The launch/"lunch" for the new NGV exhibition British Art & the 60s took place yesterday, and though the starting time was listed at 11am, a late-running Mary "It ain't an opening less I'm there" Delahunty meant we didn't actually get to tour the art until around midday. The downtime was supposed to be filled a) schmoozing and b) eating and drinking, but I a) didn't know anyone there and didn't feel like striking up random conversations that early in the day (as opposed to the maybe one minute a day when I might be in that mood) and b) wasn't in for 11am pre-work pink champagne or food which I couldn't eat, seeing as how there was no veg catering. I did, however, as always, feel like using long sentences crowded full of nested clauses. For this, I apologise.
The other thing we were directed to do was have a look at the accompanying exhibit, BritPrint, which was a bunch of stuff from 90s UK artists. I really like that generation (with the exception, on moral grounds, of Damien Hirst). And the Tate Modern is my favourite gallery in the world. Ooooh how I love love love it, and get all squishy when I think of it. And I don't even like art that much.
But I like the 60s even if I never got to see them first hand, so I was looking forward to this show. So was the NGV staff member in the photo above, I think, since it gave her the opportunity to wear orange tights to work. I am afraid that nothing will ever give me that opportunity (working on it, thought).
The art on offer is all pretty good stuff, enough to interest anyone with a passing fancy for pop art, Swinging London, rock, photography or the beginnings of the kind of art that people these days love to hate (see Tate Modern, again). More importantly, wandering through an art gallery for an extended period (more than just a few minutes) reminded me of the eerie feeling of peace I get after doing so. I don't think that art heals or anything, but walking around a big light echoey space where nobody is speaking particularly loudly, or even acknowledging your presence, has a placating effect. Probably the same with cathedrals, now that I think of it, and cemeteries, the beach, you know. Probably less so prisons and military bunkers. Shopping malls, for some people, can have the same effect, for similiar reasons.
But that was yesterday, and today is today. Where I have just returned from a press interview with this lovely lass: