After nearly three years of construction, the six-level gallery is the centrepiece of the $399 million Home of the Arts (HOTA) Cultural Precinct that is core to the city’s herculean undertaking of transforming the Gold Coast’s reputation from cultural wasteland to unmissable arts capital.
Tickets to the HOTA Gallery Launch on Saturday sold out within two hours, while more than 1,360 tickets to the first month of the HOTA Gallery Experience were snapped up inside 24 hours of general release.
HOTA Board Chair Professor Ned Pankhurst said the gallery, which boasts over 2,000 square metres of AAA-rated international standard exhibition space and is expected to attract more than 1 million visitors a year, was a game-changer for the city.
“The opening of the gallery is another significant milestone in the realisation of the city’s vision for HOTA to become a cultural precinct of national significance,” Pankhurst said.
“The precinct and the gallery is cementing arts and culture as essential to the fabric of this city and creating a legacy for future generations.”
HOTA CEO Criena Gehrke said HOTA Gallery would challenge everything people thought they knew about art, and about the Gold Coast.
“This incredible gallery really does represent the DNA of the Gold Coast,” Gehrke said.
“On the outside it is most definitely a beacon, it’s bright, it’s a little bit glamorous, it’s a little bit unexpected.
“But when you scratch below the surface and come inside, then it’s also full of mysterious shapes and places, of light and dark, it’s sophisticated, thoughtful and intelligent. It’s much more than what you expected.”
The gallery offered an experience where lifestyle and art collide, she said.
“We want you to come in your cocktail dress or dinner suit if that’s what suits you, or you can come in your boardies or bikini, go for a swim in the lake, build a sandcastle , dust off your sandy feet…then make your way over to the gallery. Come in and experience these incredible exhibitions.”
HOTA Gallery launches with the major exhibition SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise.
HOTA Gallery and Visual Arts Director Tracy Cooper-Lavery said the inaugural indoor and outdoor works were commissioned from 19 local artists and featured sculpture, painting, video, photography and installations.
“SOLID GOLD showcases the incredible depth of creativity and talent in our city and will position local artists into the national conversation,” Cooper-Lavery said.
The next major exhibition starting in July will be Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson that will present Robinson’s entire Creation Series, produced over 16 years, together for the first time.
The world premiere exhibition of some of the world’s most influential contemporary artists including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons, will make its exclusive Australian appearance at HOTA’s Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection exhibition from November.
As well as the feature exhibitions, Cooper-Lavery said the Gallery hosted a dedicated Children’s Gallery and would show more than 100 works at a time from the $32 million, 4,400-piece HOTA City Collection.
She said the City Collection started in 1968, but was without a home until 1986. Much of it had still not been shown because there hadn’t been suitable gallery space on the Gold Coast.
The collection, which includes one of the largest collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in regional Australia, will be presented across three galleries with some rarely before seen artworks that were expected to become Gold Coast “destination pieces”.
“We also have strong representation of women artists and we have some works too that we’ve called our mavericks – works that when they were acquired were quite controversial or the artists were controversial, but have gone on to become key works,” Cooper-Lavery said.
HOTA Gallery is open 7 days a week and entry is free, but bookings are required.
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