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

Mark Shorter, Hello Stranger, 2017-18, Document Photography

The Biennale is well under way, spreading its wings across seven venues this year. The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry series is now wowing visitors at the Art Gallery of NSW. And Campbelltown has proven itself to be a hot-spot for contemporary art with the brilliant Sheer Fantasy exhibition.

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

Biennale of Sydney

For its 21st edition, the Biennale of Sydney is curated by Mami Kataoka, chief curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo. Kataoka was one of 13 curatorial advisers to Stephanie Rosenthal for the 2016 Biennale of Sydney, and she's pulled together 69 artists for her own program, showing work at seven venues.

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Around Sydney , Sydney Until Monday June 11 2018
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3

Sheer Fantasy

Western Sydney artist David Capra found his initial inspiration for Sheer Fantasy when he saw footage of Big Bird singing 'It's Not Easy Being Green' at Jim Henson's memorial service. He says there was something heartbreaking about the performance, which showed how Henson's creations have taken on an extraordinary life of their own.

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Campbelltown Arts Centre , Campbelltown Until Sunday June 3 2018
4

The Archibald Prize

The Archibald Prize is the exhibition that stops a nation – well, a city anyway. Everyone has an opinion about who and what is most deserving of the $100,000 top gong – and the annual exhibition of fortyish finalists offers plenty to argue over, featuring faces familiar and not, by big name, mid-career and emerging painters.

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Art Gallery of NSW , Sydney Until Sunday September 9 2018
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5

The Sleeper Awakes

There are only nine artists in White Rabbit's The Sleeper Awakes, which takes over four floors of the Chippendale gallery. But there's certainly no shortage of showstoppers or big ideas on display from these forward-thinking practitioners. 

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White Rabbit , Chippendale Until Saturday July 28 2018
6

The Lady and the Unicorn

Exquisite in beauty and craftsmanship, mysterious in origin, and inspirational to writers, poets and musicians over the ages, the six 15th-century tapestries in the ‘Lady and the Unicorn’ series have been called the “Mona Lisa of the Middle Ages”. They are usually found at the Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge (the National Museum of the Middle Ages) in Paris, where they are a huge drawcard for visitors.

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Art Gallery of NSW , Sydney Until Sunday June 24 2018
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7

Frank Hurley: Photographer & Gardener

Frank Hurley lived an extraordinary life in just about every way imaginable. Born in Sydney, he became the official photographer for multiple expeditions to Antarctica, led by Douglas Mawson and Ernest Shackleton, including one in which the party became stranded for two full years, from 1914 to 1916. 

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Manly Art Gallery and Museum , Manly Until Sunday October 14 2018
8

Enough خلاص Khalas

The Arabic word "Khalas" is difficult to translate into English and can mean a number of different things: "stop", "finish", "that’s all", "it’s fine" and "enough!" It's also an appropriate title for this exhibition of Australian Muslim artists, which argues that Australian Muslims have had enough of the fraught sociopolitical pressures they find themselves under every day.

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UNSW Galleries , Paddington Until Saturday July 14 2018
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9

Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy

Christian Thompson is best known for his provocative self portrait photographs, but this exhibition covers 15 years of evolution, with photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. Curated by Charlotte Day and Hetti Perkins, the exhibition explores identity, race and Australia’s colonial history, and Thompson's own experiences. 

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UNSW Galleries , Paddington Until Saturday July 14 2018
10

Common Good

All good design should be functional, but the work in this show extends even beyond that, with design responding to the world’s most pressing social, ethical and environmental challenges. This doesn’t just mean that the designs on show are made from sustainable materials, but many offer up new solutions in and of themselves. 

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Powerhouse Museum , Ultimo Until Sunday December 2 2018
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Step outside the gallery

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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