Category Archives: Art

PUTTING THE ART INTO HOBART

Our favourite was the first thing we saw.

Our favourite piece was the first work we saw.

My Scottish Presbyterian forefathers were sure no good could ever come of money not earned by hard work combined with thrift. David Walsh has proved them wrong.

His professional gambling earned him a fortune. He somehow managed to avoid paying the $37million the Australian Tax Office claimed he owed them and used it to buy art instead.

In 2011 he generously opened his collection to the public in MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, an extraordinary new gallery which has rapidly become Tasmania’s premier tourist attraction. Continue reading

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DANCES WITH WARRIORS

They're just fun to play with.

They’re just fun to play with.

We get a lot of Chinese visitors in Sydney these days, particularly around the Chinese New Year.

They all want to see the icons around the harbour. Continue reading

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LOVE YOUR WORK, TOM – though shooting that dog was wrong

Tom Otterness's sculptures take pride of place by the esplanade in Scheveningen, near The Hague in the Netherlands.

Tom Otterness’s sculptures take pride of place on the esplanade in Scheveningen, near The Hague in the Netherlands.

We’re very sorry to be missing the always wonderful Sculpture by the Sea event in Sydney this year, but the Dutch have sculpture by the North Sea too.

Googling the American sculptor Tom Otterness, after seeing his work by the beach in Scheveningen, I read that he once filmed himself shooting a dog, for an art film. It cost him some lucrative commissions. He apologised. Not good enough, say some of his critics. He killed the dog in 1977, when he was 25. Is all forgiven? Is it okay to enjoy his work now? Continue reading

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YOU HAVE TO LAUGH – public art in Bratislava

There's some lovely interaction going on between these two groups of visitors, but note the Napoleonic Soldier photobombing.

There’s some lovely interaction going on between these two groups of visitors, but note the Napoleonic Soldier photobombing.



City fathers, yes, city mothers too, have options when it comes to installing or authorising public art. Heroic statues of kings, emperors, politicians and generals have long been standard fare.

Bratislava has its fair share of national heroes gracing the streets. But it has also more recently installed public art with obvious appeal to locals and visitors alike, your correspondent included. Continue reading

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THE ARTIST WHO MADE VIENNA FUN

In a nondescript back street, one facade springs out is unmissable.

In a nondescript back street, one facade catches the eye.

At first I found Vienna and the Viennese a little intimidating. Too grand, too well-dressed, and possibly too expensive. The ATM dispensed 100 euro banknotes – it was the first time I’d seen them.

That Habsburg¬†architecture is impressive of course, though isn’t it also overblown and pompous? Fine for a palace or opera house but would you really want to live under all those cherubs in the cornices?

So it was welcome light relief to discover Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who revamped a Viennese city incinerator and later the public toilet block in Kawakawa, New Zealand, making them surely the world’s most enjoyable garbage disposal units. Continue reading

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ALEXANDER CALDER HANGS OUT IN AMSTERDAM

The entrance to the remodelled Rijksmuseum is worth a visit on its own, with Mr Calder as a bonus.

The entrance to the remodelled Rijksmuseum is worth a visit on its own, with Mr Calder as a bonus. And it’s free.

No time to queue for Rembrandt and Vermeer? Find the EUR15 entrance fee for the Rijksmuseum a bit steep? Hate crowds?

There is an alternative for cheapskate, agoraphobic art lovers. The gardens of the Rijksmuseum are a little treasure, and this year they’re graced by an exhibition of 14 large-scale works by an international superstar. Entry is free and there’s plenty of elbow room. Continue reading

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THREE ARTY REASONS TO LOVE AMSTERDAM

One of Peter Erftemeijer's   "Three figures in the the street".

One of Peter Erftemeijer’s “Three figures in the street”.

A gentleman plucks at my sleeve as we’re leaving the excellent NeighbourFood market by the Westergasfabriek. ‘Excuse me, sir, I’m a poet.’

My companions move on quickly, but he has me trapped. He’s polite, well-dressed and well-spoken. Seems ok.

‘I’ve written a poem about that statue over there, and I’d like to recite it to you.’

I know the statue, pictured above. The poet continues, reciting his short poem to an audience of one. He’s not a beggar, he’s a real poet, one of forty taking part in Juni Gedicht (June Poetry), an event sponsored by the local council. Continue reading

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