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New York highlights and favourite places: art, coffee, dance, food, running/walking, cocktails...

artists, spaces

10 October 2016

Street art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
Street art in Williamsburg

I have just completed another fabulous walk to art New York tour and, as always, I was so fortunate to have open, passionate and grounded participants.

New York City has incredible energy and every time I visit this city I am injected with a "buzz". As you would expect many "research" nights were taken up with new food discoveries and openings.

As usual I stayed in Greenpoint and loved every minute. I was lucky to meet a very friendly man on the plane who also lived in Greenpoint. He shared his favourite newbies with me, and these also became my new favourite go-to places:


Richard Serra's exhibition at Gagosian, New York
Richard Serra's exhibition at Gagosian

What goes on tour stays on tour. However, here are a few highlights of my time in New York City:

I am always proud to deliver a cultural experience that is unique and many steps away from the tourist trail.

Thank you to all who came on tour. You booked without knowing the itinerary and you all participated with enthusiasm, openness and trust everyday.

Until next time!

 

Handing over my "guide hat" while walk to art turns 10

spaces

12 June 2016

Ten years ago I was in New York starting a key chapter in my life. walk to art began on my return to Melbourne in 2006, and there have been many influential people along the way. One of them was my dear friend Belinda, who has been there from the start. This week I have handed over my "guide hat" and have been expertly hosted around the busy, foggy, full city of Shanghai, in China, by her.

We have...

Chinese cooking workshop: learning the art of Chinese cooking

  • walked through the leafy, green surrounds of the French Concession
  • ridden bikes through the back streets at night after too many cocktails
  • visited the laneway shops
  • been "destroyed" by Chinese masseuses
  • sorted through fabrics at the Fabric Market
  • learnt the art of Chinese cooking
  • eaten at wonderful bakeries
  • been to secret bars with secret doors and secret codes
  • eaten lunch and dinner at outstanding restaurants on The Bund
  • discovered great coffee, quaint cafes
  • watched the people dance, sing, exercise and walk their birds in the local parks...


These are my favourite places in Shanghai:

  • Farine – Coffee and fresh baked goods
  • Baker & Spice – Coffee, breakfast, lunch and baked delights
  • Green & Safe – Lunch, groceries, organic
  • Egg – Wonderful all day b'fast
  • M On The Bund – Lovely lunch on The Bund
  • Speak Low – Secret bar

When left to my own devices, I followed my bible, Luxe City Guide app, and discovered the art of this big city:

Street art: Writing poetry with water in the park (Shanghai, China)


Thank you – As walk to art is turning 10, a big thank you to Belinda, Philip, Greg, Angela, Cathy, Maria, Anne-Marie and Charles. You have all been there from the start and are still here now.

Thank you to everyone else who have continued to spread the word on walk to art. To those who have been on numerous Melbourne, New York and Venice tours. I have learnt, discovered, laughed and cried with many of you over the years.

walk to art has not only been about art; it has been a celebration of all the things that I love: art, design, walking, food, coffee, wine, cheese, pop ups, laneways and people.

 

Greg Wood takes his art to an exciting country town in Victoria

artists, spaces

26 April 2016

I am a city girl, but lately I have been enjoying the peace and fresh air of the country.

Recently I visited Kyneton, in Victoria, approximately 85km from Melbourne and an easy 1-hour drive on the freeway. My reason to visit was to support my very good friend Greg Wood and his new exhibition, "Slow Release", currently at Stockroom.

Greg Wood, who was featured on walk to art's blog in 2009 (Greg Wood: the second exhibition of a fabulous artist), studied Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) in Hobart. Wood has been exhibiting for over 20 years and is a passionate painter with a deep understanding of the Tasmanian and Victorian landscapes. His paintings ask the viewer to look beyond the literal and enter a sublime world of luminous beauty. Wood has been shortlisted in the Glover Prize and the Fleurieu Art Prize, two prestigious landscape prizes.


Greg Wood's exhibition, Slow Release, at Stockroom in Kyneton (VIC)
Greg Wood, "Park" (2015), oil on linen, 40.5cm x 43cm framed

Stockroom is an exciting rural arts hub located in Kyneton's thriving style precinct on Piper Street. Piper Street seems to be the place to be, offering great local pubs and cafes. My friend and I both agreed that we could easily move to this exciting country town.

Stockroom is an ambitious and unique space that includes a large, split level retail shop showcasing contemporary artists, makers and designers who create a range of products, including jewellery, ceramics, homewares, furniture and fashion.

It also includes two gallery spaces with a bi-monthly exhibition program. Stockroom directors Magali Gentric and Jason Waterhouse are passionate about creating a vibrant arts hub, which provides a forum for artists of all disciplines.

