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Art Gallery of NSW

  • Art
  • Sydney
  1. Aerial view of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ new SANAA - designed building,
    Photograph: AGNSW/Iwan Baan
  2. Art Gallery of New South Wales 2017 exterior daylight August feat Archibald Prize banners (C) AGNSW photographer credit Felicity Jenkins
    Photograph: Felicity JenkinsArt Gallery of New South Wales
  3. Installation view of Lisa Reihana GROUNDLOOP 2022
    Photograph: AGNSW/Jenni Carter; installation view of Lisa Reihana's 'GROUNDLOOP' 2022
  4. Yayoi Kusama Flowers that Bloom in the Cosmos 2022
    Photograph: AGNSW/Zan Wimberley; Yayoi Kusama's 'Flowers that Bloom in the Cosmos' 2022
  5. Installation view of Adri á n Villar Rojas The End of Imagination 2022 in the Tank gallery
    Photograph: AGNSW/Jörg Baumann; Installation view of Adrián Villar Rojas' 'The End of Imagination' 2022

Time Out says

Comprised of two buildings – including the new world-class Sydney Modern expansion – this is the most significant gallery in the city

Established in 1871, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the leading museum of art in New South Wales and Sydney, and one of Australia's foremost cultural institutions. It holds significant collections of Australian, European and Asian art.

In December 2022, AGNSW officially opened the Sydney Modern Project, an expansive new second museum building touted as the most significant cultural development to be established in the Harbour City since the Sydney Opera House. While everyone and their dog is referring to this gargantuan new gallery as "the Sydney Modern", it is actually officially called the 'Art Gallery of NSW North Building', while the original structure is now called the 'Art Gallery of NSW South Building'. 

You cannot fully comprehend the scale of the mammoth new building – designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA – until you descend down from the ground floor entrance, through the three limestone-clad art pavilions that gently step down towards the harbour, and wander out onto the more than 3,400 square metres of accessible roof ‘art terraces’ and courtyards. Around every corner, new spaces emerge, and reveal with them entirely new styles and arrangements of art. Keep heading down to the fourth level below ground to discover the Tank, an adaptive re-use of a 2,200-square-metre former Second World War fuel bunker.

Rather than obstructing the sweeping views of the city, the architecture of the newer North Building embraces the scenery. Sheer glass-panelled walls, a Wonka-esque glass elevator and layers of escalators with glass railings all work to showcase the landscape as an artwork in its own right. Natural light plays a big role, and on a particularly sunny day the rays stream through those clear walls and the ripped cover to the entrance foyer to light up the indoor and outdoor artworks better than any specially rigged electric lights. 

The Art Gallery of NSW is open every day from 10am to 5pm (except for Christmas Day) and on Wednesday nights it opens the doors until 9pm. Most exhibitions are free to roam, and some blockbuster shows require a ticket.

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross


Art Gallery Road, The Domain
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-5pm

What’s on


If we didn't tell you these artworks were done by teenagers that are probably less than half your age, you wouldn't have a clue. Sorry, we didn't mean to make you feel old, but we're sure all will be forgiven when you're revelling in the new generation of talent. Returning for its annual visit to the Art Gallery of NSW (Feb 8-Apr 21) plus other galleries around the state, ArtExpress proves that great art knows no age limit. Our state's shining showcaser of art is hosting the talents of Year 12 artists from across NSW who laboured rigourously for their Visual Arts course during the HSC.  Amongst the pressure of essays, readings and classwork, Year 12 students studying Visual Arts need to produce a ‘Major Work’; a piece of art that represents and explores the many social and political issues that are close to their hearts as young Australians. Students may approach this major work in whatever media form they prefer, with the ArtExpress exhibition ranging from textile and fibre to photomedia to ceramics – and everything in between. A prized spot on the walls of our state's gallery within this exhibition is possibly one of the greatest forms of recognition for young NSW artists following all the blood, sweat and tears of their art-making process during the HSC. Of the 8,660 Visual Arts major works submitted for examination this year, only 50 have been chosen for the showcase. The artists hail from high schools all over the state, with students from cities, regional suburbs and a

Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night or Has the Night Invaded the Day?

  • Sculpture and installations

A fascinating sight has appeared on the forecourt of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ original South Building, and heads are turning. A monumental spider, which stands more than nine metres high and ten metres wide, made of bronze, steel and marble, is the unmissable first encounter gallery visitors will have with the work of trailblazing French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. The world-famous and seminal arachnidian sculpture, ‘Maman’ (1999), is an ode to the artist’s mother, who she described as “deliberate, clever, patient, soothing… and [as] useful as a spider”.  The colossal sculpture is in Australia for the first time ever as part of the largest and most comprehensive display of the artist’s work ever seen in the Asia Pacific – Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night or Has the Night Invaded the Day? – which opens on Saturday, November 25, as part of the 2023 Sydney International Art Series (closing on April 28, 2024). Her work maintained – and still delivers – a charge of intimacy, urgency and piercing peculiarity... The exhibition spreads across a considerably large footprint, weaving through the Art Gallery campus with the eerily beautiful force of a wave of spiders wrapping the institution in a silken, cobwebbed nest. This is also the first major solo exhibition to be staged in the Art Gallery’s world-class modern North Building, the centrepiece of the Sydney Modern expansion, almost one year since it opened to the public in December 2022.  Moving from

Making Worlds

  • Paintings

With a distinctive art style that probes at the veil between myth and reality, Western Sydney-based Filipina-Australian artist Marikit Santiago’s paintings are a love letter to her family and her culture. It’s not hard to see why Santiago has been named the winner of the 2024 La Prairie Art Award, and you can see her impressive work for yourself now at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Now in its third year, the prestigious La Prairie Art Award is all about championing Australian women artists. A partnership between the Art Gallery of NSW and Swiss luxury skincare house La Prairie, the prestigious award comprises the acquisition of artwork for the Art Gallery collection, as well as an international artist residency in Europe.  Santiago was selected for her two paintings ‘A Seat at the Table (Magulang)’ and ‘A Seat at the Table (Kapatid)’. These tender portraits portray two generations of Santiago’s family – her parents and her sister – with magulang translating to ‘parents’ and kapatid to ‘sibling’ in Tagalog. These award-winning paintings are on display as part of the Making Worlds exhibition on lower level 1 of the Art Gallery’s newer North Building (the star of the Sydney Modern expansion) until late July. (Hot tip: entry is free, and the gallery is open late on Wednesdays.) Encompassing new acquisitions and much-loved collection highlights, the Making Worlds exhibition brings together artists whose work reflects on the complex worlds we create and share, both real and i

Art After Hours

  • Paintings

Every Wednesday evening, the Art Gallery of NSW welcomes you into its hallowed halls and throws the ultimate in absolutely free mid-week social and cultural events. Until 10pm, Art After Hours offers a regular program of live music, lectures and celebrity talks, drawing workshops, film screenings, gallery tours and other events – and, of course, nocturnal access to its latest exhibitions.  The program is usually themed around the exhibitions currently showing at the gallery, and you can join guided tours around the gallery at 5.30pm. Plus, a free courtesy bus runs every 20 minutes from 7pm until closing from the gallery to various city locations that are all close to public transport – so, no matter where you need to go, they have you covered.  Head to Art After Hours to jazz up your Wednesday night, and to inject a liberal splash of arty delight into your week, and your life.  Want more high culture? Check out our list of the best art exhibitions on across Sydney right now.

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