30 September

Catherines get free entry to the NGV’s Masterpieces from the Hermitage exhibition on Tuesday October 6

Catherine the Great

If there’s one thing to know about Catherine the Great – the Russian ruler who reigned from 1762 to 1796 – it’s that she had no time for backwardness. In her determination to drag Russia into the Enlightenment, Catherine opened the country up to Western art and ideas, established a pseudo parliament and opened schools for girls. Her astonishing collection of art is currently on display at the NGV, on loan from Saint Petersburg. It’s your chance to get up close to masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Velásquez and more – and to learn more about Catherine’s fascinating life.

For one day, all Catherines (and that include Katherines, Katies, or any other variation of the name) can enter the exhibition for free. Not only will you save up to $26, but you’ll also enjoy the unique pleasure of being surrounded by people with the same name as you, including Catherine Andrews, wife of premier Daniel Andrews, if you get there at 10.30am.… Read more

24 July

Program announced for Melbourne Writers Festival 2015 (and it’s a beauty)


Melbourne Writers Festival 2015, our annual celebration for writers, readers and thinkers, kicks off Thursday August 20, and tickets for its biggest program to date go on sale noon today.

Each year the festival highlights the talent and ideas of hundreds of writers from Australia and around the world, through a thought-provoking program of storytelling, conversation and debates, music and art events. In fact, this year brings together over whopping 530 events.

Celebrating its 30th birthday, this year’s festival takes us on a literary tour of Australia and all corners of the globe. Here are our highlights:

Opening night address by Louis de Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Thu Aug 20, 6.30pm).
Rob Thomas, creator of arse-kicking teen-detective series Veronica Mars and new show iZombie, talks about how pint the sized PI made it from tele to silver screen (Thu Aug 20, 9pm).… Read more

15 July

David Bowie Is launched to media this morning, opens to public tomorrow

Bowie Is Blog

It’s been too many sleeps since David Bowie Is came on our radar, but the wait’s over – ACMI launched the V&A curated exhibition this morning for the media (hereafter, we will refer to July 15 as Bowie Day) and it opens to the public tomorrow.

Proving again that gingers are rightly taking over the world, songstress and dyed-in-the-wool Bowie fan Geraldine Quinn put us in the mood, while giving us a glimpse of what we can expect during the Late Nights Program with her dramatic and powerful rendition of ‘Let’s Dance’. Suitably fabulous in a red and blue sequinned gown (slashed to the waist and with a sequinned horn on one shoulder) Quinn went full throttle on the chorus, making more than flowers tremble.

ACMI’s new CEO Katrina Sedgwick ran us through some of the exhibition’s stats – apparently, it’s broken attendance records worldwide (Australia’s the seventh stop on its global tour to date) and the pre-sales have exceeded any other ACMI exhibition to date, including Hollywood Costume.… Read more

3 July

Arts House Melbourne announces second 2015 season

Arts House

North Melbourne’s Arts House champions bold, experimental works that provide an alternative to the work on Melbourne’s Southbank main stages – now more than ever.

Over the course of ten years, Arts House has marked its place in Melbourne’s artistic community by presenting imaginative works, running highly regarded programs like the biennial Dance Massive and last year’s debut of the Festival of Live Art, and fostering new talent through programs like CultureLAB and artist residencies.

Given the quality and originality of Arts House’s first program (Dance Massive and the wildly funny Oedipus Schmoedipus being two shining examples), it’s no surprise that the second season – running from July to December – looks very promising indeed. The season kicks off with a Melbourne premiere of Ahilan Ratnamohan’s piece SDS1 (pictured. Aug 19-22), where soccer is brought to the stage as dynamic, abstracted dance theatre. Following that is local choreographer Jo Lloyd’s dance performance, Confusion for Three (Aug 26-30).Read more

2 July

Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei double bill coming to NGV in December

Warhol Weiwei

Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei are big names in their own right – putting them on the same bill makes this the summer blockbuster worth booking well in advance.

Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei – announced this morning – is a joint venture between the NGV and Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum, with the participation of Wei (as he’s known to his fans), and will cover the scope of both artists’ careers over more than 300 works – including major new commissions. In other words: this will be a significant event in the international art world – and Melbourne gets it first, with the show opening there on December 11, and heading to Pittsburgh in June.

Although it might initially seem like an odd double-bill, Weiwei and his antecedent are a good match, in practice and philosophy – and the Chinese provocateur would be the first to admit he owes the American pop artist a huge debt.Read more