[1 July 2018] What do you do when you miss a crucial train in Melbourne, the one that was meant to take you home after two flights totalling no less than 21 hours? When you have to kill five more painful hours before the next train. When you’ve eaten so much en route that you couldn’t stomach another cup of coffee, although a restaurant might be the only way to escape the single digit cold outside. When all you need is a bed. A bed is all you want.
Well, you recall your own mantra and “manage what you can manage”. You take the deepest of breaths, deposit your luggage in a locker after fumbling with frozen fingers through dirty holiday clothes for another jumper, and head over to the National Gallery of Victoria. The NGV is Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum and one of my most favourite places in the city.
When I saw the human queue snaking down St Kilda Road, exhaustion miraculously disappeared, for there it was proclaimed on the posters: In partnership with the Museum of Modern Art, New York, we present MoMA at NVG: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art. Comprising over 200 works, the exhibition traces the development of art and design from late nineteenth-century through to the digital present. Oh what joy! Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock. Not in my wildest dreams!
The vibe inside was incredibly festive. Families and extended families coming out to see the art works – moms with teenagers, dads with prams, grannies with excited grandies. People in wheelchairs. Happy people. And an added bonus – “New York! New York! For kids” which showcases vibrant NY City, featuring interactive displays, multimedia projections and hands-on activities. Kids get to “build” miniature versions of the many iconic buildings and streetscapes. There’s even a marble run interactive to experience the speed and excitement of New York…jolliwell better than fight-to-the-death Fortnite survival shooter, if you ask me.
To be standing before these masterpieces seemed like a dream. Maybe it is, I thought for one foggy moment, maybe I was still on that Emirates plane. Maybe the raucous drunkard, plonked in the seat next to mine, giving the dainty air hostess so much grief all night long, was going to order me out of my seat once again any moment now. But no, happy days! I am really in Melbourne, mesmerised by the beauty of genius, and will most probably never see that horrid man again.
If you’re in Melbourne between now and October I strongly advise you not to miss out on this phenomenal exhibition – unless you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple of course. And here’s a tip: even though the $28 entrance fee won’t break the bank, presenting your American Express card will save you 15%.