The Neon Museum

I have always had a great interest in the history of Las Vegas. In particular, the development of ‘The Strip’ and the stories of those who contributed to its highs and lows. If you are in Vegas and looking to learn about this history then pay a visit to The Neon Museum. According to their Statement of Purpose, The Neon Museum is dedicated to “collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment.” By the end of this post, you’ll hopefully see how they’ve managed to successfully achieve this goal.

There are multiple ways to experience the Museum. During the day, you can enter the neon boneyard and wander around at your own pace between 9 am and 5 pm. You do have to buy a ticket for whichever hour you’d like to enter. Then there is a guided tour option that runs for an hour. The benefit of this is that you have an interpreter. Finally, you can combine a guided tour with a light show called “Brilliant!” After some careful consideration, we decided that a guided tour would be most beneficial as you get to hear about the history as well as see the signs. I was so glad we opted for the tour because it added so much to the experience.Read More »

The Mob Museum

If you ever find yourself in Vegas needing a break from the intensity of it all, The Mob Museum (National Museum of Organised Crime and Law Enforcement) is a must. Located in Downtown Las Vegas, the building originally housed the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse. Construction began in 1931 and finished in 1933. Today, the building is registered on both the Nevada and National Register of Historic Places.

It was built to accommodate federal officials who were looking for a home before the Hoover Dam opened. As the only federal judge in Nevada was based at Carson City, 400 miles from Las Vegas, judges would visit from Los Angeles and San Francisco twice a year. In 1945, Vegas finally had a full time judge. Flash forward to 1950 and the courthouse held one of the Kefauver Committee hearings. This was a special investigation into organised crime led by Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver. The outcome of these hearings was that the underbelly of crime in America was finally exposed, especially in places such as Las Vegas and Chicago.Read More »

National Gallery of Victoria: Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds

During a weekend getaway to Melbourne, I made sure to visit the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to see Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds. I was quite familiar with the works of Escher having seen examples in optical illusion puzzle books. I was particularly excited to see the work titled Ascending and descending – luckily, it was in the exhibition!

Context

Just for some context, here is a very short summary of the artist Escher and design studio nendo.

M. C. Escher (1898-1972)

A Dutch graphic artist who was inspired by his travels and nature to create iconic prints. His later works were defined by tessellations, optical illusions, and representations of infinity.

nendo

A design studio based in Tokyo founded in 2002 by Oki Sato. The word nendo is Japanese for clay. The studio is focused on simplicity, curiosity and craftsmanship.Read More »

Howard Smith Wharves

A huge thank you to everyone who voted on my Instagram poll ‘should I blog about the heritage-listed Howard Smith Wharves?’ The result was 100% yes, so here we go. For those of you who would like to follow me on Instagram, my username is @curateyourownadventure. Or, you can click the Instagram icon on my home page!

Opening in November last year, the Howard Smith Wharves precinct is a new public place in Brisbane filled with parks, restaurants, function spaces/centres and a hotel. Just so you know my bias in this post, I am completely in favour of transforming heritage places if:

  1. The heritage is kept intact
  2. A transforming purpose breathes new life
  3. It prevents any thoughts or plans of demolition
  4. It’s appropriate to do so

There is nothing I love seeing more than a heritage place that has evolved and adapted whilst retaining its historical charm. I lied, I do love seeing dogs that have jobs. But, in terms of heritage, this is what I really love to see.Read More »

Gallery of Modern Art: The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9)

Yesterday I visited the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) to see The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9). This is the first time I’ve ever seen this triennial art show. I was expecting maybe two or three rooms displaying a small number of artworks. Instead, I was really surprised that the exhibition is in fact huge and spreads over two floors at GOMA plus has a presence at the Queensland Art Gallery. There were a few artworks in particular that caught my attention, which I will cover in this blog post. First though, here is some context.

Context

The first Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art was held in 1993 at the Queensland Art Gallery. A new show is curated and put on display every three years (no surprises there). Today, and since 2006, the Triennial is held both at the Art Gallery and at GOMA. Both are located in Brisbane’s Cultural Centre.Read More »

Guest Post: MONA – Museum of Old and New Art

Imogen Kennard-King is back with an excellent blog post on the weird and wonderful world of MONA, Museum of Old and New Art. Thank you Imogen!

After a long absence, I am back with a blog sharing some observations from a recent visit to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, in Hobart, Tasmania. This was my first visit to both Tasmania and MONA. After studying, hearing about and writing about this museum from a distance since its opening in 2011, I was very eager to see it for myself. I was keen to see if the museum would live up to the extraordinary hype that surrounds it. This seemed almost impossible from the varied experiences and opinions I had heard prior to my visit. The central themes of sex and death have meant that the museum has always occupied a controversial space and inevitably drawn disparate and extreme reactions from visitors and commentators. While preparing for my visit I wasn’t sure how long to allow to ensure I saw everything and didn’t feel rushed. I couldn’t find much useful advice online so will share my timings here.Read More »

Bauhaus: Weimar

2019 marks 100 years of Bauhaus. The word Bauhaus literally translates in English to ‘construction house’. Bauhaus wasn’t just a school for the arts that strived to combine all disciplines of the arts in one place, it was a modern art movement. As an institution, it operated in three German cities – Weimar (1919 to 1925), Dessau (1925 to 1932) and Berlin (1932 to 1933). The Bauhaus institution was eventually closed in Berlin by the Nazi Party due to their disagreement with the ‘leftist’ curriculum being taught. Although only operating as a school for 14 years, the legacy of Bauhaus has continued to permeate almost every facet of art and design to this day. This is primarily due to its overarching aim of combining fine art with functional design.

To celebrate, I am going to write three blog posts throughout the year on my time spent in each of the three Bauhaus centres. First up is Weimar. Rather than focus on what Bauhaus-related activities are available, I’m going to give a more broad overview of the various museums and heritage sites on offer. This will, of course, include anything to do with Bauhaus.Read More »