Being a museum mouse, I do try to visit at least a few representative ones in each city.  In Sydney, it has been the Museum of Contemporary Art, centrally located right next door to Circular Quay, in the building from 1952 formerly occupied by the Maritime Services Board.

The MCA came into existence in 1991 and usually has six different exhibits at any one time.  I was most taken with the “international pairing project” work of Australian Louisa Bufardeci and Japanese Zon Ito.  Bufardeci interprets statistical data into art. An example is her wall covering “Ground plan” showing the world’s population as the ground plan of a world house. Australia, having a small number of inhabitants in comparison to the area it occupies, is depicted as a tiny room; Japan, on the other hand, is a very large room, and so forth.  Zon Ito creates intricate embroidered canvases, many entirely abstract and all quite unconventional.

The much larger and important museum is the Art Gallery of NSW.  The original building dates back to 1896 and 1909, very much in the tradition of the grand European art galleries. The latest extensions to the gallery date to 1994 and they make use of a downhill slope, so instead of taking the elevator up, you go down.  It has fine collections of European, Australian, Asian and Aborginal art as well as commodious spaces for temporary exhibits.  I saw a small but very fine selection of silk Ikats of Central Asia from the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (until 11 October 2009).   Definitely a museum worth a wander through.

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