This small barrier was erected in the foyer of a mall we passed through most days to get to our apartment hotel in Singapore. The sign says – Work In Progress.
During the whole week that the installation sat there nothing happened around, above or anywhere near it. To this day I wonder whether someone put it there as a joke and as it looked official, it remained in place and undisturbed. It was still there the day we left Singapore. Or was it in fact an artwork – an artistic installation?
When it comes to architectural eyesores and mistakes, there are many. They are not mentioned by the professions.
Once when attending a conference on green roofs, an architect told the story of his first major green roof project. All sounded impressive, until he casually mentioned how it failed and that water penetrated the top floor of the office building.
The first is a short video I saw at an exhibition at the British Library, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. The information panel explained that when this short film was originally released, it was banned by the censors. Too terrifying? or what? As I had trouble hearing it in the exhibition, I watched it later online.
I read an article in The Guardian that set out in great detail the sad news for those of us who have been brought up with the promise that one day we would be able to fly using a Jet Pack. I think the original promise was in the same category as the promise that one day, with all the new technologies, we would have the paperless office.
The debate has commenced within the communities around the Dickson Parklands, previously referred to Section 72 Dickson, as to how the whole site could become a parklands with an integrated set of community cultural facilities that connect to the surrounding communities.
The Future of Dickson Section 72 as a Community and Cultural Site
The Dickson Community Cultural Parklands.
I wrote a piece yesterday about the disappointment expressed by residents about the manner in which the ACT Government is dealing with the local communities over the future of the community site officially known as Section 72 Dickson. Click here.
There’s been a couple of short-run sculpture festivals in recent years in Canberra. It is a great thing to see these events as they provide opportunities for our sculptors who otherwise have trouble getting into the usual exhibition venues.
I have downloaded and listen to this album just the once. I have read quite a bit about this latest gem from Lucinda but was prevented from listening to it earlier due to some international travel and an online problem I was experiencing. But all this was solved at last this afternoon and I have been sitting here, with headphones on, making my way through this wonderful album. If you have not already gathered, this is a great album.
There have been many occasions when I visited an exhibition of contemporary visual arts, particularly those of the conceptual installation art version, and I have left with little satisfaction or a memory of strong engagement. To be positive, there have been many great pieces I have seen in this genre.
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is presently exhibiting three exhibitions in 8Q, its special annex located on Queens Street around the corner from SAM’s main building. The exhibition is a triple bill made up of three exhibitions that occupy the whole of the building’s exhibition spaces.
I love the joy of good architecture, being both places and buildings. There is something really wonderful when you experience the enjoyment of good design. However there are other contributions that simply take your breath away for all the wrong reasons!
Just to remind you that this book is worth reading. Sadly the ending is a bit depressing in that Nick considers the power elite have reshuffled a little but carry on a s before.
It has also been interesting to read the story of Rebecca Brooks. The question has been posed elsewhere, was she just a user of the corporate and political systems in order to climb the ladder to join the ranks of those in power?
I have to admit that I had not heard of the Swedish island of Gotland. Having now watched four of the Swedish seven episodes of Marie Wern, I have had to get online and do research on this Swedish island, situated in the gulf to the east of Sweden. Want to know more about Gotland? – click here.
Ruth Waller at Nancy Sever Gallery, Kingston, Canberra
A note that the Nancy Sever Gallery, in Kingston, is worth putting on you list for gallery visits.
We attended a crowded opening there tonight for the opening of Ruth Waller’s exhibition of recent paintings. Can I say that I would love to talk more about the art, but it was very difficult to see given the crowd. That’s why I often avoid openings and get along later.
Annette Messager: motion/emotion at the MCA Australia (Sydney) till 26 October 2014
We were fortunate to have a business reason to be in Sydney for the Monday, so allowed ample time on the weekend to get down to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on beautiful circular Quay to see this once in a lifetime exhibition of Annetta Messager’s artworks. It was definitely worth the trip. We loved it so much we went back the next day for a revisit.
Shaune Lakin, The New NGA Senior Curator of Photography
At the end of an exhibition seminar in August at the Monash Gallery of Art, we witnessed the NGA Senior Curator of Photography, Gael Newton (finishing September) , handing on the baton and all the challenges to her replacement, the new NGA Senior Curator of Photography (from October), Shaune Lakin (previously The MGA Director).
The Eagle A Crime Odyssey, TV 2004 – 2006, now out on DVD
This is another nordic television series. This pre-dates The Bridge and several others now well-known. According to other online news the series has been shown a couple of times on SBS in Australia and was very popular. I actually chanced upon it and settled back to watch and became impressed very quickly. It is good. We liked this a lot.
One of my many puzzles has been why within Australia, with all the diversity of natural landscapes, do we not see much landscape art.
What I mean by that are artworks that actually are designed in the landscape or at least using natural materials to be in the landscape. There’s an article online about an architect who works with nature. click here.
