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MoMA at NGV: 130 years of modern and contemporary art

Over 200 works make their way to the NGV from the iconic New York art institution

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Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art has endured as one of the art world’s most treasured and uniquely curated institutions. Thriving on the shifting cycle of art, MoMA has provided quarters to some of the worlds most forward thinking creative practitioners.

Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria has collaborated with the New York institution for its annual Winter Masterpieces exhibition. Borrowing an impressive selection of contemporary pieces, the NGV has detached these works from the infamous galleries walls and injected them into an Australian context. Spanning 130-years of evolutionary art history, the MoMA at NGV is an unmistakably brilliant display.

Over 200 pieces of the art world’s most cherished players, at their best, cover the gallery’s ground floor. The centennial breach of modern art covers an impressive field. The exhibition exudes an eye for diversity and borderless perspectives, with a heavy representation of formats: paintings, sculpture, screen-printing, video, film, architecture, industrial design, and video games.

While a collection with so many contributors makes it difficult to pinpoint a singular vision, the scale and influence spread throughout cannot be matched. As such, the simplistically iconic work of Raymond Pettibon is placed on the same level as Dali’s Persistence of Memory. The collection’s strength and unconventionality arise from the ability for two works to emerge from separate worlds with intention, alongside design and delivery. There are hundreds of these crossovers in the exhibition, displayed together on an even playing field, providing discussion and inquisition alike.

While some may clutter towards its big attractions, like the Pollack, Picasso or Haring, the sum of these borrowed parts come in the form of those not as viable for social media attention. This exhibition allows visitors to connect the many fragments in history that each movement possesses as the most notable pieces bind it together.

The strength of MoMA at NGV lies within the many years of curating hidden behind each and every piece presented. 2018’s edition of The NGV Winter Masterpieces isn’t for those who see art as a stagnant commodity, instead presenting itself as a display gazing toward the future. Whether through calculated design or risk, this rarely travelled collection displays the potential in presenting new ideas across all formats of art allowing them to mould and inspire generations of artists to come.

MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of modern and contemporary art is open now at The National Gallery of Victoria, as their Winter Masterpieces exhibit, until October 7 2018.

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