The National Portrait Gallery Goes to The Pub!

The National Portrait Gallery Goes to The Pub!

jimmy barnes
Photo credit: Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984, Grant Matthews. Gift of John McLean 2008. Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery.

The ACT’s NPG pick has picked a definite winner with an action-packed exhibition entitled PUB ROCK, which opened on the weekend. And there’s more to it than it would initially seem. The exhibition’s hero image – of a leather pants-clad, vodka bottle-swinging Jimmy Barnes circa Chisel’s Last Stand – would suggest it is all strictly Oz Rock. But that’s only part of it. Indeed Oz Rock is just one of eight sub-titles under which the exhibition is organised:

Oz Origins

Oz Rock

Oz Indie


Oz Punk

Oz Elsewhere (Oz artists abroad)

Capital Cool (local ACT artists)

The Mosh Pit

So basically, it covers Australian rock music from its '50s and '60s beginnings through to the ‘80s, with the Glory Days of Pub Rock at its core. Artists featured include Johnny O’Keefe, The Easybeats, The Bee Gees, Daddy Cool, Skyhooks, AC/DC, The Saints, The Angels, The Boys Next Door, Midnight Oil, No Fixed Address, Paul Kelly, The Church, INXS, The Divinyls, The Hoodoo Gurus and, obviously, many more. While primarily photo-based – and featuring the work of the country’s top rock photographers including Bob King, Tony Mott and Wendy McDougal – it includes paintings and other styles of portraiture as well.   

Border closures are going to make it difficult for many of us to attend the exhibition at the moment, but it’s on until Sunday, February 14, 2021. And in the meantime, the NPG has a free virtual tour and ‘In Conversation’ event with curator, Jo “Frock on” Gilmour and exhibition manager, Sheridan “The Flame” Burnett happening this Friday, September 11 from 12:20-1:30 PM. They also have some excellent content online as well. You can check it all out, here.

PUB ROCK: Your backstage pass to 70s and 80s sounds and scenes – daily from Saturday, September 5th, 2020, until Sunday, February 14th, 2021 – See here. 

And of course, while you’re checking out the website, don’t forget to be blasting out our Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock playlist – featuring over five hours of good times and rocking hits – on Spotify:  

Related Posts