Visual Arts – 2015

Monday, 14 December 2015

IMG_2222 - Arts Centre Home - 270Numerous things I’ve run into through the year:

◄ At the beginning of the year, the Melbourne Arts Centre’s ‘Homes’ project. They turned out thousands of little wooden ‘homes’ and people (lots of school kids) decorated them and distributed them all over. I rather liked the spelling on this one.



Outside the Arts Centre a big ‘home’ featured hundreds of little ones. Melbourne philanthropist Betty Amsden was a driving force behind the project. ▼IMG_2199 - Art Centre Home - 540

IMG_2261 - Mambo Shirts, tested on animals - 270◄ The Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square, the Australian part of the National Gallery Victoria (NGV), had an exhibition of the art of Mambo titled ‘30 years of shelf-indulgence.’ Classic T-shirt designs by Reg Mombasa are, of course, a large part of the Mambo story. Like this one with the note that it’s been tested on animals.



Then emerging from the British Library to the courtyard on Euston Rd one sunny London day I met up with this exhibit, fresh from Burning Man in Nevada. That’s another place on my ‘must visit’ list. ▼ IMG_1124 - British Library from Burning Man - 540

IMG_2494 - Federation Square bats - 270◄  Melbourne is famous for its colony of fruit bats – aka flying foxes – which hang out (as bats do) at a bend in the Yarra River a few km upstream from us and fly out every night, in search of fruit. Just after sunset they flap over our house, sometimes thousands of them. So it was nice to encounter a little bat exhibit, hanging out from the ceiling of Federation Square in Melbourne’s city centre.






IMG_9410 - Two Girls Apartments, Richmond - 270

◄ I really liked the Two Girls Apartment complex which popped up in the Melbourne inner city suburb of Richmond. I lived in Richmond for more than 20 years, Lonely Planet had three different offices in Richmond and my favourite Melbourne (maybe favourite in the world) pizza place – E Lounge – is in Little Saigon, just round the corner from the Two Girls. Who happen to be daughters of the developer.




Still in Melbourne it was White Night with arts related activities all night long. An octopus had somehow escaped inside the Arts Centre and was trying to escape, tentacle by tentacle. ▼ IMG_9405 - Art Centre octopus, White Night -

IMG_9936 - Hotel Urban, Madrid◄ I spoke at a travel conference for The Economist in Madrid, Spain and stayed at the Hotel Urban, which I’d read was noted for its Egyptian art collection. Gone. Totally. But in its place was a new collection, principally from Papua New Guinea and very impressive.





I’ve already blogged about those submerging (and emerging) horse and rider sculptures in the Thames in London. ▼ IMG_3934 - Thames sculpture

IMG_2461 - Abbott Hopeless 270◄ Back in Melbourne, and earlier in the year, that iconic Barack Obama ‘Hope’ portrait that featured in his original election morphed into Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and ‘Hopeless.’ Which he truly was. A great wave of relief swept across much of Australia when he was turfed out in favour of Malcolm Turnbull. Yesterday’s blog featured two interesting projects in the battle against climate change – an English wind farm and an American solor power project. Mr ex-Prime Minister Abbott would have been against both of them, he was a climate change denier and adamantly against alternative energy developments. Thank God he’s gone.


Driving back to Melbourne from the mountains in the north of Victoria Maureen and I stopped for lunch in Mansfield, where we saw this nice little collection of ceramics noting local history and sights. Mansfield was the site for one of the key events in the Ned Kelly bushranger saga back in 1878. ▼ IMG_9319 - Alpine huts, Mansfield

IMG_2745 - Andy Warhol & Ai Weiwei - 540▲ Finally I went to the Andy Warhol & Ai Weiwei exhibit that has just opened at the NGV in Melbourne.

IMG_2746 - Ai Weiwei - flowers & bicycle - 540▲ After Ai Weiwei was imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for 81 days without charge he was released, but not allowed to leave the country. His passport had been confiscated. For 600 day he filled a basket on the front of his bicycle with flowers and stood it outside his compound. This flowery protest finished when his passport was returned, the exhibit features the bicycle backed up by a wall of photographs of the flower baskets.