Sydney welcomes new Kaldor Gallery at AGNSW - Art Collector

Sol LeWitt, Wall drawing #1091: arcs, circles and bands (room), 2003, detail. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney. Courtesy: Estate of Sol LeWitt/ARS.

23 May 2011 | The Art Gallery of New South Wales opened the John Kaldor Family Gallery last week, hosting several functions and a gallery open weekend to mark the occasion.

It has been many years coming. John Kaldor announced his gift of 200 works worth over $35 million announced in 2008, but to house the collection AGNSW first had to make some space by moving its storage facilities offsite.

It was still a bit crunchy underfoot last week – the installers were no doubt working overtime to hang the exhibition – but apart from this little giveaway it was hard to tell that the new gallery space used to be the old storage area. The 3,300 square metre space flows well and segues evenly into the existing galleries. The travertine floor has even been sourced from the same quarry as the floors on the other levels of the gallery.

So what’s on show? There are a number of commissioned and newly installed, site-specific works of art, including five vast drawings by Sol LeWitt, a major wall work by Richard Long and a new installation by Ugo Rondinone.

The focus of Kaldor’s collection is international although there are a handful of local names to be found, including Daniel von Sturmer, Shaun Gladwell, Malaysian-Australian Simryn Gill and the now Los Angeles-based Ricky Swallow.

The gallery appointed its first contemporary art curator in 1979. If and how Kaldor’s gift shapes acquisitions policy at the gallery will be closely watched in years to come.

AGNSW will also run a series of film screenings and lectures as part of the opening. A special film series based on the culture of the 1960s and 70s – the world of Sol LeWitt, Robert Rauschenberg, Christo and Gilbert & George – begins at the end of June.

Jane O'Sullivan

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