The Sydney International Art Series 2015-2016 returns this summer with two exceptional exhibitions, The Greats: masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career, a major exhibition of works by the acclaimed British contemporary artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA).
NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres, said the Sydney International Art Series is synonymous with world-class exhibitions and is a celebration of the collaboration between Destination NSW, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
“Since its inception in 2010, the Sydney International Art Series has generated over $90 million in visitor expenditure for the State and attracted over 1.4 million attendees, with over 116,000 overseas and interstate visitors coming specifically to Sydney to view the exhibitions.
“These figures reflect the calibre of exhibitions that the Art Series has presented over the past five years and I have no doubt that The Greats and Grayson Perry exhibitions will bring visitors to Sydney and reaffirm our reputation as the cultural and creative hub of Australia,” Mr Ayres said.
Spanning a period of 400 years from the Renaissance to Impressionism, The Greats: masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, includes works by the most outstanding artists in Western art, including Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Velázquez, Poussin, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Monet, Degas, Gauguin, and Cézanne.
Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Dr Michael Brand, said it is a tremendous privilege to host such a fine collection of masterpieces in Sydney.
“The Greats is a statement of unequivocal artistic excellence – each piece in this exhibition is of extraordinary quality. We are delighted to provide Australian audiences the rare opportunity to come face to face with such unique and masterful artworks,” Dr Brand said.
“Approaching the entrance to the Art Gallery of NSW, we are reminded of Sydney’s historic aspirations for viewing the creations of European old masters, with names such as Titian, Rembrandt and Botticelli adorning the Gallery’s sandstone facade.
“It is with great pleasure that I now welcome incredible works by these artists to our interior walls, into a sublime exhibition space that promises a moving and absorbing experience for all visitors,” Brand added.
Visitors to The Greats will experience the Scottish National Gallery’s famous interior with part of the exhibition space inspired by the Edinburgh gallery’s octagonal rooms with fabric walls of a sumptuous red – the traditional colour on which to hang old master paintings. This installation will serve to accentuate the grandeur of the paintings and foster an intimate experience with each of the artworks.
A programming highlight at the Art Gallery of NSW is a keynote lecture by the Director of the Scottish National Gallery, Michael Clarke, on Saturday 24 October 2015. Serving to engage the widest possible audience, the Gallery will offer public and education programs to visitors of all ages including guided tours, lecture series, late night programs, and a suite of events designed to facilitate meaningful interactions with the masterpieces featured in The Greats.
A winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2003, Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career is his first major survey in the Southern Hemisphere.
Curated by MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent, the exhibition will introduce the full spectrum of Grayson Perry’s practice from the early 1980s to the present. It encompasses a diverse and comprehensive selection of his ceramic works (including a major loan from The British Museum, The Rosetta Vase (2011), inspired by the famous Rosetta Stone in The British Museum Collection), sculptures in iron and bronze, prints and drawings, and his ambitious, large-scale tapestries including the fifteen-metre The Walthamstow Tapestry (2009), his largest and most ambitious tapestry to date, and the six-part tapestry cycle The Vanity of Small Differences (2012).
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, said, “Grayson Perry is one of the best known British artists of his generation. With his formidable media presence and flamboyant, accessible aesthetic which blurs the division of high art and popular culture, his appeal extends beyond the art world. We are thrilled to be welcoming him and his work for the first time in the region.”
An astute chronicler of contemporary life, Grayson Perry infuses his artworks with a sly humour and reflection on society past and present. Various themes are explored through Perry’s multi-faceted practice including the history of taste and social class in Britain, religious and folk iconography, and representations of masculinity.
Grayson Perry will be present for the opening events, delivering a keynote lecture to introduce his exhibition. Other programming highlights at the MCA will include a creative family space offering a range of free activities inspired by the artist’s practice (including design-your-own-pot and paper-plane decorating workshops), a pop-up summer bar, a Panel Talk exploring the issue of masculinity, a film series curated by the artist, a new MCA mobile app with exclusive videos, a content-rich resource room with touch-screen interactivity, free daily guided tours, late night programs every Thursday evening, and a range of artistic workshops for all ages.
The Greats: masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, is presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 24 October 2015 to 14 February 2016. Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career, is presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia from 10 December 2015 to 1 May 2016.
Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase The Sydney International Art Pass which provides entry to both exhibitions at a discounted rate of 20%. For more information on the Art Pass visit artpass.com.au.