image: Solomon Islands Chalkstone head Australian Museum, Sydney
Issue 144 | March 2011
01 Varilaku ON NOW

Varilaku: Pacific arts from the Solomon Islands
24 February – 29 May 2011 | Free

Through over 60 works, Varilaku: Pacific arts from the Solomon Islands explores traditional, or kastom, beliefs in ancestral ghosts, the world of spirit beings, ocean-bound raiding expeditions and the indigenous aesthetics of the self—the use of adornments to express identity and status from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century.

Forum: Varilaku
16–17 April 2011
$130, $120 | bookings 02 6240 6528
The National Gallery of Australia, in collaboration with the Oceanic Art Society, presents a two-day forum.

Saturday 16 April 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
A focus on the kastom arts of the Solomon Islands, including international experts on Solomon Islander art, culture and history.
Keynote: Dr Deborah Waite, University of Hawaii
Speakers: Rhys Richards, cultural historian and former New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands; Dr Jude Philp, Senior Curator, Macleay Museum; Dr Prue Ahrens, University of Queensland; Crispin Howarth, National Gallery of Australia
Sunday 17 April 10.00–3.00 pm
The National Gallery of Australia hosts the Fourth Annual Forum of the
Oceanic Art Society, which features a range of speakers on arts from
Papua New Guinea.

image: Vella Lavella Island, Solomon Islands Figure head [nguzu nguzu] prior to 1901Vella Lavella Island, Solomon Islands Figure head [nguzu nguzu] prior to 1901 on loan courtesy of Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Above: Solomon Islands Chalkstone head  Australian Museum, Sydney
© Australian Museum. Photographer: Carl Bento
02 Ballets Russes

Ballets Russes: the art of costume closes 20 March 2011.

Accommodation offer
Novotel Canberra is the official accommodation partner for Ballets Russes. Ballets Russes packages start from $188 per night including accommodation, a full buffet breakfast for two and tickets to Ballets Russes: the art of costume. To book online or phone 02 6245 5000.
View offer (pdf)

Visitor feedback
97.52% of visitor feedback rates the exhibition as very impressive or impressive.
"Everything—the colours and patterns of the costumes, and all the associated bits—music, illustrations, backdrops."
Judith Owen rates the exhibition as
Very Impressive

Bluebird and 120 birds  
Thursday 24 February 7.00 pm 
$35, $30 members/concession (includes refreshments) | bookings 02 6240 6528
Liz Lea
presents her stunning solo performance Bluebird, weaving through the Gallery’s Australian Garden before the audience joins her for 120 birds, a foray into dance history of the 1920s and 1930s.

Surprisingly UnRussian!
Music for the Ballets Russes

Wednesday 2 March 6.00 pm
$10; $8, children under 16 free | bookings 02 6240 6528
A company constantly on the move, the Ballets Russes took musical inspiration from all over Europe. Join piano virtuoso and composer Larry Sitsky AM for a concert of surprisingly non-Russian piano music including works by Albeniz, de Falla, Milhaud and Resphigi.

Ballets Russes costume ball
Friday 4 March 7.00 pm
$150 | bookings 02 6240 6528
Raising funds for Hands across Australia. Pre-dinner drinks from 7.00 pm, then dinner in Gandel Hall, followed by dancing and festivities. If you are looking for costume ideas Kerri-Anne is resplendent in Bakst's Costume for the Chief Eunuch.
View invitation

'Backstage at the Ballets Russes' theatre performances
Saturday 12 March 11.00
am and Sunday 13 March 11.00am
$10; $8; $6 child members | bookings 02 6240 6528
A lively theatre production that introduces audiences to the colourful characters and key events of the Ballets Russes. Music, dance and costume deftly blend with excerpts of key ballets such as the L’Oiseau de feu (The firebird).

image: George W Lambert Chesham Street 1910 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1993 Director Ron Radford with Darcey Bussell in the Ballets Russes exhibition
image: Starry nights 2010
03 Live at the
Garden 11, 12, 18, 19 March

