Issue 160 | July 2012
unDisclosed | Abstract Expressionism | Members news | Events | Members offer
01 unDisclosed2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial

unDisclosed: 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial is in its last weeks at the Gallery. The modernity and diversity of the works on display and the way in which they have been harmoniously presented by guest curator Carly Lane make this a breathtaking survey of contemporary Indigenous Art. Don't miss the opportunity to see the exhibition before it closes on 22 July.

Why not time your visit to coincide with one of the remaining unDisclosed public programs? Events in July include a NAIDOC week performance by Alick Tipoti with dancers from the Torres Strait Islands, talks about artists Michael Cook and Naata Nungurrayi and a children's 'Draw and explore' event exploring the wonders of water through works in the exhibition.

Christian Thompson, Bidjara people 'HEAT' 2010 (detail), 3-channel video, on loan from artist and private lender

unDisclosed will travel to Queensland, South Australia and regional NSW in 2013. The exhibition will commence its national tour at the Cairns Regional Gallery, on 22 February before travelling to the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, opening on 3 May and then Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo NSW, on 3 August 2013.

View Siobhan Heanue's walk through of unDisclosed in this Culture Quarter episode.

(main image) Jonathan Jones, Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi peoples, with his work 'lean-to' 2012 MDF wood, tarpaulin, fluorescent lights

02 Abstract
Celebrating Jackson
Pollock's centenary
from 14 July

The great American painter Jackson Pollock was born in 1912, as was the second- generation Abstract Expressionist Morris Louis. To mark these anniversaries, the NGA showcases its holdings of important paintings, drawings and prints. The collection is significant in national and world terms, and a symposium is planned to accompany the display.

Abstract Expressionist art is vibrant and still surprising, even after a century dominated by the genius of Matisse and Picasso. Without Abstract Expressionism modern art and contemporary painting would be very different. The Gallery's strong holdings of Pollock, Louis and their contemporaries, and other painters associated with Colour Field painting and the New York School, will also feature. Most works were acquired in the 1970s, before the NGA opened, and several recent acquisitions build on the strengths of this early collecting.

(main image) Morris Louis 'Beta nu' 1960 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1972
© 1960 Morris Louis

Pollock's Blue poles, one of his most famous paintings, and the earlier Totem lesson 2
accompany six drawings and six etchings by him, rarely on public view. Paintings and works on paper by Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky and Lee Krasner will also be on display, along with three paintings by Louis and an early work by Helen Frankenthaler-in commemoration of her death in December 2011. Key works by Philip Guston, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and Clyfford Still elucidate the dynamic connections between artists.

The impact of these influential and unique painters stretched far and wide. Extraordinary Australians such as Tony Tuckson and Peter Upward show how these artists developed in related and complementary ways. Over four galleries, this festival of Abstract Expressionism offers a fascinating journey through the Gallery's holdings, as well as a rare opportunity to experience the quality and depth of the collection.

Abstract Expressionism is on display in the International galleries from 14 July with additional works in the Orde Poynton Gallery from 4 August.

03 Members news

Members have recently enjoyed two special events in conjunction with unDisclosed – a talk presented by Tina Baum, Curator Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Art and Danie Mellor who spoke in detail about is works in the exhibition. 

We have a fantastic coffee with the curator coming up in July when Tina Baum will be discussing artists in the collection from the Pitjantjatjara region of the Central Australian desert. This event is presented in conjunction with the upcoming production at the Canberra Theatre Centre of Big hART Ngapartji Ngapartji {one}. Details of a special NGA members offer to see the production are further down in this issue of artonline. To book online for the coffee with the curator event visit the members page.

Maringka Baker, Pitjantjatjara people 'Kuru Ala' 2008 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 2009
© Maringka Baker, Tjungu Palya/Licensed by Viscopy

Why not combine your love of art and your love of sport and join the Sydney Swans for their Canberra Legends Lunch being held in Gandel Hall on Friday 10 August.  Hear from and laugh with premiership coach Paul Roos and premiership players Brett Kirk and Michael O’Loughlin! As members of the NGA you are invited to book at the member’s price of $100.  For more information or to make a booking visit the Sydney Swans website.

04 Event
highlights Go to calendar
for all events


05 Word PicturesChildrens Gallery
Opens 7 July

A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. Since the early 20th century when Picasso and Braque made their radical breakthrough with Cubism, there has been a flourishing of modern and contemporary art produced with text at its core. Alphabets with their infinite potential for words; the visual form of letters; the art of printmaking with its origins in typography; and the artists’ book are some of the themes explored in this exhibition. Word Pictures is the Gallery's contribution to the National Year of Reading.

This selection of surprising and often humorous works of art reveals the artists’ playful connections between our visual and written languages.

Word Pictures opens in the Childrens Gallery on 7 July.