Greg's beautiful, elusive landscapes are on exhibition till 1 May.

"Slivers of land are represented beneath heavy skies that threaten to consume the ground below. At first glance, the works could be mistaken for abstract, but the viewer is greatly rewarded by allowing the time to let the scene unfold."

 

Biennale of Sydney: highlights and tips (including food)

artists, spaces

22 March 2016

I was fortunate to visit the 20th Biennale of Sydney in its opening week. The Future is Already Here – It's Just Not Evenly Distributed opened on 18 March and can be seen until 5 June.

I was in great company, with a talented artist and friend, and we ran around to all the venues before the crowds rolled in. There are 8 different locations or "embassies" to be visited:

  1. Cockatoo Island
  2. MCA Australia
  3. Art Gallery of NSW
  4. Artspace
  5. Carriageworks
  6. Mortuary Station
  7. In-Between spaces
  8. Mobile Book Store

Here are my rules to navigate a biennale:

  • Research is important.
  • Try not too do too much in one day.
  • Be realistic about how much you can and want to see.
  • Make sure that the person who holds the map is in control (in our case we took it in turns).
  • Include, of course, the all important debrief at the end of the day over a glass of wine or two (check my favourite stops in Sydney)!

Highlights – The highlights, in my opinion, were mainly located at Cockatoo Island – it was fun to wander and explore the desolated industrial space. To get there, take the Harbour City Ferries that operate regular services from Circular Quay.

I loved the work by William Forsythe, who was born in New York and now lives in Germany. William Forsythe is considered one of the world's foremost choreographers. Nowhere and everywhere at the same time (2015) allows the participant to glide between the moving pendulums. You become the dancer, the choreographer and the art. This work is beautiful, silent and elegant. It is also fun!


Abstraction of Confusion (2016), by Taro Shinoda; clay, pigment, ochre, tatami mats, dimensions variable, in exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW

For those who did not make it to the Japanese Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, a new artwork by outstanding artist Chiharu Shiota is on exhibit at Cockatoo Island. Chiharu Shiota creates intimate and intricate webs comprised of metres of black thread. Another beautiful work by another Japanese artist, Taro Shinoda, is at the Art Gallery of NSW. Abstraction of Confusion (2016; pictured) is an incredible installation that fills an entire room creates a meditative silence as if you were in nature. Sitting on the tatami mats allow you to disappear into the hand-built cracked clay walls and sunken floors.

Also on the menu – As you all know, food, coffee and wine stops are very important to me. A friend whom I met up with suggested two new places in Sydney... they were both great, even hard to find!

Here is my list for Sydney:


Ghostboy Cantina

  • Reuben Hills, Surry Hills (coffee, breakfast, fabulous banana bread with caramel salted butter – ouch! Be careful not to fall in love)
  • RELISH FOOD CO, Surry Hills (lunch, salads, coffee, a perfect pit stop after walking all day)
  • Ghostboy Cantina (pictured), Dixon House, Haymarket (tacos, fun food hall, cheap wine, great find, brings me back to Hong Kong days)
  • Baxter Inn (hidden bar, find the lane, find the red rope, walk down the dark stairs to the very American whiskey bar; loose a few hours underground)
  • Sagra Restaurant (perfect Italian, to take the perfect person, in a small house in Darlinghurst).

 

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania: why you really should go

artists, spaces

16 January 2016

In need of a short break... head to MONA for a little bit of art, food and wine action.

MONA is short for Museum of Old and New Art. Founder David Walsh is responsible for putting Hobart (Tasmania) on the international art map, luring almost 2 million visitors from around the world since it was opened, in 2011. Two years later Lonely Planet declared Hobart one of the top 10 destinations (because of MONA), so if you haven't been there yet you really should go.

Love or hate the "art wank" or the collection that tends to lean to the darker side of life; death, sex and destruction, it still holds the wow factor. MONA is a like a bat cave and at times the building takes over the art. Actually the building is the pull for me.


poster of Gilbert and George The Art Exhibition

Big named exhibitions, such as Gilbert and George (until 28 March 2016), bring in income that is needed to keep the doors open. MONA leaks money, losing A$8 million or more a year and is supported by David Walsh's gambling interests.

Recently a friend and I stayed in The Brett pavilion, one of eight pavilions on site. Luxurious accommodation with a "wow" view over the Derwent River, high tech with wireless touch panels (which I must confess took us a while to get our heads around!). Upstairs and downstairs well equipped with heated floors in the bathrooms, books, wine and Aesop products.

We lost time in the infinity pool, drank the bubbles kindly gifted and experienced the calming work of James Turrell at night (don't forget to bring a jumper as it gets chilly).

