HOT: Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

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Melbourne Winter Masterpieces have been bringing some fantastic international exhibitions to brighten Melbourne’s winters since 2004. This year the National Gallery of Victoria is hosting Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great, which features over 400 selected pieces from the collection of one of the world’s largest, oldest and most-visited museums in the world, the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

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This exhibition has been described as the greatest exhibition the Hermitage  has undertaken abroad and it is part of their 250 anniversary celebrations. I got a sneak peek today at the media preview. Melbourne, you’re in for a treat!

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The works on show at the NGV include paintings from masters such as Velasquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian and Van Dyk to drawings, decorative arts, Catherine’s personal effects and paintings from the prized Walpole collection, all bought and collected by Catherine over 3 decades as a patron and innovator of the arts in the 18th century.

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It was through the collection of these works and Catherine the Great’s exceptional vision that the Hermitage was founded.

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While the big names will no doubt be the drawcards, my favourite moments in the whole exhibition included…

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Francesco Francia’s drawing of Sacrifice with Bacchus, with its lush textures and detail achieved with only brown ink and a pen….

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…the intense blue of the Sevres porcelain in the Cameo Service commissioned by Catherine and…

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…the detail in the mirror of the thirty-two piece Chinese toilet service which was a wedding gift to Catherine.

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The exhibition design is also notable, with lush hues, architectural details and antique furniture inspired by the grandeur of the Hermitage’s rooms.

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I particularly loved the parquetry flooring and the Chinese wallpaper, which covered even the electrical switches!

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Make time to watch the immersive video that transports you to wintery Russia and takes you inside the through the gallery.

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The exhibition is not just about admiring excellent pieces of Western Art. Mikhail Dedinkin, the Deputy Head of the Department of Western European Art at the State Hermitage Museum, described it best ‘The Hermitage helps people find their own history and contains some of the greatest examples of the genius of mankind. The collection spans all centuries, all countries and all countries under one roof.’

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great is an opportunity to see but a part of the Hermitage’s grand collection right on our doorstep. Don’t miss it!


 

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Friday 31 July – Sunday 8 November 2015  10am-5pm

Tickets on sale from ngv.vic.gov.au

Adult $26 | Concession $22.50 | Child $10 |

Family (2 adults, 3 children) $65

 

HOT: The WW1 Centenary Exhibition – The War That Changed the World, Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton

The WW1 Centenary Exhibition The War That Changed the World Melbourne Museum 11 Nicholson St Carlton 10 HOT: The WW1 Centenary Exhibition   The War That Changed the World, Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton

The WW1 Centenary Exhibition is an outstanding touring exhibition developed by the Imperial War Museum in London to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The world premiere of the exhibition opens Saturday 18 April at Melbourne Museum and I was invited to a media preview.

World War I is a vast and complex topic to cover and The WW1 Centenary Exhibition does a great job in focusing on certain elements of the history. It’s an exhibition not just for military history buffs (though there’s plenty to interest them), as it also explores the political backdrop of the era, social issues particularly those relating to women, as well as revealing many personal stories of those who died and survived the war.

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In fact, the Imperial War Museum does not consider itself to be a military museum – their mission is to tell the personal stories of war. The museum was born of World War I (it began in 1917) and many of the artefacts and memorabilia have been donated by members of the public.  Over 300 objects from the Imperial War Museum‘s collection are featured and some of the displays in The WW1 Centenary Exhibition have never left Britain and are considered some of the museum’s most treasured items.

For instance, the entrance of the exhibition holds a British-made artillery gun. It was the gun that fired the first shot by the British on the Western Front and thus has immense historical and emotional significance for the museum, the British people and their allies. In the museum people often lay wreaths and precious personal items at its base.

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There are other pieces of impressive industrial machinery in the exhibition, such as a 7 metre long artillery gun (that took 12 hours to fit into place in the exhibition) and the engine from the plane that the Red Baron was piloting when he was shot down.

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However, it was the more humble human objects that touched me. The German nightdress made of paper because blockades meant raw materials were no longer available.

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The knives and clubs, sometimes homemade, used in primitive hand-to-hand combat when soldiers entered enemy trenches.

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The beaten old shoes given to a POW by a farmer after the soldier’s release at Armistice.

The WW1 Centenary Exhibition is split into ten chapters  which explore different facets of the war, roughly chronologically. The overall themes relate to the scale of this global conflict, the immense devastation of new industrial warfare,  how the war impacted and threatened people’s previous way of life and how people came to terms with the legacy.

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The visitor is guided through each section through a series of high walls which are meant to represent the trenches in a battlefield landscape. To further evoke to chilling effect of trench warfare overhead some specially developed graphics are projected onto large screens and the scenery changes from daytime to night time as a soldier in the trenches might see, looking above at the sky. The effect is quite chilling and it’s worth watching the whole loop for 18 minutes.

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In the media preview we got a sneak peek at some of the content in the audio guide and I highly encourage you to rent one for your visit. It adds a particularly Australian narrative to The WW1 Centenary Exhibition, which means for many visitors the displays will create a connection with their own family history.

I think The WW1 Centenary Exhibition will strike a chord with every visitor. It effectively uses multimedia, artefacts, oral histories, projections and artworks to tell an emotive story of humanity, devastation and life going on. You will be informed, and moved.

The WW1 Centenary Exhibition – The War That Changed the World, Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton

Saturday 18 April – Sunday 4 October 2015 10am-5pm daily

Timed tickets (last entry 3:30pm)

 

 

 

 

Brick Man Experience – The Complete Collection by Ryan McNaught – Giveaway!

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Are you a LEGO family? I am! So I’m excited that for the first time ever Ryan “Brick Man” McNaught, one of only twelve LEGO Certified Professionals in the world and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere, will exhibit his remarkable collection of over 50 original LEGO works at the Brick Man Experience – The Complete Collection by Ryan McNaught.

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The exhibition includes all of Ryan’s works, such as the 4m long “Elvis” Erikson Aircrane Helicopter and the 250,000 brick “Love Boat”, plus behind the scenes stories, original drawings and sketches. I’ve seen some of Ryan’s pieces on display at Brickvention and they’re spectacular!

In addition to Ryan’s pieces, for the first time anywhere in the world works from other LEGO Certified professionals will be displayed, based around the “Transport” theme from their native country.

There will also be a chance for visitors can participate in building their own masterpiece!

Brick Man Experience – The Complete Collection by Ryan McNaught

Melbourne, The Exhibition Hall, Crown Conference Centre, Tue 31 Mar – Sun 12 Apr

Sydney, Sydney Town Hall (Lower) Sat 27 Jun – Sun 12 Jul

Tickets via brickmanexperience.com.au

Giveaway! Thanks to Brick Man Experience – The Complete Collection by Ryan McNaught I have 3 double passes (2 adults valued at $69.80 ) to give away for any session during the Melbourne season Tue 31 Mar – Sun 12 Apr.

To win comment below with which session (date and time) you’d like to attend. The competition closes midnight Monday 30 March winners will be selected randomly. Good luck!

 

HOT: Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

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Express Yourself: Romance Was Born For Kids is the newest Children’s Gallery commission at the National Gallery of Victoria – but it’s not just for kids. There is plenty of exhibition within the space to entertain and interest adults too and it makes the perfect stopover after the fashion extravaganza of the NGV’s Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition.

Fashion designers Romance Was Born have turned the gallery space into a crazy kaleidoscope of colour which typifies the work of fashion mavericks Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett.

An array of colourful sequins frames the entrance before you enter into a several rooms. Each room contains a jaw-dropping fantastical environment that will stimulate, engage and provide lots of opportunity for creative play.

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The first room is the ‘Rainbow Room’, an immersive space which encourages children to engage with rainbow-coloured objects in glass cases and then design their own rainbow using the touchscreens.

