Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Rainy Day in Sydney Town

Well, not much rain, but some spotty light wetness did fall from the sky. Today was dark, dreary and cold -- a huge change from the unending sunshine earlier in the week. I guess this will prepare me for returning to the dark Northern Hemisphere and cool foggy San Francisco.

I had a bit of a late start this morning, so I headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art. After my great experience at a similar museum in Brisbane, I was very interested to view the work on display here in Sydney. This museum seemed smaller, but it did have one exhibition that I really enjoyed. Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE works with Dutch "wax cloth," which is the very brightly designed and colored cloth used in a lot of West African clothing. He's done collage paintings with it, and a series of sculptural reworkings of famous European paintings. For an example of what I mean, look at this famous painting by Fragonard, and then at the Shonibare's sculpture.

The art museum had a nice café, so after a tasty lunch I made my way to the Art Gallery of New South Wales to view the Yiribana Gallery. This is Australia's best collection of aboriginal and Torres Strait islander art. Unfortunately, the Yiribana was closed! I was disappointed, but walked through the 19th and 20th century collections of Australian art. This included some pieces by indigenous artists, but was mostly art by European and European-descended painters and sculptors.

By this time my head was swimming, I can only look at so much art at once, so I picked up my bags and took the train to my final hotel, the Holiday Inn Sydney Airport. I decided to spent my last night here because I have a 9am flight tomorrow to Melbourne, connecting to my 2pm flight to Los Angeles, and I wanted to reduce the chances of me having problems in the morning. When I checked in I was once again pleasantly surprised. The last two Holiday Inns I've stayed in were kind of dodgy, but this one is decently decorated and quite comfortable.

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