Monday 9 June 2008


A wee while ago I was musing about collection policies. Today I read this extract from an interview with Ron Radford (director of the National Gallery of Australia) in the winter Art & Australia, where Radford talks about the shift in direction for the NGA's collecting activities since his appointment in 2004, and (echoing Nicolas Penny) the waning appeal of the blockbuster.

Reading the extract reminded me of how impressed I was when I read Radford's 2005 vision document (warning: 1MB PDF) for the NGA. Don't get me wrong here - I don't spend my weekends reading mission statements and director's forewords (well - not often). But I did thrill to Radford's proud emphasis on the importance of the collection. Call me old-fashioned, but how can you not admire statements like this?

The collections are the core of the National Gallery of Australia — they must remain the kernel of the building and the central focus of the institution. No blockbuster exhibition can ever be as large, as valuable, as wide-ranging and as consistently high in quality as the collection displays.

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