Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences: Reflections of Asia

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Hello everyone,
It has a been a while since I last wrote a review for Rebecca’s blog and this one will be a very detailed and interesting review of the new Reflections of Asia exhibition now on at the Powerhouse Museum until 2020. As a volunteer, I am responsible for exhibition interpretation and program delivery via tours. This review will encompass both the exhibition experience as a visitor and as a volunteer.

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The exhibition encompasses over 500 objects from the 10,000 strong Asian collection of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). These objects are divided into 7 main themes that reflect the main collection areas, including wood and laquer work, ceramics, metalwork, textiles and dress, small treasures, and contemporary fashion and art. In the exhibition, each theme is highlighted by a particular individual responsible for contributing to the current state of that collection area. Continue reading “Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences: Reflections of Asia”

Art Gallery of New South Wales: The Lady and the Unicorn

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I have been meaning to write this blog post since Tuesday. Needless to say, I am only now finding the time to actually sit down and write my thoughts. The Lady and the Unicorn is currently on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The exhibition consists of six large tapestries created by an unknown artist. It is estimated that they were weaved during the 1500s in France. What is pretty incredible is that these tapestries have only been displayed three times outside of France in over a 500 year period! According to the gallery’s website, the tapestries are “considered to be some of the greatest surviving masterpieces of medieval European art”.

This review is going to be really tricky to write. Rather than just lump everything together, I’m going to start with the pros and finish with the cons. But first, here is some context. Continue reading “Art Gallery of New South Wales: The Lady and the Unicorn”

Cockatoo Island: Biennale 2018

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Greetings from Sydney! It is so lovely to be back in this city enjoying all the amazing people, places and food. As well as, of course, the wonderful museums and heritage sites. Today I visited my favourite island in the entire world, Cockatoo Island, to see the 21st Biennale of Sydney. It is quite unbelievable to think that two years ago I was working on the island and actually guiding tours to see the artworks that were on display! I visited the island with one of my closest friends, Emily.

For those wanting slightly more context, the Biennale is a huge art festival held every two years at various venues in Sydney. Due to its size, Cockatoo Island usually gets some pretty large-scale works. These can be magnificently displayed in the Turbine Hall.

Each Biennale has a different theme and showcases works by artists that can relate. The 21st Biennale has been entirely curated by Artistic Director Mami Kataoka who has selected works adhering to the theme of superposition.

Continue reading “Cockatoo Island: Biennale 2018”

Museum of Sydney: Underworld

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Hello, my name is Ziggy Potts and Rebecca asked me to share with you some of my thoughts on a recent exhibition. ‘Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties,’ is now showing at the Museum of Sydney. This exhibition is one that I was very keen to visit, as I have always been fascinated by underworld figures seen in various television series such as ‘Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals’ and the various iterations of ‘Underbelly.’

The basis for the exhibition is a series of mugshots, known as ‘Specials’, taken by Sydney police in the 1920s for suspected potential criminals. At first thought, I was wondering how much specific information on the mugshots would be available and whether the exhibition would try and centre on specific stories of people and their lives – especially well-known criminals such as Kate Leigh or ‘Chow’ Hayes. However, I would have thought that given the wealth of popular programming on these figures (mentioned above), another focus would serve the exhibition better. Continue reading “Museum of Sydney: Underworld”

Australian Museum: Mammoths

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Hello readers! It has been a while but I’m back again with a guest post. I recently took the opportunity to visit the Australian Museum so that I could see the temporary exhibition currently showing, ‘Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age’. I also wanted to check out the newly renovated Westpac Long Gallery. When I arrived, however, there were signs everywhere stating that the gallery was closed due to some sort of technical problem – but more on that later.

A quick note on ticketing – I had checked online prior to visiting and established that my Museums Australia membership, which usually allows for free admittance to the Museum, did not allow for a discounted ticket to this paid exhibition. This was fine, however, the ticketing officer who served me seemed desperate to offer me some sort of discount (was I a student? Or Westpac customer?) and when I mentioned I am a Museums Australia member I was given a discounted rate. There are no less than twenty-one (yes you read that right, twenty-one) different ticket prices listed on the website for this exhibition. This seems like overkill to me and obviously left me confused. But, I digress. Continue reading “Australian Museum: Mammoths”

Art Gallery of New South Wales: Archibald Prize 2017

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I am now en route to Boston for the International Symposium on the History of Anaesthesia. While in the States I will be visiting as many museums as possible in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC! In other words, prepare yourself for numerous blog posts and, of course, lots of photographs.

Before heading off, I spent the weekend in Sydney. Luckily, I was here for the final day of the 2017 Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. For those not aware, the Archibald Prize is an annual art event held in Sydney. It is named after Jules Archibald, the founding editor of The Bulletin magazine. He had a passion for art and on his death in 1919, left money to fund a major portrait painting competition. The prize is huge – $100 000! There are also prizes for People’s Choice, voted by visitors, and the Packing Room Prize, which is awarded by staff of the Gallery who install the exhibition. Continue reading “Art Gallery of New South Wales: Archibald Prize 2017”

Museum of Sydney: The Moderns

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The Moderns: European Designers in Sydney is now showing at the Museum of Sydney until November 26, 2017. There is something about furniture and homewares from the 1930s to 1960s that just fills a small void in my life. It’s basically the transformation of furniture from verging on impractical to sleek and beautifully designed. In other words, this movement allowed simple to be magnificent. When I heard about this exhibition opening in Sydney I was very intrigued. We must have had some amazing designers around this period, but I’ve never heard their stories. Today was the day to educate myself and admire the men and women who often fled tumultuous circumstances in Europe to practice their craft and realise their designs.
The exhibition is located on Level 2 of the Museum of Sydney. Just before entering the space, there is a large thematic panel with the exhibition title in neon blue. Contained in a glass tube is a chair manufactured by George Karody. As the introductory panel states, modern Australian architecture is so often associated with Harry Seidler. Those that came before him are ignored and marginalised from the story. So already you feel as though it is going to be a different kind of modernist exhibition that tackles new material.

Continue reading “Museum of Sydney: The Moderns”