My better half landed a last minute job interview, so kid and I took a ride with him into Melbourne to go to the National Gallery of Victoria.
I haven’t been for a while, the NGV is a place I will just drop into because, because. Because art, because space, because the coffee is good, because I used to work there for so many years, because I was forced to go to drawing lessons every weekend when I was a kid (seriously, I have memories of copying Charles Blackman’s works, I vividly remember the chairs.)
When we did arrive, the sun was already hot and the gallery was just opening. There was a queue of people that wrapped around the moat. Everyone was there to catch the last of the big exhibition and I felt relieved that we were not there for that!
We took a ride on Carsten Höller’s Golden Mirror Carousel while waiting for our friends. The crowds formed thick and fast around us, but we got away to let the kids play outdoors in the garden. All that clean, nice space!
We then went into the kids area, which I had worked in during the Melbourne Now exhibition, and during that time I was told that they were opening up that part of the gallery to be a kids space, permanently.
I remember stalking in there many years ago looking at Dürer and Goya’s line works, part of a prints and drawing exhibition of which I cannot remember the title. I had worked on the kids programs for that exhibition also. The gallery had commissioned me to draw a set of angel and a set of devil wings that children could cut out and create their own creatures with. A beautiful little blonde girl drew this amazing beast, with many sagging breasts and a vuvla with fat lips that was leaking something. It took my breath away.. At first I was like, that is weird and then I was like nooo, actually that is pretty cool and creative and oh my god she is amazing and oh my god, I want one!
(A kid, not a several breasted big lipped creature..)
Anyway, in this space they have Express Yourself: Romance was Born for Kids which is just amazing. If you haven’t been, you really must go. I could not believe how beautiful and rich the space is. And so generous. There are so many things for children to do: drawing on ipads, jumping on lillie pads in front of a Del Kathryn Barton painting, decorating mask beards..
We then went to visit the David Shrigley because I had seen on various cool people’s instagrams that you could do drawing in there. We were stopped by a security guard who told us about an exhibit on level three that may be of interest; you could climb on it! So, being in the company of two four year olds, we had to go there first.
The Island Bird by Ernesto Neto – was so so so much fun to explore together, we all had a go at climbing through the structure.
Then finally, we made it down to the David Shrigley exhibition. There were so many awesome things to look and and giggle with the kids about.
My daughter was a little frightened of the sculpture, who blinks and wees intermittently. I think she was also overwhelmed by everything and the ginormous space. But after cuddles and encouragement she sat down and drew with the rest of us. Her friend said to me “Lily is doing a Great Job!” and said to my daughter “oohhh, you’re an Artist!”
At one point when the sculpture peed a group of adults looking at us said that perhaps this exhibition wasn’t suitable for children – I had a quite giggle. The exhibition is perfect for children!
It is at this point that we were all very tired and quickly did the obligatory visit to the Great Hall (AKA Smashed Rainbow Room) and put our hands in the water running down the entrance wall. We all left extremely tired but happy – thank you NGV, Steph and Z for one of the best days ever!