Thursday, February 18, 2016

Some like it hot

I neglected to add in yesterday's Red and white post that the Melbourne Chilli Eating Championship is being held this Saturday 20th February from 1 pm at 80 Lygon Street, Brunswick East which also sounds like heaps of fun if you're into all things hot!
Image via Plannify
Some like it hot is also the name of a Marilyn Monroe movie, which is a nice segueway into the Andy Warhol - Ai Weiwei exhibition at the NGV that I was lucky enough to go and see today.  Marilyn Monroe was one of the many celebrities who Warhol chose to feature in his very distinctive coloured Pop Art works featuring famous faces and brands.
Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol
Warhol image owned by the NGV purchased on the day of his death
My friend and fellow Heide volunteer Petrina and I actually did an interactive and informative 1 hour guided tour, which was extremely comprehensive given it's such a big show that it's been broken into two parts in two different areas of the NGV.  We also ran into an ex-Heide Visitor Services staff member who's now working at the NGV so it was lovely to see a friendly face.
Works by Ai Weiwei

Warhol's famous Campbell's soup images
It was great to find out more about Ai Weiwei and the synergies that exist between his work and that of Andy Warhol's.  While the two never met, Weiwei lived in New York and Warhol also visited China and there are some similar themes political themes that run through some of their works.
Andy Warhol photos taken on his visit to China
Floating works and wallpaper by Ai Weiwei
My favourite exhibition space in the gallery was probably the 'flowers' room which included a magnificent centrepiece of beautiful individually hand carved porcelain flowers plus Instagram shots of flowers Ai Weiwei took every day until he was released from prison, along with a wall of Andy Warhol's coloured flower images.
Hand carved porcelain flowers (above & below) for Ai Weiwei

Andy Warhol flower images 
Ai Weiwei wall of Instagram flower images
The controversial 'Letgo' area created with fake Lego plastic bricks by Weiwei depicting Australian human rights campaigners is also an interesting space - I loved the fact that both Rosie Batty and Gillian Triggs were included in the mix.
Rosie Batty tribute - Letgo area
The sheer magnitude of the exhibition makes it a very fascinating show - it was good to go on a week day when things are relatively quiet although there were still a lot of people around.
Chairman Mao by Andy Warhol
Weiwei's wife June in a naughty pose in front of Chinese police
Bicycle sculpture by Ai Weiwei
There's also a fabulous interactive Studio Cats space at the end which is perfect for children and taking selfies.  I also loved the art book for kids which you can from the NGV shop - I bought a copy for my own children who studied Andy Warhol in their art classes last year.

Image via NGV

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