An insider's look at Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice


One glorious Sunday…

Buon giorno!

Thank you to those who came to the Gallery on Sunday to make our Italian Festival Day truly extraordinary. It was great to see so many families enjoying the activities, and queuing up to see Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice. The concourse was filled with music and face painting, there were some spectacular masks made by children in the Centenary Gallery, and we enjoyed some lovely stories from Jenni Hill.

Outside was a sea of blue helium balloons, with cheers from the Bocce crowd and delicious smells wafting from the terrace. Inside the Pollock Pong tent, it was all-out war as cousins, friends and siblings played ping pong with paint (which sometimes turned into a very colourful and violent game of dodgeball). I hobbled home through the train station covered in paint, with blue balloon-stained hands and music in my ears.



November and December are jam-packed with youth art activities to get you off the couch during the Summer break. The closing date for the Youth Photography Awards is fast approching! Enter for the chance to win an Art Gallery gift shop voucher valued at $150, and to follow the Art Gallery photographer for a day and learn all about the skills and techniques of photographing art work.

We’re also running a series of screenprinting and aerosol art workshops in conjunction with Propel Arts, where you can learn new skills and create your own masterpieces, inspired by the colourful abstract works in Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice.

Summer’s heating up at the Art Gallery of WA!

— Tegan the Intern

Introducing: Aston the Venice Intern!

As the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is currently being devoured and enjoyed by the Perth public, my thoughts have been diverted recently – actually, if we’re being honest there has been a fairly dedicated lead up – to what remains in Venice’s Palazzo Venier dei Leoni; the permanent home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  I am here – your Italo-Aussie correspondent/Guggenheim Intern – and I am not disappointed. This is Week 1 and, as I wade my way through masses of French and American tourists and the swiftly rising water levels, I am digesting my new reality for the next 2 months.


Venice is a special kind of place. It asks a certain level of understanding of its visitors, a healthy amount of dedication and cannot help but evoke a multitude of new perspectives in those who cross numerous lagoons and canals to experience it. Venice is multidimensional. Certainly, there is a lot to feast your eyes on. Yet, amongst the colossal history embedded in this small island, Venice has always found room for the new. It is only fitting then, that this is where we should find one of the finest museums of modern art in the world.


Interesting Observation #1: This may possibly be the only museum in the world that accepts, rather, encourages staff to wear Wellington boots to work. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of floating down the narrow streets during Autumn and Winter, November in Venice = flooding.


Interesting Observation # 2: Venice is beautiful; Venice is not practical. Luckily, having visited a number of times before, this was no surprise to me. This foresight however has not aided me at all in my battle with 20-something kgs of luggage, the occasional (but more often absent) labyrinthine street signs and many many stairs. I am happy to now report the logistical component of my expedition is behind me, at least until January when I have to repeat the process and leave. What is in front of me is 110% Collezione Peggy Guggheim. I am one of 8 interns who have arrived from around the world in order to dedicate two months to studying, observing and researching this collection of Cubist, Abstract and Surrealist works which are the legacy of pioneer collector Peggy Guggenheim.


I am originally from Perth. Until late last year, I was also a staff member at AGWA, and vividly recall that time not so long ago when the idea of exhibiting works from the Guggenheim Collection was in its ‘fingers firmly crossed’ phase. Since then I have been working in Collections Management and now live and work in Melbourne. Even from a distance, I have eagerly awaited the arrival of this exhibition with the rest of you. Though I will be a Venetian resident (no complaints!) for the duration of the exhibition, I do hope to contribute to your Guggenheim experience in the West with updates from the winding depths of a magical place called Venice, home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.


Ciao for now,



Fun for the family this Sunday!

Nothing to do this Sunday? Well, here are your plans! This special event has something for everyone – come enjoy the sunshine in the heart of Perth, and pay a visit to Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice.

I’ve been working in the upstairs shop over the past couple of weeks, and it’s been great to hear feedback from visitors straight out of the exhibition. We’ve had locals and people from all over the world – including those who have been to the Guggenheim Museum in Venice – coming to see it, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The Italian merchandise has been a hit, particularly the whacky kaleidoscope looking glasses. We’ve just received a special delivery of Gallery-exclusive shirts, available in sizes 10 to XL.


Don’t leave it to January to see the show, because I can guarantee that one visit will not be enough! We’ll see you on Sunday at the Italian Festival Day.



– Tegan the Intern

Interview with Philip Rylands

Philip Rylands – Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

What do you think of the space?  

