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Stage 1 opens at the National Gallery

By johnboy - 2 October 2010 8

[First filed: Sep 30, 2010 @ 15:58]

National Gallery of Australia

The Governor-General is opening the expansion of the National Gallery tonight. But I went down for a media preview this morning so you can get a feel for the wonders to come.

In speaking to the assembled reptiles (lots of national media there including David Marr being conspicuous) Director Ron Radford started by noting that the expansion had begun as a quest for a decent front door on the Gallery.

As it opens it now includes a heavily expanded shop, a street cafe, a gold plated grand hall, 11 new spaces (aka rooms) for indigenous art, and marble clad toilets (watch for them in the slideshow below).

Also on display now is the astonishing Within Without (featuring heavily in the slideshow) an awe inspiring monumental sculpture by James Turrell which is a bit like a russian doll of sculpture, only the audience have to move through the layers. It’s simply gob-smacking.

The new building is exquisite, fitted with the finest slate, timbers, marble and granite from all over the continent. Sadly Radford noted the only Canberra contribution was the grass on the outside of Within Without.

Almost as exciting is that with the indigenous collection (the world’s largest) displayed in the new stage other highlights of the collection are now back on display in the older part of the building.

It’s a brilliant tour de force of art and architecture and it’s open to the public from tomorrow.

More details on their website and a slideshow below.

What’s Your opinion?


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8 Responses to
Stage 1 opens at the National Gallery
Holden Caulfield 11:38 am 01 Oct 10

dtc said :

Anything that ruins brutalism is to be praised by me. Yet we have already had a letter to the SMH about the outrageous extension. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder etc, but even a mother would struggle to love brutalism.

On the contrary, the NGA and High Court are two of my favourite buildings in Canberra. And I’m definitely not a mum!

I haven’t had a proper look at the new extension at the NGA, but from what I have seen I think it works okay, and I really like the idea of providing natural light for viewing the indigenous galleries.

dtc 11:26 am 01 Oct 10

Beau Locks said :

I still reckon it ruins the brutalism of the original architecture

Anything that ruins brutalism is to be praised by me. Yet we have already had a letter to the SMH about the outrageous extension. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder etc, but even a mother would struggle to love brutalism.

Holden Caulfield 9:41 am 01 Oct 10

Thumper said :

I’m sold. Looks absolutely brilliant!

Yeah, I agree (logo aside), has certainly made my commute to work more enjoyable too, now that all the fences etc are gone. I’m looking forward to checking it out this weekend if possible.

Thumper 9:09 am 01 Oct 10
Thumper 8:53 am 01 Oct 10

I’m sold. Looks absolutely brilliant!

Holden Caulfield 12:08 am 01 Oct 10

Lucky they have the new entrance, outside sculpture and new gallery spaces to take your eyes of that 1980s inspired logo fail.

Beau Locks 9:38 pm 30 Sep 10

It’s absolutely fantastic. We’re so privileged to have such a great institution in our town. The Within Without setup is mind blowing. My only gripe is that it is best enjoyed either at sunrise or sunset (something which I was doing about once a week after work before they started locking the gate), yet it’s only open the same times as the gallery. Silly!

I’m also more impressed than I thought I would be with the extension. I still reckon it ruins the brutalism of the original architecture, but it manages to gel a lot better than I had expected. Top work NGA! (And top work Howard government, who did, after all, fund the bloody thing.)

jessieduck 4:17 pm 30 Sep 10

I’m so excited about this. I’ll be going on Tuesday or Wednesday and am prepared to have my socks blown off! Thanks for the sneak peak- can’t wait!!

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