Here are my best tips:

  • MR-1 Fast Ferry is the way to get there.
  • Eat at Templo in Hobart (book before hand as it's tiny... you would hate to turn up with no seats available).
  • Eat at Franklin in Hobart (hot place to go).
  • Stay at one of MONA's pavilions with someone you love or wish to love.

 

La Biennale di Venezia 2015: art, food and wine overload

artists, Venice tours

12 November 2015

I have just returned from the third walk to art Venice. It was another fabulous trip, overloaded with art, food and wine...

I am slowly digesting the wonderful time I had – a great group of people, a few standout works of art and not to forget the Prosecco!

The 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice titled All The World's Futures was curated by Nigerian born Okwui Enwezor and organized by La Biennale di Venezia. There were 136 artists representing 88 participant nations, as well as 44 collateral events approved by the curator, all scattered around Venice in disused palazzos.

We stood proud in front of the newly built Australian pavilion, making it the 30th national pavilion to be built in the Giardini. Denton Corker Marshall designed the new pavilion and Fiona Hall's work captured the eyes of many.

Highlights for all of us in this year's walk to art Venice were: the Japanese pavilion, Jaume Plensa's work in the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore and The Bridges of Graffiti.


installation by Chiharu Shiot
Japan's pavilion was an exquisite installation by Chiharu Shiot (pictured above). Thousands of old keys showered down from the ceiling into tangled nets of crimson thread, some slipping through, others caught in wooden boats straight out of Hokusai. This work was simply beautiful creating and intensely meditative atmosphere.


artwork by Jaume Plensa
On the island of San Giorgio we viewed Jaume Plensa's outstanding works (pictured above). A group of five alabaster sculptures of five teenaged girls from around the world, carved using reformed scans, were visually stunning and intimate. The luminosity of the portraits and the chosen long dark space of the Officina dell'Arte Spirituale created a reflective and emotional experience for all.


The Bridges of Graffiti artwork
On a lighter note, The Bridges of Graffiti was a brilliantly curated exhibition by Francesca Alinovi. A great collateral event celebrating the history of graffiti with ten artists – Boris Tellegen, Doze Green, Eron, Futura, Mode2, SKKI ©, Jayone, Todd James, Teach, Zero-T. They all worked together for the very first time, bringing to life a single cohesive Hall of Fame piece within the Arterminal walls, with the site-specific works conceived especially for the exhibition.

And, on a food note, standing up and eating fresh pasta at Bigoi, ordering the brioche con marmellata at Tonolo and drinking Prosecco with all the Venetians behind the Rialto market on a Saturday night under the stars made this trip one to remember.

I am looking forward to the next Venice trip in October 2017.

 

walk to art to celebrate its 10th anniversary where it all began: New York

New York tours

25 June 2015

walk to art will turn ten in 2016 and to celebrate I have launched a 10th anniversary walk to art New York tour.

It's about going back to where this journey began – walk to art was conceived in New York, in my walks from Brooklyn to Chelsea. In that time I explored quirky art spaces, creative studios, music and eateries. I people watched every day on the trains and on the street and I searched for the best coffee in town. So it seems New York is the most fitting place to celebrate walk to art's 10th birthday.

photo of New York City

As usual there will be no itinerary given upfront and you just need to trust that you are in very safe hands.

My essential list will give you the rundown of organic grocers, fabulous brunch places, favourite coffee hangouts, burgers, bagels, corn with cream cheese, oyster bars, underground Mexican, diners and more.

  • We will stay in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and enjoy the local cafes and bars.
  • Our days will be filled with art, food and activity, finishing with the perfect Negroni or Martini.
  • We travel mostly in the afternoons and there are no forced dinners.
  • We will walk, travel the trains and experience a new borough, discovering art spaces, studios and interesting people.

Do you need more reasons to be part of this? You may be in need of a creative break to help you discover the artist within, an educator wanting to refresh your knowledge of contemporary art, an artist wishing to connect to the New York scene or just a lover of life...

photo of New York City

Join me on this special New York art tour in September 2016 to experience a walk through the remarkable back streets and to discover the abundance of culture that makes this city so special.

Get all the information about walk to art New York.

 

Let's celebrate the Melbourne man (ladies welcome)

artists, spaces

19 May 2015

Festival of Steve logoHow about entering one of the most respected senior private members clubs in the City of Melbourne? One that is considered quirky, whilst respectful of tradition? And with more than a century of history?

The Kelvin Club is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015 and opening its doors on Saturday 23 May 2015 at 12pm to host the Festival of Steve.

