Urban Decay: Joshua Smith

Art, Sculpture and installations Free
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See Sydney in miniature at this exhibition exploring the beauty of urban decay

Some artists might try to look past the rust, grime and dilapidation of the urban environments they're capturing. Not Joshua Smith. In his first solo exhibition, he takes cities at their most honest – falling apart, covered in unfashionable graffiti – and creates aesthetically intriguing miniature models of buildings and shopfronts, complete with overflowing dumpsters and colourful signage.

The streetscapes on show at the Australian Design Centre include some recognisable Sydney structures that aren’t the focal point for most postcards or ad campaigns. There’s a mouse-sized version of the now closed Olympia Milk Bar in Stanmore, the bright blue Karim building that’s wedged in a sliver of Wentworth Street, and the mad window display of the ginseng shop in Haymarket. You’ll also encounter another milk bar, this time from Joshua's home town Adelaide and a Bodega from Brooklyn, New York.

These intricate creations recognise the identity of cities through their architecture, but also probe questions about urban design and how decay and history might be woven into future development. To explore these concepts further, head to the discussion night on August 22 for insights from urban designers, architects and city planners.

By: Olivia Gee

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