Past exhibition

A NETS Victoria touring exhibition developed by the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne, curated by Dr Chris McAuliffe

The Shilo Project


An iconic album cover from the 1970s, Neil Diamond’s Shilo, is the stimulus for an exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art and Victorian tour, which will explore the intricate relationship between pop music and modern art.

The original album cover featured an innovative join-the-dots image of Neil Diamond, inviting fans to complete their own portrait. For the Shilo project, Museum Director, Dr Chris McAuliffe, invited 100 leading contemporary artists to respond to the artistic challenge posed by the do-it-yourself album cover.

Their works will be exhibited along with a number of amateur responses – many of which have been collected from op-shops and second-hand record dealers.

Dr Chris McAuliffe, says the Shilo project explores a number of issues prominent in contemporary Australian art.

“The exhibition reflects the increasingly popular cross-over between art and pop music, and the prevalence of celebrities and fan culture in contemporary experience.

“And we address the on-going controversies of portraiture as a genre. Is it worn out? Can it still provoke?

“The Shilo project is a kaleidoscope of styles, a tribute to vinyl, and a homage to the Solitary Man himself, Neil Diamond”, says McAuliffe.

The exhibition also reflects curator McAuliffe’s passion for music, vinyl records and love of sifting through op shops.

“The idea for the exhibition was sparked by finding copies of the album cover in a Rotary Club Opportunity Shop in Rosebud three years ago. There was something in the Shilo sleeve that kept on throwing up new angles.

“The most obvious complicating element is the blankness of the sleeve. An empty field is both an invitation and a challenge to an artist: here’s a void, now fill it, make it yours.”

Presented By

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The tour of this exhibition was supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria and the Community Support Fund.