Previous exhibitions 2015

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4 December 2015 – 26 June 2016

Black can be understood as a puritanical colour, representing goodness, virtue and obedience; at the same time, it can suggest wisdom, creativity and wealth. In other contexts, black carries entirely negative associations: it suggests evil and disease, totalitarianism and anarchy, mourning and melancholy. Most fundamentally, black can represent the end of something and a new start.

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Lee Krasner Untitled 1953 oil, collage, gouache National Gallery of Austrlia, Canberra Purchased 1983 © Lee Krasner/ARS. Licensed by Viscopy

The world is beautiful

4 December 2015 – 5 June 2016

An exhibition of photographs taken over the last 100 years from the National Gallery of Australia's magnificent photography collection, including work by Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Henson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman, Edward Weston and many more.

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Robert Doisneau Un regard oblique [A sidelong glance] 1948, gelatin silver photograph, printed 1990 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Behind the scenes: Tyler graphics at work

4 December 2015 – 22 May 2016

Art from one of the most innovative print workshops of the 20th century, photographs and specially produced short films reveal the processes of printmaking and the collaborative relationships between seven leading artists and Ken Tyler, master printer.

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Terence La Noue Beyond the shore 1992 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Gift of Kenneth Tyler, 2002

The last temptation: the art of Ken + Julia Yonetani

12 December 2015 – 25 April 2016

Chandeliers made from uranium glass representing nuclear-powered nations and a nine-metre banquet table made entirely of salt feature in the first large survey show of these internationaly acclaimed artists.

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Ken + Julia Yonetani Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations 2013, photo courtesy of the artists

Tom Roberts

4 December 2015 – 28 March 2016

Experience the work of legendary Australian artist Tom Roberts this summer at the NGA in Canberra. This extraordinary exhibition brings together Tom Roberts' most famous paintings loved by all Australians. Paintings such as Shearing the rams (1888-90) and A break away! (1891) are among the nation's best known works of art.

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Tom Roberts Shearing the rams 1888-90 (detail) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest Fund, 1932

Myth and Magic

7 August – 1 November 2015

This exhibition showcases the unique cultures of the Sepik River region of Papua New Guinea, a country that has been part of Australia's history and will very much be part of its future. Myth and magic opens as Papua New Guinea celebrates its 40th anniversary of independence.

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Sawos people 'Malu' plaque 19th century, wood. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1977 (Detail)

Colour my world

3 April – 20 September 2015

This is the first exhibition dedicated to a significant aspect of recent Australian art: the handcoloured photograph. It draws together new acquisitions and rarely seen works from the collection by Micky Allan, Ruth Maddison, Warren Breninger, Julie Rrap, Janina Green, Christine Barry, Fiona Hall, Miriam Stannage, Robyn Stacey, Nici Cumpston, Lyndell Brown, Charles Green and Jon Cattapan.

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Robyn Stacey Untitled 1985–87, gelatin silver photograph, colour dye. Courtesy of the artist and Stills Gallery, Sydney (Detail)


contemporary print culture

1 May – 6 September 2015

This eclectic selection of works embraces print in a dizzying array of forms: moving image and digital print, 'found' works cut from magazines, pieces that journal the passing of days and volumes revealing print's link with idea, word and story. Drawn from the gallery's collection, the assembled works are inquiring, anarchic, gentle and joyful. They reveal Australian print culture as an art form and a cultural phenomenon always restless and forever in flux.

Minna Gilligan Different drum digital print, printed in colour inks, from one digital file on un-stretched fabric Gordon Darling Australia Pacific Print Fund, 2014 (Detail)

Story of Rama

22 May – 23 August 2015

A tale of love, loyalty, betrayal and the victory of good over evil, the Ramayana is one of the world's great epics. The story of Rama: Indian miniatures from the National Museum, New Delhi illustrates key moments from the narrative through one hundred and one paintings. Spanning the 17th – 19th centuries, the works present a rich diversity of Indian painting.

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Guler style, Pahari The great battle between Rama and Ravana c 1780, opaque watercolour on paper, National Museum, New Delhi (Detail)

Alive and Spirited

2 August – April 2015

Alive and Spirited is the latest exhibition now on show in the Children's Gallery. It explores the important role of mythical beings in Aboriginal society; these exquisite works of art are the tangible evidence of the spiritual realm.

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Christopher Pease Hunting party, 2003, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2004 (Detail)

Myth and memory

in recent American landscape photography

12 January – 13 July 2015

The United States' great wilderness areas have always had an important place the imaginative life of the American people. A number of major contemporary photographers in the collection including Robert Adams, Frank Gohlke, Mark Ruwedel and Mark Klett make images which engage critically with this myth of unspoilt nature.

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Mark Klett, Around Toroweap Point just before and after sundown beginning and ending with views used by J.K. Hillers over one hundred years earlier, Grand Canyon 1986, comprising 5 photographs, Purchased 2000 (Detail)

James Turrell

a retrospective

13 December 2014 – 8 June 2015

This exhibition follows three highly successful shows throughout 2013—at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Guggenheim in New York. It brings together works from LACMA's tour, with spectacular installations purpose-built for Canberra, drawings, prints and photographs. This is contemporary art like you've never seen before and promises an experience not to be missed.

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James Turrell After green 1993 Wedgework: fluorescent, LED and fibre-optic lights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra © James Turrell

Previous travelling exhibitions 2015

Impressions of Paris:

Lautrec, Degas, Daumier

Paris became the premier capital of the art world in the 19th century. A major contribution was made by three key French artists: Honoré Daumier (1808–1970), Edgar Degas (1834–1917) and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). Each was a consummate draughtsman whose innovative compositions and choice of modern subject-matter played a significant role in artistic developments in France over the century.

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Edgar Degas Mlle Bécat at the Café des Ambassadeurs [Mlle Bécat au Café des Ambassadeurs] 1877–78 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, The Poynton Bequest 2005

Stars in the river

The prints of Jessie Traill

Stars in the river: the prints of Jessie Trail celebrates the artistic career of one of Australia's most important printmakers of the twentieth century, Jessie Traill. Embracing the medium of etching in the early 1900s, Traill forged a radical path for printmaking in Australia through the duality of her vision.

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Jessie Traill Evening Mallacoota, West 1924, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1983 © Estate of Jessie Traill

Capital and country

The Federation years 1900–1914

Capital and country: the Federation years 1900–1914 celebrates the art of the newly-federated Australia alongside the work of Australians working in Europe during these formative years of the new century. The paintings by 25 Australians invite viewers on a journey through the era and around the world, from patriotic visions of the Australian bush to the bohemian enclaves of London and Paris where sumptuous portraits were produced.

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WC Piguenit Near Liverpool, New South Wales c 1908 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, acquired with the assistance of the Masterpieces for the Nation Fund 2005


Australian Jewellery 1970 2012

This exhibition includes the work of 42 Australian jewellers exploring jewellery from a number of viewpoints within six broad themes: Romanticism, Interpreting the Vernacular, Encapsulating Nature, Technics, Social Message and Sculpture for the Body.

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Bethamy Linton Winged alates, collar 2012 anodised titanium, sterling silver National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2012