Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

The main entrance to the Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan, located in Ueno Park which was full of cherry blossoms during our visit [see our previous blog post, “Sakura (Cherry Bloss

The main entrance to the Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan, located in Ueno Park which was full of cherry blossoms during our visit [see our previous blog post, “Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Tokyo, Japan”]

Japan’s oldest and largest museum, the acclaimed Tokyo National Museum houses an impressive assemblage of art and artifacts.  The unrivaled collection encompasses Asian paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, arms and armor, textiles, and historical documents.  Each season the museum rotates its collection to feature art that pertains to the season.  Thus, during the Sakura (cherry blossom) season in March and April, the permanent collection of Japanese art and artifacts had many pieces focusing on the celebration of Sakura.

 

Designated as a National Treasure in 1953- “Merrymaking under Blossom Trees” by Kano Naganobu (1577-1654), color on paper (screen), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, T

Designated as a National Treasure in 1953: “Merrymaking under Blossom Trees” by Kano Naganobu (1577-1654), color on paper (screen), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

“Depicted on this… screen is a scene of [Sakura] cherry blossom viewing by people dressed in garments with the latest designs.  Whether it was intended to portray a particular event or setting is unclear.  The surrounding trees and curtains, however, create a dramatic effect in which the people performing a folk dance and the ladies watching them appear as though they were on a stage.” – Tokyo National Museum.  Note that the tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring Sakura (cherry blossoms) goes back a long time in Japanese history – we were fortunate to be in Tokyo for the height of this year’s cherry blossoms and to mingle with locals in appreciating the delicate blossoms signaling the end of winter and the new annual cycle.

“The Museum Garden behind the Honkan main building is open during the spring.  We invite you to enjoy strolling among the five teahouses, each with their own history, as well as the cherry blossoms, which about 10 varieties bloom from one to another.  The flourishing garden is most beautiful at this time of the year.” – www.tnm.jp    The Garden was full of cherry blossoms during our visit [see our previous blog post, “Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Tokyo, Japan”, for several photographs of the Sakura in the Tokyo National Museum Garden].

 

Ichinotani Style Helmet, Iris leaf design, Azuchi-Momoyama-Edo period, 16th-17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Ichinotani Style Helmet, Iris leaf design, Azuchi-Momoyama-Edo period, 16th-17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

Gusoku Type Armor with two-piece cuirass with dark blue lacing, Edo period, 17th-18th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Gusoku Type Armor with two-piece cuirass with dark blue lacing, Edo period, 17th-18th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

“The Tokyo National Museum features one of the largest and best collections of art and archeological artifacts in Japan, made up of over 110,000 individual items including nearly a hundred national treasures.  At any one time, about 4,000 different items from the permanent museum collection are on display.  In addition, visiting temporary exhibitions are also held regularly.  The large museum complex is home to six separate buildings, each large enough to be considered a museum on its own, which specialize in different types of art and exhibitions.  The main Honkan building [which we focused on] was opened in 1938 and exhibits a variety of Japanese artwork from ancient times to the 19th century including antique Buddhist statues, painted sliding doors, scrolls, ceramics and maps in addition to cultural items such as masks, costume, armor and weapons among other historical artifacts.” – www.japan-guide.com

 

“Kanazawa, Musashi Province” by Kano Osanobu {Seisen_in} (1796-1846), color on silk, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

“Kanazawa, Musashi Province” by Kano Osanobu {Seisen’in} (1796-1846), color on silk, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

Primary Textbook for the Noble_s Children by Prince Hachijo-no-miya Toshihito (1579-1629), ink on decorated paper (SCROLL), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japa

Primary Textbook for the Noble’s Children by Prince Hachijo-no-miya Toshihito (1579-1629), ink on decorated paper (SCROLL), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan; this spectacular section of the “textbook” features Mt. Fuji in the colored background, painted by the Prince before adding the text

 

Uchikake (Outer Garment, [like a kimono]), Tachibana and screen design on figured satin ground, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Uchikake (Outer Garment, [like a kimono]), Tachibana and screen design on figured satin ground, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

the-2011-expansion-with-majestic-kauri-native-tree-columns-and-roof-complementing-the-original-1887-gallery-building-houses-seven-centuries-of-new-zealand-art-at-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-ta

The 2011 expansion with majestic Kauri (native tree) columns and roof, complementing the original 1887 gallery building, houses seven centuries of New Zealand art at the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

“Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the principal public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand.  It frequently hosts traveling international exhibitions.  Set below the hilltop Albert Park in the central-city area of Auckland, the gallery was established in 1888 as the first permanent art gallery in New Zealand.   The building originally housed the Auckland Art Gallery as well as the Auckland public library.” — Wikipedia

 

the-museums-atrium-in-the-new-wing-hosts-annually-changing-sculpture-exhibitions-hung-from-the-kauri-wood-paneled-ceiling-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

The museum’s atrium in the new wing hosts annually changing sculpture exhibitions, hung from the kauri wood paneled ceiling, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand; the Māori sign in the entry says: “Nau mai , haere mai” (“Welcome”)

 

“The main gallery building was originally designed by Melbourne architects Grainger & D’Ebro to house not only the art gallery but also the City Council offices, lecture theatre and public library.  It is constructed of brick and plaster in an early French Renaissance style and was completed in 1887, with an extension built in 1916…  In the late 2000s, a major extension was mooted, which caused substantial criticism from some quarters due to its cost, design and the fact that land from Albert Park would be required for the extension.  In late 2007, the Gallery closed for extensive renovations, and re-opened on 3 September 2011…  The expansion design by Australian architecture firm FJMT in partnership with Auckland-based Archimedia, increased exhibition space by 50%, for up to 900 artworks, and provided dedicated education, child and family spaces.  As part of the upgrade, existing parts of the structure were renovated and restored to its 1916 state – amongst other things ensuring that the 17 different floor levels in the building were reduced to just 6.  The redevelopment has to date received 17 architectural and 6 design-related awards, including the World Architecture Festival’s 2013 World Building of the Year.” — Wikipedia

 

the-kauri-wood-panels-in-the-entries-to-the-galleries-are-all-carved-in-maori-designs-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

The Kauri wood panels in the entries to the galleries are all carved in Māori designs, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

“We are Auckland’s wharenui (home) for authentic and meaningful engagement with art for all.” – aucklandartgallery.com

 

kura-te-waru-rewiri-born-1950-te-tohu-tuatahi-1991-acrylic-on-board-draws-a-powerful-continuum-between-the-past-and-present-at-the-paintings-center-is-a-cross-motif

Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), “Te Tohu Tuatahi”, 1991 (acrylic on board), draws a powerful continuum between the past and present; at the painting’s center is a cross motif, the mark used by many Māori signatories to sign New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840; Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), the artist who painted “Te Tohu Tuatahi” in 1991 and was raised in Waitangi — the first site of the signing of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840 — commented at that time, “I paint about the Treaty now, wishing for ideals of racial harmony, equal opportunity, recognition of a pact for partnership to become reality.”

 

the-former-auckland-public-library-was-stripped-of-its-tall-bookshelves-and-restored-to-its-19th-century-architectural-design-and-added-to-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new

The former Auckland public library was stripped of its tall bookshelves and restored to its 19th century architectural design and added to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, in the 2011 expansion

 

daniel-malone-born-1970-tititangi-apocrypha-2015-mixed-media-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

Daniel Malone (born 1970), “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

Daniel Malone (born 1970), returned from Warsaw, Poland, in 2015 to undertake the McCahon House Artist Residency in Titirangi, Auckland.  The purpose built McCahon House is located adjacent to New Zealand’s most famous painter’s (Colin McCahon, 1919 – 1987) former home.  Malone’s “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), pays homage to Colin McCahon’s paintings, as the present day artist filters McCahon’s interests and achievements through his own.

