The best public art in Sydney
Public art – in any city – is a notoriously fraught business. No matter how hard you try to make everyone happy, every work will have its detractors. Some more than others, of course. Notable spats in Sydney’s public art history include the time residents threatened to dismantle Ken Unsworth’s ‘poo on sticks’ sculpture in Darlinghurst (it still stands); the time NSW Parliamentarian Helen Sham-Ho said Lin Li’s ‘Golden Water Mouth’ sculpture in Chinatown “looks like a penis”; and the time Oz editor Richard Neville ran a cover photo of himself and two others peeing into Tom Bass’s P&O Wall Fountain. That said, who could possibly argue for a city without public art? It’s (mostly) good for the eyes, good for the soul, and improves even the most uninviting locations. It’s also good for business, which has been part of the drive in Sydney over the last decade to revitalise laneways and commercial precincts with commissions from contemporary artists, architects and designers. In 2007, the City of Sydney appointed their first Public Art Advisory Panel – a mix of artists, curators and architects that currently includes Carriageworks director Lisa Havilah and installation artist Janet Laurence. Now you know who to thank/complain to. Since it’s Art Month in Sydney, we thought we’d share some of our favourite public art works in Sydney.
Your guide to contemporary, fine and Indigenous art in Sydney
The best places to see art in Sydney
Sydney is busting at the seams with great art – from major institutions like the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, to incredible privately-owned but publically accessible (and free!) galleries like White Rabbit and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, and right down to a thriving scene of independent and artist-run initiatives. Below are some of our favourites.
Upcoming events and exhibitions
The Museum of Contemporary Art's monthly party series is curated by a different artist or collective each edition, and features art, performance and design – with killer views, party tunes and hands-on activities with artists. Since Artbar kicked off in May 2012, we’ve seen the MCA's galleries graced with nude performance art, endurance table tennis, house party-style karaoke, vomit montages, huge inflatables and a live goat. Ah, artists. Never change. The parties tend to sell out in advance, so consider pre-purchasing those tickets. Click through the Dates & Times tab for the line-up for each edition of Artbar.
The National Art School are staying up late with a series of free after hours events that bring together art, a pop up Cake Wines bar and tunes in the atmospheric surrounds of the old Darlinghurst gaol. The next NAS Nights event is April 6, in conjunction with the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize exhibition at NAS Gallery. Click the Dates & Times tab to see what's on the menu. Like a night pARTy? Here's our hit list of places to get your fix of art after dark in Sydney.
News and interviews
A giant sparkling clitoris is making a splash in Sydney this summer
Did you know that clitorises range from 7-12 cm in length and swell by 50 to 300 per cent when engorged? Yup: that little bauble you've been told about is actually just the tip of the clit-berg; most of the clitoris is below the surface and invisible, wrapping around the vaginal tunnel and extending out towards the thighs. (Which makes stand-up bits about 'finding the clitoris' embarrassing in a whole new way). Don't believe us? Check out the giant bedazzled clitoris ensconced in Redfern's Bearded Tit bar. Created by artist Alli Sebastian Wolf, the 'Glitoris' is a 100:1 scale model of the female sex organ, covered in sequins. AKA: the most fabulous anatomy lesson you can have. Wolf, who describes the clitoris (the actual one) as "a glorious spaceship-looking creature with 8000 nerves that can swell to three times its size in moments", created the 'Glitoris' partly as a feminist performance piece. The Glit will be at the Bearded Tit until February 25 as part of their exhibition Bush Magic, and will also be shimmying its way onto the d-floor at the following parties, with three human pals (the 'Cliterati') in attendance: • Heaps Gay Street Party on Sat Feb 11 in Marrickville • Mardi Gras Heaps Gay on Sat Mar 4 at The Factory Theatre • The Oyster Club Glamdrogynous Freakshow on Thu Mar 9 at Knox St Bar. In all its glory: the 'Glitoris'Photograph: Alli Sebastian Wolf Here are four more facts about the clit, courtesy of Alli, that'll make your day: 1. It is th
52 Weeks of #SydCulture: Week 4
