From the editor
THE hard hat isn’t a great look for me, but on a couple of recent occasions I’ve donned one as the price of getting an early look at an arts venue under renovation. Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which opens its new wing in a few days, is one; Melbourne’s Hamer Hall is another. From what I was able to see on a tour around the latter last week it’s going to be a knockout. Gone is the sense of disappearing down the rabbit hole, possibly never to emerge again, and in its place is a connection to the Yarra and the city. Reopening date for Hamer Hall is July 26, and early events will be the Czech Philharmonic, Philip Glass and his ensemble — nice in the composer’s 75th birthday year — and Cape Town Opera in concert. Meanwhile, in Hobart a few months ago I was shown the hugely impressive plans for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, seeing how its unequalled heritage buildings will be restored and showcased within a 21st-century complex. It was fascinating to see the lowest level of the convict-era Bond Store, the ground covered with a thick layer of accumulated dirt but in the process of being reclaimed. The first stage of the TMAG project is expected to be unveiled early next year — 2013 will mark TMAG’S 150 years on that site — and, as usual, money will have to be found for the ambitious further stages. But all being well, Hobart will have a building to rival anyone’s. And when you see what David Walsh’s MONA has done for that city, you’d have to agree that money spent on cultural infrastructure can be money very, very well spent. So — all we need now is for everyone to bite the bullet on getting the Sydney Opera House up to scratch.