National Gallery of Victoria opens Mix Tape 1980s: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style

National Gallery of Victoria presents Mix Tape 1980s: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style an exhibition open from 11 April that explores Australian art of the 1980s; a decade of dynamic social change and fiercely contested viewpoints on contemporary art and culture.

Mike Brown (Australia 1938–97), Manifestations 1982. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 182.8 x 243.8 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Marc Besen, Governor, 1984© Estate of the artist.

Mike Brown (Australia 1938–97), Manifestations 1982. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 182.8 x 243.8 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Marc Besen, Governor, 1984© Estate of the artist.

Featuring over 120 works, the exhibition will bring together creative approaches ranging from appropriation and sampling to the DIY aesthetics of post-punk; and from postmodern critiques of authorship and originality to postcolonial revisions of Australian history.

Mix Tape 1980s will feature various media—painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, fashion and furniture design, as well as selected ephemera including magazines, records, films and video which reference the preoccupations of a rapidly changing Australian society and the intersections between art, music, theory and popular culture.

Mix Tape 1980s will present key works including: Howard Arkley’s Muzak mural – chair tableau (1980-1981) and Tattooed head (1988); Maria Kozic’s installation The Birds (1981); David McDiarmid’s Safe sex ball poster (1988); Tracey Moffatt’s Something More series (1989); Juan Davila’s Rat man (1980); and, the work of women artists from Lajamanu who were critical to the genesis of the Indigenous women’s art movement. Australian fashion of the 1980s will be highlighted through the works of Katie Pye Studio, Jenny Bannister, Leigh Bowery, Abyss Studio and others. Rather than an encyclopedic view of Australian art of the period, the exhibition is a focused look at specific aspects of the NGV Collection in an area that remains a strength of the institution’s collecting history.

In addition, Mix Tape 1980s will showcase 1980s ephemera including records by Tsk Tsk Tsk, David Chesworth and his band Essendon Airport, featuring cover designs by Philip Brophy, Maria Kozic, Linda Marrinon, Bruce Slorach and Peter Tyndall, while selected participating artists will create 1980s music playlists for the exhibition space. Mix Tape 1980s will also display copies of significant Australian publications including Tension, Lip Magazine and the highly influential journal Art & Text, established by Paul Taylor in 1981 and esteemed for revolutionising Australian art criticism by considering local art in an international context. Paul Taylor subsequently went on to curate the 1982 landmark exhibition Popism at the NGV, which featured many of the Australian artists also presented in Mix Tape 1980s.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programs – visit www.ngv.vic.gov.au for further details. Crossbar Café (Level 3 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia) will offer a unique 1980s-themed menu for the duration of the exhibition, starring nostalgic classics such as quiche Lorraine and blue lagoon cocktails.

Mix Tape 1980s: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style will be on display from 11 April 2013 to 1 September 2013 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square. Open 10am–5pm, Tues–Sun. Entry is free.

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