Is there such a thing as blockbuster fatigue? Two big shows in Sydney are offering you a way to find out, filling local arts institutions with lines, crowds and the suggestion that this chance to get close to the artefacts is really a once-in-a-lifetime. One features Picasso, the other Harry Potter. Potter may not claim quite the masterpiece status of his cubist forebear, but underlying the saga are some pretty strong ideas. Author of the novels, J.K. Rowling, sculpted Dumbledore from her luminous classics professor TP Wiseman and dropped in strong human rights ideas from her time with Amnesty UK. And the films had a lot of the fire, if less of the humour, from the original novels, with a big chunk coming to Sydney for Harry Potter: The Exhibition.
The exhibition showcases props from the films on its only Australian stop, including Dumbledore's wand, plus Harry's and Voldemort's paired pieces. But there's also room to wander around in recreations of the movies' sets, set a hand to mandrake gardening, and get close to some aspects of that reassuringly dangerous sport quidditch.
Image by Bill Hails.