The AGWA’s spaces are ample, well lit, and flexible, providing vistas, differentiated spaces and making possible the ‘narrative’ that any exhibition installation should tell. In particular the circularity of the space gives the visitor the option to revisit the exhibition effortlessly even as he or she arrives at its end.

Tell me a little about your relationship with Peggy?  

My wife and I knew Peggy as an acquaintance first and a friend later. Little did she or I imagine that I would dedicate my career to her memory, her story and her collection.   

How have things been at your end these last few weeks?  

The professionalism and good nature of the AGWA staff led by Stefano Carboni and Gary Dufour were outstanding and among the  PGC’s finest experiences of partnering with other museums for the organization of exhibitions.   

What does the collection mean to you? 

Part of the history of collecting, a slice of early and mid 20th century western art, an anthology of wonderful paintings and sculptures, a testimony to a remarkable life.  

It’s an extraordinarily enjoyable exhibition with an enjoyable catalogue: about both great art and a historic person with a colourful life. This combination has placed the Peggy Guggenheim Collection among the most visited museums in Italy, and I assume not a single citizen of Perth will miss the chance to see it before it closes on January 31, 2011.

The Spirit of Italia

Hello everyone!

I hope you saw our story on the 7.30 Report on Monday night? If you missed it, you can watch the video here. We’re very excited to have Tony Delroy from 720 ABC Perth coming to the Gallery on Friday afternoon to record ‘The Challenge’ – be sure to tune in, and keep an eye out in the coming weeks as Peggy goes on the air for Channel 9.

The Italian Festival Day is fast approaching, with the official program boasting free face painting, glass art demonstrations, games of bocce on the lawn, cooking demonstrations, live music, the Art of Espresso Making at Caffisimo, mask-making for kids, plus plenty of food and wine. Perfect for all ages!

Speaking of Caffisimo, the space is set to be Guggenheimed with limited edition cups, table talkers and a special coffee blend in the coming weeks. In their own words:

When we found out that ‘Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice’ was coming to The Art Gallery of Western Australia, we had to celebrate. And how better to mark the occasion than with a unique coffee blend? Our inspiration came from both Venice; a city of devout coffee aficionados, and of course Peggy; a bold woman with great taste. The result is our San Marco Basilica Blend: A darker, richer roast, with an exceptionally full-bodied flavour. One sip and you’ll appreciate the Italian style with complex chocolate, hazelnut and caramel tones, finished with a sweet, full crema. Try it as an espresso, macchiato or however else you take your coffee.


Fans of the annual Year 12 Perspectives exhibition will be pleased to hear that judging has been completed, and from what I’m told we’ve got a stunning range of works from our local young artists coming to the Gallery on 29 January.

That’s all from me for now – I’ll see you at the Italian Festival Day on Sunday 7 November!

–Tegan the Intern





The hits keep coming!

First of all, I’d like to give a big thank you to those who have been following my blog! We’ve topped 500 hits, which is pretty exciting for a 20-year-old student!

It’s good news all round this morning as we recount the success of the opening weekend. Around 750 people attended the opening on Friday night, enjoying drinks, hot food and, of course, magnificent art. One attendee remarked that the evening was “perfect down to every last detail.”

We had around 300 people through the doors on Saturday and 600 on Sunday, and we hope to see those figures climb as word gets out around Perth. The theatrette was packed on Sunday afternoon for Leigh Robb’s talk, which was great to see.

We’ve teamed up with PropelArts to bring you a series of engaging and fun art workshops (click the link to find out more!) and planning is underway for the Italian Festival Day.

Peggy’s here – spread the word!


— Tegan the Intern

Champagne and Baci Kisses

This morning at the bus stop, a woman asked me about my Peggy Guggenheim shirt, wanting to know more about the exhibition. I was in my pre-coffee stupor at this point so I turned around to show her the list of artists on my back, to which she exclaimed “Wow! Well, that’s great advertising.”

Today’s media launch was proof that our sponsors, advertisers and friends from the media are as excited as we are to be a part of this event. We were delighted to have our very own Peggy on the staircase greeting our guests – a performance maintained beautifully throughout the event by Nicola Renton-Weir. The turnout was great, and from my station behind the marketing table I was able to catch snatches of praise for the exhibition and lots of smiling faces (particularly when I offered chocolates).

The champagne is cooling in the fridge as the staff count down to tonight’s opening, where they can finally let their hair down and reap the rewards of months of planning. I will be continuing this blog with the help of Aston Gibbs, a local girl who is going over to Venice in November to take part in the internship program. We look forward to hearing from her – in the meantime, enjoy the show!