Spending a week in Melbourne was probably not enough with digesting the terrible news from New Zealand putting a dampener on the planned proceedings. Visiting many attractions had to be postponed until next time, such as the Melbourne Museum and the Immigration Museum. But we tried to get in a lot of art and a sense of the city.
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, housed in a magnificent building - a former brewery - in a redeveloped former industrial part of South Melbourne.
It stages temporary exhibitions in one room each, with Joseph Kosuth's installation, inspired by the play "Waiting for Godot", an outstanding piece. In a darkened room, excerpts from the dialogue ran on the high walls in illuminated lettering but it was illegible head on, you had to stand in the corners to be able to read them at an acute angle. Quite disorientating in the dark but you could let the text be your guide.
"Stormy Weather: Contemporary Landscape Photography" my favourite. Some truly outstanding pictures of (Australian) landscapes expressing the ravages on the land by the country's weather and climate. Murray Fredericks "Salt" (pictured right) were just stunning and eerie, where the salt plains merged with the skies.
Further out of town in a suburb incongruously called Heidelberg, the Heide Museum of Modern Art sits in a parkland besides the Yarra River. It used to be a farm whose owners got into modern art, but has now been engulfed by suburbia. A new building conceived as a house and art gallery to live in was built down the hill. It has very few windows as many walls were needed to hang art on. It comes complete with a 1970s conversation pit. The pieces on show were all drawings, but they suffered from being on sandstone colour walls, which did nothing to set them off. It would have been better to hang them on darker backgrounds.
A third building housed the gallery shop and spaces for temporary exhibitions. The grounds were turned into a kitchen garden, park and outdoor sculpture exhibition space.