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Exhibitions To See This Summer

Exhibitions To See This Summer

This summer holidays, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to major exhibitions and art events. Here’s a taste of what’s on in Australia right now.


If you’re going to be seen anywhere in Sydney this summer, let it be Sydney Modern, the new wing of the Art Gallery of NSW. The ‘once in a generation’ opening marks what has been described as the city’s most significant arts venue since the Opera House, and the new building spectacularly unites landscape, architecture and art with unbelievable gallery spaces and site-specific works that are certain to wow. If there’s one space that should not be overlooked, it’s the Tank, a subterranean exhibition hall in a fuel bunker. Argentine-Peruvian sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas was charged with the Tank’s inaugural commission, The End of Imagination, which will enthral visitors until mid 2023.
To the delight of Sydneysiders, Do Ho Suh’s first solo exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere is now on at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition covers three decades of the renowned artist’s work across a range of media — you may already be familiar with his architectural installations. These life-size replicas of dwellings and transitory spaces are fashioned from colourful translucent fabric and address contemporary arrangements of space and the borders that bodies travel through. It’s on until February 26, 2023.
Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse at the National Gallery of Victoria
Barbara Hepworth at Heide Museum of Modern Art


Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse
The crème de la crème of fashion exhibitions has arrived at the National Gallery of Victoria. Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse is a celebration and exploration of the late Lee Alexander McQueen’s body of work, as well as the inspiration and creative process behind it. The exhibition showcases over 120 garments from some of McQueen’s most breathtaking, controversial and autobiographical collections including his last, Plato’s Atlantis. Offering audiences unprecedented insight into the designer’s singular virtuosity and imagination, this retrospective is on until April, 2023.
It’s surprising that this is the first exhibition of Barbara Hepworth’s work in Australia given her influence and international recognition. Then again, that’s all the more reason to visit Heide Museum of Modern Art for this survey of the sculptor’s career. The exhibition space was designed by local architecture firm Studio Bright to accomodate Hepworth’s works including stone, wood and bronze sculptures, making this a unique way to explore the British artist’s oeuvre and the shifts in her practice over time. On until March 13, 2023.


Cressida Campbell 
Enter the beautiful world of Cressida Campbell at the National Gallery of Australia, which is hosting a major retrospective of her work. Campbell is among Australia’s most successful contemporary artists working with painting and printmaking, and while her career is panoramic in scope, her observations and compositions are delicate in nature and explore the minutiae of domestic life. Until February 19, 2023, you can see over 140 of Campbell’s woodblock paintings and woodcut prints depicting everything from coastal landscapes to nasturtium cuttings.


For its new summer exhibition, Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art grapples with air — a life-giving yet volatile element. The theme invites artists to explore the tensions and dimensions of air, from the political to the ecological, through atmospheric artworks installed across GOMA’s ground floor. On until April 23, 2023, there are winged sculptures in flight and dancing lights, and the pièce de résistance is Tomás Saraceno’s Drift: A cosmic web of thermodynamic rhythms, its 15 transparent and mirrored spheres suspended in the air. 
Cressida Campbell at the National Gallery of Australia
Tomás Saraceno: OCEANS OF AIR at MONA


Tomás Saraceno: OCEANS OF AIR
The futuristic imagination of Argentine contemporary artist Tomás Saraceno can also be inhaled at MONA, which has unveiled a unmissable exhibition of his work. Fascinated by science, engineering, nature, technology and design, Sacareno is attuned to the impact we have had on our planet, and his artworks are manifestations of his ever-curious mind — there’ll be spellbinding spider webs, radio frequencies from the earth’s outer atmosphere and dust collected from the museum. On until July 24, 2023, there’s plenty of time to see the exhibition.


Nalini Malani: Gamepieces
Recognised as being among India’s first generation of video artists, Nalini Malani’s inventive mixed-media works are rich and politically charged. In the 1980s, the pioneering artist introduced feminist issues into her work, in the 1990s she began presenting conceptual theatre and installation pieces, and now in 2022 Malani’s internationally-acclaimed practice is celebrated in a major Australian survey. Exclusive to the Art Gallery of South Australia, it closes January 22, 2023.


Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards
Take in the best contemporary art from around Australia at Telstra NATSIAA, the longest running and most prestigious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. With works from emerging and established artists, this is an awe-inspiring display of the talent and diversity of current contemporary Indigenous artistic practice. This year’s major prize winner was Margaret Rarru Garrawurra with Dhomala (pandanus sail) 2022, a woven artwork expertly created using natural dyes. You can see her winning work, and many more, until January 15, 2023.


Fall into the fantastical world of Lewis Carroll at Western Australian Museum, where not everything is what it seems. Perfect for Alice in Wonderland fans of all generations, the touring exhibition travels through time, with original picture books and moving images from the animated movie to an interactive Mad Hatter’s tea party and the chance to create a personalised avatar at the Queen of Hearts’ croquet match. It’s joyful, magical and open until April 23, 2023.


Further Reading

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Art Exhibitions To See This Month

We’ve compiled a guide to the exhibitions you won’t want to miss.

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The Art Exhibitions To See This Spring

The Art Exhibitions To See This Spring

Spring has arrived, and with it comes an incredible line-up of art exhibitions. Here’s a guide to some of the most exciting shows and major art events taking place in...

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