From the majors to the artist-run, from car park shows to outdoors, here are the best exhibitions and art events in Sydney today.
This installation combining art and scientific data was part of the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Paris in 2015. The starting point for EXIT was an idea by French cultural theorist Paul Virilio, who was invited by France's oldest private foundation for contemporary art, the Cartier Foundation, to be part of a 2008 exhibition reflecting on the environmental degradation of the planet. Consequently, Virilio worked with statisticians, scientists, UNESCO, the World Bank and design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro (behind New York's popular High Line) to create EXIT, which premiered as part of the 2008 exhibition Native Land, Stop Eject. In a video shown within the installation, Virilio explains the inspiration for the project thus: "In 2008, 36 million people were displaced [globally]. The 21st century will be the century of mass migrations: a billion people in the next 50 years is the figure predicted. The whole world situation will be disrupted." EXIT visualises the data of these mass migrations over the last decade or so, as well as exploring specific causes and consequences – such as war, natural disasters and climate change. The installation was updated for the COP21 conference, where it showed at the Palais de Tokyo. The installation is comprised of a 180-degree video installation on which six themed chapters play out, over 45 minutes. You can dip in for a short moment, or stay for the full duration.
This ambitious exhibition, part of Sydney Festival’s 2017 Western Sydney focus, constitutes the first major survey of artworks by the late Myuran Sukumaran – one of the 'Bali Nine' convicted of drug smuggling in 2005. Co-curated by artist Ben Quilty and Campbelltown Arts Centre’s director Michael Dagostino, the show is conceived as a reflection on the power of art to redeem, and on the death penalty and alternative forms of justice. Sukumaran learned to paint during his incarceration in Kerobokan prison. Around 2012 he was put in touch with Quilty, who became his mentor and friend. He was working towards a Bachelor of Fine Art at Monash University when he was executed in April 2015. In addition to around 100 of Sukumaran's portraits and paintings, C-A-C commissioned works by six Australian artists: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Megan Cope, Jagath Dheerasekara, Taloi Havini, Khaled Sabsabi, and Matthew Sleeth. Sukumaran's works are powerful, for obvious reasons – but they have also been arranged for emotional impact. One of the major gallery walls features paintings made by the prisoner over the four years before his death. Most are self-portraits, arranged so as to constantly pivot between contained expression and feverish, obliterative strokes that resulted in distorted faces. It instantly, powerfully, conveys the torturous nature of existence on death row, teetering between hope and despair. An adjacent wall is dedicated to paintings made by Myuran in the 72 hours before he d
Head to downtown St Leonards this Friday night to check out the artists, creatives and businesses within one of Sydney's largest creative workspace precincts – home to around 70 creative types drawn from visual arts, performance, music and film. The Block Party is a chance to see what these artists, performers and creators do – from live music and short film screenings to installations and exhibitions, performances, and workshops with artists. Highlights include an open studio with Michaela Gleave, the chance to see William Mansfield's 'Inferno' installation (first seen at Firstdraft gallery in May 2016), a crochet workshop with artist Tina Fox, and a ‘90s games party at the Lonely Kids Club store, to celebrate the launch of their new range (read: you can play N64 with Mario Kart and Smash Bros). To mark the occasion, street artist Brad Eastman – aka Beastman – was commissioned to create a two-storey high mural in Atchison Lane, which will be unveiled on the night. Established four years ago, the TWT Creative Precinct is an initiative of property developers behind the T1 apartments in St Leonards, who gave over space adjacent to the development for the use of small arts organisations and creative industries. The precinct is managed by artist-run-initiative Brand X (who previously managed the Queen Street Studios project on Broadway), and is home to ME Art Space, cre8tiv studios, Bsidesound, Kind Of gallery, The Photography Factory, Brand X, PLATFORM72 and Cicli Spirito