Four not-to-be-missed nights in the stunning surrounds of the National Gallery of Australia’s Sculpture Garden. Featuring the talents of Australian performers Deni Hines, Monica Trapaga, Sammy J, Six Quick Chicks, Felicity Ward and hosted by James Valentine. Ticket includes an exclusive after hours viewing of the major summer exhibition Ballets Russes: the art of costume. More

Image above: Starry nights 2010 Photography: NGA Imaging Services
detail: Maireener shell necklace
04 Event
highlights Go to calendar
for all events
and details

Mirror: intercultural understanding for parents and educators
Thursday 3 March 5.30 pm
Jeannie Baker, author and illustrator of childrens stories, discusses Mirror, her recently published childrens book about the parallel lives of children living in different cultures. Inspired by childrens exhibition Connections.

Spirit of India 2011
Wednesday 9 March 7.30 pm 
$50, $40 members/concession, $30 students | bookings 02 6240 6528
Flute and shehnai player Pandit Rajendra Prasanna performs lively interpretations of Indian ragas, supported by Rishab Prasanna (flute), Vikas Babu (oboe-like shehnai) and Shubh Maharaj (tabla). Presented in collaboration with the Nataraj Cultural Centre.

Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints
Friday 18 March 12.30–2.00 pm
Kunio Sakai of The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum introduces traditional Japanese woodblock printing, with a demonstration by printmaker Tatsuya Ito. Note, this program is presented in Japanese with English interperation. With assistance from the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan.

The history of the Metropolitan’s collection and presentation of modern art from 1870 to the present
Monday 21 March 6.00 pm
Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Chairman of 19th century, Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, discusses the history of the Metropolitan’s collection of modern art, focusing on 19th-century European paintings, especially French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, through to 20th-century art. Supported by Art Exhibitions Australia.

Maireener shell necklaces workshop
Saturday 2 April 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, repeated 2.00–4.00 pm
$60 workshop, $55 members/concession
Tasmanian artists Dulcie Greeno and Lola Greeno talk about the history and cultural significance of making shell necklaces, during a workshop in which participants create their own maireener shell bracelet.

Slow Art 2011
Saturday 16 April 6.00 am
(viewing of Turrell’s Skyspace)
and 11.00 am – 2.00 pm
Free | registration required (02) 6240 6524
On average, a visitor spends only eight seconds looking at an individual work of art. Slow Art Day encourages a more contemplative approach to art and is celebrated in over 50 galleries throughout the world.

Enjoy some of the national art collection highlights, including Emily Kam Kngwarray’s Yam awely 1995 and Grace Cossington Smith’s Interior in yellow1962, and give them the attention they deserve. Then join the group for a lively facilitated discussion over lunch.

A full list of works will be provided to participants on registration. Participants to purchase their own lunch.

Tableaux Vivant:
1980s photography forum

Saturday 21 May 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
$40, $35 (includes lunch and afternoon drinks)
Exploring Australian and international photography from the 1980s, this forum brings together curators, writers and artists in a diverse discussion about the theatricality of the tableaux vivant (living pictures) of the 1980s.
Speakers: Professor Anne Marsh, Monash University, Annie O Hehir,
National Gallery of Australia, Dr Martyn Jolly, Australian National University, Robyn Beeche, photographer, and Helen Ennis, Australian National University.

The Sculpture Bar
Open every summer Friday night from 5.00 pm in the Sculpture Garden, in association with Veuve Clicquot. This week's entertainment is Frank Madrid + Jonty Hall (trumpet).

Hokusai Katsushika Poem of Sangi Takamura 1835–36 National Gallery of Australia gift of Orde Poynton Esq. AO CMG 2000

imageJames Turrell Within without 2010 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased with the support of visitors to the exhibition Masterpieces from Paris 2010  Photographs: John Gollings

Slow art is on facebook
05 Sculpture Garden Sunday 6 March 2011

Sculpture Garden Sunday
10.30am – 1.30 pm
A day of creative community fun in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia. Drop-in workshops are designed for children and their families, are free of charge and all materials are provided.
More information and photos from previous years

image: Fred Williams Landscape '74 1974–75 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1975 © Fred Williams Estate
06 Behind
the scenes Fred Williams retrospective

Large scale exhibitions don’t just happen overnight—years of preparation and planning and a great number of people are involved. In August 2011 the National Gallery will open a major Fred Williams retrospective that will include a wide range of works from Australia and London. Each month Artonline will take a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations.

