Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei / National Gallery of Victoria

It’s been a long time between drinks and I desperately need to do a catch-up post, but I’ll save that for another day. As I’ve nabbed a few spare moments, I want to share some photos from my trip to the NGV yesterday to visit the Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition.

After what felt like an eternity and dozens of Facebook photos from multiple friends who had already been, I managed to spare some time to get in. With Melbourne’s weather making it feel like we were in June, we spent a good half hour just lining up to get tickets!

I’m not someone who is particularly knowledgeable about art but this exhibition is pretty universal, especially in terms of being colourful and thought-provoking. Also, there was plenty of political content that I understood and was fascinated by. Of course, Warhol’s work is so well-known that half the joy came from seeing it up close. Although my knowledge of Ai didn’t extend much beyond his famous Study of Perspective, I was very appreciative of his work and activism, perhaps even more so than Warhol’s.

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Ai Weiwei / Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (2015, plastic)
In 1995, Ai took photos of himself holding, releasing and smashing an urn from the Han dynasty. Here, he has recreated the image by using building blocks, giving them a pixellated look.

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Andy Warhol / Vote McGovern (1972, colour photo-stencil silkscreen on paper)
As a massive political history nerd, this one caught my eye immediately. It turns out that Warhol was asked to create a screen-print supporting the Democratic nominee George McGovern and, instead of depicting McGovern himself, he chose to depict his opponent up for re-election, Richard Nixon, instead. The sickly green of Nixon’s face highlights the “period of deception and mistrust”, reckoning that “truth can be found in appearances”. Nixon would go on to win the election in a landslide, even with the initial rumblings of Watergate. 

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Andy Warhol / Jackie (1964, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on linen)
Similarly, Warhol did a large portrait series of Jacqueline Kennedy in the wake of her husband’s assassination. These images were shown both individually and grouped, suggesting both her solitary experience of grief along with the collective mourning of the country, as well as the effect of the new medium of television on sentiment.

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Just an assortment of Warhol’s famous Polaroids, including Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, Mick Jagger, Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. While I was having a look, I overheard someone say ‘Is that OJ Simpson? Damn he was attractive when he was young.’ Okay….

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Ai Weiwei / Letgo Room (2015, plastic)
This was probably one of my favourite features of the exhibition. An installation of more than three million building blocks, it comprises of portraits of Australian human rights/freedom of speech activists. Each subject featured also gave a one-line statement summarising their philosophy, which are featured alongside their portraits.

My favourite part is that it was supposed to be made out of Lego, but the company refused to provide the building blocks due to the ‘political’ nature of the installation. The subjects include Hana Assafiri, Dr Gary Foley, Peter Greste and my fave Rosie Batty (who I heard speak late last year, it was incredible).

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Ai Weiwei / June 1994 (1994, gelatin silver photograph)
On the fifth anniversary of the 1989 student demonstrations of Tiananmen Square, Ai’s girlfriend (and later wife) and artist Lu Qing lifts her skirt in the square. “While the image of Mao watches over the scene and guards patrol the area, Lu’s gesture – an act of defiance and personal freedom – goes unnoticed.”

Here are some more photos from the exhibition:

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June Vibes

 

June was crazy. I finished my end-of-semester essays, went to the movies, celebrated friends’ birthdays and had the last day of my internship just today. It was that kind of non-stop busy where you’re killing for a break but when it comes, you’re wistful that things are over. Here are some snippets from my month:

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3/6: The view from Building 80, RMIT University – I was there for a social marketing seminar.

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12/6: The Grand Trailer Park Taverna on Bourke St. If the decor wasn’t cute enough, my Wizz Fizz ice-creams ($6) took the cake.

IMG_3846 IMG_385025/6: A long but fab day. I met up with a friend that I hadn’t hung out with before and we went to Manchester Press for bagels (finally! I’ve never been). That’s the grilled chorizo, spinach, sliced tomato and cheese bagel ($14). Nothing better than free flowing conversation to the point of being kicked out because we’re not ordering anything else.

Later, I met another friend to buy a birthday present – we ventured down to eerie Windsor where we witnessed at least 3 arguments, before being told at the Astor that we were too early and had to catch the tram down to South Yarra to buy the present. We then smashed down Hungry Jack’s and went to the Shaw Davey Slum. With $7 cocktails, we’ve decided that it’s definitely the gang’s new hangout.

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28/6: We started at Asian Beer Cafe with a surprisingly filling salad bowl ($5) and vodka and soda. Then we went to Marche Board Games Cafe for 5 hours of karaoke for a friend’s belated birthday – needless to say, there was plenty of ABBA. Oh and included in the price was your choice of waffles or crepes as well as a drink so it was honey teas all round.

IMG_387429/6: And as I mentioned before I finished my internship today. I’ll cherish the relationships that I developed, and the many things that I’ve learnt. When I look back at how shy and nervous I was 3 months ago, I’m glad that I stuck with it even though I wanted to give in. Anyway, I came home and found these Nutella doughnuts waiting for me and it felt like the perfect ending.

I’ll be taking a breather over the break as I gear up for my final semester and do some casual work. We’re halfway through the year, how are we feeling?

