Issue 3, Volume 19
To reiterate that title, I know nothing about art. Van Gogh’s the guy that cut his ear off, Pollock’s the guy that looks like he’s spat all over his paintings, and Monet really needs to visit an optometrist and get himself a glasses prescription. Wandering around a gallery sounds exhausting and extremely boring to me, but the current NGV Triennial exhibition only happens every three years, so I guess that means it's good? In attempt to prove that I’m a man of substance and personality, I ventured down Swanston Street to have a look at the 2020 Triennial exhibition.
Free with a booking, and closing on April 18, the exhibition is the talk of the town and the current must have Insta-story. My cynical expectation for the exhibition was that it was a place you visited in order to look and feel cool, and not a place you would especially enjoy visiting. Others pretend to like it, and when coupled with the desire to look and feel cool, you pretend to like it too – aka visiting a club (The Swan on a Saturday is the worst place in the world, but I digress).
Image Courtesy of NGV (www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/triennial-2020)
While at the exhibition I saw a “photographer” taking photos of a likely try-hard insta-model in front of exhibits, so my suspicions remain somewhat correct. I’m happy to report however that I was largely proven wrong, and I have no reservations in recommending going and viewing the exhibition. If you’re like me and know nothing about art I can assure you that you’ll have a good time.
The types of art that I’m most familiar with are paintings by the big names that we’ve all seen before, so I have very limited ability to evaluate the contemporary art, design, and architecture that is featured in this exhibition. Thus, take the following thoughts with a grain of salt:
I saw the 2018 Triennial (#imsocoolivebeentothengvmultipletimes), and in my humble opinion 2018 was better than the 2020 exhibition. From memory, 2018 had a greater number of exhibits that were generally more creative and exciting, likely due to differing themes and intentions of the two exhibitions. 2020 features a number of large, entire room occupying pieces that, again in my ignorant opinion, are mostly just fine. I’d prefer to have a greater number of smaller pieces, rather than the chosen larger curation, but you can’t always get whatcha want.
This Triennial is interwoven with the permanent collection on the upper floors, perhaps due to the larger size of the ground floor pieces. The signs are not especially helpful in guiding you through, and identifying the Triennial pieces from amongst the permanent collection is not speedily accomplished. This is not necessarily a criticism, more that as a time-sensitive law student it is worth noting that to view the entire Triennial you have to wander through the entire NGV, which can take quite a chunk of time.
Grab a mate and head on down to the NGV for the Triennial before it closes April 18.
Tim Irving is a first year JD student
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.