This exhibition of new Australian art is as simple or complex as you want to make it. On face value alone, it’s worth a trip: colour unleashed on all surfaces except the concrete floors and wood columns, and in every kind of texture – from glossy enamel to matte brushstrokes on glass, and liquid-looking paint ‘skins’ draped over steel frames. Several of the works are op-art sculptures that arrange colour (in hanging strips or neon tubes) to confuse the eye. It’s immediately arresting: the colour palette as surprising as it is bright, and the environment deliberately immersive. In a very literal sense, when you walk through the doors at Artspace, you are walking into a work of art: Rebecca Baumann’s ‘Colour Scenario #3’, comprised of ten painted walls marking the perimeter of the space. Sixteen Dulux hues have been deployed, including Cowardly Custard, Go Alpha, Chloride, Double Bass, Lily Legs, Scampi, Pea Case and Purple Pool. Baumann was the first artist to install her work within the Artspace galleries (for obvious reasons) and the rest of the works were allocated specific spots within the space before curators Alexie Glass-Kantor and Talia Linz had seen the colours of the walls. This has worked out incredibly (perhaps improbably) well: a paint-on-voile piece in a purple and pink palette, by local artist Jonny Niesche, vibrates even more intensely against a wall painted ‘Gold Rush’ yellow. Elsewhere, one of Huseyin Sami’s Colour Wire Hangs looks to have been colour-matc
A cloud hangs over White Rabbit’s foyer this autumn, a nebulous grey form by New York-based artist Lin Yan. Suspended from the ceiling by black strings (which she conceives of as rain), the piece is made from handmade ‘xuan’ paper – polluted with grey ink, tire tracks, brick rubbings and other vestiges of the industrial world. A smaller cloud form hands above it, almost at ceiling height; at the back of the foyer space hang long strips of pristine creamy-white xuan paper. The work, titled ‘Sky 2’, reflects the artist’s ongoing concern with pollution in Beijing. “Air is life,” she is quoted as saying, in the catalogue note. “When we destroy it, we destroy ourselves.” It’s an appropriate ‘headline act’ for White Rabbit’s show, titled ‘The Dark Matters’ – though in some ways it belies the overall tone of the show, which curator David Williams describes as “Zen”. Williams first had the idea for The Dark Matters during a visit to an artist’s studio in Beijing, in November 2015. “Most of the studios are really higgledy piggledy – but this was the most Zen space I’ve ever been to.” The artist, Shao Fan, designs furniture and paints in black (one of his elegant, minimalist tables has made it into the show, as a pedestal for another artist’s work). “That’s when I thought, let’s just do a really Zen show.” The resulting exhibition, it has to be said, is Zen by White Rabbit standards only (by comparison to preceding shows Vile Bodies, Heavy Artillery and Paradise Bitch, for exampl
In response to the 80th anniversary of Max Dupain's iconic Australian photograph 'Sunbaker', the Australian Centre for Photography commissioned 15 artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic practices to make new works responding to that image. The resulting exhibition, curated by ACP's Claire Monneraye, is a wide ranging investigation into Australian history, cultural identity, national myths, and the medium of photography. Given the nostalgic patina that has accumulated around this image over the decades, this exhibition comes as a rigorous chipping-away from all angles: the history of the image, its aesthetic, its iconography, and its cultural context. Only a handful of the artists identify as 'photographers', and the works range from sculpture to performative videos and photographs and multi-channel installations. Under the Sun features new work by Peta Clancy, Christopher Day, Destiny Deacon, Michaela Gleave, Nasim Nasr, Sara Oscar, Julie Rrap, Khaled Sabsabi, Yhonnie Scarce, Christian Thompson, Angela Tiatia, Kawita Vatanajyankur, Daniel Von Sturmer, Justene Williams and William Yang. Check out our hit list of the best art to see in Sydney in March.
