DEFINITELY WORTH A VISIT By Lisa Corser

Andy Warhol Ai Weiwei Exhibition
National Gallery of Victoria
Until April 24

If you’ve been wondering what to do with your amassing frequent flyer points and can manage to take a long weekend in the next 6 weeks, seriously consider a trip to Melbourne to view the incredible and expansive Andy Warhol Ai Weiwei exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

I was totally blown away by the sheer volume, depth and range of work by these two iconic artists. This exhibition explores the significant influences (now that’s an understatement) these two artists have had on modern art and contemporary life. Their work highlights the artist’s similarities and points of difference.

The Gallery cleverly displays both Warhol’s and Weiwei’s expansive careers by presenting more than 300 works, including immersive installations, sculpture, film, print, paintings, photography, publishing and social media.

The exhibition is spread over two sections of the gallery and you could easily spend a full day viewing them. It is always a pleasant surprise to see a work in situ and the pieces I have grown to love through books and visual media were not necessarily the pieces that captivated me on the day.

I know we had a Warhol exhibition in Perth numerous years ago but you simply cannot compare this to what the National Gallery of Victoria has to offer.

I was drawn time and again to Andy Warhol’s `Electric Chair’ series and my all time favourite `Elvis’. Warhol’s self portraits were totally captivating and mesmerizing.

However the highlight for me was in the immersive installations, where I watched some old footage of a very young David Bowie speaking with Andy Warhol shot at the Factory. It was a poignant moment given David Bowie had just passed away.

The Exhibition also boasts a suite of major new commissions by Ai Weiwei, including an installation from the Forever bicycles series, composed of nearly

1500 bicycles, a five metre tall piece, Chandelier, and Blossom 2015, a large bed of thousands of delicate porcelain flowers.

Ticket prices are reasonable at $22.00 per adult or a family group $65 (2 adults/three children). There are daily tours at 11.30am.

Accommodation in Melbourne is plentiful and depending on your budget you could try Airbnb, or a full range of hotels or self contained apartments. We stayed centrally on Flinders Street at a funky little hotel called The Adelphi. It was brilliantly located but a little pricey.

Food – well that’s another blog!! The highlight for me was Chin Chin – Flinders Street – Asian Fusion. You can’t book so be prepared to wait.


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