All our own work, and how!
Sometimes, Melburnians can surprise even themselves. For example, last February, 300,000 of us jammed into the CBD for the first White Night arts and cultural festival. From 7pm to 7am, the city glowed and pulsated so resoundingly, successfully and happily, that summer without such an event is now unthinkable.
There is the same feeling of simultaneous discovery and celebration with the National Gallery of Victoria's Melbourne Nowexhibition of contemporary art. This description does not adequately summarise what is more exposition than exhibition: it involves more than 175 individual and group presentations across art, architecture, design and performance, and there's barely a millimetre of space to spare inside or outside either gallery.
Melbourne Now's first two days attracted more than 18,000 people, the NGV's biggest opening weekend in 10 years. There might have been substantial turnouts for the gallery's blockbuster shows, but this one seems set to notch up its own records, as well as attract an eager younger generation of art lovers.
The remarkable thing - an overwhelming endorsement of NGV director Tony Ellwood's determination to sharpen the institution's focus on contemporary art - is that Melbourne Now is entirely a local show, devoted to the here and now. It exists to display the immensity of cultural talents in this city at this particular time. That its popularity is assured from the outset, offers confirmation that contemporary art is not to be feared, but something to be embraced and celebrated in all its forms. The walls of the NGV's St Kilda Road building may appear tall, grey and unbreachable, but behind them lie new wonders to behold.
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something ...