NGV Collection

29 04 2009

It seems that rainy days inspire me to visit to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The intent for my visit was to see the ‘Dressed to Rule‘ exhibition (which I will write about shortly), but I also wanted to see if the exhibit of items from the jewellery collection had changed.

My last visit was less than a month ago, so I was a little surprised and pleased to see a new exhibit. On this visit, items from the collection were exhibited in one of the larger cases: a promotion! There were eight items last time, and this time there were twenty-seven; with Otto Kunzli being a major focus of this grouping.

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page 1

  • Nel Linssen, Necklace, 1995; paper – there are fantastic images on his website
  • Nel Linssen, Necklace, 1999; paper
  • Gert Mosettig, Necklace, 1998; aluminium, brass
  • Theresa Hilbert, Brooch, 1999; silver
  • Theresa Hilbert, Vessel, Pendant, 1996; silver

page 2

page 3

  • Otto Kunzli, Gold makes you blind, bracelet, 1980 – this is a well-known piece by Otto, where the gold bracelet is covered in black rubber
  • Otto Kunzli, Oh Say!’ Brooch, 1991 – again, another very well known piece, an acidic commentary on American life
  • Gerd Rothman, ‘For him for her for Mo Stahr’, bangle, 1990; gold
  • Karl Fritsch, Ring, 2005, 2005; oxidised silver, glass – I like the playful stacking of riotously colourful glass gems
  • Helen Britton, Red blue brooch, 2007
  • Helen Britton, Yellow structure, 2008
  • Peter Bauhius, Vessel, 2004; silver

page 4

I thought the photography policy of the NGV was not to allow visitors to take any photographs. However, on this one visit alone I saw two people taking photographs of items in the permanent collection; one even doing so with a guard standing right nearby – so is it okay?!

The NGV website offers good information on note-taking and sketching in the gallery, but it took a deal of searching to find their general conditions of entry where it is stated that: “Whenever you are on the NGV Premises you must not:

  • use photographic or recording equipment in areas where this has been restricted;
  • use flash photographic equipment without the express permission of the NGV;
  • use mobile phones and other devices in artwork display areas;
  • touch, or in any other way, interfere with artwork on display;
  • smoke in the building;
  • eat or drink in artwork display areas or other places where this is restricted; and
  • bring animals on the NGV Premises, except for guide dogs”

So, that must mean that photography in these areas was not ‘restricted’ – though I saw no clear signage as I wandered around various exhibits and gallery rooms, which areas were ‘restricted’ and which weren’t. Next time I will ask for photography permission … though I do like sketching….

Update (25th June): clarification on the policy was later achieved! see this post



3 responses

25 06 2009

Typical public institution – vague and potentially contradictory rules about photography are made to be broken!

25 06 2009

Hi Fitzroyalty
The NGV photography policy was very difficult to find on their website. But on my last visit I noticed it was pretty clearly displayed on the glass wall at the entrance (sometimes I pay so little attention to what is right in front of me!). Further, after I wrote this post, I later visited to clarify the policy and wrote about it here. It all seems pretty clear to me now. On subsequent visits, I have always asked as I enter the exhibit; for example, photography is not permitted at the Dali exhibition which is expected and doesn’t contradict the open wording of the policy.
I do agree with your main point though, that the photography policy can be quite different between galleries, so that’s why I think it’s always important to ask. Though I have found that in some of the smaller galleries it is quite dependent on whoever is actually sitting the gallery at that time – I have sometimes been given permission, and not at other times.
But I don’t agree that the rules are meant to be broken – if specifically requested not to photograph then I won’t, out of respect for what might be the artist’s genuine wish. But I might try to go back another day and see if I’ll be allowed by someone else!

25 06 2009

Hi again
I’ve read your post a little more closely and note you say: “if there are no conservation issues (fragility to light), or inconvenience to other visitors (which can be controlled by gallery staff), or copyright or intellectual property issues (items from private collections on temporary loan or indigenous items), then as a taxpayer I should be able to photograph works I help pay for.” I agree, and in my interpretation of the policy, I now understand that to be pretty much what we can do at the NGV. You make an interesting point about selling more postcards though!
Just to clarify, my comment above about rules not being broken was specifically about smaller galleries…

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