Melbourne Art Safari

Still twitching from the drastic increase in coffee consumption, Uselesslines is back, fresh (ha!) from galavanting around old Melbourne town. While the trip was not entirely devoted to the cause, I did get to take in a fair few artistic sights over the weekend, as follows…

Gemma Smith- Entanglement Factor at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces: Sadly underwhelmed. Mostly with the 2D works. What the paintings lack is somewhat made up for with the ‘boulders’ fun factor.

BacchanaleDali – Liquid Desire at the National Gallery of Victoria: Overall a pleasing experience. Imagine my joy upon discovering that my NGA membership allows me to breeze past the terrifyingly long queue and into the VIP lane! Once inside, yes, it is obscenely crowded, but I for one don’t really mind being swept through an exhibition by a slowly moving crowd. I think I have just forgotten that exhibitions could even be so massively attended, and gain a rush of joy from it. Like most people, I probably hadn’t realised the extent of Dali’s talents or his ability to have his fingers in so very many pies. Favourite moments were the many incredible drawings and etchings, his set design for Bacchanale, and the ever-popular Lobster Phone. Less satisfying was the modern-day completion of the Dali/Disney short film Destino. Hmmm.

Len Lye at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image: Amazing! A wonderful and completely free surprise. Another artist (like Dali) who seems to be able to work across all media. Most incredible were his kinetic sculptures in the final room of the exhibition, each piece a commanding presence in the gallery space. Exquisite in their simplicity, these sculptures are at once sleek and elegant, cheeky and amusing. Personal favourites were Grass (1961-65), and Universe (1963, pictured left): two pieces that will not easily be forgotten.

Banksy’s destroyed ‘Little Diver’: Now this is a really interesting story I hadn’t heard before: Banksy travels to Melbourne in 2003 and stencils the ‘Little Diver’ onto the Nicolas Building in the city. Presumably upon hearing of the little guy’s potential value, the building owners affix a perspex cover to protect him. Fast-forward to December last year, and someone tips silver paint down behind the perspex, effectively destroying the stencil, and adds ‘Banksy woz ere’ in black lettering (see after and before shots below). Whodunnit? Was it vandalism of the work of a vandal? Was it Melbourne City making a point? Was it the man himself, enlisting someone to undo what he would never have wanted done (ie: his work being put in a museum context while on the street)? Either way, it does seem utterly ridiculous to have one stencil being carefully protected while at the same time people elsewhere in the city are being arrested for making them. In this sense, the defaced protected Banksy is an incredibly charged statement.

Melbourne loses Banksy

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