I recently had the pleasure to meet a fellow German author and art lover at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Skadi Heckmueller gave a talk about her new book Private – A Guide to Personal Art Collections in Australia and New Zealand. When she started speaking, I instantly recognised the German accent and not long after she mentioned her country of birth.
After introducing a selection of the stunning private art collections she has gathered in her book, the audience had the opportunity to meet her in the Member’s Lounge for book signings. Of course, I had my copy signed and took the chance to chat with her – in German, of course.
Private follows in the steps of her German title Privatzugang, which was published by Distanz Verlag, Berlin, in 2011. In her foreword to Private, Heckmueller states that the book ‘has emerged out of a personal passion.’ Her Wanderlust, combined with her love for contemporary art, resulted in the research and exploration of art events and museums – some of which in remote corners of the world. As she was especially fascinated by the many unique private art collections she discovered during her travels, she decided to create a practical guide with lots of tips how and when to access the collections and where to dine and have a cuppa afterwards. I love this typical and structured German approach to things. Overall, the reader will find 27 art collections throughout Australia and New Zealand with a short introduction followed by helpful visitor information, such as opening times, entry fees, tours and events, access by car and public transport – Skadi revealed that she did not have a car and visited all collections using public transport – and extra tips about interesting places or spaces along the way. Finally, she recommends outstanding places to stop for a meal or drink, such as ‘Chocolate @ No.5 in Hahndorf, South Australia, where the hot chocolate is frequently rated as the best in South Australia.’
The author has managed to present an extraordinary selection of private art collections, a mix of world-famous museums like MONA in Hobart and small private collections – hidden gems – that most people would not know. Art lovers can arrange a visit in a small Victorian terrace house in Sydney’s Inner West or hike through a 163-hectare sculpture landscape 70 kilometres east of Adelaide.
This book is surely going to be in my travel bag on our next trip in Australia or New Zealand, which I have not yet visited. Private not only is a fabulous present for you or any art aficionado but also initiates Wanderlust and fuels tourism in both countries.