2021 has been the strangest year for the arts in Canberra | Canberra weather

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The year 2021 has been a strange year! He taught us never to make predictions and reinforced the truth of the old adage: “If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans.” While 2020 has left us anxious, 2021 leaves us feeling that heightened anxiety state may become the new normal. Among Australia’s leading public art galleries, the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra has to be considered the luckiest. His successful exhibition, Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London, managed to squeeze between closings and more than 200,000 people bought tickets to see the show. Both the Art Gallery NSW and the National Gallery of Victoria have seen their successful exhibitions sabotaged by the closures. I understand that, for a while, Botticelli to Van Gogh was the most visited exhibition in the London National Gallery, all over the world. The National Gallery’s pioneering exhibition Know my name: Australian women artists 1900 to now (part 2) which runs until June 26, 2022, remains one of Australia’s most talked about exhibitions. Sarah Lucas’ show, linked to the Know my name project and which runs until April 2022, is provocative, confrontational and popular, while the all-new Jeffrey Smart is expected to woo an art audience who love Australian art. All in all, it should be said that 2021 has been an exceptional year for the NGA despite the blockages. Canberra’s other public galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Australia, have had a quieter year and it was only last month that the National Museum ventured to host its major exhibition, Ancient Greeks : Athletes, Warriors and Heroes. . This British Museum exhibit has been delayed for about a year and after its successful Perth debut is likely to be an absolute hit with an art audience hungry for ‘old masters’ who are typically seen overseas. How did Canberra’s commercial art galleries fare in 2021? Despite the lockdown, and counter-intuitively, many commercial art galleries in Australia have reported a slight increase in sales from 2020. It appears homebound workers are spending a bit more money on garnishing their domestic art nests. At the Beaver Galleries there was the spectacular sold-out eX de Medici exhibit and exceptional exhibits by Alex Asch, Sue Lovegrove and Graeme Drendel. The Nancy Sever Gallery’s flagship exhibitions included works by Marie Hagerty, Cameron Haas and Kerry McInnis. Some of the publicly funded galleries have also staged major exhibitions, although COVID has wreaked havoc on their programs. The Megalo Print Gallery presented a sublime exhibition of the work of Roslyn Kean, while the ANCA organized a striking and memorable exhibition of the work of Tess Horwitz. The Canberra Museum and Gallery has organized a major exhibition of the work of Mandy Martin, who sadly passed away of this life this year. A symbolic event has embodied much of this year in the visual arts. With great impatience, I looked forward to the Spowers & Syme exhibition which was about to open at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. On the day of the scheduled opening, I heard that Canberra was heading for lockdown and rushed to the gallery to see if I could attend the exhibit before it closed before it opened. The kind gallery staff, seeing the anguish on my face, let me in and I had a blissful hour with the exhibition and for many months I was the only visitor to the exhibition. . It was supposed to close in Canberra before it opened to the public, but luckily a gallery has pulled back from its scheduled tour and the wonderful show continues until February 2022. 2021 has been a tough year and may the gods smile on us in 2022 .


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