 

the-atrium-of-the-2011-extension-to-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand-photographed-from-above-in-albert-park

The atrium of the 2011 extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, photographed from above in Albert Park

 

one-of-the-beautiful-native-kauri-columns-supporting-the-roof-at-the-back-of-the-new-extension-to-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand-abutting-albert-park

One of the beautiful native kauri columns supporting the roof at the back of the new extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, abutting Albert Park

 

“The team looked at the existing character of the park [Albert Park] and utilised this to create linkages between the building, the park and the surrounding streets.  New landscaped terraces and paved platforms form a smooth pedestrian connection between Kitchener Street and Albert Park.  One of the most distinctive features of the new building is its roof design, which forms a series of fine ‘tree-like’ canopies that define and cover the Forecourt, North Atrium and gallery areas.  Between the terraces and the roof canopy of kauri wood, large windows allow a view from the Gallery’s forecourt through the building to the park and beyond – inviting discovery and opening the Gallery to Albert Park and public spaces.” – aucklandartgallery.com

 

the-new-wing-of-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand-as-seen-from-a-pathway-in-albert-park-note-how-the-kauri-columns-bring-the-trees-and-flora-of-albert-park-into-t

The new wing of the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, as seen from a pathway in Albert Park; note how the kauri columns bring the trees and flora of Albert Park into the museum

 

a-modern-sculpture-in-albert-park-immediately-behind-and-uphill-from-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

A modern sculpture in Albert Park, immediately behind (and uphill from), the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

sky-tower-aucklands-most-famous-structure-viewed-from-albert-park-and-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

Sky Tower, Auckland’s most famous structure, viewed from Albert Park and the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

Napier (Art Deco Festival), New Zealand

napier-new-zealand-is-now-well-known-for-having-preserved-its-wealth-of-art-deco-buildings-mostly-constructed-in-1931-1932-after-the-devastating-1931-earthquake-and-fire

Napier, New Zealand, is now well known for having preserved its wealth of Art Deco buildings, mostly constructed in 1931-1932, after the devastating 1931 earthquake and fire; the city hosts a huge Art Deco Festival and weekend each February (this year it was a few days after our visit)

 

It was the devastation of a 1931 earthquake and the subsequent rebuilding from scratch that made Napier, New Zealand, the “Art Deco Capital of the World” — to this day representing the most complete and significant group of art deco buildings found anywhere.  The population of Napier is around 60,000, with the broader Napier-Hastings-Havlock North region totaling about 130,000 people, making it the sixth largest urban area in New Zealand.  “Napier is the nexus of the largest wool centre in the Southern Hemisphere, and it has the primary export seaport for northeastern New Zealand – which is the largest producer of apples, pears, and stone fruit in New Zealand. Napier has also become an important grape and wine production area, with the grapes grown around Hastings and Napier being sent through the Port of Napier for export.  Large amounts of sheep’s wool, frozen meat, wood pulp, and timber also pass through Napier annually for export.” – Wikipedia

 

the-new-napier-arch-is-a-portal-to-the-walkway-along-the-breakfront-constructed-after-the-1931-earth-along-the-waterfront-and-beach-napier-new-zealand

The “New Napier Arch” is a portal to the walkway along the breakfront constructed after the 1931 earth along the waterfront and beach, Napier, New Zealand

 

the-t-g-building-atkin-mitchell-wellington-1936-is-the-tallest-building-in-napier-with-the-auckland-savings-bank-asb-is-in-the-foreground-napier-new-zealand

The T & G Building (Atkin & Mitchell, Wellington, 1936) is the tallest building in Napier; the Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) is in the foreground, Napier, New Zealand

 

With some friends from California who were also traveling in New Zealand, we booked a guide from the Art Deco Trust center for a two hour walking tour around town and a viewing of an informative movie made by the Trust about the 1931 earthquake, its aftermath and the incredible rebuilding of the city.  We were reminded a lot of the current preservation efforts in South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA to restore and preserve many of the Art Deco gems in that region. [See our blog posts from 2015, “Art Deco Walk in the South Beach District of Miami Beach, Florida, USA” and “Art Deco collection at The Wolfsonian (Florida International University), South Beach District, Miami Beach, Florida, USA”.]

