Modern LoveThe Lives of John & Sunday Reed
Free with Museum Pass
Accompanying the launch of a new biography of the same title, this exhibition celebrates the achievements of Heide founders John and Sunday Reed, champions of modernism and catalysts for successive generations of Australian artists and writers.
John and Sunday met in 1930, and shared a passion for art, literature, nature and innovation. John came from an affluent grazier family in Tasmania, reading law at Cambridge and travelling extensively before he settled in Melbourne to work as a solicitor. Sunday was an heiress, born into the Baillieu dynasty. After a disastrous first marriage and expatriate life in England and France she returned home, her encounter with John marking the beginning of a new bohemian existence.
Rejecting their advantaged social backgrounds, the Reeds purchased Heide in 1934 and established an alternative and self-sufficient lifestyle. They opened their home to an experimental artistic, literary and musical milieu, attracting people with similarly libertarian attitudes and a desire to instigate cultural change. Heide became a gathering point for avant-garde figures such as Sam Atyeo, Moya Dyring, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Max Harris, Arthur Boyd, John Perceval, Charles Blackman, Mirka Mora and Mike Brown. Together with the Reeds, they paved the way for a new creative landscape, the flowering of which saw the rise of the Contemporary Art Society, Reed & Harris publishing and Angry Penguins magazine, and the Museum of Modern Art of Australia.
John and Sunday had a remarkable partnership that endured many challenges and affected all those who crossed the threshold of Heide. Their unremitting support of progressive art and close relationships with many major Australian artists is reflected in their personal collection, highlights of which are exhibited here, complemented by family heirlooms, archival photographs, and personal memorabilia.
In the news
The Heide art movement
ABC24, Australia Wide Ep. 32, 7 November 2015
John and Sunday Reed: Modern Love a drama in five acts
The Weekend Australian, Review, 7-8 November 2015
What really happened at Heide? Book reveals tangled lives of famous art circle
The Age, Spectrum, 19 September 2015
Heide founders John and Sunday Reed’s love entanglements revealed in new book
The Age, 19 September 2015
Modern Love – the Reeds of Heide
Radio National, Blueprint for Living, 26 September 2015
Wild Things: The Lives and Loves of John and Sunday Reed
Book talk at the The Wheeler Centre, 15 February 2016