Pub Rock – National Portrait Gallery

Until 14 February 2021
Free, but sessions bookings required under COVID rules

Pub Rock celebrates the people, places, scenes and sounds defining 1970s and 1980s Australia. Drawn primarily from the Gallery’s collection and enriched with works by leading Australian music photographers including Tony Mott and Wendy McDougall, Pub Rock  features staged portraits and publicity shots alongside images captured during unguarded moments and the grungy energy of live performances.

Exhibition curator Joanna Gilmour takes Barbie on a tour of Pub Rock

The exhibition includes images from pioneering 1960s performers such as The Easybeats, Little Pattie and Johnny O’Keefe, Australian punk and  the bluesy, guitar-driven rock of the 1970s, the synthesised pop of the 1980s, music festivals and protest rallies through to the early 90s.

Visitors who have grown up on music from the sixties to the nineties will find much to engender nostalgia  – AC/DC, INXS, Nick Cave, The Bee Gees, Kylie Minogue, Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly and Yothu Yindi, Cold Chisel, The Angels and Rose Tattoo.

The strength of women in a traditionally male-dominated scene is a focus, as well as Canberra’s significance as a rock‘n’roll byway, with a selection of images by the late performance photographer ‘pling (Kevin Prideaux).

The work of specialist music photographers including Stu Spence and Bob King, will also be highlighted in The Mosh Pit: an anarchic, graffiti-strewn installation of shots captured at gigs and venues throughout Australia.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to access a selected Spotify playlist and music videos. In coming weeks, NPG will launch a live streamed event together with a series of virtual tours and talks for visitors to participate in online.

Don’t miss Mike Kennedy’s Oz Music Hour special featuring Pub Rock, exclusively on Living Arts Canberra Radio. It’s on Saturday 28 November at 4pm, and repeated at 8pm on Tuesday 1 December.