 

details-of-the-asb-bank-building-that-features-maori-koru-and-zigzags-napier-new-zealand

Details of the ASB bank building that features Maori koru and zigzags, Napier, New Zealand

 

the-interior-of-the-two-story-asb-bank-building-with-interior-glass-and-paneling-under-roof-skylights-that-was-a-very-advanced-design-for-bringing-in-natural-light-to-an-interior-office-work-environme

The interior of the two-story ASB bank building with interior glass and paneling under roof skylights that was a very advanced design for bringing in natural light to an interior office/work environment, Napier, New Zealand

 

an-interior-glass-panel-in-the-criterion-hotel-which-has-some-moorish-influences-along-with-the-art-deco-overall-design-napier-new-zealand

An interior glass panel in the Criterion Hotel (which has some Moorish influences along with the Art Deco overall design), Napier, New Zealand

 

details-of-second-story-windows-napier-new-zealand

Details of second story windows, Napier, New Zealand

 

street-level-leaded-glass-designs-above-the-door-of-a-jewelry-shop-napier-new-zealand

Street level leaded glass designs above the door of a jewelry shop, Napier, New Zealand

 

intricate-art-deco-designs-above-the-columns-and-windows-napier-new-zealand

Intricate Art Deco designs above the columns and windows, Napier, New Zealand

 

one-of-the-main-shopping-streets-in-downtown-napier-new-zealand-where-the-height-limit-of-two-stories-was-observed-in-the-rebuilding-that-began-in-1931-1932

One of the main shopping streets in downtown Napier, New Zealand, where the height limit of two stories was observed in the rebuilding that began in 1931-1932

 

The Napier website has a good description how the beautifully preserved Art Deco architecture became the city’s special point of difference.  “A national disaster resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world.  On the morning of February 3rd 1931 a massive earthquake – 7.9 on the Richter scale – rocked Hawke’s Bay for more than three minutes.  Nearly 260 lives were lost and the vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed, either by the quake itself or the fires that followed.  Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years.  New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco.  Local architect Louis Hay, an admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright, had his chance to shine.  Maori motifs were employed to give the city a unique New Zealand character – for example, the ASB bank on the corner of Hastings and Emerson Streets features Maori koru and zigzags.   Napier’s city centre has the feeling of a time capsule – the seamless line of 1930s architecture is quite extraordinary.” – http://www.newzealand.com

 

beautiful-stained-glass-above-the-door-and-windows-of-a-shop-in-napier-new-zealand

Beautiful stained glass above the door and windows of a shop in Napier, New Zealand

 

the-classically-art-deco-auditorium-center-light-in-the-napier-municipal-theater-building-napier-new-zealand

The classically Art Deco auditorium center light in the Napier municipal theater building, Napier, New Zealand

 

a-classical-well-preserved-art-deco-office-interior-napier-new-zealand-somewhat-reminiscent-of-some-frank-lloyd-wright-designs-in-the-united-states-of-america

A classical, well-preserved Art Deco office interior, Napier, New Zealand; somewhat reminiscent of some Frank Lloyd Wright designs in the United States of America

 

the-daily-telegraph-building-features-many-different-art-deco-design-motifs-including-a-ziggurat-aesthetic-and-trompe-loeil-details-napier-new-zealand

The Daily Telegraph building features many different Art Deco design motifs, including a ziggurat aesthetic and trompe-l’oeil details, Napier, New Zealand

 

towards-the-end-of-our-guided-walking-tour-we-visited-the-napier-cathedral-with-its-beautiful-stained-glass-windows-napier-new-zealand-this-panel-has-a-poignant-invocation-for-our-times

Towards the end of our guided walking tour we visited the Napier Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows, Napier, New Zealand; this panel has a poignant invocation for our times: “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”

 

MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

the-playful-museum-entrance-behind-which-is-an-interior-spiral-staircase-that-leads-down-to-three-larger-underground-levels-of-display-spaces-with-no-windows-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art

The playful museum entrance – behind which is an interior spiral staircase that leads down to three larger underground levels of display spaces with no windows, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

