For curators, one of the most interesting parts of our jobs is working with contemporary artists, because of the opportunity it provides to talk about art and ideas. In the preparation for Melbourne Now, curators all over the NGV (and beyond) are busily talking, emailing and texting with the artists of this city. Among the many exchanges that have taken place are a series of Q&A’s about a whole range of things, including asking people about their favourite work in the NGV Collection.
For me, as a curator of photography, it has been fascinating to see the responses of the artists working with photo-media. Surprisingly few have nominated a photograph as their chosen work.
Here are a few of my favourite responses.
‘J.M.W. Turner’s, A mountain scene, Val d’Aosta. This painting taught me about the value of light and how tone can have a profound impact on the way artwork is enjoyed. This painting made me aware of just how incredible photography can be as a way to explore the world. When I first saw this painting in the early 1990s, I had an interest in art, but it was slightly misguided, in need of some kind of clarity. This painting provided that clarity. ‘
‘I was extremely happy when I discovered the series of prints by Jacques Callot, The Miseries and Misfortunes of War on show at the NGV recently. Given its age (1633) I think it is remarkable that it has retained its bite and I consider it one of the most important and successful pieces of social commentary I have seen.’
“I’ve always admired the painting Anguish (1880) by A F Schenck”