Monday, April 11, 2011

The Shilo project comes to Ararat

Ararat Regional Art Gallery launched its newest exhibition, 'The Shilo project', last Friday afternoon to an appreciative audience. 'The Shilo project' is a NETS Victoria touring exhibition developed by the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne, and is curated by its Director, Dr Chris McAuliffe.

An iconic album cover from the 1970s, Neil Diamond's 'Shilo' is the stmulus for this exhibition which explores the introcate relationship between pop music and contemporary art. The original album cover featured an innovative join-the-dot image of Neil Diamond, inviting fans to complete their own portrait. 100 leading contemporary artists were invited to respond to the artistic challenge posed by the do-it-yourself 'Shilo' album cover.

'The Shilo project' is fascinating both in terms of the surprising artistic responses that emerged from the chellenge, but also for its innovative and inclusive exhibition design. Vicitors to the exhibition can leaf through racks of Neil Diamond album covers as if they are visiting a record store. They can even pull up a bean bag, relax and play the 'Shilo' album on a record player as part of the exhibition experience.

We were very pleased to welcome the exhibition's curator, Dr Chris McAuliffe, to Ararat last Friday to speak about the ideas informing 'The Shilo project' and the process involved in developing this intriguing exhibition. Dr McAuliffe's talk was followed by an exhibition opening reception where people had a chance to view the exhibition and enjoy the 'Shilo' album. Local artists who contributed their own Shilo album covers to the Ararat presentation of the exhibition were also in attendance.

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