SMH: This seductive show should secure the National Art School’s permanent survival
By John McDonald
Captivate: Stories from the National Art School and Darlinghurst Gaol, an exhibition celebrating the school’s 100th anniversary, put together by archivist, Deborah Beck. Spread over the two floors of the NAS Gallery, plus the Drawing Gallery and the Rayner Hoff Project Space, this is a monumental project that could have been ten times larger. There are few works that might be described as masterpieces, but the sheer variety – the blend of memorabilia, historical photos, paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, posters, films and much else – is incredibly seductive.
It would make a great permanent display in a museum, which is why I can hardly believe the show is only due to run until the end of the month. This is too brief a time to justify the labour expended, and the steadily building audiences generated by word-of-mouth. If the NAS wants to derive maximum benefit from this project, it should have scheduled a much longer run. How different this is from the post-COVID practises of major public galleries, which keep extending the duration of shows to save resources.