Fred Williams is one of Australia’s greatest landscape painters. He created a highly original and distinctive way of seeing the Australian countryside. The first major retrospective of Williams’s work in over 25 years, the show will focus on Williams’s strength as a painter. Examples of important large oil paintings, such as Landscape ’74 1974–75 will be included, showing his distinctive connection with place and responses to the immensity of the Australian landscape. The show will also uncover some surprises, such as playful portraits of his family and delicate studies of animals, plants and insects.

Curator Deborah Hart has already been developing this show of Williams's paintings and gouaches for three years. Next issue we will look at some of the joys and challenges a curator faces when selecting works for a retrospective.

image: Fred Williams Landscape '74 1974–75 (detail)Fred Williams Landscape '74 1974–75 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1975 © Fred Williams Estate
07 What's
new The Body Shop
posters acquisition

The Gallery has taken into its collection a suite of nine posters commissioned by The Body Shop since the 1980s. They are a remarkable record of a particular time in the evolution of the international corporate world, and the melding of art with commerce in the time-honoured tradition of poster artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha. Perhaps the most iconic of these posters is ‘Ruby’ the anti-Barbie. Bearing the legend ‘There are 3 billion women in the world who don’t look like supermodels, and only 8 who do ...’ it was intended as a challenge to the perpetuation of unrealistic body images by the fashion and beauty industries, particularly the notion that thin is beautiful. It is still a striking and pertinent image more than 10 years later.
What do you think of Ruby and her message? Tell us on Twitter using #Ruby

Ruby posterUnknown The Body Shop poster: There are 3 billion women in the world who don’t look like supermodels, and only 8 who do
c 1988 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, gift of Jan Phillips
08 Artist
snapshot Annie Albers

Anni Albers, a pioneering textile artist, was born in Berlin in 1899 and studied painting before joining the Bauhaus in 1922, where she became fascinated by weaving. She was inspired by bright, woven textiles from Peru and Mexico, and created dramatic fabrics and upholstery for practical purposes, as well as stunning wall hangings. Her large, daring tapestries were among the first to depart from traditional decorative or figurative subjects and depict purely abstract designs.
In 1933 Albers and her husband, the celebrated artist Josef Albers, moved to America to escape the Nazi regime, and it was here that her printmaking practice began. The NGA is fortunate to hold a group of graphic works—precisely patterned to echo her textile designs—created with master-printer Kenneth Tyler at his workshops between 1969 and 1978.
For more on Anni Albers visit the Tyler Collection website.

Anni Albers Triangulated intaglio II 1975 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased with the assistance of the Orde Poynton Fund 2002 © Anni Albers/ARS. Licensed by Viscopy

09 Win

The world's two greatest ballet companies captured live in HD and broadcast at Dendy cinemas.
The 2011 season of ballets shot for the big screen and filmed in high definition, 5.1 sound and with no less than 10 cameras. Thanks to the most advanced technology, Australian audiences will now have regular access to exceptional performances from performing arts companies worldwide.

For your chance to win one of five complimentary double passes to one of the following performances sign up a friend to the NGA Twitter feed or Artonline. Send us an email with your friend's Twitter account name or email address and your details before 5.00 pm 31 March and you'll go into the draw to win.

Caligula (National Opera of Paris Ballet)
Don Quixote (Bolshoi Ballet)
Coppelia (National Opera of Paris Ballet)
Children of paradise (National Opera of Paris Ballet)

image: Unknown photographer Léon Bakst costume Lydia Lopokova in L'Oiseau de FeuUnknown photographer Léon Bakst costume Lydia Lopokova in L'Oiseau de Feu 1916 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
10 Support

Support the National Gallery of Australia or give the gift of membership. Enjoy exclusive exhibition viewings, participate in members-only programs and workshops, be stimulated by engaging events and meet like-minded people.

Learn more and join

Members enjoy the opening of Stage One, with Cairns Chillagoe white marble backdrop. See more on Flickr