the prize exhibition, each studio has been invited to design a purpose built interior that responds to the 2018 exhibition theme of Domestic Living. The NGV is asking each design studio to produce an interior capable of communicating to audiences how designers create interiors as forms of communication embedded with values, ideas and stories that directly engage with the cultural, historical, material and technological aspects of society.

The recipient of the Rigg Design Prize 2018 is to be decided by an international judge based on the overall quality of presentation and interpretation of the theme; clarity and originality of the design idea; and, creative expression. The winner will be announced to the public on 12 October.

The Rigg Design Prize 2018 shortlist includes: Amber Road (NSW), Arent & Pyke (NSW), Danielle Brustman (VIC), David Flack (VIC), David Hicks (VIC), Hecker Guthrie (VIC), Martyn Thompson Studio (NYC), Scott Weston Architecture Design (NSW), The Society Inc by Sibella Court (NSW), SJB Interiors (VIC/NSW)

Saturday, 3 November, 2018 to Sunday, 14 July, 2019

Trevor Nickolls
Childhood Dreaming (1973-1974)
oil on canvas
198.2 x 289.6 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Blak to the Future celebrates Indigenous art in Australia. It looks at major artists across time and place who have been at the forefront in creating new forms of expression and in maintaining and regenerating customary cultural practices and iconography. Great individual artists, such as, Paddy Compass Namadbara, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Rover Thomas, Trevor Nickolls, Lin Onus, Emily Kam Kngwarray, Sally Gabori, Brook Andrew and Destiny Deacon have shaped and transformed the face of Indigenous art in Australia and inspired many artists to follow their example.

This positive and powerful exhibition will introduce audiences to some of the most significant works by Indigenous artists in the NGV Collection and will explore some watershed moments in the history of Australian art.