Andy Warhol’s three-decade career might have left an indelible impression on art – and design – but this exhibition of his pre-Pop output reveals a very different artist and individual from the one most of us know. It focuses instead on the ’50s commercial illustrator whose early ‘fine art’ works betrayed influences including Picasso, Matisse and Jean Cocteau, and mined his sexuality for content. Comprised of more than 300 objects from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, curated by AGNSW’s Nicholas Chambers, Adman: Warhol Before Pop is dedicated to roughly ten years of practice from the time the young Carnegie Tech graduate arrived in New York from Pittsburgh, to the first blush of his Pop art epoch – and the last gasp of his career as a commercial illustrator. Warhol Museum curator Jessica Beck points to the artist’s self-mythologising streak as one of the underlying themes of the exhibition: “As soon as he gets off the bus in New York he’s [crafting his persona]; he’s ambitious, and even though he comes from this quite meagre upbringing in Pittsburgh – the youngest of three boys, a working class family – he knows where he wants to go.” As we enter the exhibition, we see a wall-sized photograph of the young Warhol – pre-fright-wig, sporting short hair, a bow-tie and an ill-fitting suit; further down the wall we see a candid snap with his mother Julia Warhola, who was influential in his life and work. Later in the exhibition, materials from Warhol’s personal archive rev
Opened the same week that Trump won the US election, the National Gallery of Australia’s summer blockbuster is, on face value, an exhibition fit for the 45th President: expensive, gold-gilt, opulent; a collection of personal items, furniture, art and objects from a time and place where expenditure was unbridled. But Versailles: Treasures from the Palace is also a testament to a time and place in which a world power put art and culture at the very centre of its identity – something that is quite hard to imagine in contemporary America – or indeed Australia, where 2016 saw massive federal funding cuts for the arts sector. The journey through the exhibition starts with the architect of the Versailles vision: Louis XIV, the self-styled ‘Sun King’. He transformed the palace into a flagship of architecture, design and art for all Europe, in competition with Italianate traditions. Poaching Flemish and Italian artists and artisans, and setting up workshops for tapestry (Gobelins), silk (Lyon) and ceramics (Rouen, Nevers), he eventually made Versailles the model for the rest of Europe, and thus proclaimed a French apex of power – through culture. “If there were no Versailles, world culture would be quite different,” says exhibition curator Lucina Ward. As you make your way through the exhibition the cultural excellence remains in evidence (from the craftsmanship of furniture, to plans showing the sophisticated hydraulics for the gardens) but the story becomes one of changing social
This exhibition, jointly conceived with the National Gallery of Victoria, represents the most comprehensive survey of Olsens work to date, spanning seven decades and various mediums – from his best-known paintings to ceramics, tapestries and works on paper. The focal point for the exhibition, and its namesake, is the 'You beaut country' landscape series from the ’60s. Olsen painted these after a stint studying in Europe, during which time he developed his unique vision of the Australian landscape.
The MCA's collection hang is where you go to get an overview of Australian contemporary art – and it's less daunting than it sounds. The last time they curated the hang was in 2012 (MCA Collection: Volume One), for the launch of the re-designed building, so there are a whola lotta new eye-candies to wrap your brain around. Although several works in the first room of the exhibition do take 'time' as their theme (including Stuart Ringholt's giant clock) curator Natasha Bullock, who masterminded the new hang, says the theme is more broadly connected to the ways in which the works in the show connected to histories of different kinds. Bullock deliberately messed with the Western linear notion of time in the exhibition's title, and explains that the indigenous concept of time would be better visualised in a circular pattern, in which present, future and past are connected. Artists in Today Tomorrow Yesterday include: Vernon Ah Kee, James Angus, Barbara Cleveland Institute (formerly Brown Council), John Barbour, Gordon Bennett, Daniel Boyd, Pat Brassington, Bob Burruwal, A.D.S Donaldson, Mikala Dwyer, Dale Frank, Marco Fusinato, Matthys Gerber, Kevin Gilbert, Julia Gorman, Fiona Hall, Robert Hunter, Robert MacPherson, Sanné Mestrom, Frank Malkorda, Linda Marrinon, Elizabeth Mipilanggurr, Callum Morton, Barayuwa Munungur, John Nixon, Kerrie Poliness, Stuart Ringholt, Joan Ross, Super Critical Mass, Gareth Sansom, Sally Smart, Ricky Swallow, Kathy Temin, Imants Tillers, Tjanpi D