This morning as I walked around the MCA Collection galleries after hearing news of Loti Smorgon’s passing, I saw an elderly couple standing in front of Tim Johnson’s Little Big Horn (1988). They were unpicking it looking for figures and faces, patterns and designs. I pointed some of the figures out – ‘There’s a lot in this!’ they exclaimed. I kept walking and passed Asher Bilu’s Insights into the Ultimates (1988), one of the Visitor Service Officers told me about a woman who had stood in front of Bilu’s astonishing artwork and had wept. Both of these works were donated to the MCA by Loti and Victor Smorgon as part of their incredible gift of 149 Australian works.
On such a sad day for Australian art it was amazing to see in action the legacy of Loti Smorgon – art for the people, to come to on their own terms and to be given the chance to be thrilled, excited and moved by it.
It’s the rarest of gifts and the reason why we put our faith in people like Loti Smorgon and the power of art.
By Glenn Barkley, Senior Curator
Linda Marrinon’s work O (1989) has been installed on Level 2 of the Museum as a tribute. The work was gifted to the MCA by Loti and Victor in 1995.
Mrs Loti Smorgon AO (1918 – 2013)
MCA Chairman Simon Mordant AM, the MCA Board, Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE and the staff of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia honour the memory of Mrs Loti Smorgon who together with her husband Victor donated 149 artworks to the Museum.
Visitors to the MCA look at the art donated by Loti and Victor Smorgon everyday. They are given the chance to be thrilled, excited and moved by it. Linda Marrinon’s work O (1989) is the legacy of the Smorgon family’s generosity, a gift that is appreciated by hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.