In conjunction with the recent anouncement by the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) regarding the planned expansion of the gallery, four new acquisitions including a copy of Albrecht Durer’s most famous print, “Melencolia, 1514”; Ed Ruscha’s intense painting on canvas with mixed media “Gospel, 1972”; Yinka Shonibare’s epic 75-panel “Alien toy painting, 2011”; and Shaun Gladwell’s “Broken Dance,” a video installation purchased with funds donated by art collector Andrew Cameron were also revealed.
The impression of Durer’s “Melencolia, 1514” was most likely the one sold by Christie’s New York during their 29 January “Albrecht Durer: Masterpieces from a Private Collection” sale. The print sold for US$530,500 against an estimate of US$400,000 - $600,000 to a “US Trade” buyer, most likely a dealer bidding on behalf of the AGNSW. This was the only impression of the print sold in New York in January that fits the bill.
Ruscha’s “Gospel” was previously in the artist’s own private collection and was acquired thanks to funds provided by gallery members through the Art Gallery Society, and an extraordinarily generous contribution by Ed Ruscha himself. The painting was coincidentally (or not) chosen as the opening image for the 1998 exhibition “Ed Ruscha’s Light,” an initiative of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the previous employer of the current AGNSW Director, Michael Brand.
Shonibare’s “Alien toy painting, 2011” was exhibited at Anna Schwartz Gallery in 2012 as part of the exhibition “Invasion, Escape; Aliens do it right!” and subsequently acquired by the AGNSW. According to the exhibition catalogue, “‘Alien toy painting,’ an imagined galaxy, comprising seventy-five round batik paintings installed on a black background, stretches across the gallery wall. Thick painting is used alternatively on the front and the sides of the orbs. Balanced on delicate, coloured spindles, a variety of space themed toys halo the works. Lego men, Star Wars paraphernalia and alien eggs playfully question the notion of citizenship and nationalism.”
“Broken Dance (Beatboxed), 2012” was created by Shaun Gladwell for the for the AGNSW Contemporary Projects series in 2012. The dual-channel video installation features a beat-boxer performing vocal percussions in a studio opposite a dancer who “freestyles” in a graffiti-marked environment. In synchronization, the two channels connect performances that occurred at different times and locations.