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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