They have had a bit of a re-arrange of the Decorative Arts, and the jewellery has gone from being almost an afterthought in a freestanding cabinet, to having a large wall-mounted vitrine, as well as a second display of two cases and three wall-mounted works. And across the aisle? Paintings! Finally jewellery is in conversation with paintings. And some modern paintings, ones that might actually have some meaning for jewellery/jewellers too.
For all of that, however, there are no works from Australian jewellers on display. Maybe this is because it’s all going into the forthcoming jewellery show (beginning in the NGV in April) but even still, no Australian jewellery, at all?
Well, while I say no works of Australian jewellers, but there is some weaving over in the Art of the Pacific room, made by an Australian resident. I’ve waxed lyrical before about the impressive works of Maryann Talia Pau, which have now found a permanent display in the Art of the Pacific. It would be nice, one day, to see this contemporary work not segregated to what amounts to an ethnographic display, but rather, on display with other works of the same artform. (I see there might be some conflict in my opinions, as I want jewellery with other artworks, but in this case where it is amongst sculpture, painting and rugs, I’m still not happy. Maybe I’m just ornery, but then again, maybe there’s other ways to categorise all this art?)
Not that I’m complaining, NGV. I’m just happy, as was the person who pointed out the new display at the most recent Part B meeting, that there’s finally one whole window permanently (we pray) devoted to jewellery in the whole of the decorative arts room.