The Chau Chak Wing Museum brings together the Nicholson, Macleay and University Art collections, creating startling, thought-provoking, and even affecting opportunities to understand and engage with the world.
Our collections span archaeology, art, ethnography, natural history and science. In Object / Art / Specimen, they are presented in a kaleidoscope of themes, reveling in the diversity of the collections and demonstrating their ongoing relevance in an interdisciplinary world.
Six evocative themes explore human experience and methods of understanding the world, from ‘Sex, love, death’, to ‘Chaos, pattern, order’ and ‘Performance, ritual, belief’.
The premise of the exhibition is betrayed by the title. Depending on a person’s perspective, one person’s object is another’s art or specimen in innumerable combinations.
Featured collection items include a taxidermy Thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), a rare annotated volume of Principia by Isaac Newton, paintings by Russell Drysdale and Ethel Carrick Fox, and a limestone mummy coffin. A group of vibrantly coloured purple, red and green eclectus parrot specimens lay in proximity to Robert Indiana’s 1960s LOVE screen-print and a 16th century Flemish oil of Adam and Eve.
Images from top: Mounted specimen, Thylacinus cynocephalus (Harris, 1808), Tasmania, Australia, Macleay Collections, NHM.496, with Alan H Sonfist, The Earth of Sydney, 1981, mixed media sculpture, University Art Collection, UA2018.3.1-40
Above: Clockwise from left: Ethel Carrick Fox, Flower market southern France, c. 1926, oil painting, University Art Collection, UA2018.44, Attic white ground lekythos, 425–400BC, Thanatos Painter, Athens, Greece, NM47.20, Model of a dicot leaf, 20th century, SC2017.3, Crystal models, Krantz, Dr Friedrich Ludwig Robert, Germany, Selection of: SC1991.58.1–124