Welcome to the third guest blog post of Time Out Sydney's 52 Weeks of #SydCulture 2017 challenge! Every Tuesday of January, curator and City of Sydney councillor Jess Scully is telling us what she loved the week before. Think of it as your recommendations for this week, from someone who sees a helluva lot of arts and culture. Over to Jess. Did you march on Saturday? Don't feel too bad if you didn't. Certified feminist friends were absent and asked, what exactly were you marching for? Reminding the world that women exist? “We’re here, we’re…50 per cent of the population?” It's a statement of the bleeding obvious, but unfortunately, one that still needs to be made. The Women's March started a day in which I contemplated the absurdity of oppression (and I wonder why I'm single); or rather, a day of experiencing some of the humour, sensitivity and skill that artists use to break oppression apart. After marching with thousands of strong women, I rode down to Firstdraft to see Walan Yinaagirbang (‘Strong Women’ in Wiradjuri) an exhibition of work by eight female Indigenous artists brought together by curator Emily McDaniel. Amy Tracey 'Girra-maa' at FirstdraftPhotograph: Daniel Boud Amy Tracey’s bouquets of native flowers adorn the brick of the stairs, sanctifying the space. Everywhere, women's knowledge is honoured. Lucy Simpson’s weaving spans across one room, caked in ochre, facing Tamara Baillie’s Awash. Cast in cotton stiffened by sugar, river networks and wat
Wednesday nights = Culture Up Late
Arts Minister Troy Grant's previously-announced Wednesday-night program Culture Up Late launches tonight – Wednesday January 11 – with a program of events taking place at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian Museum, Carriageworks, the Powerhouse Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the State Library of NSW, and Sydney Opera House. Every Wednesday through January and February you'll be able to head to these venues after work for access to exhibitions and a range of special programs and offers. Art Gallery of NSW will continue its existing Wednesday-night late-night program, Art After Hours (they're also running the Nude at Night program on Thursday and Friday nights in January). The MCA, meanwhile, have moved their weekly Lights on Later series from Thursdays to Wednesdays. The Australian Museum will offer 2-for-1 entry on Wednesday nights, giving you access to their regular exhibits and current exhibitions (including Spiders: Alive and Deadly) as well as the chance to experience Lynette Wallworth’s immersive virtual reality work Collisions, which takes you to remote central Australia and invites you into the landscape and memories of Martu elder Nyarri Nyarri Morgan. Collisions is only viewable to the public on Wednesday nights, as part of the Culture Up Late program. Head to the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo for after-hours access to their current exhibition Egyptian Mummies; and to its sister venue Sydney Observatory for twilight tours and night-time star gazing. C
Carriageworks reveal their 2017 program
Carriageworks has revealed its 2017 program of art, performance and music – including hyped shows from interstate and overseas, world premieres, and the return of favourite events including the queer performance/dance party Day For Night, Indigenous musical festival Klub Koori, and a new series of Night Markets. Perhaps the most exciting component – announced earlier this year – is the inaugural edition of The National, a new biennial of contemporary Australian art focusing on site-specific commissions, and running across Carriageworks, the MCA and Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Carriageworks edition, curated by director Lisa Havilah and visual arts head Nina Miall, will run March 30-June 18, and include work by Archie Moore, Justene Williams and Richard Lewer, among others. Justene Williams ‘Two Fold’ performance still at Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2016Photograph: Andy Nowell In terms of international treats, Italian theatre renegades Motus are bringing their hybrid show MDLSX to Carriageworks in mid-March after a short run at Adelaide Festival. Starring androgynous DJ Silvia Calderoni, the show blends her home videos and autobiography with Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Middlesex and a DJ set to explore queer identity. It looks heady. MDLSX by MOTUS from ALBAMADA on Vimeo. In terms of anticipated inter-state works, Melbourne Festival hit Lady Eats Apple, by Geelong-based theatre ensemble Back to Back Theatre (behind internationally acclaimed shows Ganesh Ve
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Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
Maybe you saw him on HBO's Treme, or one of his appearances on Conan, Leno, Kimmel or Fallon. Now, hot off the back of touring with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Trombone Shorty is coming down under to play Bluesfest and some special sideshows. Joined by his swinging band Orleans Avenue, Trombone Shorty brings brass and big band sounds to life on the stage with serious flair. The jazz and soul maestro isn't a stranger to big stages – he's played at the White House, alongside Madonna and helped out pop producer Mark Ronson on his albums – so you can expect some big vibes from him when he plays the Metro Theatre.