– Danielle

My May

I’ve decided to start posting photos of my month as a nice way to remember what I’ve done. I didn’t take many photos this month though, so they’re mainly of food. This is the part where you’re meant to feign surprise.

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First of all, I spent way too much time on public transport this month. Hopefully with the semester winding down, things will calm down a bit. I love views like this though when the sun is shining and you know you’ve got a great day ahead (this day involved two 21sts and seeing close friends for the first time in ages).

Also honourable mention to the first day of the month, when I interned all day and then went to a friend’s place for fish and chips and watched Collingwood slaughter Carlton with her family. We followed it up with chocolate fondants made by her sister and watching If You are the One online.

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The Penny Black420 Sydney Rd, Brunswick

I’m not sure about June but for the past 2 months, The Penny has been having $2 pizza Monday-Friday from 12-5pm. Very cheap post-uni feed with some high school friends. Sure they’re not particularly fancy but they’ve got some neat combinations. The ‘Crazy Rhythms’ with walnuts and honey and ‘London Calling’ with potato, caramelised onions and sour cream were my particular faves.

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Poynton’s Boulevard CafeCnr Vida Street & The Boulevard, Essendon

I’ve been going to this place for years. It’s a nursery on the Maribyrnong River with a nice cafe overlooking the nursery and surrounds. Their walnut and cinnamon banana bread ($6.90) is something that I dream about, with its side of cream and maple syrup. I’ve tried different desserts but I keep coming back to this one.

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Carte Crepes
University of Melbourne, Parkville

Carte Crepes is the place to go on campus when you want to treat yourself. In this case, my friend and I survived a rather testing subject and I decided to grab myself a Nutella and marshmallow crepe. Amazing.

IMG_3749 IMG_3750Top Paddock, 658 Church St, Richmond 

But of course, I couldn’t leave the celebrations at that. My best friend and I had a well-needed catch up at Top Paddock. It’s a little bit fancy but I really liked my poached eggs with broccolini, sugar snaps and avocado ($18.50). We sat outside with portable heaters next to us and it was so cosy.

So, there’s my May! How would you characterise your month?

A Beginner’s Guide to Brunch in Coburg and Brunswick

Today I’ve decided to take a step away from the film theme whilst cheekily still keeping the six little things format because why not broaden my horizons, right? Let’s get right into it then!

As an Arts student, I often find myself engaging in the art of brunch…. and spending time in the northern suburbs. Sometimes I like fulfilling stereotypes. With uni starting back soon, I thought it would be a good idea to make note of six of my favourite brunch places in the area. These places are all easily accessible by train (Upfield line) or tram (depends, either Route 19, 1 or 8).

Small Block (130 Lygon St, Brunswick East)

I spent a gloomy, dark morning here before uni once – the place was fairly quiet but the atmosphere was warm and comfortable. I highly recommend the pancakes with saffron vanilla pear and barbados cream. That cream was amazing. The summer breakfast that my friend had looked great too – avocado and fetta is always a winner.

Green Refectory (115 Sydney Rd, Brunswick)

Green Refectory is a great place for a cheap feed. It’s constantly busy though, and it can be a little hard to find a table. The food doesn’t always look Instagram pretty, if you know what I mean, but it’s damn good and they also have a lovely array of cakes and lunch items. They also have some neat twists in their menu, such as the iced white peony tea. By the way, it’s cash only.

The Lux Foundry (21 Hope St, Brunswick)

I consider Lux to be the place to go when I want something a little bit fancy. Their coconut crusted French toast with espresso mascarpone and berry compote is a dish that I still dream about. The Middle Eastern breakfast is great too, especially that beetroot relish. Also, free WiFi – yay! Finally, again, they also have lunch options.

Brunswick Flour Mill (341 Sydney Rd, Brunswick)

This cafe is housed in a century-old building on Sydney Rd. Although the savoury items sound delicious, I honestly couldn’t go past the pancakes or French toast – so decadent. Great coffee and the staff were really friendly and helpful too. They also have a lunch menu.

Chorba Cafe (11 Victoria St, Coburg)

This one is a little different to the stereotypical Brunny brunch, serving up Turkish fare. You know this place is good because it’s always buzzing with customers and has a great piazza atmosphere. The saltiness of the beef in this dish was amazing. Again, very reasonably priced – I left full and satisfied for $11!

 

The Eastern Bloc (133 Bell St, Coburg)

I had to go here for the name alone. This is the most northern place on my list, they’re kind of on the edge of Coburg North. That’s the KGB breakfast you’re looking at, thankgod I didn’t eat beforehand. They also have some really nice lunch options, such as the Chicken and the Pig sandwich pictured. Really casual and comfy.

I’m going to cheat and give an honourable mention to By Josephine (365 Sydney Rd, Brunswick). Yes, it’s actually a cake shop specialising in macarons but it’s too lovely not to give a mention. These rosewater meringues were the perfect Friday afternoon treat.

Anyway, I’d be interested to hear what you all think. Do you like going for brunch? If so, where are your favourite places? Have you tried any of the places on this list? If you don’t like brunch, where do you like to go to eat?