Sydney / Lifestyle / 9 Show-stopping Exhibitions to Catch in Sydney: October

9 Show-stopping Exhibitions to Catch in Sydney: October

Slowly but surely, Sydney has become a bonafide art and culture hub. Our galleries and museums are bursting to the brim with world-class artists and exhibitions that delight, excite and make us wonder. Exhibitions come and go, so be sure to hop on them while they’re here. If you want to be wowed, wander through these show-stopping collections for an instant culture fix. 

Sun Xun Exhibitions Sydney Sitchu
Sun Xun

Museum of Contemporary Art

Until 14 October, 2018


Speaking of the MCA’s rotating exhibitions, this is an exciting one. Sun Xun exploded onto the art scene earlier this year when his paintings and drawings were splashed on White Rabbit’s walls. Following his breakout exhibit, the Chinese artist scored his very first solo exhibition in Australia at the MCA, and it’s a beauty. It stars a 40-metre long painting on bark paper and woodcuts, no less, as well as a bunch of Xun’s animations – all of which are meticulously made with the help of woodcuts, ink paintings and drawings. The attention to detail is incredible, so you’ll want to slow down and soak it all up.

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

Museum of Contemporary Art

Until 29 March, 2020


The MCA is home to the biggest – and most beautiful – collection of Australian contemporary art. While exhibitions come and go, the gallery has a ‘hang’ of carefully curated artworks that stay on display. Before this, the last time the hang got a shake-up was back in 2012 (MCA Collection: Volume One), so there are plenty of fresh works to feast your eyes on. The collection showcases 40 of the country’s best artists from the 1960s to now, but don’t expect to talk a walk through history. The works aren’t in chronological order. Instead, they draw from the Aboriginal concept of time, which is circular and believes that the past, present and future are connected.


UTS Gallery

Until 31 October 2018


Curated by Emily McDaniel, from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri nation, Void is a multifaceted concept that brings together a diverse, contemporary collection of Aboriginal works that explore “the void” in a variety of different mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and photography. This is a unique, intriguing collection that blends newcomers with established artists to demonstrate that the void is never empty or unknown, but instead always occupied by meaning and contains personal, historical and ancestral significance.

Brett Whiteley Exhibition Sitchu Sydney
Bohemian Harbour: Artists of Lavender Bay

Museum of Sydney

Until 25 November, 2018


In the 70s and 80s, the leafy suburb of Lavender Bay was brimming with bohemian talent. It was a place where artists inspired and felt inspired by each other. Held at the Museum of Sydney, this shiny-new exhibition captures the creativity of that time by displaying paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and films from public and private collections. Some of them have never been seen before, and some are accompanied by interviews with the artists themselves, who explain why they were drawn to the Bay. As you stroll through the exhibition, you’ll spot works by Brett Whitley, Peter Kingston, Tom Carment, Conrad Martens and Margaret Olley.

Frank Hurley: Photographer & Gardener

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

Until 14 October, 2018


This Sydneysider’s life story is so cool; it could be a movie. We bet it will be one day! Frank Hurley made a major mark on photography – not just in Australia, but around the globe. He was the official photographer for multiple expeditions to Antarctica, including one where the crew ran into some trouble and were stranded for two years, from 1914 to 1916. As soon as he returned home, he joined the army and became a war photographer for both World Wars. This exhibition travels through his life, and includes touching images of travelling and wartime, as well as pictures of Sydney through the 20th century. Our favourite is the one of Martin Place before it was blocked off to cars.

Sculptures By The Sea Bondi Sitchu
Sculpture by the Sea

Bondi to Tamarama Coastal Walk

18 October – 4 November 2018


A coastal and cultural feast of the senses, Sculpture by the Sea will once again take over Bondi’s iconic coastal walk. Stretching from Bondi to Tamarama, the trail will be interspersed with beautiful sculptures hand-crafted by a selection of leading artists and emerging talent from Australia and beyond. Take a stroll along the stunning Bondi coastline and see over 100 thought-provoking creations. This year’s collection will include an inflatable piece from sculpture masters Maurice Goldberg and Matthew Aberline, Daniel Clemmett’s political sculpture commenting on gun culture in America, a portrayal of anxiety and depression from Matthew Gill in the form of a giant head sculpture, and an array of local unsung heroes, showcasing their work for the very first time. 


Customs House

5-28 October, 2018


It’s no secret that huge amounts of plastic are dumped into our oceans daily, and this exhibition really makes you think about the effects. Sydney-based creative studio, Mundane Matters, turned 120kg of plastic collected from the Great Barrier Reef into a beautiful – and beguiling – exhibition. With more than a little imagination, they transformed the plastic into 2,255 objects that look like oranges, and suspended them from the ceiling of Customs House. The brightly-coloured display hints at hope. It reminds us that every bit counts. By reducing, reusing and recycling our waste, we can tackle the problem together.

Warm Bodies

Cement Fondu

Until 28 October 2018


Get ready for the fright of your life as Halloween comes early to Paddington’s Cement Fondu Gallery. A frighteningly creepy collection that fuses art with horror, Warm Bodies explores the enduring human fascination with the dark macabre. Horror and the post-apocalyptic world are re-imagined in the form of photography, ceramics, projections, contemporary dance and Muslim black death metal, from Australian and international artists whose works are influenced and inspired by ideas of decay, mutation and destruction. Look forward to a haunted house with recreated scenes from grisly horror films, Australian premiere of choreographer Angela Goh’s new work 'Body Loss', and the chance to see works by international artists Loretta Fahrenholz and Phillip Stearns. Enter if you dare…

John Russel Exhibition Sitchu Sydney
John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist

Art Gallery of NSW

Until 11 November, 2018


During his life, this Aussie artist flew under the radar – but this exhibition thrusts him into the spotlight. And it’s about time! In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Russell was friends with Van Gogh, Monet and Rodin, and taught Matisse the basics of colour theory. Thanks to his talent and impressive connections, he was a big deal in the art world. His paintings and drawings are finally on display in Oz at the Art Gallery of NSW. Along with impressionist and pure colour paintings, there’s a series of stunning works showing Rose Bay in the 1920s, which is where Russell lived in his later years. 

Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715-2015

Powerhouse Museum

Until 14 October, 2018


Move over, women’s fashion: this exhibition traces the history of menswear from the 18th century to now, and it’s fabulous. It starts in the 1700s, when aristocratic men wore intricate three-piece suits to show their status, and segues into the refined yet resplendent suits of the 19th century. In the 20th century, the mod-chic took over, and finally, the 21st century man is all about skinny suits and sharp tuxedos. The collection features pieces from the most famous menswear designers and brands, such as Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent.

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