On our last evening on this trip to Tasmania and Australia, we joined a small group for a privately guided visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) followed by a delicious dinner in the museum’s restaurant and terraces. We arrived at the museum on the peninsula after a 45-minute “ferry ride” on a private catamaran up the Derwent River from Hobart to the museum’s jetty. “The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The museum presents antiquities and modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection. Walsh has described the museum as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland.’ MONA was officially opened on 21 January 2011. Along with its frequently updated indoor collection, MONA also hosts the annual MOFO and Dark Mofo festivals which showcase large-scale public art and live performances.” – Wikipedia. This is a museum unlike any other in the world – easily described as an eccentric super-wealthy gambler’s tribute to himself and his explorations of “who he is” and “what is art”. Many visitors are shocked with the erotic and sexual nature of much of the art [which we have chosen not to include in our photographs on this blog post], and surprised to find such an eclectic mix of historical and classical art (from around the world) with many “challenging” modern art pieces.

 

the-setting-for-the-museum-on-the-berriedale-peninsula-along-the-derwent-river-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

The setting for the museum on the Berriedale peninsula along the Derwent River, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

“Mona is one man’s ‘megaphone’ as he put it at the outset: and what he wants to say almost invariably revolves around the place of art and creativity within the definition of humanity. We know that sounds lofty, self-important. But we must be honest with you: our goal is no more, nor less, than to ask what art is, and what makes us look and look at it with ceaseless curiosity. We don’t have the answer yet. Maybe when we do, that will be the end of Mona. Bye bye Mona…

“Mona’s ambition (with only modest success, given that most people just want to take pictures of bit.fall) is to understand how narrow, how partial, our view is of the world. To see clearly, we argue, you have to first know the limits of your vision. To quote Socrates: ‘The smartest people know how dumb they are.’ Okay, what he really said was: ‘I know one thing: that I know nothing.’” – mona.net.au

 

a-wall-on-the-lowest-third-level-of-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-that-shows-how-the-museum-was-carved-out-of-the-rock-on-the-peninsula-under-the-moorilla-winery

A wall on the lowest (third) level of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, that shows how the museum was carved out of the rock on the peninsula under the Moorilla winery

 

“[It] begins as soon as you get there. If you arrive by jetty you come up those stairs thinking you’ll get somewhere momentous, but then you get to the top and turn around and there’s just this small house. Then you go in, and go down a heap more stairs. A big space. ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was going to be so big.’ Still no art.” — James Pearce, Director of Architecture, MONA

 

this-exhibition-room-could-be-in-a-traditional-art-museum-anywhere-in-the-world-it-is-in-stark-contrast-with-some-other-rooms-that-are-quite-provocative-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tas

This exhibition room could be in a traditional art museum anywhere in the world; it is in stark contrast with some other rooms that are quite provocative; MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

highly-decorated-silver-sculptures-atop-two-of-twelve-sardine-cans-that-all-contain-sculpted-silver-female-genitalia-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Highly decorated silver sculptures atop two of twelve “sardine cans” that all contain sculpted silver female genitalia, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-kinetic-sculpture-that-the-visitor-enters-and-then-moves-his-her-arms-and-dances-to-conduct-music-and-a-light-show-on-the-perimeter-of-the-exhibit-a-docent-is-demonstrating-moveme

A kinetic sculpture that the visitor enters and then moves his/her arms and dances to “conduct” music and a light show on the perimeter of the exhibit (a docent is demonstrating movement within the sculpture), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

glass-panels-and-a-mirror-second-from-the-left-panel-that-are-a-fraction-of-the-floral-art-in-an-exhibition-room-that-measured-perhaps-25-feet-by-20-feet-7-6-by-6-1-meters-mona

Glass panels and a mirror (second from the left “panel”) that are a fraction of the floral art in an exhibition room that measured perhaps 25 feet by 20 feet (7.6 by 6.1 meters), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

