Hotels incorporate art galleries;new museums Japan and Sydney

Local Holiday Inn to host exhibit in celebration of Wild Blueberry Harvest FestivalA

ABOUT ART by Janice Guinan:
My family and I just returned from vacation.

Bruce Wood, who depicted the Bluenose off Burnt Coad Head in an oil painting, is one of the artists in the Out of the Blue art show to be held at the Holiday Inn Truro from Aug. 20 to 29. The show is in celebration of the Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival. Submitted photo

We had the privilege to view the largest collection of Rodin ever presented in Canada at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts).

Auguste Rodin, 1840-1917, is recognized worldwide for his exceptional sculptures, having achieved many honours and his techniques strongly influenced 20th century art. The exhibition features 300 works, half of which are from the Musée Rodin in Paris and some of the pieces are on exhibit for the first time in North America. We got to see “The Thinker,” created by Rodin in 1882, and “The Hand of God,” in which the figures of Adam and Eve emerge from the rough block of marble, held by a great hand. There was even a room where we were allowed to touch some of the sculptures.

Just recalling all of this makes me smile with delight. We spent more than four more hours viewing fabulous masterpieces created centuries ago up to the present day, before returning to our hotel.

On our way home we stopped in Fredericton to visit the amazing Beaverbrook Gallery. Work by world-renowned artists, such as Gainsboroug, Copley, Sargent, Sutherland, Turner, Dali, Krieghoff, Harris, and Carr, adorn the walls and continue to tell their stories. At the end of the gallery tour, the guide encouraged us to lie on the floor with our feet against the wall to view Salvador Dali’s “Santiago El Grande.” This large painting measures 13 feet by 10 feet and represents Spain’s patron saint James the Great on a white stallion, and was created for the Spanish Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.

Dali had hoped it would one day hang in a great cathedral and be viewed from a 45 degree angle. By lying on the floor one gets to see it the way Dali had hoped it would be viewed and the horse’s hooves appear to be coming right out of the painting.

It is common for tourists to visit different types of art galleries when they travel to view masterworks and also to acquire local art. Some hotels have incorporated such desired features to enhance their guests’ experience. Luxury hotels in large centres such as New York, London and Milan have art galleries that feature permanent collections of well-known artists and ever changing exhibitions with art for sale. For busy vacationers, it provides convenience to see exquisite works of art without having to arrange further travel and adds to the ambiance of upscale living. You also get more time to casually enjoy the art at your own leisure and buyers can get a better idea of how the art will look in a more homelike setting.

Hotels are no longer just places to sleep and eat, but often offer a wide range of community centred cultural experiences and events. The Holiday Inn Truro on Prince Street is dedicating one of its main floor rooms, adjacent to the lobby, as an art gallery from Aug. 20 to 29, in celebration of the Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival. Seven acclaimed Nova Scotia artists will be showcasing their exceptional works in the “Out of the Blue” art exhibition, which opens Thursday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.

For hotel guests it will provide a unique opportunity to view regional art that will be sure to please serious collectors and art enthusiasts. Patrons will also have the opportunity to meet the artists individually. The show will be open to the public as well and admission is free.

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Art Museum opens in Japan

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$32M arts centre for Sydney

Zimbabwean-born Judith Neilson not only became one of Australia’s richest women in 2007 when her billionaire husband and founder of Platinum Asset Management floated the funds management company for $2.8 billion, but she has proven herself to be one of Australia’s great contemporary philanthropists in less than a decade.

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In 2009 she opened the White Rabbit Gallery in the Sydney suburb of Chippendale – an unlikely location for the largest collection of post-2000 contemporary Chinese art outside of China.

This week she gets the green light to expand her inner city footprint with a new gallery and performing arts centre estimated to cost between $32-41 million.

Located on O’Connor Street around the corner from White Rabbit Gallery, plans for the gallery went before City of Sydney Council’s planning and development committee on 4 August, with recommendation for approval.

SMH reports that as part of winning consent Neilson is required to contribute almost $48,000 to the Council to improve public facilities.

It will differ from White Rabbit Gallery in that it will not exhibit Chinese art, is not “open” to the public and, foremost, combines a gallery with a performance space linked by a courtyard garden. The new Chippendale complex also includes two apartments for visiting artists.

Rising from the ashes

The (new) gallery is funded by our foundation … the collection is mine and our foundation supports the White Rabbit,’ she told AFR in March this year, her first interview since her separation from Kerr Neilson.

It is somewhat symbolic, then, this new gallery is called Phoenix.

Neilson has been working with Malaysian-born, Adelaide-based designer, Khai Liew, for the past two years in visioning the project, converting a vacant fire-damaged building into a new mixed-used cultural venue.

This is a complex team project. Two architects will bring the design together: John Wardle Architects has designed the gallery in the building’s east wing while Durbach Block Jaggers has designed the performance space. Liew has been designing furniture for the space, while Dutch designer Petra Blaisse will craft elements within the building, and Sydney artist Janet Laurence has been commissioned to create a sculpture garden that links the two art spaces and provides a green pulse central to the building.

The building has been planned with three basement levels for parking, backstage facilities, and gallery storage.

$32 million and not open to the public?

The gallery and theatre space will be permitted to operate from 10am to 10pm seven days a week, with a maximum of 260 people allowed inside the facility at any given time.

However, Phoenix will not be open to the public on a daily basis. Neilson told AFR that creative groups are open to approach Neilson if they have a collection or exhibition they would like to show, or a performance they would like to put on stage.

She said: ‘The two spaces – the gallery and the stage – they’ll be working constantly with one another …The visual arts have moved off the wall, and become very interlinked with performing arts. You can see it, it’s happening everywhere. And I don’t think there’s any going back.’

While we will witness the rise of Phoenix over the next months, and await the announcement of programming with interest, what is sure is the unwavering commitment of Neilson in her philanthropic gesture towards contemporary art practice.

White Rabbit Gallery is currently closed for the installation of its next exhibition, Paradise Bitch, opening 10 September. Entry to the gallery is free.

Phoenix is located at 37-49 O’Connor Street, Chippendale.

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