So, Grant and I have made it to Sydney, got our health insurance, got some jobs (I’m tutoring two architecture classes this semester at the University of New South Wales, and maybe another class at the University of Sydney), and a house!
We got pretty lucky on the housing front as we were able to dedicate just one day last weekend to house hunting. Each showing was only 15 minutes, and it was pouring rain, and we were looking at a bunch of different neighborhoods, and a few houses had lines out the door to see them, and did I mention the rain? All in all it was seven very long, very wet hours of work, but it paid off. We got our second choice house (our application was rejected by the first choice, boo!) but this house is cuter, has a better backyard, and is cheaper – so not a bad deal. (Don’t worry, I’ll be back with plenty of photos of the house later on).
Because we found a house so quickly, we let ourselves have a fun day off today and explored the CBD. First we grabbed some breakfast from a department store called David Jones – Grant’s great-uncle recommended it and it did not disappoint. The pistachio yogurt from the yogurt bar was pretty awesome.
Then we headed off to the Museum of Contemporary Art (after some mandatory ibis watching, of course).
The main exhibition was by a Kenyan artist named Wangechi Mutu. I hadn’t heard of her, and some of her work was really amazing (namely her table pieces). Like this one:
It was hard to get a photo of this piece, as it was in a dark room (and I am still programmed to think taking photos in a museum is a no-no), but basically it was a giant banquet table, over which bottles of wine hung and dripped, a bunch of fur pelts, hair all over the floor, and a billowy curtain with a photo of a tumor on it. Fun! I feel that I tend to be very critical of new mixed-media works (it’s as if along with the piece of paper declaring me a doctor of Art History I received a new bit of brain growth that exudes skepticism and snarkiness at any work not by Rosemarie Trockel) (oh, who I am kidding, that was ALWAYS there). Anyway, skepticism and ready disappointment tend to be my baseline when walking into a gallery, but YOU GUYS – I didn’t want to leave this room. In fact, I only left it because I was about to flat out start crying. So, for the first and (maybe) only time, I’m going to use the word ‘powerful’ to describe a work. So good you guys, so good. (but then I read the gallery text and sort of hated that – I guess that’s why there can be art historians, because I call hooey on what the artist and gallery said about the work). Here is another detail from a different table piece (this one was Grant’s favorite):
She had some other pieces, like these chair works that screamed “louise bourgeois spiders” to me.
and then this piece just made me laugh embarrassingly loud:
Here is a view of her show from a floor up (the wooden box is where my favorite table piece was)
What else? Well, there was a pretty great video work (that I can’t remember the artist of) which showed eight children reacting to hearing their mother’s personal prayers, and then this fun piece called “mansters” (once again laughed too loud at that title) – basically they looked different depending on where you stood:
HAHAHAHAHA! YOU GUYS! MAN-STERS DO YOU GET IT?! HA!
Some other highlights:
that cute little girl later had a full on roll-about in front of a video work:
There was big Jeff Wall show (I sort of feel like seeing a Jeff Wall show today is like a kid watching a Woody Allen movie for the first time, it’s been ripped off so much they can’t appreciate the originality it presented in its day)
And then the book store sent me mixed-messages about my field of study: