Events – Lectures


Masterclass Lecture Series details

Series 1

Monday 25 October 2010

Dr Stefano Carboni, Director, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Peggy and her sculptures

Peggy Guggenheim’s collection may be better known for the outstanding paintings by her favorite artists, such as Picasso, Ernst, and Pollock, but she had a keen interest and a great eye also for three-dimensional works. The outdoor Nasher Sculpture Garden at Ca’ Venier dei Leoni, with works by Giacometti, Marini, Caro, Mirko, Holzer, and Ono among others, is a permanent testimony to this passion and the main reason why she chose that residence in Venice. The indoor display of her collection is also peppered with small-size sculptures and this is reflected in the selection of works on view at the Art Gallery. The talk will focus on these three-dimensional works by Brancusi, Lipchitz, Giacometti, Pevsner, Moore, and Ernst.


Monday 8 November 2010

Melissa Harpley, Curator of Historical Painting, Sculpture and Design, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Abstraction and Surrealism

Peggy Guggenheim’s understanding of modern art was based on the belief that abstraction and Surrealism were in opposition to each other, and in the early ‘heroic’ phase of building her collection she clustered works around these twin poles.

But are the boundaries between the two that clearly defined? Or can it be argued that abstraction influenced Surrealism, which in turn influenced a later generation of abstract artists? These questions will be addressed through an examination of the works of artists such as Arp, Bacci, Ernst, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Moore, Picasso, Pollock and Rothko.


Monday 15 November 2010

Associate Professor Donal Fitzpatrick, Curtin Unviersity of Technology

Duchamp: from painting to the readymade

Duchamp is one of the 2 or 3 most significant artists of the 20th C, some would argue the most significant. His works are often used and cited in bitter aesthetic and ideological debates which continue to generate discussion in relation to contemporary art. In recent years contemporary scholarship has begun focus on the craft or fastidiousness of Duchamp as well as the means by which he controlled and manipulated his public persona. This exhibition affords us a rare opportunity to view one of his early works in painting which reflects both his interest in the possibility of conceptual painting as well as the status of painting as an imaging system in an expanded field of the visual.


Monday 6 December 2010

Leigh Robb, Curator, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA and former Peggy Guggenheim Collection Intern

Mondrian, Pollock and Peggy

It was under Piet Mondrian's enthusiastic instruction that the then-unknown Jackson Pollock was one of the most exciting painters he had seen that Peggy Guggenheim purchased Pollock's painting Stenographic Figure from the 1942 Spring Salon for Young artists in New York. This sparked Peggy's important patronage of the young artist whereby she encouraged him with a monthly stipend, his first solo show and the support to develop his now famous drip paintings. Peggy Guggenheim is often remembered for the influential relationships she had with artists, in particular the influence that Piet Mondrian had on the artists she would collect, and the influence she herself had on the careers of many artists. This gallery tour will look at both the artworks of Mondrian and Pollock and the personal histories than ran parallel to their acquisition.

Monday 13 December 2010

Paul Uhlmann, Lecturer in Visual Art, Edith Cowan University

Windows to Illuminate the Unconscious

One of the interesting things about many of the artists represented in this collection (including: Carrington, Brauner, Rothko, Tanguy and Ernst) is that they posed impossible questions on how to represent the workings and processes of our collective unconscious minds – a realm largely considered to be invisible and uncharted. This was very much an obsession of the Zeitgeist triggered by expansive theories of Psychology, extrapolated by figures such as Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) and others. In order to reveal this ephemeral, weightless world of dreams, these artists were inspired to create new methods of material invention through their painting and experiments. The artists felt compelled to do violence to painting – to destroy it - and by so doing re-imagine and reinvent painting through acts of alchemy and chance.

As we walk though this select collection of works, I will discuss something of the explorative processes the artists have engaged in. By considering their engagement with technique and application, I aim to create a space for collective meditation on complex states of being and becoming. In this way this discussion will demonstrate that each work is a window of illumination, which has no definitive explanation – rather, each work unfolds within the minds of the viewer in its own unique way.

Series 2

(Series 2 will form part of the University of Western Australia’s Summer School. )
Monday 17 January 2011

Darren Jorgensen, Art History Lecturer,University of Western Australia

de Chirico and the Surrealists

Andre Breton was the leader of the surrealists but was notorious for throwing people out of the movement. This talk will explain Breton’s philosophy, and why he told artists like Giorgio de Chirico that he was no longer a surrealist. While Breton’s behaviour made him one of the most disliked figures in the history of modern art, this talk wants to look again at his idealistic version of a pure surrealism that made this art movement have such global impact.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Professor Ted Snell, Director, Cultural Precinct,University of Western Australia

Collectors: Guggenheims / Steins / Cones

The role of the collector in the development of Modern Art as pioneered by three great American families in the first half of the twentieth century.

Monday 24 January 2011

Gary Dufour, Deputy Director | Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Peggy Guggenheim: A Journey of Discovery

Peggy Guggenheim built a remarkable Collection that changed the course of 20th Century Art. Her support and advocacy for the art of her time brought Abstraction and Surrealism together by lining European with American artists. This lecture will explore some of her many firsts: from Jackson Pollock’s first exhibition, her transformative influence on the Venice Biennale to taking the Guggenheim global. Through her friendships with artists and a near instantaneous decisiveness twentieth century artists on both sides of the Atlantic were discovered by a new public.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Professor Richard Read, Discipline Chair, Visual Arts, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Visual Arts, University of Western Australia
Mondrian, Nature and Abstraction

This lecture looks at the charcoal and gouache drawing Ocean 5 as part of a serial abstraction from nature whose universal aspiration is in tension with the materialist techniques it took from Cubism. The lecture reviews generic contrasts and continuities between the oceanic calmness that Mondrian wrests from Theosophical impulses and the Cubist desire to defamiliarize classical techniques of pictorial representation sometimes for radical political motives. It is also an opportunity to discriminate between full abstraction symptomatic of Mondrian's later work and 'abstraction from' nature that Mondrian shared with several art movements at this time. It will be shown how varieties of organic and geometrical abstraction reveal unexpected analogies between artistic, political, scientific and religious impulses within European culture of the pre-war period.



All activities are subject to change (or cancellation if insufficient bookings received).

Last updated 17 September 2010