Friday, November 12, 2004

The "new" National Gallery of Victoria

I've only been back to the National Gallery of Victoria twice since it re -opened, with a flourish of publicity. I have to say, I miss the old one. They made a big thing of the fact that they didn't, after all, remove the water-wall, but last weekend, it was painted over - so you really couldn't see the water. The former Great Hall, with its stained-glass ceiling doesn't feel like a "Great" Hall any more. There are about four eating-places - one wasn't enough? Two, even?

What really bothers me, though, is that the large, warm, comfortable galleries have been reduced to small rooms, mostly dark, with hardly anywhere to sit and admire the paintings. Small though they are, they feel big because they're virtually empty, with maybe one small bench in the middle. The wood-panelling and the sunshine in the main entrance area are gone. Metal ramps from one floor to the next and the place is a rabbit-warren, with "exit" signs that just take you to the next gallery, not out on to a landing. Heaven help you if you want to visit the facilities! As for the displays of pottery and other relics, they're for all the world like the Homewares department in Myers!

Bring back the gallery I grew up with!

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