Melbourne Arts and Culture

Arts & Culture

Melbourne's art and culture abounds the city

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As the cultural hub of the country, Melbourne’s calendar is filled with a wide array of performances, exhibits and festivals. Never shy of displaying its alternative scene, Melbourne offers an event for every manner of taste and sensibility.  Summer is no exception.

Anyone travelling to Melbourne in the near future should plan ahead as the smorgasbord of arts and entertainment will leave you with a packed schedule.

For the more classically inclined, current exhibitions include the National Gallery of Victoria’s ‘British Watercolours 1760-1900: The Age of Splendour’ which showcases some of the most renowned British artists of the 18thcentury, including Turner, Gurtin and William Blake. The National Gallery is also hosting a compelling look at the chaos and tumult of early 20thcentury Germany in ‘The Mad Square: Modernity in German Art 1910-37’.

This exhibit captures the radical avant-garde movements such as Expressionism, Dadaism and Bauhaus, that emerged out of the political and cultural turmoil that characterised the period.

But Melbourne’s art scene runs deeper than major exhibits. Smaller art events currently on display include Hannah Pang’s ‘Double Happiness’ at the RMIT Gallery. This display examines textiles in the context of mid-20thcentury Chinese weddings. ‘Human Kind’ at the No Vacancy QV Gallery exhibits photos by Pasquale Stanzione of the human fallout from natural disaster. These four exhibitions give just a hint of the variety of the visual art scene in Melbourne for early 2012.

For those seeking live entertainment, Melbourne has an internationally recognised comedy scene. In fact, the International Comedy Festival begins on the 28thof March and is an absolute must-see for anyone that enjoys a chortle.  

However, Melbourne’s comedy scene is not limited to one-off events; regular gigs such as Comedy@Spleen every Monday at Spleen Bar on Bourke St features a veritable who’s who of local giggle merchants. Softbelly Comedy covers both Thursday and Sunday night with an array of local and national acts with regular appearances on Sundays by T.V. host and comedic icon Adam Hills.

Theatre and dance are also well represented this summer in Melbourne’s cultural almanac. The National Ballet of China is performing ‘The Peony Pavilion’ from the 15th of March at the State Theatre. Depicting a tale of love and death, this piece dates back to the Ming Dynasty and is directed by Li Liuyi of the Beijing People’s Art Theatre. Or if you’re in the mood for something more contemporary why not try outdoor theatre? ‘A Bird, A Tree, The Moon’ is an outdoor theatrical experience playing in February on the corner of Collins and Swanston St.

This contemporary urban fairy tale explores themes of loss, healing and redemption under the picturesque and metaphorically suited Elm tree that occupies this corner.
Before you snap your day planner shut, remember that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Melbourne’s art and culture abounds the city and will captivate and absorb even the most insatiable culture vulture.