Sydney / Lifestyle / 13 Showstopping Art Exhibitions to Catch in Sydney

13 Showstopping Art Exhibitions to Catch in Sydney

Tessa MacKay, Through the looking glass, oil on linen, Archibald Prize 2019
Packing Room Prize Winner: Tessa MacKay, Through the looking glass, oil on linen

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

apollo-11-exhibition-things-to-do
Photo credit- NASA
Apollo 11

Named after the space expedition that was the first to successfully land astronauts on the Moon in 1969, upcoming exhibition Apollo 11 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. With more than 200 objects, Apollo 11 explores this historical moment, its influence on the fields of science and design, and the role Australia played in transmitting man’s first steps on the Moon.

From now till 29th June 2019

Ticketed

Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo

Paramor triad with Bengitj Ngurruwuthun-informalism-exhibition
IN-Formalism

IN-Formalism details the evolution of abstract non-objective art in Australia from 1968, surveying the artists who have contributed to the rich heritage of abstract art in this country.  The exhibition presents artworks alongside a chain of references to the Liverpool area, revealing the influences of abstract non-objective art as broad and constantly evolving. 

From now till 30th June 2019

Free

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula

Brook Andrew Ngajuu Ngaay Nginduugirr (I see you) 1998, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Brook Andrew Ngajuu Ngaay Nginduugirr (I see you) 1998, Art Gallery of New South Wales © Brook Andrew. Courtesy the artist and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
From where I stand

A thought-provoking exhibition, From where I stand asks viewers to consider the relationship between power and participation. To highlight these themes, the photographic artworks look closely at how this continues to impact Indigenous Australians. 

From now till 14th July 2019

Free

Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Rd, The Domain, Sydney 

Capturing Nature- Early Photography at the Australian Museum 1857-1893

Printed from the museum's collection of glass plate negatives, the images on display in Capturing Nature showcase the impact of photography on science and art. These never-before-seen photographs of the Australian Museum's natural history collection, between 1857-1893, highlight how developments in technology helped advance research and scientific discovery.

From now till 21st July 2019

Free with general admission (From $8)

Australian Museum


Street Photography: 1930s-1950s: Museum of Sydney
Street Photography: 1930s-1950s

Throughout the '30s and '50s, street photographers would stroll around Sydney and snap people going about their daily lives. They were a familiar sight, and some city-slickers would stop to pose, while others were captured candidly. This exhibition gives us a peek into post-war Sydney, with photos of families, young-and-in-love couples out on the torn, uniformed servicemen, and migrants exploring their new city. The old-school photos sit next to contemporary photos by Anne Zahalka, who does the same thing today! 

From now till 21st July 2019

Ticketed

Museum of Sydney

The National 2019: New Australian Art

Opening in March, these three high-profile galleries will showcase the work of 65 new and established Aussie artists who work in a diverse range of media. You can expect to admire a lot of contemporary art that’s not only intricate and complex, but also speaks to what’s happening in our world. We’re already fans of the Art Gallery of NSW’s selection, which presents 24 artists – 65% of whom are women.

From now till 21st July 2019

Free

The Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art and Carriageworks 

The Essential Duchamp 

Born in Normandy in 1887, Marcel Duchamp was one of the most original and influential artists of the 20th century who had his fair share of fans and critics. He was revolutionary. The Essential Duchamp opens in late April and is set to be the most comprehensive display of the artist’s work ever seen in the Asia-Pacific region. You’ll see 150 works from his six-decade career, including the iconic-slash-controversial piece, Nude descending a staircase, No. 2.

From now till 11th August 2019

Ticketed

Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Rd, The Domain, Sydney 

Tony Costa, Lindy Lee, oil on canvas, Archibald Prize 2019
Archibald Prize Winner: Tony Costa, Lindy Lee, oil on canvas
Archibald Prize 2019

This eagerly anticipated display will showcase this year’s finalists, of which there are 51 artworks in total, featuring a mix of well-known and not so well-known faces that make up our Australian culture, including authors, artists, sports stars and politicians. No doubt the exhibition will bring about different opinions as to which entry was most deserving of the $100,000 prize – though the official winners have already been chosen, seeing Tony Costa’s portrait of Lindy Lee take out the top prize, along with Tessa MacKay’s portrait of David Wenham winning the Packing Room Prize.

From now till 8th September 2019

Ticketed

Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Rd, The Domain, Sydney 

michael-armitage-kampala-suburb-artwork-mca-exhibition
Michael Armitage, Kampala Suburb, 2014
Michael Armitage: The Promised Land

In his first Australian exhibition, Kenyan artist Michael Armitage will showcase his most recent works from The Promised Land. From politics and national elections to cultural traditions and stereotypes, Michael provides an inside look into life in East Africa through a unique, oil paint and Lubugo bark lens.

Michael Armitage, Kampala Suburb (2014)

28th June- 22nd September 2019

Free

Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George Street, The Rocks

linda-jackson-jenny-kee-step-into-paradise-exhibition
Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee (Photo credit- High Stewart)
Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step Into Paradise

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step Into Paradise draws on more than four decades of one of the most influential pairings in Australian fashion, focusing on the influences and the stories behind their creative work. This immersive in-depth survey brings to light the dynamic energy of Linda and Jenny’s partnership. 

More than 150 garments, photographs, textiles and artworks, many not seen by the public before, from the Museum’s own extensive collection are combined with the designers’ personal archives for the exhibition. Highlights include behind-the-scenes photographs, Jenny Kee’s Chanel suit from the late Karl Lagerfeld’s first collection and Linda Jackson’s acclaimed Waratah dress.

From 17th October 2019

Ticketed

Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo

Ben Quilty Self-portrait after Afghanistan 2012, private collection, Sydney; The Last Supper 2017 2017, Art Gallery of New South Wales
(Left to Right) Ben Quilty Self-portrait after Afghanistan 2012, private collection, Sydney; The Last Supper 2017 2017, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Quilty

Quilty is a major survey exhibition of one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists Ben Quilty. Showcasing his incredible body of work, his pieces portray honesty, authenticity and highlight how our humanity connects us all. Lucky for us, the exhibition of this Archibald Prize-winning artist will travel the country, from Adelaide to Brisbane, then landing in Sydney.

9th November 2019– 2nd February 2020

Free

Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Rd, The Domain, Sydney 

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday
MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

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.

From now till 29th March, 2020

Free

Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George Street, The Rocks

barbara-mcgrady-sista-girls-stylin-up-mardi-gras-photo-biennale-of-sydney
Barbara McGrady, Sista Girls Stylin Up, Mardi Gras 2013
Biennale of Sydney

The Biennale of Sydney is a renowned exhibition of international contemporary art, the third-oldest biennial in the world and the largest exhibition of its kind in Australia. Situated across multiple sites in Sydney and beyond, the Biennale of Sydney is first and foremost a collaborative and interactive endeavour. Artist and First Nation-led, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney will showcase exceptional works of art by artists, creatives and collectives from all around the world – South Africa, Australia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and beyond.

Until 8th June 2020

Free entry

Various locations across Sydney

Sydney

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