Friday, 29 February 2008

Free Art

Fig tree in The domain, behind the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Now, here's something interesting I read in the paper yesterday. Apparently, the Art Gallery of NSW, with 1.3 million visitors last year, was more often visited than the Guggenheim in New York, Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. More here. (But wasn't the Guggenheim closed part of last year? And the Getty's visitors are self-restricting because it's hard to get to by public transport and you have to book a parking space ahead. Surely this can't be Australian cultural cringe/hype?)

Best of all, the AGNSW is free for permanent exhibitions. Every year the AGNSW has a coompetition for portraiture called the Archibald prize

Are art museums free where you are? For me, the greatest free museums in the world are the British Museum and the National Gallery in London. The Metropolitan in New York suggests a donation, but it is not compulsory.

I'm one of those people who believe that culture, education and knowledge should be free for all - paid for by a progressive tax system - public libraries, art museums, museums.

[And apropos of none of that - today is the last day of summer; our seasons here change officially on 1 March, 1 June, 1 Sep and 1 Dec. And in Sydney, autumn is my favourite].


  1. Hi Sally, just returned from Bundy again. Lots to catch up on in your blog, and yes, thanks, I will check your other 2 also. Hope you are fully recovered from your surgery and back to full and hearty health again.
    I agree so much with your comments on galleries and museums, and every time I visit the NSWAG, i am grateful for being able to wander in and out without HAVING to open my purse.
    I also love the British Library, but it is so-o long since I visited it :-(

  2. Me again, they are a lovely bunch of people at ATCoZ Sally, and you can do as much or as little as you want.You'd be most welcome.

  3. Impressive and beautiful tree. Here in Mexico all museums costs. Are free, Sundays and for students, teachers & senior citizens. Well, Happy Autumn!

  4. AG-NSW is my favourite public building in Sydney. I get such a life when I walk through those portals. Was there on the last day of Sidney Nolan (the older he got the better his output)and the beginning of Art-Express (over-rated trash by people with ideas but no ability!). So I guess there is hope for the youngsters ... Love Moreton Bay figs - except for the bats and their *&*^*%*$ excrement!!

  5. Autumn on March 1st? You got me all confused, but then I realize that you are down under. Have a great Fall. We'll greet Spring soon.

  6. I used to be a regular at the AG of NSW. No museum is free in Avignon as far as I know. What a shame.

  7. When I lived in Sydney I was a volunteer at the AGNSW, and I miss it the most of almost anything in the city now that I'm back at the US. If you visit, please be very nice to the Task Force members selling tickets and serving coffee in the Members Lounge, and tell them "that young American girl" says hi!

    Here in Appleton (Wisconsin) there's an Art Center but it's very small (one small show on at a time), costs $4 to get in and is closed on Sundays. No comparison. But the Art Institute of Chicago is just down the road...

  8. For me, the greatest free museum in the world is the water