Art: At Last, the Canberra Collection

After nine years in building, Australia's National Gallery opens

Fireworks banged and twinkled in the night skies over Canberra last month: amid pomp, ceremony, black ties, tiaras and champagne, Queen Elizabeth II declared Australia's new National Gallery open to the public. Nine years in building, almost 20 in planning, the gallery, for the time being at least, eclipsed every other cultural institution in Australia. "The establishment of a national collection," remarked the Queen in her speech, "is also the establishment of a national identity." The A.N.G.'s Australian director, James Mollison, 50, promised more to come. "Eventually," he declared, "this gallery will...

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