Melbourne Now will very soon be Melbourne Then. Those who have already been will know it’s worth a second visit, and you disorganised types, who still haven’t seen it, are about to miss your chance when it closes this weekend.
NGV director, Tony Ellwood tells Broadsheet that although it wasn’t his intention, he feels as though he’s made his mark with the exhibition. “It was just a very honest response to coming back to Melbourne and realising how rich the art and design community is,” he says. “We were trying to find a way in which we could reflect that at a time when we were at a bit of a crossroads.”
Ellwood and his team conceived of Melbourne Now at the very beginning of the new director’s tenure, as a way to signal to local artists that the gallery was really listening. “Even though I didn’t think it was fair at the time, there were a lot of people saying that artists felt disengaged, and felt that the contemporary agenda hadn’t been strong enough,” he admits.
Even if you don’t have much time, it’s worth a look around. Make a bee-line for Darren Sylvester’s interactive, light-up dance floor (modelled on an Yves Saint Laurent compact); The Hotham Street Ladies’ house-sized cake; Kate Smith’s rough-hewn abstractions; the video loop of Ash Keating’s enormous paint-sprayed mural; and crowd favourite – Daniel Crook’s hypnotic, time-splice video of Melbourne’s infinite laneways.
On top of the regular exhibition, for a final, raucous celebration of the city’s thriving art scene, Melbourne Now is throwing a final slew of art- and live-music events over the weekend. Here are a few tips for what not to miss and the best ways to celebrate Melbourne Now’s final stretch.
FRIDAY MARCH 21
Within: World Premiere
See award-winning director Darius Devas’ groundbreaking, experimental ocean-art film before anyone else. With a state-of-the-art, high-speed camera, and a crowdfunding campaign behind him, this is your chance to see the outcome and ask the director questions during the Q&A afterwards.
With its first album, Tawk Tomahawk, recently nominated for a Grammy Award, polyrhythmic Melbourne band Hiatus Kaiyote will bust out some neo-soul among the art, which you’ll have the rare opportunity to see by night.
SATURDAY MARCH 22
DJs in the Garden: Mike Gurrieri
Jazzy/rap/world DJ dude Mike Gurrieri is playing among the trees and Henry Moores in the NGV International gardens, a decidedly smooth way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Asanti Dance Theatre
Described as a ‘highly energetic drum and dance ensemble,’ Asanti is a collaboration between Ghanaian and Slovakian dancers who rock some acrobatic African dance.
SUNDAY MARCH 23
Urban Commons: The Big Harvest
Grollo Equiset Garden
The urban garden project has been running in the Grollo Equiset Garden all summer, and now it’s time for The Big Harvest. Turn up to pick some fresh produce and even make your own flavoured olive oil.
DJs in the Garden: Edd Fisher
Grollo Equiset Garden
Edd Fisher is an eclectic DJ who’s supported some of our favourite acts – Four Tet, Bonobo, DJ Koze, Omar S and Darkside – and he’ll be spinning in the garden on Sunday arvo.
The Social Studio
Back by popular demand, The Social Studio presents a live performance and fashion show, showcasing clothing created from recycled and excess manufacturing materials.
Melbourne Now is showing at NGV Australia and NGV International until March 23.