Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Lost Dogs – a photographic exhibition

Photobucket The Lost Dogs’ Home has put together a photographic exhibition capturing images of daily life at the shelter. Melbourne-based photographer Penny Koukoulas spent several weeks at the Lost Dogs and focused on individual dog stories which promises to be an emotive and educational exhibition.

Lost Dogs opens on Tuesday 4 August 5.00pm to 7.00pm and runs 4 to 15 August at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Tue to Fri: 11.00am to 5.00pm Saturday: 12.00pm to 4.00pm. Entry is free.

Image from www.dogshome.com

“Tell them what the Internet is fooooor…”

I took my wife to the Comedy Theatre yesterday for a matinee performance of Broadway’s multi-award winning Avenue Q. Growing up in the early to mid 80s (guess that kinda pegs my age into a certain age group!) to the regular introduction of letters and numbers of Sesame Street, it was great to relive something days long gone in the flesh.

Of course, nobody in the audience was expecting anything as tame as the PBS show, so we knew what we were getting ourselves in for. It is the most extraordinary show I’ve ever seen. Who knew puppets could be so funny and touching? Few people would have the chance of experiencing a quality Broadway performance in their lifetime and I’m glad had a chance to say they’ve definitely destroyed my cutesy image of puppets! It’s Sesame Street meets South Park! I won’t give anymore away! It’s so good I feel like double clicking on my mouse……..

The Avenue Q team plays in Melbourne for another week before moving to other parts of Australia. Tickets are very affordable and have been reduced to $49.90 (except Saturdays) and I highly recommend it with your family or date or just friends wanting a good time. Just make sure they’re of ‘mature’ age!

EDIT: I just realised Neil’s previous post has a picture of Lucy the Slut. How’s that for unwitting advertisement placement?

Image from avenueqthemusical.com.au

CTCV tags appear over Melbourne’s world-renowned graffiti

"CTCV" tags drawn over more skilled works

One of the things I love about Melbourne are the amazing graffiti pieces we get. Apparently, we’re known internationally for it, in certain circles. We have a thriving and skilled population of graffiti artists – even under draconian laws that, for example, make carrying a can of spraypaint illegal (giving the police a pre-packaged excuse to stop suspected vandals that merely “look the part”, and haven’t actually been seen doing anything traditionally illegal).

The ‘Authorities’ choose to interpret graffiti as an eyesore. This has led to ridiculous crackdowns in the past, and masses of public money blithely wasted by our state and local governments on “graffiti clean-ups”, such as during the Commonwealth Games.

In the not-so-distant past, a police graffiti/transit squad was rumoured to have engaged in “tagging” of graffiti pieces. Graffiti artists would report catching police “slashing” graffiti pieces (painting over the top of them); I found one tale on an internet forum from a guy who says he left a can of spraypaint behind while being chased by the police – and later found that his can had been used to “slash” a range of pieces.

Tags began appearing, slathered across much better pieces, reading “CTSA” – rumoured to stand for “Cops Trashing Shit Art” or “Cops That Slash Art”.

My view of graffiti is obviously more positive than the “legal” view. I think you need to put it in some kind of perspective. Consider this: We’re bombarded with advertising wherever we go. A billboard is a genuine eyesore. We put up with lists of sponsors and corporate logos on sporting, artistic, and museum events, because we want their money. But they look disgusting. Most of the time, advertisers are outright insulting us; if they’re not insulting our bodies, they’re insulting our intelligence.

Graffiti, on the other hand, entertains. It’s not something put up there to make money; in fact, graffiti artists lose money on it, and sometimes carry it out at great personal (and legal) risk. Sure, it’s about prestige and showing off, and the worst of it – the texta tagging – can almost sink to the level of a company logo… not quite, but almost ;). But it’s often genuinely impressive. If not for the skill involved, then for the “How the heck did they get up there??” factor. Sometimes, there’s even a political point to it – while companies use slick advertising to gloss over their use of overseas sweatshops and other crimes against humanity, graffiti will occasionally bring you comments like “Stop Logging Our Water Catchments!”, “No Jobs On A Dead Planet” (in massive letters on a giant smokestack), and the bitingly ironic slogan “Shut Up And Shop“. And at least it’s your fellow Melbournians trying to grab your attention, just because they think your attention is valuable – not because they want to hustle you.