Brook Andrew, Wiradjuri people
'I see you' 2005 (detail) Print, stencil
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Gift of the artist, donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program, 2012
© the artist

06 Abstract
24 – 25 August

The remarkable impact of Jackson Pollock, Morris Louis and their contemporaries is still felt today. In conjunction with Abstract Expressionism, an exhibition celebrating the centenary of Pollock and Louis, an International Symposium will be held at the Gallery on August 24 and 25. Leading American scholars including Michael Leja, Richard Shiff and Katy Siegel join Australian experts to explore the development, reach and influence of Abstract Expressionism.

Single day
$90 full; $80 student / member / concession

Both days
$160 full; $150 student / member / concession

Bookings can be made by email: or phone (02) 6240 6528

Presented in association with the United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney.

Morris Louis 'Beta nu' 1960
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1972
© 1960 Morris Louis

07 An
enduring legacy The Marcella Louis
Brenner bequest

In 2010 Marcella Louis Brenner bequeathed to the National Gallery of Australia a very fine painting by her husband Morris Louis. He was an influential American artist who had died almost 50 years earlier. Through her generous act of benefaction, Mrs Brenner added significantly to the Gallery’s strong holdings of works by American artists of the mid-20th century. Her impact on Australia’s national art collection will be felt in perpetuity by many generations of Australian and international visitors.

Nexus II is a stunning work that will be included, together with three other paintings by Morris Louis, in the Abstract Expressionism exhibition that opens on 14 July 2012. The painting exudes a serene and harmonious effect and also refers to itself, through the title Nexus II, as a means of connecting the artist’s previous to his future work.

Morris Louis was a key player in American art of the mid-20th century, who became known for having established a new style of Abstract Expressionism in the last five years of his short life. The art critic Clement Greenberg created the term ‘Post-painterly Abstraction’ to describe the work of artists such as Louis who were included in an exhibition of the same name.

If you would like to know more about establishing your legacy with the National Gallery of Australia please contact

Morris Louis 'Nexus II' 1959
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Bequest of Marcella Louis Brenner, the artist's widow 2010
© 1959 Morris Louis

08 Masterpieces for the
Nation Fund 2012
'Kundaagi - Red Plains Kangaroo' 1962

This year's Masterpieces for the Nation Fund is dedicated to the acquisition of an impressive and important bark painting by prominent Kuninjku artist Yirawala. Kundaagi – red plains kangaroo was painted in 1962 and shows the critical moment when an evil mimih spirit captures Kundaagi the kangaroo, before ceremoniously killing and eating him. This powerful painting depicts the moment of an ancestral story related to traditional burial ceremonies of the Kininjku people of western Arnhem land.

The quality of this painting is exceptional and its acquisition presents the opportunity to reunite the work with its original family of Yirawala barks currently in the national art collection.
To help us in our efforts to acquire this painting, please follow this link or e-mail

Warm thanks are given to the many generous donors who have already contributed towards the Masterpieces for the Nation Fund 2012. All donors to the Fund will be invited to view the work at a special thank you event hosted by the Director of the National Gallery of Australia,
Ron Radford AM, in September this year.

09 Around
the country
interstate events
and travelling

Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix | QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD, 29 June – 26 August 2012

The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn Gift: Blue Case: Technology|
Gympie Regional Gallery, Gympie QLD,
30 May – 10 July 2012

Stars of the Tokyo stage: Natori Shunsen's kabuki actor prints | RMIT Gallery, Melbourne Vic.,
To be rescheduled

Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons | The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne Vic.,
7 April – 5 August 2012

New South Wales
The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn Gift: Red and Yellow cases | Moree Plains Gallery, Moree, NSW, 22 May – 9 July 2012


South Australia
The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn Gift: 1888 Melbourne Cup | Naracoorte Art Gallery Naracoorte, SA,
27 June – 27 August 2012  

Congratulations to Karen Dwyer, the winner of tickets to the opening of Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix at QUT Art Museum.

Roy Lichtenstein 'Nude with blue hair' 1994 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased with the assistance of the Orde Poynton Fund 2002 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.

10 Members
Ngapartji Ngapartji {one}
A Big hART Production

Our friends at the Canberra Theatre Centre are offering a special price for Members of the NGA for the upcoming Big hART production Ngapartji Ngapartji {one}.

From the shelter of an isolated and timeless existence in the vast desert centre of our country, to a confrontation with the strange new world of non-indigenous Australia, Jamieson traces his family’s story through the 20th Century.

The phrase Ngapartji Ngapartji has no exact Western translation, however 'I give you something you give me something' captures something of the meaning... it also captures the spirit of this generous and virtuosic piece of theatre.

Simple quote the word ‘one’ when booking and receive $5.00 off full priced tickets. For more information on the production or to book online visit the Canberra Theatre website.

11 Tinalley
String Quartet
Win a double pass to
As dreams are made on

We have two double passes
to the Tinalley String Quartet performance As dreams are made on in the James O Fairfax Theatre on Sunday 22 July at 2.00 pm. Respond by email to to enter. Winners will be notified by email by COB Friday 13 July.

Erratum: In artonview Issue 159 (, the image of 'Welcome to the Lucky Country' by Danie Mellor was incorrectly credited as 'On loan from artist and private collector'. This has now been corrected to 'on loan from artist and Dr Clinton Ng'.