The National Gallery Splash Out »Aboriginal Art Directory



In September of that troubled year, fans of Australian artist Lindy Lee were delighted to learn that she had been commissioned by the National Gallery in Canberra to create a 13-ton, 4m-tall sculpture titled ‘Ouroboros‘at a cost of $ 14 million. Of course, the costs of materials and construction will cover a good chunk of that price, but scathing critics believed that a huge amount of work by other artists could have been obtained for that kind of money.

But could he? For the access to information efforts of ‘The Australian ‘ News reporter Remy Varga has revealed that the NGA tends to pay a high price when it comes to collecting Australian art – even First Nations art. Back in November, ‘oz‘posted two recent shopping and donation lists, although the prices on the latter list were lacking. Of course, two experts must agree when a donation is tax deductible. But I suspect the ATOs / taxpayers were probably ready for amounts matching those on the shopping list.

Who was ruled by two monsters from overseas – Jordan Wolfson’s kinkyBody sculpture‘for $ 4.5 million. And the bronze of Tracey Emin ‘When I sleep‘for $ 1.1 million, one of 16 works by the English artist. Do you get a bulk discount? It’s clear that Lindy Lee’s recent Patriotic Commission caps them both.

But next comes a 2002 Gordon Bennett painting priced at $ 540,000. i wonder what ‘Notes to Basquiat: Death of Irony’ cost in 2002 when the artist was alive to enjoy it? His fellow Queenslander Richard Bell must be rubbing his very lively hands with joy since his’Little things, big things grow‘brought in a generous $ 391,500. Both were sold by the Milani gallery.

Jonathon Jones – another Blak rather than classical artist – comes next to the pantheon; $ 300,000 for ‘walang-wunga.galang ‘. This appears to be the set of grindstones that Jones and Stan Grant Snr created for the Tarnanthi 2020 exhibition, accompanied by the gentle sound of stone-on-stone grinding. They looked perfectly placed in the Santos Economic Botany Museum. But what will they look like in an art gallery, I wonder? No gallery has taken its percentage from this sale.

The late Ginger Riley is the first distant artist on the list to benefit from the new NGA pricing for his work. His ‘My mother’s country‘raised $ 196,800 at a Bonhams auction, and since this was a 1996 work, no resale royalty goes to the artist’s estate. But it was certainly good for the owners of his works who might be tempted to sell.

Dr Danie Mellor has not one but two books on the NGA list. His ‘Landstory‘raised $ 180,909 and ‘A still gloomy gaze (a dark portrait of intimacy)tipped the scales at $ 47,273 – both via Tolarno Galleries.

After the NT Museum and Gallery curated the Toyota Tjanpi that had just won the Telstra NATSIA award of $ 40,000, no one probably thought that woven desert grasses could make that kind of comeback again. But now the twelve ladies who created the ‘Seven Sisters / Kungkarankalpa‘for the NGA’s Women’s Show in 2020 grossed $ 116,781 (a very odd amount that doesn’t easily divide by 7 or 12!). In fact, it should be 8 – because the Sisters were of course always accompanied by the priapic Yurla, with bad intentions.

Back to the Blak – and Tony Albert next appears on the list with the Sullivan & Strumpf sale in 2021 of his ‘Conversations with Preston: Christmas Bells‘. At 3 by 4 meters it is tall and I am delighted to share it with readers this Christmas time. Prior to Albert, Gordon Bennett, of course, sought to find a critical relationship with pioneer Margaret Preston.

And then to Brook Andrew – who seems to have gone unnoticed at the National Gallery if the fact that they have just bought a print of his 1996 ‘Sexy and dangerousedition of 20, for $ 89,091. As the sale is again attributed to Tolarno Galleries, I have to assume that the artist benefited rather than a clever first buyer. BTW, have you ever wondered what the Chinese Calligraphy on the Warrior’s Chest might say? According to Ted Snell in ‘The conversation‘, it means’ female cunning’! He explains: “Andrew created”Sexy and dangerous’ at the time of the Tiananmen Square confrontation, and therefore, this can be read as emphasizing the need for resistance in the face of oppression. Is Andrew urging us to readjust our understanding of what it means to occupy a country whose sovereignty is made manifest in this image of the Indigenous leader? »International politics at the NGA?

Two more Blak artists follow next – a rather surprising amount of $ 75,000 for Dale Harding’s’Know them with correct judgment‘, and $ 65,455 for Christopher Pease’s’Target 3 – Remembrance‘. Pease has been around much longer than Harding. But Harding can benefit from a performance at the Milani Gallery. Because, next on the list is the first Aboriginal artist – Bonita Ely, born in Mildura – who won a remarkable $ 65,000 for her.Murray River Punch ‘, documentation of a performance in 1980, which appears to have been exhibited at Milani in 2008.
Could it be that the NGA is jumping on the excellent bandwagon of Tate Modern’s selection of works by Dale Harding and Bonita Ely for its current exhibition in London, ‘A Year in Art: Australia 1992‘?

That’s it for the headlines. Reasonable but not exceptional prices for current art creators such as the Ken Sisters and Nonggirrnga Marawili and the recently deceased Ms. N Yunupingu and Mavis Ngallametta.

So thank you to the National Gallery for raising the prices for Indigenous art. But some may recall Tim Klingender’s claims when he was at Sotheby’s that he and the gallery itself somehow arranged to jack up the price of the late Rover Thomas’s’All this heavy rain falling from the top‘at nearly $ 800,000 at auction in 2001 to set a record price for Aboriginal art.

However, this time ‘The Australian ‘ Christoper Allen, the newspaper’s artistic correspondent, was less than impressed by the NGA’s buying frenzy: “The management has clearly lost sight of a strategic vision of the collection, spellbound by fashion, glamor and that particular intoxication. with ideological gestures that one could call Political Cringe. So much has been devoted to Aboriginal art, but especially to a number of strident contemporaries who successfully monetize their sense of resentment ”.

BTW, if you think you could organize the NGA’s First Nations collection differently, the opportunity exists until January 24 to apply to be its senior curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. He is the patron, moreover “responsible for the direction of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art team ensuring the on-going development, display, research, interpretation and promotion of the most important collection. to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art World “. Nowhere does it say that you have to be aboriginal to get the job, but “positive measures – aboriginal” seem to apply.

Is this a profession that will occupy Tina Baum, ATSI art curator for almost 17 years? Or will it be a promotion for her I wonder?

Url: = 284504070

Artist: Gordon Bennett, Richard Bell, Jonathon Jones, Ginger Riley, Danie Mellor, Brook Andrew, Dale Harding, Christopher Pease, Bonita Ely, Ken Sisters, Nonggirrnga Marawili, Ms. N Yunupingu, Mavis Ngallametta, Rover Thomas,

Blog, Functionality, Industry, Media, News,

Bonita Ely, brook andrew, Christoper Allen, christopher pease, Dale Harding, danie mellor, ginger riley, gordon bennett, Jeremy Eccles, Jonathon Jones, Ken Sisters, Mavis Ngallametta, Milani Gallery, Mrs N Yunupingu, National Gallery of austrarnlia, Remy Varga , richard bell, rover thomas, Tina Baum, Tolarno Galleries,



About Author

Comments are closed.