Saturday, January 25, 2014

A visit to the Heide Museum of Modern Art

Today is Australia Day.

This very controversial day is the one that epitomises the best and worst of Australia, with recognition of how very lucky we are to live here, how gorgeous this great land is and celebration of the diversity that exists within our shores contrasted with massive public drunkenness (the most ER visits in the year happen on Australia Day), sadness about the way Australia's indigenous population has been treated, a widespread and alarming environment ignorance (WA has already killed one shark as part of its unnecessary and gruesome cull) and widespread general ignorance. I know how lucky I am to be here - if my broken leg had happened in America, the three-month hospital stay and six-month rehab  that followed would have bankrupted my family. I have access to and have taken advantage of an excellent education and enjoy weather that (as much as I bitch and moan) is very rarely extreme. But I am heartbroken by my country's treatment of asylum seekers, Australia's prime minister is a moron and governments consistently ignore the fact that this country will be one of the hardest hit by climate change. I am outraged and ashamed at how the environment is treated for example, investing in road infrastructure rather than rail or alternative methods of transport and petitioning for heritage protection of old-growth forests to be removed so that they can be destroyed.

However, despite my mixed feelings about the appropriateness of celebration on Australia Day, I love the Australia day public holiday (long weekend, woo!!). I took advantage of the extra long day off to drive to the Heide Museum of Modern Art. Heidelberg is such a weird suburb - it's closer to the city than where I live, but the extensive parklands and quiet surroundings make it feel like you're in the country, far removed from all civilisation.

But because it is still Melbourne, you can get excellent coffee there. We had very nice lunch at Cafe Vue. The food was much better at Heide than at their St Kilda branch. The coffee Sam got was one of the the cutest things I have ever seen.

Each table had a potted herb as decoration, which was lovely. The is a kitchen garden on the grounds of the museum that is used by the cafe and on the wall outside the cafe itself was a display of herbs. I am going to get some of these columns for my garden - they would be perfect for use in my tiny courtyard. 

One thing I love about Heide is the story it tells. Originally an old dairy farm (the remnants still standing, as can be seen in the photo below), it was bought by Sunday and John Reed, who established a thriving art community.

Two of the galleries on the ground are actually their houses. They still feel really lived in - like, Sunday loved cats, and there was an enclosed cat run as part of the house which remains today. No cats, unfortunately, but lovely nonetheless.

Art is displayed throughout the house alongside remnants of the Reeds' lives. This is their original range and you can see above it there is mosaic of handpainted tiles, each depicting a cat in rest or play (sorry about the crap photo - it was stealth photography).

There are sculptures dotted throughout the ground in the most surprising places.

It's a really lovely place and I highly recommend it for a daytrip or as a picnic destination. 


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