An art gallery (granted, the major gallery) in a city of only 3 million people can afford to open late one night a week, and people will actually turn up. These facts make me appreciate living in Melbourne, a city with what I believe is a disproportionally high level of interest and creativity activity in the arts.
Late Night Thursdays @ NGV Australia is currently offering a series of talks and performances relating to the John Brack exhibition. For the talk I attended, the personable artist Murray Walker chatted of his time teaching with John Brack at the National Gallery School. He said that Brack was generous of his time and pocket, sometimes paying students’ fees without their knowledge as there was no scholarship to the school. His affection for Brack was also evident when he reminisced about chatting and eating in the Yugoslav steak houses and Italian restaurants around Melbourne, and drinking whisky in Brack’s library while discussing detective stories and poetry. He said that Brack could have been many things, as he was a learned fellow, a leader of men yet modest and slightly embarrassed about his success. About the art, Walker said that one of his favourite works was Collins St 5pm as it reminded him of a procession of pilgrims as depicted in Northern Gothic art.
On a side note, I wish there was another space where they could hold these sessions, as the talk was frequently disrupted by chattering visitors crossing in front of the stage to reach the exhibition entrance.