I was on my way to Flinders St train station just looking for a loo to be perfectly honest when I pushed the pram past this new exhibition at NGV Studio and had to stop. Dedicated to skateboards of the 1970s and 1980s I felt like I'd stepped out of Dante's Inferno (The Portaloos outside Art Play) and into a couple of square meters of total serenity. Few things look as good on a museum wall as a collection of banged-up boards. It's not rocket science: it's called contrast. But seeing the worn down wheels and scratched decks against the pristine walls was magic plain and simple. I'm not going to project narrative on inanimate objects (as in every board tells a story) but you could just sense the good times.
For a graphic designer who loitered around skate parks in my teens this exhibition brought the past and present into perfect union. I still want to scratch my eyeballs to remove some of the disturbing images from down by the Yarra. They are still sitting on my retinas. But I might have missed stumbling across this show. Believe it or not, it was worth it.
12 November – 5 February 2012