NGV Australia, Federation Square
31 Aug 18 – 28 Jan 19
George Baldessin and Brett Whiteley were both born in 1939 and were to have a profound impact on Australian art.
In the 1960s and 1970s, they experienced meteoric success in their respective cities of Melbourne and Sydney. They were figurative, expressionist, attracted to popular culture, avant-garde art and existentialist ideas, and explored themes of sexuality and the urban environment. They were innovative in their use of medium, brilliantly provocative in their artistic language and created art that epitomised their epoch. Both died tragically young: Baldessin in 1978, and Whiteley in 1992.
For the first time, the two artists are brought together in this expansive exhibition featuring some of their most iconic works, as well as others that have never been exhibited before. Despite differences in Baldessin’s and Whiteley’s artistic temperaments, chosen materials and stylistic strategies, their works betray many striking parallels and synergies.
Working in a rapidly changing world in the aftermath of the Second World War, Baldessin and Whiteley made art that not only examined what it meant to be human in an urban environment at a time of tension, but that also celebrated the human spirit. Today their work appears remarkably fresh, vibrant and contemporary.