Tarrawarra

I was very impressed with this wonderful art museum in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne.

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The TarraWarra Museum of Art is the first privately funded, significant public visual arts museum to be set up under the Australian Government’s philanthropic measures announced in March 1999. TWMA operates as a not-for-profit institution, with a charter to display Australian art from the second half of the twentieth century to the present day. It is owned by Eva and Mark Beson, and features their extensive collection of Australian Art.

In 2000, Allan Powell’s design for this elegant building, arcing gently from the earth in concert with the contours and hues of the landscape, was chosen.

The building and the art within it sit together perfectly. Although the views from the building are beautiful, they are constrained by the design so that the emphasis is on the artwork.

‘Solitaire’, the current exhibition, has been beautifully curated. It includes some work by George Baldessin.

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Beacon DIA

We travelled on the Hudson River line to beacon to visit DIA DIA is a non profit organisation founded in 1974, and DIA Beacon was opened in May 2003.

The trip on the train was an opportunity to escape the big city for a day, see the autumn colours in the trees, and explore upstate New York a little, as well as see the museum.

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Beacon is about an hour and twenty minutes on the train from the city on the Hudson River.

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The Gallery is in a restored factory built in 1929 to print boxes for Nabisco. The restoration is wonderful, yielding huge open spaces filled with natural light. The floors in particular are beautiful. No photos were allowed so I can’t show you. However, the conversion into an exhibition space is a bit unwieldy. The galleries don’t flow, and there are other somewhat frustrating elements.

Artists on permanent exhibition include Andy Warhol. His Shadow Series occupies a large gallery and is very impressive.

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Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses are monumental, and the patina of rust on the surface of the metal makes them appear as if they might have come from some ancient civilization, or from a post apocalyptic future. The viewer can walk inside them to find themselves enclosed within soaring steel walls curving around them.
Similarly, Michael Heizer’s huge excavations sunk into the floor of the gallery and lined with steel seem to be full of symbolic meaning.

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DIA also has a gallery in Chelsea, and The New York Earth Room, by Walter de Maria. This is a loft in Wooster Street, New York City, which has been filled with earth to a depth of about 18 inches since 1977. The artist insisted that the earth be of a particular dark brown colour. It is raked and watered once a week. the room has a quiet, meditative quality, and a pleasant earthy smell.

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It was a great way to spend a cold autumn day in New York!

MOMA in Queens: PS1

Today we travelled to Queens, only a couple of stops on the subway. We visited the second MOMA gallery, PS1, also called the Institute of Contemporary Art. At the moment there’s a large survey exhibition of Mike Kelleys work. Kelley worked in a diverse range of media, including drawing on paper, sculpture, performance, music, video, photography and painting.

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This is the city of Kandor, from the planet Krypton, preserved at a fraction of its normal size in a bottle. (Yes, the planet Superman comes from….)

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The building is a very old rambling school building, and has developed a lovely patina of age.

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The old boiler in the basement had been partly coated in gold leaf as an installation by the artist Saul Melman. It was quite beautiful.

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Apparently there is a second Guggenheim, too. Maybe tomorrow?