I had the pleasure this week of spending time with hyper-realist artist Patricia Piccinini ahead of the announcement of her first Australian blockbuster show, at Brisbane’s Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art. The artist — best known for her controversial Skywhale in 2013 — said something that struck me: the announcement of the exhibition next year was the biggest moment of her career. Piccinini, of course, is no up-and-comer; she is one of this country’s most successful visual artists. She represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and in 2016 was responsible for the most visited contemporary art exhibition in the world (yes, the world). About 1.4 million people streamed through the doors of her exhibition Consciousness in Brazil. And yet her Brisbane retrospective, slated for March, will be the pinnacle of her career. What does that say about the lot of artists in Australia? Do we show too many big-ticket international exhibitions at the expense of local artists? Are we still victims of the dreaded cultural cringe? Whatever the case, Piccinini’s Curious Affection — which will mark the first time the entire lower floor of GOMA has been handed over to an Australian artist — is a coup, and a show for the diary. Today, film writer Philippa Hawker speaks to director Denis Villeneuve, who evidently loves a challenge: he is making a sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. The new film builds on the dystopian sci-fi themes of the 1992 cult classic, which itself was based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The timing for a story on a dystopian Earth could hardly be more apposite. According to conspiracy theorists, mysterious orb Planet X is due to smash into Earth some time today. Be sure to get through Hawker’s fascinating story early, just in case. If you’re at a loose end and in need of a dose of nostalgia, tune in to the ABC tomorrow night for the second of its 13-episode series snapshot of classic music program Countdown. Wilbur Wilde takes viewers back to 1976, to performances by and interviews with singer Marcia Hines, Bay City Rollers and Sherbet. Dare I say: do yourself a favour.