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The end of the Rainbow Room takes you to my favourite room, the ‘Bush Magic’ room. The walls are decorated in a fantastical imagining of a bush setting while digital rock pools allow you to ‘swim’ with colourful fish and mysterious sea creatures.

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Then you move into the ‘Make and Do’ room where you can decorate and make a beard or a necklace by attaching sequins, pom poms and googly eyes onto various colourful templates. I spotted several adults sporting these decorative pieces around the gallery during my visit!

 HOT: Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Throughout the space some of the design duo’s richly imaginative work is on display, from gowns to shoes to accessories, as well as photographs and video.

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Express Yourself: Romance Was Born For Kids is bold, eccentric and really, really fun. Kids will love all the opportunities to play and create while adults will appreciate the way art and fashion come together in the various installations.

Express Yourself: Romance Was Born For Kids, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Friday 17 October 2014 to Sunday 22 March 2015.

Open 10am-5pm, closed Tuesdays.

Free entry



HOT: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk National Gallery of Victoria 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne 2 HOT: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk  National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

The National Gallery of Victoria is currently hosting The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, a retrospective of the work of French designer Jean Paul Gaultier organised by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Melbourne is the only Asia-Pacific venue to host the exhibition, which has been seen by more than a million visitors in New York, San Francisco, London, Madrid and Stockholm.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is a visual feast for those with an interest in fashion, art and design. Forget fashions on the field at the Melbourne Cup tomorrow and appreciate haute couture at its finest instead.

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The massive show of clothing, accessories, furniture, photographs and art and it will take you at least 2 hours to see everything. It’s surprisingly interactive and is not just clothes on dummies, one after the other.

The rooms have been curated into seven thematic arrangements that track Gaultier’s design influences and the whole effect is highly theatrical.

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The exhibition starts in the eerie blue room, with Jean Paul Gaultier himself dressed in his signature Breton stripes and introducing the exhibition as one of the animated mannequins. Gregorian chanting emanates from the Gothic looking women who are lined up two rows like religious icons.

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In this room you’ll find costumes worn by Kylie Minogue and one of Beyonce’s jumpsuits.

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From there you are taken to a somewhat more traditional museum setting with various items on show, including his famous corsets.

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The path then leads to a brightly lit throwback to the 80s, with graffiti on the walls, punk music blaring and a clever moving runway of mannequins where you’re invited to take a front row seat.

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You’re then lead into a room reminiscent of the opening scene of Chicago where the dominatrix and S&M influences of his work are collected.

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Jean Paul Gaultier was also responsible for the costumes for many films, such as The Fifth Element and Pedro Almodavor’s works.

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My favourite room was probably the ‘Urban Jungle’ with wild and extravagant interpretations of ethnic costumes set amongst a backdrop of Melbourne’s skyline. Just look at this bridal gown!

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The final room is a special addition to the Melbourne exhibition as it features Gaultier’s Australian muses including pieces he has created for Kylie Minogue, Cate Blanchett, Andrej Pejić and Gemma Ward. The couture gown that Nicole Kidman’s wore when she won her Oscar for The Hours in 2003 is on display. I also liked the way in background had been created for this room, with the outlines furniture pushed and stretched against stark white fabric.

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It’s the small details that make this experience so awe-inspiring. The yards of silk pink ribbon sewed together to make a corset. The hand-pleated details. The Eiffel Tower kitten heels. The animal skin made up of tiny little tubular beads.

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is a rare opportunity to learn about the skill and background of a designer that’s been in the fashion business for over 40 years and to admire the craftsmanship of haute couture up close. Don’t miss it.

NGV’s popular Friday Nights return in style celebrating The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. Every Friday until Friday 6 February (excluding 26 December and 2 January) DJs and bands take to the stage alongside pop-up talks, bars and dining. Check out the program here.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Open 10am–5pm daily except Tue. Exhibition from 17 October 2014 until 8 February 2015

NGV Member Adult $17

Adult $22

Concession* $18

Child (5-15 years) $10

 

Scottish Fling Festival at Immigration Museum – Giveaway!