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An ancient clay sculpture, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

figure-of-a-girl-bathing-pierre-auguste-renoir-late-1800s-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Figure of a Girl Bathing, Pierre Auguste Renoir (late 1800s), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

mount-fuji-one-of-36-woodblock-print-views-ando-hiroshige-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Mount Fuji (one of 36 woodblock print views), Ando Hiroshige, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

fat-car-2006-erwin-wurm-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Fat Car, 2006 Erwin Wurm, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-view-from-above-of-the-bar-on-the-lower-level-at-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-where-we-had-cocktails-and-or-wine-after-our-tour-of-the-museum-before-going-up-and-o

A view from above of the bar on the lower level at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where we had cocktails and/or wine after our tour of the museum, before going up and out to the museum’s restaurant (in a separate, above ground building with terraces overlooking the river) for dinner

 

Interested readers should check out the museum’s website:

mona.net.au

to explore some of the architecture, the collection and the biography of founder and chief curator David Walsh.

 

the-rising-full-moon-provided-a-fitting-end-to-a-wonderful-afternoon-and-evening-at-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-on-our-last-night-in-tasmania-and-australia-after-sev

The rising full moon provided a fitting end to a wonderful afternoon and evening at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on our last night in Tasmania and Australia after seven weeks of explorations

 

Exploring Tasmanian history around Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

home-hill-once-home-to-joe-lyons-tasmanias-only-australian-prime-minister-devenport-tasmania-australia

Home Hill, once home to Joe Lyons, Tasmania’s only Australian Prime Minister Devenport, Tasmania, Australia

 

Overlooking Bass Strait on Tasmania’s northwest coast (an island state of Australia, south of Adelaide and Melbourne), Burnie was settled by Aboriginals long before the island’s discovery by European explorer Abel Tasman in 1642.  Paying homage to its industrial heritage, Burnie has proclaimed itself a “City of Makers,” replacing once-thriving paper, chemical and lumber plants with artisanal cheese makers, a single-malt whisky distillery, ceramic workshops and handmade paper.  The abandoned paper mill in town employed 3,000 workers until about 10 years ago.  We were very impressed with the ongoing, but successful so far, transformation of the city from an industrial city to one catering to creative artists and tourists.  This being Australia, exotic flora and fauna are also part of the scene, from diminutive fairy penguins, echidna and platypus to lush gardens, nature reserves and waterfalls.

 

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Vineyards at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell, Tasmania, Australia

 

Our first day in Burnie we joined a group that headed south from the city on the coast of the Southern Ocean inland towards Cradle Mountain.  Our route first took us east along the coast towards Devenport, passing through Ulverstone and other seaside towns along the way.  Our first stop was for a guided visit to Home Hill, once home to Joe Lyons, Tasmania’s only Australian Prime Minister.  Further on, Devenport Bluff features numerous aboriginal sites.  Around midday, we arrived at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell for a tour and wine tasting and a gourmet lunch featuring Tasmanian seafood, cheese, veggies and smoked meats, along with a glasses of wine.  The winery is on the “Cradle to Coast tasting trail” which features Tasmanian farms, cheese makers, wineries, etc. that are open for visits; this reminded us of our local Sonoma County, California, USA, “Taste of Sonoma Trail”.

 

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The winery building at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell, Tasmania, Australia

 

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The outdoor display of winners of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition at Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

On our drive after lunch to Cradle Mountain [see our next blog post], our route south took us through Sheffield — in the foothills of striking Mount Roland (42 miles (67 km) from Burnie) — known as the “Town of Murals” for the 60 or so paintings which decorate most of the buildings, depicting the town’s history in a colorful display of al fresco art.  We found it interesting that many small towns in Tasmania have found a theme, like “Town of Murals” to develop as an attraction to draw tourists to the town.

 

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A winning mural (#A) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A winning mural (#B) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

Sheffield has gone so far as to have created the annual “International Sheffield Mural Fest” whose winners are on display outdoors at the Mural Park in Sheffield.  At the park, we found an informative sign that asked “Why are these murals different?”  It explained, “The murals in and around Sheffield were painted by dedicated artists whose main aim was to bring the region’s history to life, and tell the stories of our early pioneers.  A true picture from the past.  Here in Mural Park, the murals were painted during the International Mural Fest, Sheffield’s annual week-long mural art competition.  They are the personal interpretation of a themed poem by the nine finalist artists as they compete for the major prize.  These works add a contemporary perspective to Sheffield’s murals.”

