13/06/2012 - 15:00

Carboni delivers Modern Masters

13/06/2012 - 15:00

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Carboni delivers Modern Masters

The Art Gallery of Western Australia today launched Picasso to Warhol: Fourteen Modern Masters, the first exhibition in a series of six from New York’s Museum of Modern Art that director Stefano Carboni has secured.

Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell soup series is among the 120 piece exhibition, which also includes works from famous ‘modern masters’ such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro and Marcel Duchamp.

The exhibition is a southern hemisphere exclusive to Perth and wouldn’t have happened without Mr Carboni, according to MOMA’s director Glenn Lowry.

“Stefano is an old friend and great colleague and were not for him we would never have agreed to lend so many of our most cherished and important works of art here,” Mr Lowry said.

“I think what is so important about these partnerships is if they are built on trust. Trust that we have a common mission to encourage looking at, thinking about and enjoying modern and contemporary art; and trust that we know how to work together in the care of such precious and extraordinary objects.”

Mr Carboni was humble in his speech at today’s launch, saying his time in New York was formative but did not refer to his clout.

“My years in New York have been instrumental in my growth in the museum world,” he said.

Referring to Mr Lowry, he said “we have shared a past together and come from very different backgrounds, not in modern contemporary art but in medieval and specifically Islamic art”.

Arts minister John Day explained that these types of exhibitions don’t get off the ground with state government funding with a click of the fingers; he said Mr Carboni had met with him two years ago and Mr Day subsequently spoke with premier Colin Barnett before pushing for funding for the exhibition series in the 2011 budget.

“Major projects like this need to get through the budget preparation process, which is a rigorous process. Now two years later, we are at the opening of a project with a large degree of preparation,” he said.

“The relationship between the art gallery and Eventscorp and Tourism WA is a very important one and helps to enable exhibitions like this come to fruition.

“It obviously does take a great degree of trust and a very good relationship between both organisations.”

The MOMA partnership series will run for three years, with a month between each exhibition; it follows two Great Collections of the World exhibition, which had a Peggy Guggenheim collection of works come to Perth, followed by Princely Treasures – a show displaying European masterpieces from 1600-1800.

“This is an important moment in the life of the Art Gallery,” Mr Carboni said at the launch of the event.

Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland said the exhibition will hold great value for the state’s tourism push.

“World class events like this one are pivotal to our state’s tourism industry, they help to attract visitors, they help to add vibrancy to our state and they help increase our profile,” she said.

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