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Wild about Warhol: Gold Coast coup to snag New York masters collection


The Gold Coast’s new $60.5 million Home of the Arts Gallery will open in April, and already has a world premiere exhibition of iconic Andy Warhol works scheduled.

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The world premiere exhibition Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection features around 70 works by influential contemporary artists from Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Richard Prince to Jeff Koons.

Drawn from the private collection of famed art collector Jose Mugrabi, the owner of the largest collection of works by Warhol, the three-month exhibition from November next year marks the first time the iconic works have been shown in Australia.

Jean-Michel Basquiat 1985 © Lizzie Himmel. Artwork © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York, Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection

“It’s the iconic, popular, influential artists of that period of New York contemporary art, and absolutely first time in Australia and world exclusive,” HOTA CEO Criena Gehrke said.

“HOTA as a precinct and the Gallery as its newest offer, represent everything that I personally love and believe about the Gold Coast.”

Spanning six levels, the vibrant multi-coloured HOTA Gallery is the largest public gallery outside an Australian capital city.

It is the centre piece of the $365 million HOTA precinct, which includes the $37.5 million outdoor stage and amphitheatre, Green Bridge and 17 hectares of parklands, and is projected to attract more than 400,000 in the first two years if visits are not restricted by the pandemic.

Keith Haring 1985 © Jeannette Montgomery Barron / Trunk Archive, Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection

Gehrke said the HOTA Gallery’s reputation, despite the gallery not yet even being opened, had helped it secure major national and international exhibitions, and had shown the Gold Coast was a serious player in arts and culture.

“We are being taken seriously – HOTA Gallery, thanks in no small part to the investment and unwavering focus the city has had on arts and culture over the past five years, is already seen as important,” Gehrke said.

“Serious collectors like Mr Mugrabi and the generous lenders who have made the William Robinson exhibition possible have absolute belief in what we are doing and the importance of this Gallery to this city.

“We are already developing partnerships with national and international institutions that in future years will see some incredible exhibitions come to the Gold Coast. You can consider that both a promise and a tease.”

The 10 April 2021 launch of the Gallery will feature Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise. The exhibition includes new commissions and art work including sculptures, paintings, video, photography and installations by emerging and established Australian artists with a connection to the Gold Coast region, including Hiromi Tango, Michael Candy, Abbey McCulloch, Samuel Leighton-Dore and Libby Harward.

In July, it will host a major exhibition, Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson.

The exhibition, curated by former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce, will feature the award-winning artist’s monumental multi-panelled paintings alongside intimate studies and prints.

Robinson’s The Rainforest holds special significance for HOTA and the Gold Coast. It was a defining purchase that, despite causing the Gold Coast significant cultural growing pains, firmly established the gallery as a major collector of Australian contemporary art.

When Robinson’s The Rainforest won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting in 1990, it inspired the then Gallery director to purchase the piece for the City Collection.

Only following significant public debate, and with funds raised by the Gold Coast business and art-loving community, was it purchased in 1991.

The Rainforest was considered a trailblazing and defining acquisition for the City Collection in terms of public debate, price and sheer scale and a milestone in the Gold Coast’s cultural maturation.


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