Sometimes you remember the poster better than the event. Simon Underschultz falls through the archival rabbit hole and emerges in the 1970s Australian National Gallery marketing department.
When I began as Special Collections Officer at the National Gallery of Australia in 2013, I suddenly found I was in charge of the Research Library’s poster collection. I opened the drawers and began sifting through them, and before me unfolded a visual history of the Gallery. Exhibition after exhibition, there was over three decades worth of posters, graphic designs and promotional images, all geared to draw me in and inspire me. I couldn’t believe my luck — to be given this private history lesson in a job that required knowledge of the Gallery’s history.
I wanted to share them, so I undertook a project to digitise them. They’re too good for an audience of just me — so much effort has been put into producing these ephemeral items, and each one was carefully filed into the archive as the next exhibition came along. I think it’s worth revisiting them, if not for nostalgia, for a unique sightline into the history of our Gallery and into Australian art.
ANG at ANU
These posters are from the period before the National Gallery of Australia — then the Australian National Gallery — was officially opened in October 1982. Back in that time exhibitions of the developing collection were held at Melville Hall at the Australian National University. They’re the earliest exhibition posters in our archive.
Come and see the best show in town
The poster archive also holds treasures like these promotional posters created for the brand new Australian National Gallery. Only $2!
Want to continue your walk down memory lane? Watch the full video of the opening of the Gallery by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.