The Broken Hill art scene – it’s no MoMA

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Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery interior.

It’s simply a matter of jumping into your favourite pair of jeans and comfy top, throwing on a bit of bling so as to appear you’ve made the effort, and before you can say “Regional Art Gallery” you are magically there, chatting with folk from far and wide – glass of bubbly in hand.

At the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery Archibald Prize Gala this year, I found myself reflecting on how easy it had all been to get there without the traffic jams and parking problems. And to be able to view the paintings for as long as I liked, without having to queue up or look over the shoulders of other visitors – what a dream. Try doing that in New York , Paris, or Sydney – those scenarios are completely different.

In New York a few years ago I made my way to check out a visiting Kandinsky collection at the Frank Lloyd-Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum. Luckily for me it is one of the most important architectural structures of the 20th century, because I spent most of my tightly-scheduled time on the outside of the building, in the endless queue that snaked around the corner and out of sight. Once inside I was nudged along by the shoulder-to-shoulder army of enthusiasts, barely able to stop and read the information about each painting. There was no turning back. And too bad if you needed to use the bathroom – I stress ‘the’ bathroom –  there being only one toilet cubicle on each floor, and the queues for those snaked out of sight too! It was quicker just to get the hell out of there and find an alternative venue in which to powder one’s nose. As for the Museum of Modern Art, forget it – you couldn’t even see the ticket desk for the sea of heads. Mind you, it was the holiday season.

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Queuing for tickets at MoMA in New York, 2009.

I would choose a civilised, unhurried hour at the Regional Art Gallery or the Pro Hart Gallery in Broken Hill in a heartbeat. You just rock straight up to the ticket desk, are guaranteed a friendly chin wag with the lovely staff, and assured of browsing for as long as you like -stress free.