In around March of this year, Melbourne commuters began noticing a new tag – “CTCV” – used to “slash” a range of pieces. Mostly along train lines, and always over much better pieces.

CTCV tags along Melbourne's train lines.

CTCV tags along Melbourne's train lines.

A friend of mine pointed out that “CTCV” isn’t too far from “CTSA”, and apparently he wasn’t the only one to draw this conclusion. Do an Australia-centred google search for the initials, and you’ll find lots of forum speculation along similar lines by those in graffiti culture.

Is it the work of “gronks” – less talented kids trying to annoy the older graff artists and make a mindless mark of their own? Or could the “C” at the start of “CTCV” stand for “Cops” – as it has been rumoured to in the past? “CTCV” – “Cops That Catch Vandals”? “Cops Trashing Crap Vandalism”?

We’ll probably never know, unless they’re caught in the act. And then, the only people catching them would be graffiti artists themselves – reliable enough eyewitnesses if you ask me, but I doubt the “authorities” would concur.

Get into Art, and Vegan food, this Sunday

This Sunday (26 October) there are two big events happening: the Get into Art! public art galleries open day, and the World Vegan Day Festival

Get into Art! is an annual open day of public art galleries across Victoria. This year, 41 galleries will be
participating with free activities and events on Sunday from 11am-4pm.

Some examples I’ve picked out of the Get into Art! program are:

Get Into Architecture at City Museum at Old Treasury – tours, talks and exhibits focusing on the architecture of Melbourne. Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building was designed by nineteen-year-old architect JJ Clark, and is widely regarded as the finest nineteenth century building in Australia.

  • 11am Tour of Old Treasury Building
  • 12noon Talk about the architect JJ Clark
  • 1pm Tour of Old Treasury Building
  • 2pm Curator talk – The Impermanent City
  • 3pm Tour of Old Treasury Building

State Library of Victoria free tour

  • 1-2pm and 3-4pm Free Library tour, including exhibition galleries and the famous dome.

Comic book jam at The Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn and the annual Yeah Write! Zine fair at Hawthorn Town Hall including zine making workshops for both adults and children.

For the full list of program highlights, see this pdf.

Another event on Sunday is the World Vegan Day Festival, described as…

a positive celebration of being vegan: a lifestyle which includes a plant-based diet and endorses compassionate choices and sustainable consumption. It is a day for vegans, those interested in the vegan way of life and all their friends to come together and learn how to live longer, kinder and with a smaller carbon footprint.

If you’re keen to learn more about veganism, this is a great place to do just that. Running from 10am to 5pm, this is a free event. It will be held at Rosina Function Space, The Abbotsford Convent (1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford). There are some great talks being held on the day.

For more information on these events:

NAB’s "Dream Festival"

www.dreamfestival.com.au

Hey fellow Melbournians,

Sick of having to switch on the television or open a newspaper to be advertised to? Well, this just in from a friend, “the Yarra River, our Princes Bridge, Birrarung Marr and that entire precinct of our city will be sold over to the National Australia Bank for FOUR DAYS to run a PR campaign”!

Apparently this National Australia Bank advertising campaign will feature art installments “depicting the dreams of Australians”.

Wow!

I know what one of my dreams is – nationalise the National Australia Bank, and re-regulate the country’s financial system! Wha… no? That particular installments not in there…? Oh. Ok.

How about something reflecting some of the dreams of Melbournian graffiti artists; to be able to walk down the street without being harrassed by police and fined for posession of spray paint. To have the same kind of access to public spaces that the National Australia Bank has, by being able to print your message up for all to see! That way, EVERY day can be a Dream Festival!

Oh… that’s not in there either?

Gee.

Well, get on down if you really haven’t seen enough ads this weekend. And please, go on to their website to see a mighty piece of prose called “Ideas. Dreams. Aspirations.” signed by John Stewart and Ahmed Fahour – the “Group Chief Executive Officer” and “CEO” of NAB, respectively – i know i’m dying to know what these intellectual and cultural giants have to say! I wonder what it’s like to get so much of the monetary reward from other people’s efforts? I hope they write some memoirs for us! Oh yeah, you better believe it. What a time to be a Melbournian!

