Culture Vulture: the Ian Potter Museum of Art


Over the break, this culture vulture spread her wings and flew back to her parents’ nest in a small Victorian town near The Grampians*. I would forgive you for thinking that there is not a lot of exciting, culturally refined happenings in this hometown of mine. A lot of people who live in said town would probably agree with you. However I spent a casual Sunday afternoon serving wine and taking photos at the closing ceremony of a travelling exhibition at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery. I may have been the only person there under the age of fifty, but I’d still say it was pretty fun. The point of this anecdote is that you should not always seek enlightenment in exotic, far off destinations, taking where you live for granted (although I have nothing against exotic, far off places). Never forget that your own backyard can be full of interesting and exciting things to see, if you take the time to look.


To bring things back to IH and the general Parkville area for this week, I encourage everyone to seek out things that interest you close to home. Being the art nerd that I am, I revisited one of my favourite places on the Melbourne Uni campus, The Ian Potter Museum of Art on Swanston St (not to be confused with the Ian Potter Centre at Fed Square). “The Potter” is open from Tuesday to Sunday and is free (my favourite word) to the public. The building has three levels worth of exhibition space, and manages to house quite a lot in quite a small space. The first and third levels almost always display temporary exhibitions. Under The Sun, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exhibition currently on the third level, is particularly striking and worth a look. The second level is split between showing parts of the University’s permanent collection, and the classics collection. This level is generally my favourite within the gallery. Heads up history buffs and architecture enthusiasts, the current exhibition showing off some of the Melbourne Uni permanent collection is called Designing ‘The Shop’: the Parkville Campus Past and Future. It’s all about the history of documenting the buildings on campus. This includes some of the colleges too. The classics room is showing the John Hugh Sutton Collection, which contains various objects from ancient Europe. You know the painted Greek vases, where The Muses come alive and start singing in Disney’s Hercules? Well the uni owns some of the genuine articles. The fact that the uni owns objects that people made on the other side of the world, millennia ago, is pretty darn special in my opinion. If nothing else tempts you to visit the gallery, the Potter Espresso Bar is a pretty great café. Lovers of food and beverages should check it out.

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