December 2, 2014


Sydney will be the art capital of Australia over the summer months with two blockbuster exhibitions, Pop to popism at The Art Gallery of New South Wales, opposite the Domain and Chuck Close, one of America’s foremost portraitists, at the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay. Both are exclusively on display in Sydney as part of the 2014-15 Sydney International Art Series.

DSC04371Pop to popism, the most comprehensive collection of pop art ever to be seen in Australia, is currently showing at The Art Gallery of New South Wales, until 1 March 2015. Featuring 200 works by more than 70 of pop’s greatest artists, Pop to popism traces pop from its origins through to its heyday and its enduring legacy, both in Australia and internationally. Spanning three decades, from the mid 1950s to the 1980s, many of the art works have never been exhibited in Australia before.

The exhibition, which has taken over an entire floor, is one of the most ambitious undertaken by the Gallery. For the very first time, Australian pop artists are presented alongside their international peers from America, Britain and Europe.

DSC04452Featured artists include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Brett Whiteley, Richard Hamilton, Martin Sharp, Gilbert and George, Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Peter Blake, Richard Larter, Niki de Saint Phalle and Maria Kozic.

Works of art are on loan from 49 institutions and private collections worldwide, including the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Museum of Modern Art and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; the Menil Collection, Houston; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the JW Power Collection, Sydney.

Art Gallery of NSW head curator of Australian art, Wayne Tunnicliffe, developed this exhibition over the last two years. “Pop art changed culture forever and yet no pop survey exhibition has included Australian artists, Pop to popism grew from a desire to see our artists exhibited in an international context”, said Wayne.

Lou Reed Tapestry by Chuck Close

Lou Reed Tapestry by Chuck Close

An array of public programs is scheduled throughout the summer to further enhance the pop experience, including short talks on Australian pop artists, the largest film series ever screened by the Gallery and lectures by international art experts. One exciting feature, especially for children, is POP PLAY, a creative family space with interactive artmaking activities.

Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration, on display at the MCA until 15 March 2015, is the most expansive showing of his works ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere and reveals the artist’s range across a breadth of techniques.

One of America’s best-loved visual artists, Chuck Close is famous for his lifelike portraits of recognisable faces, mainly in the art world, such as Roy Lichtenstein, plus his large scale, photo based portrait paintings, he is also an accomplished printmaker and photographer.

Amongst the range of portraits on display are the almost six foot high heads of Bob Israel and a Jacquard tapestry of Lou Reed.

Sandra Tiltman  Photos: John Pond

Chuck Close Exhibition at MCA

Chuck Close Exhibition at MCA



December 2, 2014

DSC04129Located in Sydney at the corner of Elizabeth & Goulburn Streets, Fino Par’s industrial chic, minimalist décor with polished concrete floor and open frontage offers an inviting funky vibe.

The name is so appropriate for this new Spanish inspired restaurant & bar, where traditional concepts meet contemporary ideas. Fino Par, meaning fine pair in Spanish, is an apt description for the team of Executive Chef, Nelson Burgos and Food & Beverage Manager, Brett Harris.

DSC04123Finding inspiration from his cultural heritage and with a passion for supporting Australian producers, Chilean born Executive Chef, Nelson Burgos has been working in the Sydney and Melbourne food scene for over ten years. His philosophy is to harness the finest Australian ingredients to create simple, yet stunning dishes.

Brett also brings close to ten years experience in the industry to Fino Par and is excited to share his passion for Spanish sherry. Reviving old beverage favourites of sherry and sangria, Brett says he looks forward to showcasing his innovative sherry cocktail menu to Sydney. “We’re putting sexy back into sherry, we want to change the misconception that it’s only a drink to pour for your grandmother. As well as showcasing his Spanish sherry collection, Brett also has some great cocktails on the menu, like the Margarita, which I enjoyed when I went for dinner recently.

From noon until late, the menu is “all day all night” tapas, fusing only the best seasonal local produce with Spanish flavours. Nelson’s menu strikes a balance between modern and contemporary Spanish, with dishes designed to be enjoyed as share plates. As a special treat only available at lunch each Friday, Nelson cooks an enormous pan of paella, but be warned, when the pan is empty that’s it, no more till next week.

DSC04736The evening we visited Fino Par, we decided to put ourselves in Nelson’s hands. Starting with a sharing board of cold meats, consisting of cured Spanish ham, spicy Spanish salami, cured mild salami and air-dried salted wagyu beef, we followed with a velvet smooth liver parfait with capers & grilled bread.

The robust flavour of salted cod tweaked our taste buds before trying the delicate octopus carpaccio, which to my mind was the highlight and went very well with the plate of potatoes with paprika & aioli and chopped asparagus tartar with egg.

Split chargrilled king prawns with lemon, herbs & garlic followed by roasted hanger steak with piquillo pepper chimichurri sauce rounded off the superb meal, but we still managed to find a little bit of room to try the manjar stuffed churro for dessert.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond


December 2, 2014


Outdoor movies under the stars have become an annual event during our long hot summers. This year will be no different, with Moonlight Cinema again taking up residence in Sydney from 11 December to 29 March, on the grass in Centennial Park at the Belvedere Amphitheatre.

Melbourne screenings run from 4 December to 29 March at the Central Lawn in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

IMG_0128To launch the preview of the summer programme, a pop-up picnic was held in the middle of Sydney’s Martin Place. Green grass, complete with deck chairs and umbrellas was an unusual sight in the heart of the city’s financial district and seemed to grab the attention of intrigued passers by. A shining silver food truck served up a selection of items from the new LA Style street food menu that will be available for movie goers.

What could be better than watching all the hottest new release films outside in the fresh night air, as well as seeing them before they hit cinemas. Moonlight’s December and January programme has over 20 different advance screenings.

Fans of Bill Murray will be able to catch him in “St Vincent” more than a week before the cinemas. Other titles showing at Moonlight before the rest of Australia include Disney’s latest “Big Hero 6” about a boy and his plus-size, inflatable robot, “Birdman”, the superhero film with an art-house edge starring Michael Keaton and Emma Stone plus the latest Liam Neeson action movie “Taken 3” as well as “Unbroken”, the WWII drama filmed in Sydney and directed by Angelina Jolie.

IMG_0130Aussie cinema will be celebrated on Australia Day Eve, with the screening of “The Water Diviner”, telling the moving story of an Australian man, played by Russell Crowe, who travels to Turkey after the battle at Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons. “The Water Diviner” will also be shown as an advance screening on 19 December.

Some cult favourites playing this season include “Dirty Dancing”, “Top Gun”, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

Special sing-a-long nights have been programmed for those who want to belt out all the classic tunes, along with the stars up on the screen, including the 50s high school classic “Grease”.

The popular Doggie Nights, for canine loving cinephiles who can’t bear to be parted from their furry friends, have increased and will take place every Thursday night in January and every second Thursday during February and March.

As always, Moonlight Cinema’s Gold Grass offers the ultimate outdoor cinema experience, with waiter service and reserved bean beds in a premium viewing location.

Movie fans can bring their own picnic or try some of the street fare on sale from the new LA style food truck onsite.

There’s something for every film fanatic at this season’s Moonlight Cinema. Gates open an hour and a half before the film starts.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond