Richard Bell, Scientia E Metaphysica (Bell's Theorem) (2003)

5 Art Exhibitions to Pencil in for Summer

Hooray, we can go look at nice things again! In the flesh! With people around!

I don’t really know what it is about art exhibitions that I love so much, but there’s just something that can’t be replicated through a screen. Perhaps it’s the background noise of a mum relentlessly telling her kids to be quiet or the snippets of conversations you overhear with words like ‘wow’ or ‘feel.’ Not sure, all I know is that I’m damn excited to get back to pondering how the heck anyone can draw anything better than a stick man. Here’s a list of the best art exhibitions to go feast your eyes on this summer.

Henri Matisse The sorrow of the king (La tristesse du roi) 1952

Henri Matisse, Life & Spirit, Art Gallery of NSW 

Shake off all the winter gloom with France’s favourite colour boy, Henri Matisse. More than 100 of his vibrantly renowned creations including painting, sculptures, drawings and cutouts will be on show at the Art Gallery of NSW. This is the largest of Matisse’s collections to ever be exhibited in Sydney, showing works from his career spanning six-decades and including pieces Australia has yet to see in the flesh. Get your dose of colour from November 20th to March 13th.

Patrick Olodoodi Tjungurrayi, Untitled (Two goanna ancestors) 1999

The Purple House, Art Gallery of NSW

Also showing at the Art Gallery of NSW until February 2022 is a collection of historically significant works by Pintupi artists from the Western Desert. The Purple House is a First Nations-run, not-for-profit health service that was established through the donation of large scale canvases, raising enough money to fund healthcare in remote communities. If you want to see art that helps save lives, this is it.

Botanical illustrations, Agard Hagman 1880-90. Photograph by Zan Wimberley.

Eucalyptusdom, Powerhouse Museum

A tree so iconic that deserves its own show. The Eucalyptusdom exhibition is running from now until May 2022 at the Powerhouse Museum and features over 400 pieces inspired by the gum. While it might just be another tree to some, this show highlights the gum’s important role in Australia’s Federation arts movement and relationship with First Nation Australians. Eucalyptusdom is the title of a text by Australia’s earliest conservationist, Edward F Swain—a nod to the conservation efforts of past and present in protecting this mighty tree that has been in the background of every Aussie’s life.

Kevin Chin, Tunnel Vision

Kevin Chin, Never Closer, Martin Browne Contemporary 

Support our fellow Melbournians (who did the toughest lockdown in the world) by heading along to our pal Kevin Chin show Never Closer at Martin Browne Contemporary in Paddington. Unable to go more than 5km from his home, Kevin Chin’s art provides an escape from reality by connecting all different landscapes and scenes into a trippy dreamscape. This one is on show until November 7.

Richard Bell, From Little Things, Big Things Grow, 2020

Richard Bell, You Can Go Now, MCA

One of Australia’s most impactful First Nation artists and activists, Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang man Richard Bell has a new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. You Can Go Now showcases Richard’s 30-year career of political artworks, paintings, and installations. A retelling of First Nation oppression with satirical humour that shines a light on post-colonialism while imagining a new way forward from October 12 to November 7.

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