Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum opens next Monday, coinciding with the end of the lockdown. To celebrate, the museum brings five new exhibits to the public, spanning photography, design, music, ceramics and applied art.
Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah says the exhibits underscore the desire for the museum to have a cultural icon beyond the pandemic.
“Powerhouse is excited to welcome visitors back to the museum. To celebrate this moment, we will unveil five new exhibitions, the first step in the vision of a new imagined Powerhouse, ”she says.
Find a short description for each of the exhibitions below.
Eucalyptus Cathedral (picture above)
Eucalyptus judgment reckons with our cultural history and ever-changing relationship with the chewing gum tree, from indigenous culture to its influence on federal arts and crafts. The exhibition presents over 400 objects from the Powerhouse collection along with 17 newly bred works by creative practitioners working across design, architecture, film, applied art and performance, with SJB’s Richard Leplastrier AO, Jack Gillmer and Adam Haddow and Vania Contreras all working to bring the exhibition to life.
Robert Rosen: Glitterati
Over four decades, Robert Rosen attended glittering parties, concerts, fashion events and nightclubs across Australia, London and Europe, capturing the rich, famous and fabulous for fashion and social pages in a range of newspapers and magazines. Defying the perceived image of the intrusive, intrusive paparazzi, his polite and discreet approach gave him the respect and confidence of his subjects. Glitterati will feature over 300 photographs and will include photos from Rosen’s early career in London and Paris, capturing fashion shows by iconic designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana and Zandra Rhodes, as well as a range of backstage photos from Australian Fashion Week.
Electric Keys shows over 20 keyboards from the Powerhouse collection exploring the journey of electric keyboards and the instrument’s contribution to music. The collection will examine the development of the keyboard, from the 17th century to the present day, and its influence on the genre of jazz, blues, funk, rock, progressive rock for pop and hip-hop. Highlighted objects on display include a 1974 electric piano ‘Wurlitzer 200A’, as it was heard performed by the Queen’s bassist John Deacon in You’re My Best Friend; and a 1982 Roland SH-101 monophonic synthesizer that produced the iconic baseline of Sweet Dreams by the 1980 pop duo Eurythmics.
Clay Dynasty will present more than 400 works from the Powerhouse collection with 70 new commissions and acquisitions from Australian artists. The exhibition shows more than 50 years of practice, shaped by three generations of producers, and shows works by pioneer potters who radically changed the course of Australian study pottery in the 1960s using local materials and responding to the Australian environment. Objects from the 1970s will illustrate the impact of the American funk art movement and popular culture in Australia, while works from the 1980s will reveal how Australian artists explored the vessel’s tradition through postmodern shapes, colors and patterns. Modern pottery will also be on display.
Graphic Identities will feature works by eight famous 20th century designers Gordon Andrews, Douglas Annand, Frances Burke, Dahl Collings, Shirley de Vocht, Pieter Huveneers (Tooth and Co), Arthur Leydin and Alistair Morrison. The design archives from the Powerhouse collection reflect a wide range of disciplines and pre-digital media used by designers across advertising, publishing, art and textiles. The designers drew inspiration from Australian flora and fauna as well as local and international collaborations and worked with artists such as Bauhaus designer Lászlo Moholy-Nagy and painter Russell Drysdale AC.
For more information on Powerhouse’s reopening, go to www.maas.museum.