December 2019
Welcome to the latest issue of e-news from The University of Melbourne Museums and Collections. This electronic newsletter is circulated each month and provides information on current exhibitions, events and news items from the University’s museums and collections. For details of the individual collections explore the Museums and Collections website.


Grainger Museum collaboration wins Radiant Pavilion 2019 People’s Choice Award

A two-day pop-up exhibition held at the Grainger Museum in collaboration with CLINKproject6 and the Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial, titled Radiant Pavilion, was voted the People’s Choice Award winner by Biennial visitors.

CLINKproject6 is an art collective of professional and academic staff and undergraduate and post-graduate level students from the Hungry Creek School of Art & Craft and the Dunedin School of Art (Otago Polytechnic), New Zealand. The CLINKproject6 output has been pop-up or intervention-flavoured jewellery and textile exhibits in Auckland locations.

This year the CLINKproject team crossed the Tasman to Melbourne to align their project with the Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial held in September. Each participant of CLINKproject6 selected an item from the Grainger Museum collection to act as a stimulus for a responding jewellery or textile work. The finished responsive pieces were placed within the permanent exhibits at the Grainger Museum, making them publicly available to visitors in the final days of Radiant Pavilion.

Image: Original photographs and images from the Grainger Museum Collection. Edited by Andrew Last for CLINKproject6

2020 Miegunyah Writer’s Fellowship: Call for applications

The 2020 Miegunyah Writer’s Fellowship is part of a large-scale multidisciplinary exhibition project set to open at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in 2022. Grounded in the material held in the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Collection, the holdings of Indigenous art in the University Art Collection, and historical and contemporary art, the exhibition (working title Eucalypt) will investigate and explore the eucalyptus; charting our physical and emotional responses to this loaded Australian symbol, which has been ubiquitous across our continent and its diverse environments for thousands of years.

Underlining its multidisciplinary scope, the exhibition project will encompass two residencies for creative practitioners working outside of the visual arts, exploring the theme of eucalyptus.The first of these residencies will take place in the second half of 2020, and will provide an opportunity for a published writer to develop a singular work or portfolio of works that engage the theme of eucalypt, utilising Russell Grimwade’s interest in gums and the Grimwade Collection as a starting point.

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 6 December 2019. Further information on the Fellowship and the application process can be found on the Ian Potter Museum of Art's website.

Image: Sir Russell Grimwade [photographer], Eucalyptus Radiata, c.1918. Sir Wilfrid Russell Grimwade Collection. University of Melbourne Archives

Engaging digital learning tools: a virtual tour of Horizon lines

There are only two weeks left to experience the Noel Shaw Gallery’s current exhibition, Horizon lines: the ambitions of a print collection. Showcasing works from renowned European print makers such as Albrecht Dürer, Adriaen van Ostade and Rembrandt, the exhibition celebrates some of the significant pieces within the Baillieu Library Print Collection and helps students connect to the cultural history of their institution.

A virtual tour is now accessible through the University of Melbourne’s Library website that identifies objects or motifs within selected prints and links them to architecture, sculptures or other fascinating items that can be found on the Parkville campus. Discover how the Tudor-style windows of the Old Quadrangle building relate to van Ostade’s The Painter and learn where to find an armillary sphere like the one that can be seen in Jacopo Caraglio’s School of an Ancient Philosopher. This virtual tour was created by Mary Henkel, one of this year’s research assistant interns
with the Baillieu Library Print Collection at the University of Melbourne.

Image: Adriaen van Ostade, The Painter, c.1647). Acquired 1979, Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne

And action! The VCA Digital Archive opens to the public

Shorts made at film school have played an iconic role in the history of Australian cinema, revealing fresh talents, winning prestigious awards and launching some big international careers. But where do you find those films now, especially the ones made back in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and even 90s before everything was available on YouTube and Vimeo?

When filmmaker and academic Donna Lyon started working at the Victorian College of the Arts' Film and Television department in 2013, one of her roles was overseeing the distribution of student films that had gained traction beyond academia. Donna's efforts have recently seen the public launch of the VCA Film and Television Digital Archive, providing online access, for the first time, to the audiovisual holdings of Australia's oldest continuing film school. More

Image: Donna Lyon, Lecturer at VCA Film and Television. Photograph Giulia McGauran

Exhibitions at The University of Melbourne

Horizon lines: The ambitions of a print collection   

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library, to Sunday 8 December 2019

Horizon lines: The ambitions of a print collection focuses on Northern and Italian Renaissance printmakers, such as Albrecht Dürer, and Dutch Republic artists, including Rembrandt, as well as the British etching revival. The selected woodcuts, engravings and etchings present a variety of perspectives on the ambitions of the artists who created them, as well as their collectors and scholars. The exhibition is staged as one of several activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Harold Wright and Sarah and William Holmes scholarships. The awards enable print scholars from Australia and New Zealand to examine prints at the British Museum. Taking its cue from the approach of Harold Wright and inspiration behind the scholarships, this exhibition encourages considered looking for the acquisition of knowledge and sheer enjoyment of prints.

Image: Baccio Bandinelli, Apollo and Daphne, 1515. Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne. Gift of Dr J. Orde Poynton 1959  

Be Brutal: Nicholas Harding Portraits

Burke Gallery, Trinity College, to Thursday 19 December 2019

In early 2017, 89-year-old doyen of Australian art John Olsen sat as a portrait subject for Nicholas Harding. The work was a finalist in the Archibald Prize that year. As Harding prepared to capture his visage, Olsen offered the younger artist some sage advice – ‘Be brutal!’

As Harding’s portrait of Olsen was being shown in the Archibald at the Art Gallery of NSW, a highly successful exhibition of Harding’s portrait works was on show at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Included among them was his most recent commission, a portrait of William Cowan AM, the latest acquisition to enter Trinity College’s own portrait collection.

Be Brutal: Nicholas Harding Portraits presents this Harding work from our own collection alongside a number of rarely seen works from the artist’s personal collection. More

Image: Nicolas Harding, William Cowan AM, 2017. Trinity College Portrait Collection

Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver  

Buxton Contemporary, to Sunday 9 February 2020 

Featuring fantastical creatures, iridescent other worlds, uncanny objects and unsettling organic forms, Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver explores the multidisciplinary practice of one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.

While Weaver is best known for her whimsical, thought-provoking sculptures of animals, Between appearances features more than 100 works in an array of media including sculptural installations, paintings, drawings, printmaking, collage, textiles, movement and sound. The exhibition spans three decades of the artist’s practice and reveals Weaver’s longstanding interests in fields as diverse as visual culture, art history, natural history, science and design.

Curated by Melissa Keys, Between appearances unfolds across all four of the galleries at Buxton Contemporary. It traces her gradual shift from early figurative forms and compositions through to abstract paintings, objects and sound environments, comprising an overview of Weaver’s richly imaginative, critical and compelling work from the early nineties through to the present. More

Image: Louise Weaver, From the House of Fabius Rufus 2008 [detail]. Collection of Peter Bate and Wendy Foard, Melbourne

How it plays: Innovations in percussion

Grainger Museum, to Thursday 30 April 2020

How it plays: Innovations in percussion is a collaborative exhibition and performance project including Grainger Museum, Federation Handbells (Museums Victoria/Creative Victoria), Speak Percussion, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music and the Melbourne School of Design.

The exhibition explores radical innovations in percussion, focussed on Melbourne, that have changed the way we can all hear and play music, ranging from Percy Grainger’s ‘tuneful percussion’ in the early twentieth century, to the present, with the Federation Handbells and the trailblazing organisation, Speak Percussion.

Image: J.C. Deagan (designer/maker), Percy Aldridge Grainger (designer/maker), Staff Bells, 1916. Grainger Museum Collection, University of Melbourne. Photograph Peter Casamento

The Roots of Burnley: Exploring a long history of significance to the Victorian community

Level 1, Main Administration Building, University of Melbourne Burnley Campus, to 28 June 2020

The exhibition The Roots of Burnley: Exploring a long history of significance to the Victorian community offers an insight into the history of Burnley Gardens and the Burnley campus in the Victorian landscape. Eight panels with historical photographs and documents illustrate the strong connection people had – and still have – with Burnley.   

The exhibition is a walk through time from the beginnings of the campus as experimental gardens to today’s modern University campus. Opening in 1861, the Burnley site has continually adapted to cater to the needs of the community. With content primarily sourced from the archives collection, the exhibition not only reflects on this rich history, but provides an outlook on the future of the Burnley campus. Curated by Meg Hibbert and Jane Wilson.

Image: Perle des jardins glass slide, Burnley Campus Archives, University of Melbourne


Arts West, to Tuesday 1 October 2020

One of the most important anthropological collections in the world, the Donald Thomson Collection includes almost 7500 artefacts and 2000 biological specimens collected mainly on Cape York, Arnhem Land and from the Great Sandy Desert and the Gibson Desert of Western Australia, during the University of Melbourne anthropologist's 50-year career. Donald Thomson's ethnohistory collection is included in the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register.

Professor Thomson's wife Dorita Thomson made a generous gift of the collection of objects into the care of the University of Melbourne. This, along with the photographs, film and field notes owned by the Thomson family, have been on long-term loan to Museums Victoria from the University and the Thomson family since 1973. The Thomson family's own collection is featured in the Awaken exhibition, including handwritten notes, postcards sent to his family and Professor Thomson's typewriter.

Image: Installation view of Awaken, Arts West, University of Melbourne

More exhibitions

For a full list of exhibitions and associated events at the University of Melbourne, visit the websites of the individual galleries and museums.

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Margaret Lawrence Gallery

George Paton Gallery

The Dax Centre

Science Gallery Melbourne

Burke Gallery, Trinity College

Buxton Contemporary

Old Quad

Image: Medical History Museum

University of Melbourne Collections

Issue 24 of the University of Melbourne Collections magazine is now available. Join the Friends of the Baillieu Library and receive two complimentary issues of the magazine annually.

In this issue read about the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Collection; the latest Medical History Museum exhibition on the Royal Women's Hospital; an indigenous carved emu egg from the University Art Collection; the Ernest Fooks Collection at the Architecture, Building and Planning Library and much more.


News from the Grainger Museum

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Image: Installation view of How it Plays: Innovations in percussion
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