Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Museum Day in Sunny Sydney

Well hi there! How have you been? 

One of the great things about taking holidays on a work day is that you get to go to the museums when they're empty! So today I took advantage of that and went to 3. Well not really 3, more like 2 and a half (The ABC centre isn't really a museum, but it did have an exhibit!)

So I started the day with quick peek at the Doctor Who (Celebrating 50 Years of Adventures in Space and Time) exhibition 

Did you know I was a Whovian? well you do now!

This exhibit was free - just in the public area of the ABC centre and featured a timeline, a TARDIS, Dalek and Cyberman as well as on of David Tennant's suits (Tenth Doctor) and The Doctors alternate outfit from the episode Amy's Choice (Eleventh Doctor)

Doctor Who Timeline, TARDIS, David Tennant's suit

This particular exhibit will be on display till the 31st of January 2014

From there it was a short walk down to the Powerhouse Museum. The Powerhouse Museum is Sydneys Design and Technology museum and often shows student exhibitions, the design awards as well as other exhibits along those lines. 

This exhibit showed the work of the great furniture designer, George Nelson.

George Nelson was one of the many designers who worked at Herman Miller in the 50s and 60s along side people like Charles and Ray Eames. His modernist style influenced many other designers then and still to this day 

American National Exhibition Moscow, sketch model 1959
Comprehensive Storage System with clocks 1959, Posters etc designed by Nelson, Herman Miller Nelson swag leg desk (1958), Tray and Tea set 1950
Desks chairs etc, Comprehensive Storage System 1959
Panorama featuring Coconut chair (Blue), DAF White (Top Left), Pretzel Chair (far top corner) 1952  

Executive Office Group L Shape desk 1950, Action Office 1 1960 - 1964
While not many people might own an original piece of his work, the details and style were replicated throughout the industry. One of the museum staff members mentioned to me that he had never known who George Nelson was, but when he saw the pieces come in, it immediately reminded him of the furniture in his childhood house.

George Nelsons Clocks for Howard Miller 1947 - 1980s
All these clocks need to be on my wall

Marshmallow sofa 1956, Various graphics for Herman Miller and other companies
The exhibit was rather large and comprehensive. It featured most of his furniture and graphic design work, and had full scale section model of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, along with videos playing Nelsons films and adds for Herman Miller

This exhibit is on until the 10th of January 2014. More info here

Another rather exciting thing to mention is this... 

Yes! That is a Beatles exhibition, in particular - The Beatles in Australia! 
They were finalising the sound and testing the video for its opening on Saturday when I took this photo.

Now what kind of 60s fan would I be if I didn't make plans to attend this exhibition as soon as it opens? Watch this space!

After a quick lunch I made the trek from the Powerhouse to the State Library of NSW. On the way I walked through Hyde Park, past the beautiful Art Deco War Memorial and through Hyde Parks Central avenue, shaded over by the Hill Fig trees. The trees are probably the most well known part of the park, but sadly a lot of them are sick and many have become hollow and fallen over in strong weather. This is due to the fact that when they were planted back in the 30s they were planted in poor quality, shallow soil.

The council are being very good and trying their hardest to prolong the life of the trees, removing those that are a danger of falling over and banning events from being held underneath the trees. 

If you manage to visit Sydney in the next few years, be sure to make a visit!

Sydney War Memorial

The Fig trees over the Hyde Park central avenue

The purpose of visiting the NSW State library was to see 2 exhibits - Selling Dreams, One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography and Australian Glamour

The first exhibit focused on Fashion photography and its history, featuring the work of many famous photographers including Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, William Klein and Irving Penn

Once only the rich, the Establishment set the fashion. Now it is the inexpensive little dress seen on the girls in the high street...
Mary Quant 1966

The exhibition was displayed chronologically dividing the photos by the era which most influenced them (post war, new look etc) with a section just for the 60s (yay!)

Walking away these were some of my favourite images from the exhibit

Evelyn Tripp, Isabella Albonico and Nena von Schlenbrugge. Photo: William Klein for Vogue, 1962

Marisa Berenson Photo David Bailey 1960
Penelope Tree wears Yugoslavian embroidered dress and velvet belt, British Vogue - David Bailey 1968
Plane Crash - Ossie Clark - Photo by Jim Lee 1969

Along side this, was the small exhibit - Australian Glamour. This display only took up one room but featured a lot of images and magazines from the early 1900s through to this year

The good thing about this exhibition is that its supported by the libraries app - Curio. You can download it and have a look through the images from the magazines yourself!

Flair Magazine 1967, POL Magazine 1969. Neither of these magazine are in print now

Article from Flair Magazine 1967 - Flair's Ten top models of 1967

Scary looking Twiggy in the Marble staircase
Both of these exhibits end on the 10th of November.

Well I hope you enjoyed that (sorry a bit long) insight into my day. 

Do you have any exhibitions in your town that have been particularly good? Share the link below to your blog post so we have all have a looky-loo! 

Cat xo


  1. Hello, dear Catherine! I genuinely enjoyed my looky-loo at your post today. In the 1950s and 60s, my father sold office furniture, office equipment and supplies and I remember seeing George Nelson or Nelson inspired designs in his store's showroom. What a marvelous shot of the central avenue Fig trees! It's a shame many are ailing. I hope nobody gets beaned by a falling branch whilst strolling beneath them! You were very wise for taking that opportunity to visit your local museums and soak up knowledge about design, fashion history and Australian glamour. I can't wait to see your post on the Liverpoolian Moptops down under!

    Have a delightful Thursday, dear friend Cat!

    1. Wow how interesting! I wonder how people perceived it back then? as exciting as we still see i now i wonder?

      Im glad you liked the post! I'll certainly set aside a special post for the Beatles!

  2. I love going to museums on work days, although in London they do tend to be busy still but not as busy as they are on weekends! The George Nelson exhibit looks fantastic, I could seriously look at 60s furniture for hours and not get bored.

    1. oh i bet! Im sure London has more tourists that Sydney and residents for that matter. My boyfriend and i have decided to go back when we see the Beatles exhibition, so ill get to soak up more Nelson beauties!

  3. I love museum days! I think I am very much overdue one here in Singapore, although they do always make me miss London waaay too much (I used to work in the V&A and British Library so I think I was a little spoilt!) Looks like you had a fantastic time - those fig trees are so beautiful and I LOVE the graphics and clocks from the George Nelson exhibit! Sorry for all the post stalking!

    1. Oh its fine stalk away! I'm glad you liked the post - I haven't read much on museums in Singapore, I hope they are generous with their exhibitions. I hate when you can tell they have no money to spend and they just show odd things all the time.

      The fig trees in Hyde Park are so lovely and relaxing to sit under on a warm day. If you ever visit Sydney be sure to go there!

  4. Oh! It looks like you had a wonderful holiday! I too, am a whovian, I'm jealous you got to see that exhibit! :)

    1. Oh i was so excited when i was announced. I cant wait for the 50th anniversary special! xo


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