Dreams on Wheels free exhibition: 12-19 August, Fed Square

Danish Bike

Bicycle culture fans will enjoy this free exhibition being held this month…

From the Australian Danish Embassy website:

The Dreams on Wheels exhibition will in the Atrium at Federation Square in Melbourne from 12 to 19 August. The exhibition is a showcase of Danish culture of cycling and innovative Danish bicycle design. This exhibition has been brought to Australia as part of celebrations marking the re-opening of the Royal Danish Embassy in Canberra.

Dreams on Wheels is curated by Thomas Ermacora, founder of Etikstudio, and has previously been shown at the Danish House in Paris, Danish Design Center in Copenhagen and Harbourfront Centre of Toronto.

Motivated by how a ‘cyclocentric’ approach to urban development can stimulate sustainable civic behaviour, the exhibition promotes cycling in a broader cultural context, displaying Danish urban cityscapes alongside urban visions for Australia by Danish architect Jan Gehl.

Ranging from family friendly to high tech, the bicycles exhibited include the Christiania bike, the LeitraVelomobile, Biomega designer bikes, the unique Mountain Goat, and ultimate classics from Velorbis.

Also on display are Copenhagen City Bikes, bicycles that are identical to those used in the Danish free bicycle program currently being adopted in Paris and considered for introduction in Australia.

Filmmaker and photographer Mikael Colville-Andersen contributes to the exhibition with a number of photographs documenting Copenhagen’s bicycle culture from his ongoing series.

Exhibition opening hours:
12 to 19 August 2008
Open all hours
Admission is free

The Atrium, Federation Square
Melbourne

More on Danish cycle culture can be found at:

Till Death Do Us Part

Photobucket

Australia’s favourite Dutch tattoo dame is exhibiting in our shores again. Angelique Houtkamp’s second Melbourne exhibition opened last week and reflects her interest in watercolour painting. The exhibition, Till Death Do Us Part, showcases paintings with melancholic dames, nostalgic old-time tattoo imagery and half-female, half animal creatures. With artistic influences from advertising, fashion, cinema, illustraion and photography from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, the exhibition will interest tattoo purists, art enthusiasts and curious visitors alike.

Till Death Do Us Part, a showcase of original art and new prints by Angelique Houtkamp, is on show at Outre Gallery, 249 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

Thanks to Marion Joseph

Link: Outre Gallery

Next Wave Festival

nextwave.jpg

Running until the 31st of May is The Next Wave Festival. The festival celebrates the “next wave” of young artists displaying their works throughout public spaces in the CBD. By works it could mean art or some kind of dance or anything in between. There is 2020?, a display of industrial waste destined for landfill. Open Embrace invites the viewer to experience the tango from the perspective of the dancer. One more to my taste is Pennies & Pints, a large-scale poster that brings to life the many maps, near misses, and apocalyptic moments of Fitzroy’s history.

Links:

Next Wave Festival

Architectural Fragment

We’ve all seen it outside the State Library. At first, it’s what the hell is that? But after you pass it by enough times its just another eccentric design of Melbourne that happens to be a favourite of skaters.

It’s actually a sculpture design made out of Port Fairy bluestone called Architectural Fragment by Petrus Spronk. Designed in 1992 and unveiled in 1993 as part of the Swanston Walk Public Art Project, it is one of the most recognizable sculptures in Melbourne. The artist created his design to resemble the portico of the library sinking in to the pavement. Inspired by the the island of Pythagoras and Pythagorean theorem, the fragment is built in a 3:4:5 ratio.

Other recognizable works in the Swanston Walk project are the ornate bench across the street outside Unilodge and the three business men waiting for a tram on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Street.

Architectural Fragment Architectural Fragment

Petrus Spronk
Visit Victoria: Architectural Fragment

Picture by H4NUM4N

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Celebrity Metcards

MYKI will be a big improvement to the public transportation system when and if it ever is released. One downside of this is not being able to get some nifty looking Metcard tickets.

Over the years, Metlink has released Metcards with Melbourne architecture, Wind in the Willows,the Australian Open, and many more designs. A couple of months ago Metlink introduced its ‘Celebrity Mini Metcard Masterpieces”. They are far from masterpieces but interesting to look at while you are wating for your train/tram/bus. The website says they “each created the individual designs” which translates to “I told an artist to draw this”. My favourite is our lady Livinia’s drawing of the Yarra river (pictured to the right). John So’s Metcard on the other hand, freaks me out a bit.

The Metcards are available anywhere Metcards are sold for no extra charge.

Celebrity Mini Metcard Masterpieces

Metcard-Designs through the Years

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