In its third year, Festival of Steve is an event to celebrate the Melbourne man. The official program includes talks, art, fashion, grooming with whisky and gin for all! There will also be entertainment after dark and the activation of the Melbourne Place Laneway, address of The Kelvin Club. It will be "a day for the modern man", but ladies are welcome.


art from BabyGuerrilla

When it comes to art, BabyGuerrilla (photo) will be pasting "Steve" on the wall of The Kelvin Club and Ryan F Kennedy will be weaving "Steve's" jacket, which will be auctioned later into the night.

You can view the full program on the City Precinct website. To stay abreast of Steve, follow him (#FestivalOfSteve) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


The Kelvin Club
Melbourne Place (view location on Google Maps)

Saturday 23 May 2015, 12pm to 8pm

 

Travel destination: art fairs or art is the reason why I travel

artists, spaces, Venice tours

12 March 2015

I think my last actual holiday was 9 years ago. All my trips are for work – I am on tour, at an art fair or at least art is the reason I am travelling.

There is a blurred line between rest, play and work... it's all in one big bubble!

On that note, here are some art fairs that are happening this year, not to mention the La Biennale di Venezia – 56th International Art Exhibition. Fiona Hall AO will represent Australia in our new pavilion designed by Denton Corker Marshall. And, of course, walk to art will be there in October.

 

Art Basel Hong Kong
Art Basel Hong Kong
15 to 17 March 2015
VIP preview: 14 March

Why you should go: Art Basel stages the world's premier modern and contemporary art shows, held annually in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Founded by gallerists in 1970, Art Basel has been a driving force in supporting the role that galleries play in the nurturing of artists, and the development and promotion of visual arts. There are 6 sectors: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Magazines and Film. An extensive calendar of events is also on offer (starting from 10 March), as well as talks, discussions and films, pop-up bars, etc.

My advice: Go through the list of events before you leave and book online as you could miss out.

 

Art Central Hong Kong
Art Central Hong Kong
14 to 16 March 2015
VIP preview: 13 March

Why you should go: Art Central is Hong Kong's exciting new art fair, showcasing the next generation of talents alongside some of the most established contemporary galleries and art spaces from across the globe. There will be 3 sectors: Central, Rise and Projects. This is Art Central's debut in Hong Kong, and galleries from Sydney and Melbourne are participating.

 

Frieze Art Fair New York
Frieze Art Fair New York
14 to 17 May 2015

Why you should go: Frieze New York is one of the world's leading contemporary art fairs located on Randall's Island Park, in Manhattan. Frieze New York brings together the most exciting contemporary galleries around the globe as well as the non-profit program that includes artist commissions, talks and education activities.

 

ART 15, London
ART 15, London
21 to 23 May 2015
VIP preview: 20 May

Why you should go: Art15, the third edition of London's global art fair, will bring together 150 of the world' s most exciting galleries from 40 countries. They will showcase the masters of the modern era through to leading international artists from the contemporary scene. From Amman to Amsterdam, New York to New Delhi and Sao Paulo to Seoul, the fair will present art from across the globe.

 

Richard Avedon People: back to NY and incredible photography without leaving Melbourne

artists, spaces

12 January 2015

There are many things I miss about New York City. I miss Brooklyn, I miss my favourite café (Bakeri in Williamsburg) and I miss the art.

Recently over coffee, my dear friend Christopher Köller reminded me about the Richard Avedon (1923–2004) exhibition at The University of Melbourne's The Ian Potter Museum of Art: Richard Avedon People. The other day I went there without expectations and walked out with a sense of having just travelled. Travelled back to NYC and travelled back to incredible photography.

I am "old school"; I only shoot with a Rolleiflex and film is my loyal friend... I know how to work it; I like the surprises and the mistakes and the quality of a 6 x 6 negative. A silver gelatin print always captures my attention and eye.

Writer Truman Capote by Richard Avedon (New York City, 1955)
Writer Truman Capote by Richard Avedon (New York City, 1955)

The Ian Potter Museum of Art is a beautiful space. The eighty works by Avedon are presented over two levels in partnership with The Richard Avedon Foundation (New York) and the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra).

"One of the world's great photographers, Avedon is best known for transforming fashion photography from the late 1940s onwards. The full breadth of Avedon's renowned work is revealed in this stunning exhibition of 80 black and white photographs dating from 1949 to 2002. Avedon's instantly recognisable iconic portraits of artists, celebrities, and countercultural leaders feature alongside his less familiar portraiture works that capture ordinary New Yorkers going about their daily lives, and the people of America's West. With uncompromising rawness and tenderness, Avedon's photographs capture the character of individuals extraordinary in their uniqueness and united in their shared experience of humanity."

Avedon printed each work before his death in 2004, whilst on assignment at the age of 81. Richard Avedon People is on until 15 March 2015.

The Ian Potter Museum of Art
The University of Melbourne
Swanston Street (view location on Google Maps)
Parkville VIC 3010

Until 15 March

Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm
Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 5pm