Holiday Boredom Fighter Series no. 1 – Art Crawl

24 Oct

Oh dear I’ve been away for a while… again. But it’s okay, uni’s over and I’ve got all the time in the world to roam around the city and fill you guys in on what’s what.

First up, I’ve decided that I’m no longer content with spending my holidays doing what I usually do – sitting on facebook and watching repeats of Round the Twist on ABC3. Therefore, I’ve decided to devote my time off to finding ways to avoid becoming a boring old betty.

My first day off was today and I decided to finally take on all the exhibitions I’d been meaning to see for a while in one heck of an art crawl – Primavera, Art & About and Mad Square. At least, that was my plan…

If you want to go to Primavera his year, plan ahead! The MCA is undergoing redevelopment at the moment so the exhibition is scattered around the Rocks. Make sure you visit the website so you can work out where all the works are. I didn’t do this and ended up wandering around the lane-ways in the 34 degree heat. NOT FUN!

MCA redevelopment - the only place in Sydney where bill posters are allowed

So my Primavera trip was kinda doomed from the start. The little information stands dotted around the lanes are not helpful and I couldn’t find too many works. Here’s a couple, the only other thing I found was a phone box with birdhouses on top of it outside The Argyle.

Tom O’Hern's works can be found on the side of a building, just down the Water Steps and on the front of the Rocks Pop Up project building.

You can find Eric Bridgeman's poster series "The Sport and Fair Play of Aussie Rules" all around the Rocks and outside the MCA. This one was outside the Visitor's Information Centre aka in the lane outside Löwenbräu

If you go, I recommend checking out the Rocks Pop Up Project as well. It runs Wednesday-Sunday until the end of October. Unfortunately for me today was a Monday so I didn’t get to check it out for you, but I have heard good things.

The Rocks wasn’t a total loss. I decided to have a wander round and get a dark chocolate shake from Guylian (the shake deserves it’s own blog post – it was that good!)

I came across the Sydney Harbour YHA, which as first glance seems to be perched upon an ugly pile of rubble. In actual fact, the hostel hovers over one of the most important archaeological sites in Sydney. Just opposite the hostel is Susannah Place Museum, one of the few remaining examples of colonial era working class housing along the harbour. Yes, this probably all sounds very dull, but it was kind of cool seeing these really old sites up close.

Susannah Place Museum

Also, I discovered where to buy tonnes of candy for cheap. If you’re not fussy about how your lollies look, go pick up some big blocks of hard candy offcuts from Sticky at the Visitors Information Centre. Their jars cost like $8 but for half the price you can get a massive slab of it!

For scale, these offcuts are larger than palm size!

I ventured down to Circular Quay and found cute little installation outside Customs House. On a patch of astro turf sit two washing machines under a clothes line. The instructions tell you to take a napkin out of the washer and write a secret on it, then peg it up on the clothes line to “air your dirty laundry”.

So next was Art & About…I thought. Turns out that finished yesterday. The first work I saw was one of Michael Landy’s Random Acts of Kindness – which was then promptly taken down by a friendly council worker. He told me all the works were being taken down today and if I was quick I might be able to see them before they were taken down. Hoping I might catch the Sydney Life photographs, I power walked all the way from Circular Quay to Hyde Park. Of course, they had been taken down that morning. So very annoyed at myself for not going earlier!!

Michael Landy's Random Acts of Kindness

Undeterred I made my way to AGNSW to see Mad Square. Now, if you do plan to see Mad Square be prepared to cough up. Entry is $15 for students and $20 for adults. Ouch!

Finding only $8 in my wallet, I decided to roam around the free parts instead. I was in luck! One Hundred Flowers is the Asian gallery’s current exhibition of their recent acquisitions. There’s a fascinating range of textiles, ceramics, ancient Buddhist sculptures and even a rare Japanese erotic picture book. Downstairs in the contemporary galleries, What’s In A Face showcases the amazing portrait photography that has been collected by the gallery over the years, with a broad range of both Australian and International artists on show. A trip to the gallery will also give you the chance to check out the Kaldor collection and this crazy cool installation –

Kathy Temin's Black Garden

You can usually spend a whole day in the gallery – it’s pretty freakin huge. Wednesday night’s Art After Hours program is also pretty good. At the moment they’re screening German films for free, as well as the usual talks, tours and music.

Exhausted and in need of coffee I made my way to Pitt Street Mall. There are only two coffee places worth walking across the city for, and they are both in the new Westfield. Becasse Bakery and Le Pain Quotidien both have amazing coffee and an amazing range of pasteries. The Belgian chocolate brownie at Le Pain is incredible, but if you feel like something richer go for the 70% dark chocolate muffin at Becasse. If you need an afternoon pick me up and you’re not so into coffee, I noticed that the Victoria Room has opened an offshoot on Level 4 called the Tea Salon. You won’t miss it, it’s very pink and the pastries there also looked pretty good.

So my first attempt at boredom busting didn’t turn out as planned, but it still worked! Adventures can still be had when plans go awry.  Hopefully I’ll be back with a better executed itinerary next time.

Till then, happy holidays (or exams if you’re so unfortunate)

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