|Location||North Terrace, Adelaide, Australia|
The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), established as the National Gallery of South Australia in 1881, is located in Adelaide. It is the most significant visual arts museum in the Australian state of South Australia. It has a collection of almost 45,000 works of art, making it the second largest state art collection in Australia (after the National Gallery of Victoria). As part of North Terrace cultural precinct, the Gallery is flanked by the South Australian Museum to the west and the University of Adelaide to the east.
As well as its permanent collection, which is especially renowned for its collection of Australian art, AGSA hosts the annual Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art known as Tarnanthi , displays a number of visiting exhibitions each year and also contributes travelling exhibitions to regional galleries. European (including British), Asian and North American art are also well represented in its collections.
The South Australian Society of Arts, established in 1856 and oldest fine arts society still in existence, held Annual exhibitions in South Australian Institute rooms and advocated for a public art collection. In 1880 Parliament gave £2,000 to the Institute to start acquiring a collection and the National Gallery of South Australia was established in June 1881.It was opened in two rooms of the public library (now the Mortlock Wing of the State Library), by Prince Albert Victor and Prince George. Most works on display were acquired through a government grant. In 1897, Sir Thomas Elder bequeathed £25,000 to the art gallery for the purchase of artworks.
In 1889 the gallery moved further east to the Jubilee Exhibition Building, and then to its present site in 1900, in a specially designed building (now the Elder Wing)designed by architect Owen Smythe and built in Classical Revival style by Messrs Tudgeon. Originally built with an enclosed portico, a 1936 refurbishment and enlargement included a new facade with an open Doric portico.
Major extensions in 1962 (including a three-storey air-conditioned addition on the northern side), 1979 (general refurbishment, in time for its centenary in 1981) and 1996 (large expansion) increased the gallery’s display, administrative and ancillary facilities further.
The building is listed in the South Australian Heritage Register.
As of 2019 [update] , the building houses 64kWh worth of battery storage as part of the Government of South Australia Storage Demonstration project, powered by three 7.5kW Selectronic inverters. This reduces the consumption of power from the state grid.
In 1939, an act of parliament, the 1939 number 44 Libraries and Institutes Act, repealed the Public library, Museum and Art Gallery and Institutes Act and separated the Gallery from the Public Library (now the State Library), and Museum, established its own board and changed its name to the Art Gallery of South Australia.
The Art Gallery Act 1939 was passed to provide for the control of the library. This has been amended several times since.
In 1967 the National Gallery of South Australia changed its name to the Art Gallery of South Australia.
From about 1996 until late 2018 Arts SA (later Arts South Australia) had responsibility for this and several other statutory bodies such as the Museum and the State Library, after which the functions were transferred to direct oversight by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Arts and Culture section.
As of May 2019 [update] , the AGSA collection comprises almost 45,000 works of art. Of the state galleries, only the National Gallery of Victoria is larger. It attracts about 780,000 visitors each year.
The Gallery is renowned for its collections of Australian art, including Indigenous Australian and colonial art, from about 1800 onwards. The collection is strong in nineteenth-century works (including silverware and furniture) and in particular Australian Impressionist (often referred to as Heidelberg School) paintings. Its twentieth-century Modernist art collection includes the work of many female artists, and there is a large collection of South Australian art, which includes 2,000 drawings by Hans Heysen and a large collection of photographs.
Heidelberg school works include Tom Roberts' A break away! , Charles Conder's A holiday at Mentone , and Arthur Streeton's Road to Templestowe. [ citation needed ]The mid-twentieth century is represented by works by Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd, Margaret Preston, Bessie Davidson, and Sidney Nolan, and South Australian art includes works by James Ashton and Jeffrey Smart.
The Gallery became the first Australian gallery to acquire a work by an Indigenous artist in 1939, although systematic acquisition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art was not realised until the mid-1950s.The Gallery and now holds a large and diverse collection of older and contemporary works, including the Kulata Tjuta collaboration created by Aṉangu artists working in the north of SA.
European landscape paintings include works by Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael, Salomon van Ruysdael, Joseph Wright of Derby,and Camille Pissarro. Other European works include paintings by Goya, Francesco Guardi, Pompeo Batoni and Camille Corot.
There is a large collection of British art, including many Pre-Raphaelite works, by artists Edward Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Morris & Co.. Other works include John William Waterhouse's Circe Invidiosa (1892) and The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius (c.1883); William Holman Hunt's Christ and the Two Marys (1847) and The Risen Christ with the Two Marys in the Garden Of Joseph of Aramathea (1897); and John Collier's Priestess of Delphi (1891). Works by British portrait painters include Robert Peake, Anthony van Dyck, Peter Lely and Thomas Gainsborough.
Sculpture includes works by Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Jacob Epsteinand Thomas Hirschhorn.
The Asian art collection, begun in 1904, includes work from the whole region, with focuses on the pre-modern Japanese art, art of Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. The Gallery holds Australia’s only permanent display of Islamic art.
As well as its permanent collection, AGSA hosts the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art,displays a number of visiting exhibitions each year and contributes travelling exhibitions to regional galleries.
