Cover image of the review
error message on *Monkey effigy bottle*, Chimú-Inca, 1470-1533 Chimú, north coast Peru Collection: NGV, Melbourne


14 Nov 2020

The public is extremely interested in art gallery storage: what percentage of the collection is currently not on display, how things are protected while stored, the (true) legends about rooms that cut off oxygen for the purpose of extinguishing a fire without water–keeping priceless treasures safe while potentially asphyxiating trapped workers. Gallery guides love to offer visitors these titbits and people lap them up. The submerged portion of the collection that is locked away acts as a monstrous subconscious hoard in opposition to the delicately curated display. At any given moment we want to see what they won’t let us see more than what they want to show us.

The NGV Collection Bot—or @NgvThing, its handle—is a Twitter user that randomly posts an image of an artwork from the National Gallery of Victoria collection once an hour, on the 39th minute of every hour. For that one hour an artwork gets to state its name at the top of the feed, before being squashed down the line.

To read for free enter your email address.

Log in with your registered email address.

Memo can continue to publish free, quality, and independent weekly art criticism with the support of our readers. Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.