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24 August – 11 November 2018, National Gallery of Australia

Australian Art Exhibitions Museum art gallery exhibiton design NGA National Gallery of Australia American Masters exhibition

Drawn exclusively from the NGA's collection, American Masters celebrated American artists from the 1940s to the 1980s. When the NGA acquired Jackson Pollock's Blue poles in 1973, at the time the most expensive American painting ever sold, the emerging collection hit the global headlines. This exhibition told the story of the formation of an incredible American art collection and included many major works not seen together for a long time.

Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono works on display in the Neo-Dada, Pop and Multiples gallery  

In the 1970s and 1980s, inaugural NGA Director James Mollison delivered a bold acquisition policy to build a national collection for the NGA. He acquired some of the finest works of modern and contemporary art, which culminated in one of the world’s best and largest collections of post-war American art outside of America. The NGA’s investment in American art was bold and often controversial.

This exhibition told the story of the formation of an incredible American collection and presented iconic masterpieces by the most important American artists of the 20th century. Works by Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Chuck Close, Donald Judd, Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois. Also featured was Sol LeWitt's huge Wall drawing No. 380 a-d 1982, specially re-made for the exhibition, and light works by Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, Keith Sonnier and James Turrell. The exhibition included only one loan from a private collection in Sydney.

From Abstract Expressionism, Colour Field, Pop, Neo-Dada and Photo-Realism, to Conceptual, Land and Performance Art - American Masters examined how a generation of young Americans challenged local traditions and reinvented modern art, and how these important works came to be in the Australian national collection.

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