The Adelaide Biennial is "the only major biennial dedicated solely to presenting contemporary Australian art",and also the longest-running exhibition featuring contemporary Australian art. It is supported by the Australia Council and other sponsors. It is presented in association with the Adelaide Festival and staged by AGSA and partner gallery the Samstag Museum, as well as other venues such as the Adelaide Botanic Garden, Mercury Cinema and JamFactory.
The Adelaide Biennial was established in 1990, planned to coincide with Artist's Week, which had commenced in 1982 to help counter the poor coverage of visual art in the Adelaide Festival of Arts programme at that time. The Art Gallery of New South Wales introduced an exhibition of Australian art called Australian Perspecta in 1981, which ran in alternate years with the international Biennale of Sydney, in response for the need for more forums focussing on Australian art.In its first iteration in 1990, The Adelaide Biennale set out to emulate the Whitney Biennial of American art in New York City, and was intended to complement the Sydney Biennale and the Australian Perspecta exhibitions. Then director Daniel Thomas said that they had introduced the Biennial to keep Australia up to date: the Festival attracts international and interstate visitors and it was a good time to introduce contemporary Australian art to this audience. Artists such as Fiona Hall, whose work is now in the National Gallery of Art, were showcased at the first Biennial. The exhibition today still projects Thomas' vision, with the most noticeable difference being that the current version has a theme and a catchy title.
The 2014 Biennial was titled "Dark Heart", an examination of changing national sensibilities, mounted by director Nick Mitzevitch, with 28 artists exhibiting.
In 2016, the gallery participated in the large "Biennial 2016" art festival with its "Magic Object" exhibitions.
In 2018, the title was "Divided Worlds", which aimed "...to describe the divide between ideas and ideologies, between geographies and localities, between communities and nations, and the subjective and objective view of experience and reality itself". Venues included the Museum of Economic Botany in Adelaide Botanic Garden.It drew record crowds, with more than 240,000 people over a 93-day season under curator Erica Green.
Curator for the 2020 Biennial, which was scheduled to run from 29 February to 8 June 2020, is Leigh Robb, inaugural Curator of Contemporary Art appointed in 2016.The title is "Monster Theatres", examining "our relationships with each other, the environment and technology" and featuring a lot of live art. Paintings, photography, sculpture, textiles, film, video, sound art, installation, and performance art by 23 artists are featured, including work by Abdul Abdullah, Stelarc, David Noonan, Garry Stewart and Australian Dance Theatre, Megan Cope, Karla Dickens, Julia Robinson, performance artist Mike Parr, Polly Borland, Willoh S. Weiland, Yhonnie Scarce (whose work In the Dead House was installed in the old Adelaide Lunatic Asylum morgue building in the Botanic Garen ) and others. However, AGSA had to temporarily close from 25 March 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, so some of the exhibits were shown online, along with virtual tours of the exhibition. When the gallery reopened on 8 June, it was announced that the exhibition period would be extended to 2 August 2020. Some of the exhibits
Since 2015, AGSA has hosted and supported events connected with Tarnanthi (pronounced tar-nan-dee), the Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. The 2015 exhibition was said to be the "most ambitious exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in its 134-year history".In association with the Government of South Australia and BHP, an expansive city-wide festival is staged biennially (in odd-numbered years), alternating with a focus exhibition at the gallery in the years in between.
In 1906, when William Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World was on display, 18,168 visitors crammed through the gallery in less than two weeks to see it.
In 2016, a new national $100,000 acquisitive art prize for artists, open to Australian artists under 40 working in any medium, was announced by the Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill. Supported by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation, it is the country's richest art prize, awarded biennially. Chosen by an international judging panel, all finalists are exhibited in a major exhibition over the winter months at the Gallery.There is also a non-acquisitive Lipman Karas People’s Choice Prize based on public vote, worth $15,000.
In its inaugural year, over 450 young artists submitted entries. From the 21 finalists selected for the exhibition, Perth-born artist Sarah Contos, now based in Sydney, won the prize for her entry entitled Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye.Julie Fragar's 2016 painting Goose Chase: All of Us Together Here and Nowhere, which explores the story of Antonio de Fraga, her first paternal ancestor to emigrate to Australia in the 19th century, won the People's Choice Award.
In 2019, 23 finalists were chosen from a field of 350 submissions. 3 metres (9.8 ft) by 4 metres (13 ft) painting entitled Ride to Church, inspired by childhood memories of the whole family perched somewhat precariously on a single motorbike to travel to church.Vincent Namatjira won the main prize with his work Close Contact, 2018, a double-sided full-body representation of a man, in acrylic paint on plywood. Winner of the People's Choice Prize was 24-year-old Zimbabwean man Pierre Mukeba (the youngest finalist) for his
Selected Australian works
Selected international works
The South Australian Museum is a natural history museum and research institution in Adelaide, South Australia, founded in 1856 and owned by the Government of South Australia. It occupies a complex of buildings on North Terrace in the cultural precinct of the Adelaide Parklands. Plans are under way to split its Australian Aboriginal cultural collection, some of which will be housed in a new building housing these along with other works of art, in a new National Gallery for Aboriginal Art and Cultures.
Stelarc is a Cyprus-born performance artist raised in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine, whose works focus heavily on extending the capabilities of the human body. As such, most of his pieces are centered on his concept that "the human body is obsolete". Until 2007 he held the position of Principal Research Fellow in the Performance Arts Digital Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England. He is currently furthering his research at Curtin University in Western Australia.
Ben Quilty is an Australian artist and social commentator, who has won a series of painting prizes: the 2014 Prudential Eye Award, 2011 Archibald Prize and 2009 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. He has been described as one of Australia's most famous living artists.
Władysław Dutkiewicz was a Polish-born naturalized Australian artist and Polish language playwright, winning multiple awards as a painter. He emigrated to Australia in 1949.
Kathleen Petyarre was an Australian Aboriginal artist. Her art refers directly to her country and her Dreamings. Petyarre's paintings have occasionally been compared to the works of American Abstract Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, and even to those of J.M.W. Turner. She has won several awards and is considered one of the "most collectable artists in Australia". Her works are in great demand at auctions. Petyarre died on 24 November 2018, in Alice Springs, Australia.
Julie Robinson is Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at the Art Gallery of South Australia, where she has worked since 1988, and is also on the teaching staff at the University of Adelaide, where she offers supervision in Art History. Her curatorial projects include Candid Camera: Australian Photography 1950s–1970s (2010) and A Century In Focus: South Australian Photography 1840s-1940s (2007). Writing about the latter while national arts critic of The Australian, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Sebastian Smee said: "If you are at all interested in Australian photography, whether or not you are from SA, you will want to see this show, or at least get hold of the catalogue".
The Adelaide International was a biennial art exhibition held in at the Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide, South Australia, in partnership with the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, from 2010 to 2014. The series featured a range of contemporary visual works from artists based outside Australia. After a pause in the partnership was agreed, the exhibition was revived by the Samstag in 2019 as a series of three annual events, with the new title Adelaide//International, with a different context and concept: the 2019 exhibition was about the effect of colonisation on indigenous culture.
Udo Sellbach (1927–2006) was a German-Australian visual artist and educator whose work focused primarily around his printmaking practice.
Pat Brassington is a contemporary Australian artist working in the field of digital art, and photography. Born in 1942, in the town of Hobart, Tasmania, she was named Australia’s key surrealist working in photomedia.
Nell is an Australian artist working across performance, installation, video, painting and sculpture. In 2013 she won the University of Queensland Self-Portrait Award. In 2017 she was inducted into the Maitland City Hall of Fame in the category of The Arts.
Megan Cope is an Australian Aboriginal artist from the Quandamooka people of Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah. Her site-specific sculptural installations, video work and paintings investigate issues relating to identity, the environment and mapping practices. Cope is a member of the contemporary Indigenous art collective ProppaNOW in Brisbane, but lives and works in Melbourne.
Tarnanthi is a Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art held in Adelaide, South Australia, annually. Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) in association with the South Australian Government and BHP, it alternates between a city-wide festival in one year and an exhibition at AGSA in other years.It includes an annual Art Fair as well as artist talks, performances and events. It seeks to present Indigenous Australian history and culture as a legacy to be shared by all Australians, showcasing the expansiveness of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art "on a scale that hasn’t been seen before”.
Vincent Namatjira is an Aboriginal Australian artist living in Indulkana, in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara in South Australia. His work has been nominated for the Archibald Prize several times, and won the Ramsay Art Prize in 2019. He is the great-grandson of the Arrente watercolour artist Albert Namatjira.
Sally M. Nangala Mulda is an Arrernte and Southern Luritja artist who lives and works in Alice Springs. She paints for Tangentyere Artists.
Marrnyula Mununggurr (1964) is an Aboriginal Australian painter of the Djapu clan of the Yolngu people, known for her use of natural ochres on bark and hollow logs, wood carvings, linoleum and screen print productions.
Nici Cumpston, is an Australian photographer, painter, curator, writer, and educator.
r e a Saunders, known as r e a, is an Indigenous Australian artist, Academic and Lecturer at the University of Queensland. She works with photography, digital media and installation art.
Barbara Mbitjana Moore is an Anmatyerre woman who grew up in Ti-Tree in the Northern Territory, until she moved to Amata in South Australia's Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands to live with her husband. Whilst living in Amata Moore began painting at Tjala Arts in April 2003 and, since then, has received widespread recognition and being listed at a winner at the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award's in 2012 and a finalist many more times. Moore has also been a finalist for the Wynne Prize.
Yhonnie Scarce is an Australian glass artist whose work is held in major Australian galleries. She is a descendant of the Kokatha and Nukunu people of South Australia, and her art is informed by the effects of colonisation on Indigenous Australia, winning her the 2008 inaugural South Australian recipient of the Qantas Foundation Encouragement Award.
Yaritji Young is a Pitjantjatjara woman from Pukatja, a community within the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands and she now lives at Rocket Bore; a homeland north of Amata. Young is a significant Australian Aboriginal artist and senior law women who is to committed to fostering law and culture and this forms a core part of her artistic practice. Most of Young's paintings are drawn from the Tjala Dreaming.
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