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An evening with Peggy – by Tara Hoban

An evening with Peggy – by Tara Hoban

There was much to celebrate tonight at the Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice exhibition, when more than 140 WA media women gathered at the Art Gallery of Western Australia for Women in Media’s final event for 2010.

The Gallery’s art collection in the spacious foyer made a stunning backdrop to the assembled WA journalists, public affairs professionals and event sponsors (listed below) as they made and renewed connections, shared ideas and support, and heard of other women in the world struggling for basic rights and a voice.

The many remarkable women at the event also heard from Gallery director Dr Stefano Carboni on another remarkable woman—art collector Peggy Guggenheim.

Carboni spoke of successfully orchestrating the loan of the collection for the Perth gallery, the only gallery in Australia to be honoured with 35-40 specially selected works. He said he managed to bring this exclusive exhibition to Perth because of his contacts and networks.

After spending 16 years working as a curator for Islamic art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Carboni had cultivated a network of peers and fellow art lovers. Through his connections, he was able to propose and execute the idea for an exhibition from Peggy Guggenheim’s Venice-based collection. He said these connections opened a lot of doors for him.

“I got to know a number of directors and curators in large institutions and the idea behind the great collections of the world is that we try to engage world renowned institutions to try and get a small sample of their collection and have a kind of exclusive agreement with them,” he said.

Carboni unknowingly touched on the very purpose of the Women in Media event—to build strength through networks and connections.

Women in Media guests flocked to the exhibit, some moving gradually through, others pausing in studious reflection. The gift shop was similarly crowded with devotees, where everything from vibrantly coloured umbrellas to mysterious rubber cylinders were passed around.

Peggy Guggenheim, art collector and heiress, was born in 1898. As she realised her passion for art, she began dedicating much of her fortune to supporting and promoting a wave of surrealist and abstract artists. Among them were Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and Jackson Pollock.

The exhibition itself is a marvel of shape and colour, the arrangement of pieces saying much about Guggenheim’s diverse interests as an art collector. Duchamp’s much admired portrait of a Sad Young Man on a Train caused many an onlooker great intrigue, some even moving to look at it from across the room, where one bears witness to the terrible emptiness in the evocative painting.

Pollock’s vivid Enchanted Forest also proved popular, and one can easily appreciate that she captured an era of art that had brilliant range and unsurpassed imagination.

Carboni said the collection was not merely celebrating these artists, but their honourable and generous patron, who harnessed her passion by helping artists realise their potential.

The same can be said for the WIM evening, where the creative female talent of WA’s one of the toughest industries around came together to engage and share their journeys in a network brimming with possibility.

WIM thanks the Art Gallery of WA and Lamont’s winery for their generous sponsorship. Thanks also to the Richardson Hotel, Secrets Shh and Perth singing duo, Doris all of whom donated gifts won by women on the night

Click here to see the photos from the night.