Barangaroo Ngangamay is an innovative, interactive artwork that gives you the chance to go on an journey of learning and discovery throughout Barangaroo Reserve. Using an app to place you within the context and history of the site, Barangaroo Ngangamay uses geo-locating to reveal intricate stories, songs and rock engravings scattered throughout the Barangaroo Reserve. The Barangaroo Ngangamay app includes five short films, which are unlocked by visiting sandstone artworks handcarved by Aboriginal elders Vic Simms, Steven Russell and Laurie Bimson. Each film shows the resilience and diversity of Barangaroo and the Aboriginal women who used to call the Reserve home. Created by renowned Indigenous multi-media artists Amanda Jane Reynolds and Genevieve Grieves, the work is the result of a collaboration between the pair and local Aboriginal communities and elders, developed to tell ancient and treasured stories of the world’s oldest living culture. The Barangaroo Ngangamay app is available to download for iOS and Android devices.
Help the homeless by eating kingfish poké
Hawaiian poké is a dish currently sweeping the world and Salmon & Bear seafood eateries in Zetland and Newtown are among the best places in town to eat it. Poké – basically a delicious raw fish salad – has been a highlight of Salmon & Bear since they opened, with tuna, salmon and sweet prawn varieties designed by chef Mark Jensen (who taught at the Sydney Seafood School for 15 years). Now Salmon & Bear have created a new kingfish poké: diced Hiramasa kingfish in a miso and sesame dressing served on a salad of kale, quinoa, fennel, tomato, sweet potato, carrot, Spanish onion and pepita seeds. To launch this new dish, Salmon & Bear wanted to support the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s First Response Program. The program ensures that anybody who is homeless leaves the centre with a pathway towards getting a roof over their heads. The kingfish poké costs $21, and $2 from every one sold will be donated to the First Response Program, until they’ve raised enough money to get 20 people off the streets. You get a tasty meal, plus the warm feeling of having helped someone in need. Nicely played, Salmon & Bear.
Sculpture at Scenic World
When art escapes the galleries and gets out into the landscape, magical things can happen. There’s nothing quite like trekking through a Jurassic-era rainforest, rounding a corner and suddenly spying a cloud of red snowballs, a mosaic of mirrors, a convoy of toy trucks, or a squadron of ninja koalas. That’s the appeal of Sculpture at Scenic World – the element of surprise, delight, to have our senses confounded, our minds provoked – and the reason why the event is enjoying a sixth season in 2017. The exhibition, which kicks off on April 7 and goes for just one month, brings another dimension to Scenic World in Katoomba, and makes a visit especially appealing for parents who want to expose their kids to art as well as the great outdoors. Take the trip down the steepest railway in the world (the Scenic Railway), then make your way along Australia’s longest elevated boardwalk (the Scenic Walkway) to discover the exhibition. Thirty-five local, interstate and international artists have created works specifically to be installed in the rainforest along the Scenic Walkway. As part of this year’s Sculpture at Scenic World, there is a program of workshops for children called Sculpture for Small People that encourages kids to engage with the artists and their works. These are fun, educational workshops on Saturday and Sunday mornings that cost $15, including all materials, in which children can create their own artworks to take home – from ceramics and Easter Eggs to spider web