Film: 5692

Art + Architecture | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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The Board of Trustees of the Gallery of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia are meeting to decide that year's winners of an art prize 1970's

The board members are mainly men in casual suit or shirt and jackets, many wear glasses. The announcement of the winners for 'the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes'. Inside the gallery people are gathering to look at the contending work. Still and moving cameras on tripods. A gallery manager, in a formal suit, announces the winners. He is standing in front of one of the winning paintings. A credit names him. 'The Hon Mr. Justice Nagle. Vice President, Board of Trustees'. Each painting which wins is shown. A high view of Sydney. The camera zooms onto the gallery. A man in a suit and glasses sits on a step outside the gallery and addresses the camera, he is the gallery's curator. He gives a history of the gallery's foundation. Illustrations and early photographs of the gallery. Photograph of the gallery's first building and an artist's impression of the building which replaced it. Curator walks into the building's foyer. People are looking at some of the collections. Sydney Harbour can be seen from a large window. Another large window gives a view of the city. The original Victorian wing of the gallery has been restored to its former appearance. Large gold frames hang from plush red walls. The curator continues his guided tour. He explains how each wall is arranged thematically. Close-ups of individual paintings. A man and two women look closely at a painting. Two older women are looking at another wall.

All the gallery's visitors are dressed casually. The bust of one of the gallery's founders is on a stand in the middle of the room. A close-up of a painting depicting pagan dancing. The curator describes the contents of the other rooms. Close-up of a painting by each named artist. The gallery moves on from 19th century to abstract, surrealist and contemporary art. Paints and chemicals in the gallery's lab. A man in a white coat examines a microscope. They are working on the painting's restoration. The conservator opens the doors of an ageing cabinet and takes out a painting he is working on. He brushes a solution onto it to test it. A piece of tree bark, with Aboriginal paintings on it, has a protective film applied and is placed on a vacuum table which straightens the wood and fixes the solution. The wood is drawn flat by suction. A group of young people examines some prints and drawings from the gallery's collection. The curator of this section is assisting them. The prints are kept in large square boxes. The curator talks about the collection and its budget. A woman in a long orange summer dress looks at some of the prints on display. The director of the gallery being interviewed in his office, overlooking the harbour. He talks about the shortage of money. A man who works as conservationist looks at a model of a horse. He is wearing a gold shirt, cravat and had beard, He uses a small drill to break the model. Unloading a travelling exhibition of bronze Thai statues. One man measures the condensation level inside the crate. Several men load the statue onto a fork lift. A Thai curator supervises the exhibition's installation.

A bronze sculpture of a cow. The exhibition is busily attended. A crate lid being lifted by four curators. The office of the registrar. She files paperwork. Paintings being cleaned with cotton buds. A frame being repaired. A woman in a bright blue dress directs the curators and decides where the paintings will go. A big painting moved on a trolley. A painting being fixed to the wall. The president of the Board of Trustees gives a speech which opens the exhibition. He is an old man in a smart suit, talking from a lectern. The crowd of people attending, wearing seventies style causal clothes. Some are standing, some are sitting. A series of details from the paintings in the exhibition. They are mostly studies of people in difficult situations. The organiser in the blue dress describes the movement of which the paintings are part. The paintings being moved into the gallery's basement for storage. They are kept behind a wire door. A woman in a blue seventies dress walks along the rows of wire racks on which the paintings hang. The gallery's president and Malcolm Fraser, the Prime Minister, walk down a corridor to open an exhibition of modern sculpture. The crowd of people waiting to hear from them is mixed. An old woman with an evening dress and pink hair. An assembles crowd of seventies' art lovers. The Prime Minister speaks, standing in front of hung paintings. An arrow in space, as if floating. A woman bounces a rock hung on a spring from the ceiling. Various exhibits in the modern sculpture show, including video cameras, casts and metal brackets. A crowd of onlookers outside in a square with a fountain. A female shop dummy, wearing a red and green striped rugby shirt and a woollen hat drawn down over its eyes, is pulled into the air by a rope around the neck. The crowd point at it. A shop dummy in an apron standing in front of an ironing board. A performance artist, Stuart Brisley, tells some people in the crowd that he 'will try to escape from inside a wooden cage without breaking any part of it'. He says it is better to change things without breaking them. The gallery's director in his office explaining that new work supported by the gallery may be unfamiliar to the public. The performance artist in his cage moving slats. He eventually emerges through the top of the cage. The crowd cheer and clap him. He smiles and waves his hand. A small 'project' show. A female curator in a high-necked bright dress explains that these shows are for young unknown artists. Details from the paintings by Dale Hickey. A man in a suit welcomes members of the Art Galleries Society. A film projector. A film of an Aboriginal man talking being shown. A group of members, mainly women, following a gallery tour guide down some stairs. The guide shows pieces of Aboriginal art to the tour. The gallery director talks about the educational initiatives of the gallery. The gallery's senior education officer, Bernice Murphy, in her office. She is wearing a floral dress, scarf and pink head scarf. A guide talking to high school children. A mobile exhibition set up by the gallery in a local hall. A woman from the town, smartly dressed with a pearl necklace, says the exhibition is the best one they've had. An older man in a jacket, opened-neck shirt and cravat, says the exhibition is a once in a life-time chance for many people. A country road corner, a truck approaching. It is the travelling exhibition. A middle-aged woman dressed in black with a gold necklace, stands in front of a painting and introduces the gallery's education officer to the crowd. He speaks to them about the paintings. The crowd is older and more conservatively dressed than the one at the gallery earlier. The truck travelling down a road and into a town. The two men take paintings already hung on boards out of the truck and into a hall. Children looking excitedly at the paintings, the curator stops them getting too close. Palm trees outside the gallery building. The head curator again in the main room. As he explains what pieces that have from other countries, we see details from the works such as baroque, English, Victorian, surrealist and impressionist. Visitors outside the gallery walking through a 'fog sculpture'.

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