The Solomon Islands High CommissionI spotted this example of successful embassy architecture as I was driving past to have lunch at the Beaver Gallery Cafe in Deakin. From the available online information (and there’s not much) I think these new buildings for the High Commission for the Solomon Islands were completed around 2011/2012.
I had previously posted about the City of Sydney’s announcements for three new works for Sydney’s public spaces. click here.
I have just read online the views of the Crikey urbanist, Alan Davies. There’s a lot more to say about this guy’s reviews and some of his strange views on urban issues . He has some serious problems! More on some of his comments later – watch this space. Continue reading Public Art City of Sydney 2→
The Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life.
Andrew Leigh, 2014
My review will have to follow once I have a copy and have read it. Having received notice of the book, I have been checking several comments online, and knowing Andrew Leigh’s early writings and books, I feel very confident that this will be another good read.
Here is some text copied from the publisher’s site:
Recently a colleague expressed doubts about how he viewed a new wind farm that appeared in a landscape that he and his son loved to escaped into when time allowed. While he is totally committed to alternative energy, the issue he was working through was that the wind farm challenged his aesthetics, or to be more accurate he was still having trouble accepting them in this landscape that had been part of his memory since childhood.
There is a very hard-hitting article in the August 2014 issue of The Monthly on how the two large supermarkets have been allowed to rip anyone and everyone off. Even more depressing is that it points to how we, as consumers, are continuing to allow this to happen.
The major point raised by the article is how this dominance of the two of these supermarkets has reduced the food security in this country.
I have said it before and am happy to say so again, I live in a suburb in Canberra that has a fabulous amount of trees. The amount of trees in the public arena, streets and parks etc, combined with those throughout the residential properties delivers an ambience that is hard to explain to anyone who has not experienced it.
From an article by Jori Finkel in the Art Newspaper:
In New York, Sperone Westwater comes in at 91 versus nine. Team Gallery at 85 versus 15; Matthew Marks at 84 versus 16, and Mary Boone at 83 versus 17. Some of the top galleries in Los Angeles tell a similar story: Blum & Poe is 89 versus 11; Prism is 88 versus 12; Thomas Solomon is 85 to 15, and Patrick Painter is 83 to 17.
The Queensland state government spent millions on the Roma Street Parklands. This parkland was set to add huge value to any apartments built around its edges. One would have thought that the City would have insisted on at least some higher levels of design for such buildings. Continue reading Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two→
I first visited these gardens and parklands back in 2004 and was very impressed then. This parkland project was a major commitment by the then state government to re-develop a former industrial site and to join it to the existing Albert Park to form one larger parkland, the Roma Street Parklands. I highly recommend anyone and everyone visiting Brisbane to allocate at least an hour to wander about these parklands ten minutes or more away from the Brisbane CBD. (click on any image to enlarge it)
The debate about getting rid of previously loved artworks
The debate over what different people, institutions and township are doing with their formerly treasured artworks by Rolf Harris has been sad to watch. This style of artwork was always more of a populist marketing campaign. His art was and remains simplistic and very ordinary at best.
Harvest:Art, Film + Food at the Queensland Art Gallery – GOMA
Our public galleries have wonderful collections. Collection exhibitions are often overlooked by the public as the marketing foolishly concentrates on the block busters and special exhibitions. This is a shame as the collection exhibitions are wonderful.
The 2014 World Architecture Festival Awards shortlisted projects have been listed online. It makes for an interesting read.
I have provided two links below. One with categories only – which means you have click-through to see more. The other is the full list. A number of Australian projects have been listed, including The National Botanic Gardens – these I have reviewed (click here) , so I will say no more.
It has been a long puzzle of mine as to just what makes an architecture project an award-winning project. I know that it cannot be just who sits on the award jury and who knows who, so it must be something else.
100 Canberra Houses: A Century of Capital Architecture / by Tim Reeves and Alan Roberts
This book about housing in Canberra is welcomed by those amongst us who would love to see more good design in the provision of houses in Canberra. Much of Canberra, as with most places internationally, is presently being devastated with loads of new badly designed suburbs as well as very awful blocks of cheaply rendered apartments being foisted on the older inner suburbs. The authors of this book are to be congratulated for illustrating that the architecture for residential properties can be something to be enjoyed.
Canberra Architecture, Andrew Metcalf
Watermark Architectural Guides, 2003
I picked up this book quiet a while ago but it is only now that I have had time to look through it. I am glad I did, as after reading through quite a bit of it, I have become more aware that Canberra has a reasonable amount of good and notable architecture.
I have a quiet interest in good architecture and have spent some energies complaining about the current crop of badly designed houses and commercial buildings being thrust onto Canberra. Residents have despaired that good design in our civic areas and suburbs has become a thing of the past.
The BBC has commissioned a number of series about Italy in various guises. For several of these they employed Francesco da Mosto. Shakespeare in Italy is the most recent of these with Francesco da Mosto in the presenters role. What you end up with an armchair traveller’s tour of parts of Italy, some good tales about the connections between Shakespeare and Italy, and to top it off we are entertained with performances by Francesco da Mosto.
