Boost for art Bendigo Art Gallery

THE Bendigo Art Gallery last night unveiled new works by controversial artist Bill Henson in a major announcement of the gallery’s expansion over the next two years.

The exhibition of 11 photographs will form part of an ongoing collaboration between Bill Henson, the Bendigo Art Gallery and several major European institutions.

At a gallery event last night, Bendigo Art Gallery director Karen Quinlan announced the gallery would host five major international exhibits in the next 12 months.

Ms Quinlan confirmed the gallery was working with institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and British Museum.

She said details of the major exhibits were set to be revealed in early 2013.

“It’s tightly under wraps at the moment,” she said.

“But what we’re bringing out from the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum will be hopefully just as big as the Grace Kelly exhibition.”

Ms Quinlan described the Bill Henson works as a unique, “moody installation” for an Australian gallery.

“When you enter the space there are a number of aspects for you to contemplate... The works are all in the one room. The way it’s displayed is a statement in itself,” she said.

The exhibit is set to be the start of a bigger Bill Henson exhibition early next year, which will coincide with the $8.4 million expansion of the gallery. As part of the new project, the Bendigo Art Gallery foundation is calling on community input to help raise funds.

Ms Quinlan said the foundation needed to raise another $1 million to add to council and state government funding.

A new wall of the gallery facing Rosalind Park is set to be dedicated to the local community, with residents invited to buy bricks for the wall for $50 each.

The Bill Henson works are on show at the Bendigo Art Gallery until February 24.

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