Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right The best art exhibitions in Sydney this month

The best art exhibitions in Sydney this month

Cash strapped? Time poor? Take a tour of beauty with one (or more, go on) of these must-see art exhibitions
The Beehive Sydney Festival 2019
Photograph: Philippa Bateman
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As we enter the final weeks of summer, a bunch of our gallery's major blockbusters are entering their final stretch. Don't miss the Art Gallery of NSW's Masters of Modern Art from the Hermitage, including works from Picasso, Matisse and Monet, or the Museum of Contemporary Art's showcase of the extraordinary work of South African photographer David Goldblatt. And your Instagram followers will never forgive you if you don't get along to American supersta artist Nick Cave's art wonderland at Carriageworks. 

Looking to get out of the gallery? See the best public art in Sydney. And if you're after something a touch more dramatic, here's our hit-list of the best theatre in Sydney this month.

1
Modern masters from the Hermitage 2018 AGNSW Matisse
Art, Galleries

Masters of modern art from the Hermitage

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
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The Art Gallery of NSW's Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age attracted 130,000 people last summer, showcasing works from the 17th century held by Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. For this summer, the AGNSW is travelling east and skipping forward a few centuries with 65 paintings from St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum.

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3
Nick Cave "Until"
Photograph: James Prinz
Art, Installation

Nick Cave: UNTIL

icon-location-pin Carriageworks, Eveleigh
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American artist Nick Cave – not to be confused with the Australian singer-songwriter – is bringing 16,000 wind spinners, 24 chandeliers, 10 miles of crystals, thousands of ceramic birds and one crocodile to Sydney. Cave’s Until is a mammoth new installation work coming to Carriageworks.

4
David Goldblatt Museum of Contemporary Art 2018
Image courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg © the artist
Art, Photography

David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948–2018

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks
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For this year's big summer exhibition, the MCA is changing directions drastically and presenting an exhibition of mostly black-and-white photos by South African photographer David Goldblatt.

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5
Terror Nullius
Photograph: Supplied
Art

Just Not Australian

icon-location-pin Artspace, Wooloomooloo
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Just one day before it was due to premiere in Melbourne in 2018, Sydney duo Soda_Jerk's latest film lost the support of the philanthropic trust that contributed $100,000 to its development. Now that film is coming to Sydney.

6
The Beehive Sydney Festival 2019
Photograph: Philippa Bateman
Art, Film and video

The Beehive

icon-location-pin UNSW Galleries, Paddington
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It was more than four decades ago that journalist and anti-development activist Juanita Nielsen disappeared from the streets of Sydney. Nobody knows exactly what happened to her, but it’s believed she met a violent end due to her opposition to the development of Victoria Street, where tenants were being evicted to make way for more apartment blocks.

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7
Brett Whiteley: Drawing is Everything
© Wendy Whiteley, Photograph: AGNSW
Art

Brett Whiteley: Drawing is Everything

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
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Brett Whiteley was known for a few things: his boldly colourful, world-conquering paintings; his provocative sculptures; and not least, his often tumultuous personal life. But despite the fact that he could sometimes be divisive, the art world is pretty united in its opinion of his drawing skills: he was one of the best. 

8
Destination Sydney: Re-imagined 2018
Nicholas Harding, 'Central Hall', 2007
Art

Destination Sydney: Re-imagined

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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In the summer of 2016, three Sydney galleries joined together for an exhibition all about our city, featuring Australian born and bred artists famous for exploring their connection to Sydney. Now the galleries have rekindled their collaboration with this reimagining of that initial exhibition. Each gallery will show three artists, with more than 130 works across the three locations. At Manly Art Gallery and Museum, you can see Ken Done, Adrian Feint and Ethel Carrick-Fox; Michael Johnson, Robert Klippel and Roy De Maistre’s paintings can be found at Mosman Art Gallery; Wendy Sharpe, Nicholas Harding and Jeffrey Smart’s works are at the SH Ervin Gallery. All of the artists explore what it is to live and work in Sydney. The artists were all selected because of their active engagement with the city, and the way they represent both the harbour and CBD in their works. The idea is that when you travel between the three galleries, you’ll think about the landscape and urban space between each venue. Ethel Carrick-Fox’s work resembles early impressionist painting, exploring light and pastel colouring found along the harbour and beachside suburbs of Balmoral and Manly – which is fitting because you can see her work at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum. It’d be difficult to miss the unmistakably female view of Sydney in Wendy Sharpe’s sensual paintings, which reveal a lot of what’s usually unseen in this city, hidden in the night. You can see Sharpe’s work presented at SH Ervin Gal

Step outside the gallery

Jenny Munro
Photograph: Ken Leanfore
Art, Public art

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. 

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