Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Sculpture is everything" at GoMA:

I have raved here before about how much I love public art spaces. While private galleries are important for a number of reasons, I'm particularly appreciative of state and national galleries. It says something about a government when it is willing to invest funding into the cultivation and accessibility of the arts. Even more, though, it gives something to the community of people who are then able to access and appreciate that art. Throughout many eras of history, art has been accessible only to an elite group of society. Sure, there are artists in every demographic of society, and in that way art is within reach of everyone. But the appreciation of art on a broader scale -- art from around the world, from people outside the close confines of connected communities -- has mostly been a privilege of the wealthy and the well-networked. How awesome, then, to live in an era when cities make active investments in the acquisition and exhibition of art from all around the world and then share it with art-ignorant laymen like me.

And perhaps it's just me, but public galleries give me this tiny sense of ownership, this idea that in some small way, this art belongs -- just a sliver of it, mind you -- to me, and to you. So when I visit a public gallery with someone I care about, I get the feeling -- wrong as it may be -- that I am sharing something of mine with them, and introducing them to something of theirs that they should have known about all along. It's pretty cool.

When my cousins were in town recently, we checked out GoMA's current exhibit, Sculpture is Everything. Our first stop was in the foyer to see Ai Weiwei's Painted Vases (2006). Painted Vases are part of GoMA's permanent collection, and always one of my favourites to look at when I visit. There's something super-daring about the fact that these vases are from the Han dynasty, and they've been almost recklessly painted over. History and art collide!

And the other thing about public art spaces? Some of it you can touch, interact with, and be a part of. This little contraption of wonderfulness by Yoshitomo Nara and graf is like something out of my eleven-year-old self's fantasies.

More Ai Weiwei being reckless.

I'm excited I got to be there for baby Andrew's first art gallery visit. He looks mesmerised by Lara Favaretto's Gummo IV. Yep, it's a car wash. And yes, it was moving.

Sculplture is Everything is on for ten more days at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art. Admission is free.


  1. I am disappointed to have missed that trip.

  2. This looks fun! GoMA should start paying you!

  3. The Ai Wei Wei photo triptych of him purposefully dropping the ancient vase, as well as a few of his other installations such as the Han vases, and the monastic column through a classic era dining table, truly changed the way I thought about art. I am SO GLAD they are displaying those pieces again.

    1. They're very very cool, and I love that we get to see artworks that are making contemporary statements about NOW, not just art that says something about the past.


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