Essays

Read short-form essays by leading art curators and writers about key NGV works and exhibitions.

Outer Circle: The Boyds and the Murrumbeena Artists

  Introduction In 1913 Merric Boyd’s parents bought him a plot of land in the newly formed suburb of Murrumbeena, on what was then the south-eastern fringe of Melbourne. The land was …  More

Carsten Höller’s Golden Mirror Carousel

This summer at NGV International, in the former open-air sculpture court that is now Federation Court, audiences are invited to swing on an audacious new sculpture by German contemporary artist Carsten Höller. …  More

Contemporary artefacts and narcissistic robots: an interview with Wade Marynowsky

David Hurlston, Curator, Australian Art, National Gallery of Victoria: Nostalgia for Obsolete Futures is an amazing exhibition. It includes work you have made between 2009 and the present, in a wide range …  More

Bushido: Way of the Samurai

  The art and culture of the samurai encompasses more than 800 years of Japan’s history and creative past. From the twelfth century through to the Meiji Restoration and modernisation of Japan …  More

Three Perfections: Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting in Chinese Art

The exhibition Three Perfections: Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting in Chinese Art explores the interconnections between poetry, calligraphy and painting. In traditional China scholars and scholar-officials were cultivated in these arts as vehicles …  More

Paola Pivi: You started it … I finish it

Continuing a recent series of major commissions by leading international artists for Federation Court at NGV International, Paola Pivi’s You started it … I finish it is an installation encompassing eight life-size …  More

To see a world in a grain of sand: a closer look at the ‘Melbourne Blakes’

    Nature had not only painted there in all her hues But there the sweetness of a thousand scents Was blended in one fragrance strange and new. Dante Aligheri, The Divine …  More

Negoro lacquer: the refined beauty and rustic ambience of medieval Japan

Negoro refers to simple and elegant red lacquer objects that were produced during Japan’s medieval period, between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries. Embodying the ancient sense of Japanese beauty, the minimalistic forms …  More

Art of the Table

    Introduction Porcelain plates, silver cutlery, sparkling glassware – a well-laid dining table is a work of art. The different forms and appearances of these familiar objects over the last 500 …  More