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On Sunday 16 November the Immigration Museum will be holding a one-day Scottish Fling Festival to celebrate the launch of a new community exhibition exploring Scottish migration and culture in Victoria called Scots Wha Hae (Lowland Scots for ‘Scots Who Have’).

Visitors can enjoy pipe bands, traditional and contemporary folk music, the singers of the Scottish Gaelic Choir and watch highland dancing performances.

Little ones can ride a Shetland pony, try family tree craft activities, play mini golf and join in the fun of the Team Tartan group artwork. Adults can book into whisky tasting workshops exploring the renaissance in the Scottish whisky industry with Melbourne-based distillers Nippy Sweetie Whiskies (additional fee and bookings required).

There will  be traditional Scottish food with classic haggis, black pudding, square sausage, Scotch broth, potato scones, clootie dumplings, shortbread and oat cakes, washed down with Irn-Bru or speciality teas.

Scots profiled in Scots Wha Hae include former AC/DC front man Bon Scott, opera legend Dame Nellie Melba, and Sir Macpherson Robertson, who invented the Freddo Frog and Cherry Ripe and later funded an Australian Antarctic expedition. Scots Wha Hae will be on display until 31 May 2015.

Scottish Fling Festival, Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne

Sunday 16 November 2014 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Festival Day entry fee:

Adults $15 (includes museum and exhibition entry)

Children, Concession and MV Members FREE

Whisky Tasting Workshops additional fee: Adults $23, Concession $20, MV Members $20, MV Member Concession $17

Bookings 13 11 02, or online at museumvictoria.com.au

Giveaway! Thanks to the Immigration Museum I have 3 x double passes (two adults, kids are free) for the Scottish Fling Festival on Sunday 16 November.

To win just follow the instructions and the 3 winners will be randomly selected at midnight Monday 10 November and tickets posted to you.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

HOT: Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller NGV International 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne 2 HOT: Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

One of the free, experiential and sculptural works being presented at Melbourne Festival 2014 is the Golden Mirror Carousel by Belgian artist Carsten Höller.

Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller NGV International 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne 1 HOT: Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

A shiny gilt old-fashioned swing carousel has taken up residence in Federation Court of NGV International. It’s a beautiful object and a stunning sight to behold when you first enter the gallery.

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Twelve people at a time are allowed to take a seat on the carousel, which transforms the traditional fairground ride into something unexpected. For instance, it turns very slowly around and takes approximately four minutes to complete a rotation. Instead of being thrilling and noisy like you’d expect, this carousel is gentle, relaxed and silent.

Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller NGV International 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne HOT: Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Sit back, enjoy the glittering, multi-mirrored views or simply take some time to slow down your busy life. Someone mentioned that it was so relaxing he almost fell asleep and I found the experience rather dream-like. I felt like I was turning inside a gilded music box and enjoyed looking into the mirrors to catch of glimpse of objects and spaces around the gallery.

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Everyone will have a different physical and emotional reaction to the work. My favourite moment was watching an elderly woman who had problems walking make the slowest, utmost effort to take a seat in what was a potentially childish ride. I can only imagine the kind of memories her go at the carousel might have brought back for her.

We were surprised to find almost no queues during our visit on a weekend around lunchtime. The staff are quite good at herding people on and off the carousel so you shouldn’t have to wait too long at any time.

Note that tomorrow Sunday 12 October you have the opportunity to hear from Carsten Höller directly in a free talk from 5:30-6:30pm in the Great Hall of NGV International. Bookings are essential and you can register by email with GOLDEN in the subject line to programs@ngv.vic.gov.au.

Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne     

Friday 10 October 2014 to Sunday 1 March 2015

Every day 10am – 5pm

Closed Tue 14 Oct

HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

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Top Arts is arguably Victoria’s premier art accolade for young artists completing their VCE in Art or Studio Arts studies. For the last two decades years, a handful of entrants have been selected from across the state to exhibit their work in Victoria’s biggest and most prestigious gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria.

This year, in line with the 20th anniversary of Top Arts, the free exhibition has had a slight makeover and been renamed StArt Up: Top Arts 2014. Because not only is the exhibition about the top art you’ll find in high schools in Victoria, it’s about supporting young talent and giving them a start to pursue a career in the arts. Inside you’ll find photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video works selected from over 3000 submissions.

I visited the exhibition on its opening night and was really awed by some of the young talent on show. Here are some of my favourite works:

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The intricate detail of the felt-tip pen drawings of Beyond the memories (Fushigina taken, futatsu no sekai) by Darcy Whitworth, a reflection of her time in Japan.

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Hundreds of carved bamboo insects in Swarms by Madeleine McDonough.

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Look closely and these blooms are actually made up of body parts of the female figure. Botanical anatomy 1 by Adelle Elksnis.

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The beautiful clouds of folded paper in The subjectivity of interpretation by Adrian Del-Re.

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The incredible detail in the tiny specks of sugar covering the girl’s face. Sugar by Stephanie Pidcock.

A range of talks and learning programs accompany StArt Up: Top Arts 2014 and you can view workbooks, folios and preparatory material to get an insight into the creative process

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014 is an interesting collection of diverse works and it’s inspiring to see what the next generation of artists are working on now. Who knows, this year’s crop could become the Next Big Thing in the art world soon.

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Friday 11 Apr – Sunday 20 July

HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, O’Connell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Food Safari Picnic HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

For the next few weeks there will be lots of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event reviews on the blog. First up is the delightful Food Safari Picnic that happened on the weekend.

I was invited as a guest of Yarra City Council and didn’t really know what to expect. And for a first-time go at running the Food Safari Picnic I thought it was remarkably successful. Melbourne’s temperamental weather even pulled out a beautifully balmy day for the outdoor event.

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 8 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Picnickers were instructed to gather at O’Connell’s Reserve, a small park at the end of Bridge Road before you hit the Yarra River. As I pulled up my bike I could hear the jazz musicians playing and smelled delicious porky aromas coming from the barbecue set up on the lawn.

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 13 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

The nice thing about this picnic was that you didn’t have BYO anything. Instead for $85 ($45 children) each person was handed a neon green cooler bag which you could fill with four dishes from the participating Bridge Road eateries – including previous blog HOTs Touchwood, Laikon Deli and Richmond Hill and Larder.

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 7 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

The choice was impressive, from kale salads to shrimp rolls to cheese platters to tiramisu. Each dish was a full serving too so in fact the four dishes could easily have fed two people. As such I chose items I thought would last a trip home as leftovers – a rich overnight-smoked pulled pork brioche bun with red cabbage slaw from The Collection, the famous spanikopita and baklava from Laikon Deli, the Mexican chicken salad from Touchwood and high tea set of baked treats by Qualia Empire cafe.

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 10 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 6 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 9 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 12 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

To get you in the eating mode everyone was offered a coffee/hot drink from the coffee cart at O’Connell Reserve before being taken on a private ferry boat to putt along the Yarra to Herring Island, an environmental park in the middle of the river in South Yarra which is only accessible by boat.

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 1 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Even though the river cuts through the heart of our city I think it’s rare for most people to view Melbourne from the water. I urge you to try it sometime! Look at the wildlife that lives along the banks, feel the serenity of the narrow waterway and gawp at the multi-million dollar mansions on the slopes.

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 3 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

 

Food Safari Picnic 1 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 14 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 5 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

After about 40 minutes of hearing nothing but laughter and gently lapping water we pulled up at Herring Island. Many people don’t realise that this secluded island oasis exists in the heart of inner Melbourne, and that you can visit in the summer months. 