 

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A winning mural (#C) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A winning mural (#D) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

Fremantle Urban Art Walk, Australia

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Parking lot mural, Fremantle, Australia

 

On our first day in Fremantle, Australia, four of us went on a guided 3.5 hour “art walk” around the central part of the town, with forays into some of the industrial and port areas.  As mentioned in our previous blog, Fremantle is well known in Australia for its public displays of art, along with numerous galleries for the local artists.  We were surprised by the extent of the art we walked by in just a few hours – all of it being outdoors.  Part of the fun was that we found art in unexpected places, such as on bus stop shelters.  As you will see, a lot of it was very creative and quite colorful.

 

in-addition-to-art-on-the-sides-of-an-abandoned-warehouse-we-found-very-colorful-contemporary-advertising-posters-fremantle-australia

In addition to art on the sides of an abandoned warehouse, we found very colorful contemporary advertising posters, Fremantle, Australia

 

this-solidarity-painting-is-typical-of-a-number-of-large-paintings-brought-on-site-to-decorate-an-abandoned-warehouse-fremantle-australia

This solidarity painting is typical of a number of large paintings brought on site to decorate an abandoned warehouse, Fremantle, Australia

 

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Another painting propped up against the wall of an abandoned warehouse, Fremantle, Australia

 

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A bus stop shelter by the harbor, Fremantle, Australia

 

the-giant-squid-painted-by-a-well-know-british-artist-visiting-australia-on-the-side-of-a-former-navy-stores-building-near-the-harbor-in-fremantle-australia

The giant squid painted by a well-know British artist visiting Australia, on the side of a former Navy stores building, near the harbor in Fremantle, Australia

 

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Caught in an arm of the giant squid, Fremantle, Australia

 

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A really clever combination of outdoor sculpture and a “signpost” for the sidewalk bicycle rack, Fremantle, Australia

 

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Is it art or is it junk? — in Fremantle, Australia

 

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Another parking lot mural, Fremantle, Australia

 

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Murals on shop walls facing a service road/alley, Fremantle, Australia

 

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Protector of the garbage bins, Fremantle, Australia

 

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A mural above the terrace of a restaurant, Fremantle, Australia

 

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Street art that looks like it is part of the exterior of the building, whereas it is art installed at the site, Fremantle, Australia

 

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Contemporary graphic art near the above faux wall, Fremantle, Australia

 

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A cleverly painted portrait on a partially exfoliated apartment building wall, Fremantle, Australia

 

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The entrance to a restaurant in central Fremantle, Australia

 

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Bus stop number two with a few friendlies, Fremantle, Australia

 

Bruges, Belgium

A typical canal scene with the Bruges Belfry visible in the skyline, Bruges, Belgium

A typical canal scene with the Bruges Belfry visible in the skyline, Bruges, Belgium

 

Bruges, Belgium, is one of Europe’s best preserved cities.  It was described by UNESCO as “an outstanding example of medieval historic settlement” when Bruges was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000.  It is located about 60 miles (100 km) west of Antwerp.  Bruges is the capital of West Flanders and was a former financial and trade center of the Hanseatic League.  Bruges grew to prominence in the 13th and 14th centuries, but lost its important role to nearby Antwerp when its link to the North Sea filled with silt.  Nicknamed the “Venice of the North”, the town is crisscrossed by canals that are in turn decorated with graceful swans bobbing in the wake of excursion boats.  Much of the Old Town is pedestrian-only, which made it very easy to explore the city on foot.

