By Paul Daley
Replete with Tina Arena’s endorsement, the NGA’s major exhibition showcases Versailles for what it was: an opulent excess, and a cracking yarn
If a word could encapsulate the experiential ambition of the National Gallery of Australia’s new major exhibition – which brings to Canberra more than 130 pieces from the Palace of Versailles – it must surely be “immersive”.
Approaches to the institution “show” are fast evolving, thanks to digitisation and a growing introspection among public collectors, but, when it comes to the blockbuster gallery exhibition, Versailles: Treasures from the Palace may yet set a benchmark. This is an engagement (tactile, visual, aural – even olfactory) of sensibility; a big-ticket, mega-publicity exhibition replete with celebrity endorsement, whose curatorial tactics amplify an intriguing political, social and artistic story at its core.