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 11 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

We were directed to the picnic area, stopping to appreciate some of the sculptures hidden in the forestry. At the picnic area again there were picnic blankets, scatter cushions, low seating under umbrellas and even some gentle live music to chill out to while you enjoyed your picnic hamper. Best of all, you could have some creamy ice cream for dessert from the Sicilian vintage Bianco Latte gelato cart (which they had to carry on board a boat and sail to the island!).

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 4 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

To walk off all that eating the Herring Island society ran free tours of the gallery and environmental sculpture garden every hour. Sculptures include works by Jill Peck, Ellen Jose, and Andy Goldsworthy.

Food Safari Picnic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014 OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island 2 HOT: Food Safari Picnic, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2014, OConnell Reserve Richmond and Herring Island

The Food Safari Picnic was one of the most charming, good-value events I’ve participated in throughout my years of attending the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. For $85 you received four picnic dishes (about two more than you’d actually need), coffee, gelati, water, a picnic bag, return ferry ride and entertainment. I hope that Yarra City Council run it more often during the year as it’s a brilliant idea, not only to introduce people to the food and wine of Bridge Road but to allow Melburnians to appreciate their city from another point of view and to discover the unknown gem that’s Herring Island

NB The Herring Island punt service only operates Saturdays, Sundays and certain public holidays. The punt will not run on Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, or Good Friday.

Punt Starting Date: Saturday 11 January 2014 11:00am – 5:00pm. Pick up and drop off from Como landing.

Punt End Date: Sunday 27 April 2014 11:00am – 5:00pm. Pick up and drop off from Como landing.

The punt is $2 per person or $5 per family, with pensioners, unemployed and children under 12 free. It can take up to 12 people.

There is no set timetable as the service runs on demand between 11am and 5pm

HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 9 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now is National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition celebrating the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice of creative Melbourne. It spans both NGV International and NGV Australia and you’ll need lots of time to visit both.

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 18 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

When you first enter the foyer of the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia you’ll see an amazing lounge room, hallway and dining made up of piped icing. ‘At home with the Hotham Street Ladies‘ is by the Hotham Street Ladies, five women who at one time lived in a share house in Hotham Street, Collingwood. Together they create food-related art, such as cake sculptures and street art, in a commentary about craft, domesticity and feminism.

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 8 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

The installations are quirky, humorous and definitely lickable and there are lots of fun details to spot.

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 13 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Also on the ground floor is Show us your World by Jan Senbergs. Along a wall are a series of picture maps from different eras and a long drafting table with inset cups of coloured pencils to encourage kids to draw their own world, real or imaginary. They can then contribute to the exhibit by posting their pictures on the wall. I saw squiggly maps of Brunswick, maps of ‘home-school-nanna’s house’ and one with a dragon!

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 12 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

As you head up the stairs to the second level admire Triptych by Melbourne fashion designer Toni Maticevski. I have been obsessed by his work since seeing it at Bendigo Art Gallery and this series of three dresses continue his use of neoprene in intricate, sculptural ways. Their figures hang silently in the stark corridor of the stairwell and the effect is breathtaking. They were by far my favourite works in the exhibition.

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 16 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 15 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 14 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

 

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 10 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 11 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

On the second level in a previously void space is MARLARKY by Slow Art Collective. It’s a bright, playful and environmentally sustainable domestic habitat which encourages you to ‘play house’ amongst old tin cans, wool, mats and makeshift furniture made from found materials.

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 1 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 5 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 2 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

You can serve tea from the tea set, stir-fry woollen noodles in the wok, have a sleep on the bed and dance under the teepee, hitting the shapes to emit different sounds.

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 3 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

This is just a snapshot of the vast Melbourne Now at NGV Australia. To continue your exploration of Melbourne Now you can also visit the rest of the exhibition at NGV International.

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 17 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 7 HOT: Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbourne Now, The Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square, Melbourne until 23 March 2014