Column—Going Public: Three Private Art Collections to See in June

Private collections often feature treasures, unseen series, and rare speculative puzzle pieces of art history that are otherwise out of reach of institutions’ regular programming.

“I was motivated to share my collection because of a belief that many museums in Australia do not provide the public with the opportunity to view sufficient international contemporary art,” says Danny Goldberg OAM, chairman of private equity firm Dakota Capital, and one of the country’s avid collectors.

Here are three private collections you can see in June.

EuroVisions, a selection of works from the Goldbergs’ private collection
Hosted at the National Art School, this is only the second time Goldberg (one of australia’s biggest collectors) has unveiled a curated segment of his personal collection. Curated by Judith Blackall, the travelling exhibition is tribute to Goldberg’s eclectic slant. It features 100 works from 38 of Europe’s most influential and exciting contemporary artists.

“I know that I neither have the skills to cure cancer or funds to achieve such a cure,” he says. “However, if my actions result in Australians being able to see international contemporary art to a greater extent than they do currently, then I consider it a worthwhile allocation of my time and resources.”

On show is a scarlet mirrored disc from Anish Kapoor, and a selection of German artist Katharina Grosse’s electrifying sprayed acrylic canvases. There’s Urs Fischer’s fibreglass fried egg, and two of French artist Camille Henrot’s venetian blind paintings. From the 2015 Venice Biennale British Pavilion is Sarah Lucas’s Tit-Cat Eames Chair, and Swedish artist Klara Lidén’s distinctly European sidewalk trashcan.

Until August 5 at the National Art School Gallery.

Primary Structures and Speculative Forms, a selection of works from the Kaldor Family collection
Goldberg happily sites John Kaldor, philanthropist and founder of Kaldor Public Art Projects, as inspiration for both collecting and sharing his contemporary art discoveries and treasures. Kaldor, who told Broadsheet in a 2015 interview his “mission was to bring groundbreaking art to Australia,” has worked determinedly since 1969 to do just that. Alongside Kaldor Public Art Projects’ ever-enchanting public art program, the John Kaldor Family Collection at the Art Gallery of NSW is the most significant benefaction ever bestowed upon the gallery in its 140-year history.

More than 200 works are on regular rotation within the contemporary gallery, and Primary Structures and Speculative Forms is a specially curated portion of the Kaldor collection. Focusing on sculpture, the exhibition is inspired by Kaldor’s earliest encounter with minimalism at New York’s Jewish Museum in 1966. The selection features both original ’60s era minimalists and contemporary artists testing and stretching minimalist traditions. Artists on show include Ai Weiwei, William Tucker, Richard Serra, Thomas Demand, Carl Andre, and Kaldor favourite, Sol LeWitt.

Until August 6 at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The Dark Matters, a selection of works from the Neilson collection
Exhibitions at White Rabbit Gallery seldom disappoint. Showing off new and recently acquired pieces from collector and arts philanthropist Judith Neilson, the gallery boasts one of the largest collections of contemporary Chinese art in the world, if not the largest. Neilson, whose Chippendale home is a towering concrete sculpture in itself, is in the process of building a second gallery in the suburb to match her collector peer David Walsh. Titled Phoenix, the gallery will be akin to Walsh’s sprawling Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart.

The Dark Matters is the first of the two collection hangings at White Rabbit for 2017. Across the gallery’s three floors are various works and installations wielding the tremendous force of darkness and inky black. In the exhibition is Tang Nannan’s Billenium Waves, an arresting four-minute video loop of wild, blue-black waves – the ocean at the dawn of time. There’s also Xu Zhen’s Under Heaven 0302VS0137, a dense and detailed canvas adorned with ripples, blobs and twirls of thick black impasto squeezed from icing bags. Yang Mushi's Grindingon the third floor is a black and white installation made up of more than 1000 solid shapes. A selection of Ren Hang photographs also feature, in tribute to the late Chinese photographer.

Until July 30 at White Rabbit Gallery.

Other private collections always displayed or shown on rotation in Sydney include Lucio Galletto OAM’s vast collection of Australian art work at his eponymous and timeless restaurant in Paddington. Paramount by The Office Space in Surry Hills features Boris and Naomi Tosic’s eclectic collection of rare Australian and international pieces, while the Australian Government’s own horde of acquisitions is available to view via Artbank Gallery.

This article first appeared on Broadsheet, 9 June 2017. 

Image, Ren Hang, Untitled, 2016.