Pensioners and the Art Deco Exhibition in Melbourne

I have always been fascinated by Art Deco and Art Nouveau and so when we moved to Melbourne I decided that I would go to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the special exhibition there. You have to credit the NGV with an amazing publicity campaign. Everyone I met had asked me if I’d been to the exhibition yet.

We went on a Tuesday. Apparently the rest of the Art Gallery is closed on a Tuesday; so it’s not a good day to visit.

The Exhibition is expensive -$22 per person or $18 for seniors and pensioners. Since the media has recently been concentrating on the inadequacy of the pension, less than $300 per week, I really have to question how a pensioner is supposed to fork out $18 out of some $270 to go see an exhibition. In my opinion, the admission fee should be $5 for pensioners.

So let’s say, that one pays the admission because one is very keen to see Art Deco. Wouldn’t one expect a fairly large and encompassing exhibition taking a couple of hours to see everything?

Well, we did it at a leisurely pace of about 40 minutes, stopping and reading, watching some reels from black and white American movies and finding ourselves at the end of the exhibit wondering why we had bothered.

Perhaps it’s because I have a fairly extensive Art Education and have seen the Art Deco in France and Belgium among other places, but I felt it was too little. Several dresses, several striking ceramic vases, one Lempicka painting (which I adored) and only a few items of furniture, left me dissatisfied.

If you are going to have an Art Deco Exhibition, then you should have a large one which will be worth going to. I would have liked to see a whole room of vases or the equivalent of it spread around several rooms. What about art work from all over the world? As for furniture, the curator could have raided the set of that T.V series, “Poirot” and done much better.

The whole thing was like a Tapas meal, just a little bit at an exorbitant price.

The day that we went to the Art Gallery there were several coaches filled with schoolchildren lining up to be educated about Art Deco. Hardly worth getting permission from the parents and travelling there and back for just a few specimens. But then the pupils were getting out of lessons, which is the whole purpose of school excursions, anyway. I’m speaking from personal experience as a teacher lol.

As for us, we wanted to make the trip worthwhile so we headed towards the rest of the Art Gallery, but it was Tuesday and so we couldn’t go in. “Do you want to ask why it’s closed on Tuesday?” my husband suggested as we made our way to the tram stop. “Do you care?” I asked. “Naah,” he shrugged. And I agreed with him.


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