Is architecture is failing contemporary Sydney? Part One
There is no doubt that the City of Sydney and its harbour are magnificent to behold. (click on the photo to enlarge). The mix of built structures really makes for a view that demands you take the time to stare, contemplate and to just enjoy it for as long as it takes. However…..
We live in a street that is inhabited by many dogs. Nearly every neighbour, near and far, has a pooch.
Most of these animals are quiet. Full credit to their owners. But we have the honour of having a couple that do let their presence be known with some barking. I have posted before about not so nice dogs and their owners. (click here) Continue reading Our Dog Shakey→
Clive James on death, dragons and writing in the home stretch
One wonders how Clive James would react to the realities of attitudes within Australia today. His illnesses have restricted him to staying close to his hospital which has meant he will not be coming home for a last visit. Therefore he has to revisit Australia through his memories.
Eureka Henrich has provided a piece on Clive’s presentation at the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts at King’s College London. His appearance there surprised everyone simply as his illnesses are so restricting to his travel. Click here for the piece.
It was with great amusement that I read a recent story about how Starbucks has not been successful in Australia.
Anyone who understood the love of coffee here in Australia would not be surprised by this and would probably celebrate by heading for a cafe for a peaceful flat white coffee. Click here for that story.
Architecture Marketing and The Iconic Australian Houses at Museum of Sydney till 17 August 2014
Over the years I have ventured into many exhibitions on Australian architecture. Most have been so badly put together that to call them boring is an understatement. This is not to say that the architecture is the problem, it is clearly that bodies such as the Institute of Architects know how to talk themselves but have little idea of how to market to the wider general public.
It should always be celebrated when a city council looks after its city parks. The property and development lobbies of this world see these public spaces as potential for profit-making development sites and would be always on hand to lobby for any reduction such public open spaces. Prince Alfred Park in Surrey Hills in Sydney has just benefited from a wise city council that has invested in some upgrades on this fabulous inner city parkland.
Several months back there was an article by Christopher Vernon, of the University of Western Australia, putting forward the background and argument for a permanent memorial in Canberra for Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. Click here for that article.
There are various things scattered around Canberra that tell their story.
A review of new architecture and spaces within the ANU (Australian National University) Part One
Across Australia there are stand out examples of campus design amongst many of our universities. In more recent years I have had reason to visit campuses in all the states and back here in Canberra and have been constantly impressed with some of the architectural and landscape work. In most cases I have been positively impressed with the work and in others I have been taken aback.
In 2014, contemporary car design is fairly mundane. Most car designers are pumping out things that are not attractive. Cars today seem to be suffering from either a lack of design or have a combination of tricky features pretending to be some form of design. So many cars today are simply very boring.
Art as Therapy: Works from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Alain de Botton and John Armstrong
This soft cover book is the guide for the special labels placed around the State Art Gallery of Victoria’s St Kilda Road Venue.
As a first comment I have to say that I was disappointed and was in fact a little taken aback by the style and contents. I am not so sure about how this effort enhances the gallery visit within the NGV*.
Every now and then we recommend someone else’s blog for all sorts of reasons. So here’s another. Recommend you have a look and it may be worth bookmarking it for future reference. Click on the image below.
This year, Russ & Daughters, the acclaimed appetizing institution on the Lower East Side, turns a hundred years old. To celebrate the occasion, the fourth-generation co-owners are giving customers a place to sit.
These are our comments on the Schwartz Media weekly publication, The Saturday Paper. It is available in most states and is also available in a subscription online version. (this version revised 14 May 2014)
The Monthly has published an excellent article of the Abbott crowd and how his old boys are in charge. The image on the cover is worrying simply because it is so factual. The artist has captured their collective personalities far too accurately.
Opinion: A comment on Moving Backwards in Queensland
An article by Harry Hobbs
Since taking office in 2012, the Attorney-General for Queensland and Minister for Justice, Jarrod Bleijie MP has made a conscious effort to reintroduce symbols of the monarchy.
Queensland’s own Glorious Revolution has seen Senior Counsels replaced with Queen’s Counsels, the new government logo replaced with the traditional Coat-of-Arms, the new law courts named the reigning British Monarch, and a political fight over the royal succession laws.
There is no doubt that there are aspects of Brisbane that a far more interesting than the city centre. South Bank and the West End are such places. South Bank Parklands have been managed well for years up till now – but I amnot so sure about the current management.
South Bank is a place for leisure, for the family, for picnics, for food and cafes and the cultural centres, for events, and especially for culture such as visits to the state gallery.
There are aspects of Brisbane are beautiful. The river is magic. The photo above, taken some years back illustrates this. The evening lights enhance the unfortunate placement of major roads along the river’s edge. These freeways are transport engineering successes but are barriers to any hope of joining the city to the river.
The central area of the city of Brisbane has evolved into a modern city with many historic buildings surviving. These heritage buildings are now surrounded by an over abundance of glass and concrete walls of taller office building. It is not a pretty sight.