 

Church of Our Lady, constructed entirely of local bricks, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries with a tower rising 401 feet (122 meters) and is the tallest structure in the city, Bruges, Belgium

Church of Our Lady, constructed entirely of local bricks, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries with a tower rising 401 feet (122 meters) and is the tallest structure in the city, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child in the Church of Our Lady was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime, Bruges, Belgium

Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child in the Church of Our Lady was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime, Bruges, Belgium

 

“The Madonna of Bruges is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo of Mary with the Child Jesus. Michelangelo’s depiction of the Madonna and Child differs significantly from earlier representations of the same subject, which tended to feature a pious Virgin smiling down on an infant held in her arms.  Instead, Jesus stands upright, almost unsupported, only loosely restrained by Mary’s left hand, and appears to be about to step away from his mother.  Meanwhile, Mary does not cling to her son or even look at him, but gazes down and away.  It is believed the work was originally intended for an altar piece…Madonna and Child shares certain similarities with Michelangelo’s Pieta, which was completed shortly before — mainly, the chiaroscuro effect and movement of the drapery.  The long, oval face of Mary is also reminiscent of the Pietà.  The work is also notable in that it was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime.  It was bought by Giovanni and Alessandro Moscheroni (Mouscron), from a family of wealthy cloth merchants in Bruges, then one of the leading commercial cities in Europe.  The sculpture was sold for 4,000 florin….[The sculpture was removed] in 1944, during World War II, with the retreat of German soldiers, who smuggled the sculpture to Germany enveloped in mattresses in a Red Cross truck.  It was discovered a year later in Altaussee/Austria and again returned.  It now sits in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium.  This is part of the fact-based movie The Monuments Men.” — Wikipedia

 

The tombs of the Duke of Burgundy and Mary of Burgundy in the Church of Our Lady, dating to approximately 1500 A.D., Bruges, Belgium

The tombs of the Duke of Burgundy and Mary of Burgundy in the Church of Our Lady, dating to approximately 1500 A.D., Bruges, Belgium

 

 

Before the summer tourists arrived en masse, it was very pleasant to stroll under the trees, along the canals, Bruges, Belgium

Before the summer tourists arrived en masse, it was very pleasant to stroll under the trees, along the canals, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

The brick residential architecture of the late 1800s became more decorative as seen in this residence from 1893, Bruges, Belgium

The brick residential architecture of the late 1800s became more decorative as seen in this residence from 1893, Bruges, Belgium

 

The most popular canal for photographs of Bruges – the Rozenhoedkaai Canal -- and a view of the Bruges Belfry, Bruges, Belgium

The most popular canal for photographs of Bruges – the Rozenhoedkaai Canal — and a view of the Bruges Belfry, Bruges, Belgium

 

“In the last half of the 19th century, Bruges became one of the world’s first tourist destinations attracting wealthy British and French tourists.  By 1909 it had in operation an association called ‘Bruges Forward: Society to Improve Tourism.’  After 1965 the original medieval city experienced a renaissance. Restorations of residential and commercial structures, historic monuments, and churches generated a surge in tourism and economic activity in the ancient downtown area.  International tourism has boomed, and new efforts have resulted in Bruges being designated ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2002.  It attracts some 2 million tourists annually.Wikipedia

 

Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), constructed between 1376 and 1420 in the Gothic style on the Burg Square, with statues (now reproductions) of the counts of Flanders filling 49 niches, Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), constructed between 1376 and 1420 in the Gothic style on the Burg Square, with statues (now reproductions) of the counts of Flanders filling 49 niches, Bruges, Belgium

 

A close-up of the gilded annex to Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), Bruges, Belgium

A close-up of the gilded annex to Bruges Stadhuis (Town Hall), Bruges, Belgium

 

A residence built in 1654 with half-oval sculptural inlays on the brick facade, Bruges, Belgium

A residence built in 1654 with half-oval sculptural inlays on the brick facade, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

The Provincial Hof (Province Court), a Neogothical building (1787, replacing the former Waterhalle) on Grote Markt (the market place), is the former meeting place for the provincial government of West Flanders, Bruges, Belgium

The Provincial Hof (Province Court), a Neogothical building (1787, replacing the former Waterhalle) on Grote Markt (the market place), is the former meeting place for the provincial government of West Flanders, Bruges, Belgium

 

 

Minnewaterpark on the edge of Old Town where the broad Minnewater narrows to feed the city’s canals, Bruges, Belgium

Minnewaterpark on the edge of Old Town where the broad Minnewater narrows to feed the city’s canals, Bruges, Belgium