The Best Art Shows to See in Sydney This Month


These are not your run-of-the-mill art shows.

This November, it’s time to get out there and prove to your friends and family that you are a well-rounded creative individual who can wax lyrical about the ins and outs of the Australian art scene. Do it with these five art shows.

Japan Supernatual – Art Gallery of NSW

There are some huge shows opening this November, and none bigger than Japan Supernatural at the Art Gallery of NSW. This exhibition features some of Japan’s biggest and best artists exploring the ghouls and goblins of their cultural folklore. Included in the exhibition is renowned artist Takashi Murakami, whose influence on the art world has been prolific over the last 10 years, bringing the world of whimsical anime into fine art with spectacular results. The contemporary is a perfect curatorial companion to the historical works of artists like Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, who explores bandits and thieves in woodblock prints. Also, this exhibition features Sydney local and all-around legend Kentaro Yoshida, so get there and show some support.

On show until 8th March, 2020. 

The Immoral Symmetry – Nanda/Hobbs

Jonathan Dalton is a loveable Irish larrikin with a knowledge and skill in painting that’s unparalleled in the Australian art world right now. The three-time Archibald finalist’s show is opening on the 21st of November at Chippendale’s Nanda/Hobbs Gallery, and is set to be one of his finest yet. His new series of photorealistic works have plenty of hidden meanings and surreal narratives embedded within. With Dee Smart’s new body of work, A Synopsis of Love opening the same night in the project space of Nanda Hobbs, it’ll be a night you won’t want to miss. The drinks will be flowing and the conversation will be golden.

On show 21 November.

Deadly Prey Gallery Group Show – China Heights

China Heights prove their legendary curation skills yet again, by teaming up with Chicago-based gallery, Deadly Prey, to bring you something amazingly left of centre: hand-painted movie posters from Ghana and West Africa, complete with vibrant colours and 1980’s pop culture references. These posters were once the product of a much larger industry known as the ‘Ghanaian Mobile Cinema,’ a business that started in the late 80s when people formed video clubs. With a TV, VCR, VHS tapes and a portable generator, they’d travel throughout Ghana setting up make-shift screening areas in villages without electricity. With no affordable access to printing, the hand-painted movie poster was the most logical advertising vehicle. Skilled local artists brought their own unique touch to advertising these films, creating a unique viewpoint of each film from a non-western background.

On show through November.

Continuum – Jerico Contemporary

The first thing you’ll think when you walk into this show is, ‘How the hell did he do that?!’ Matthew Graeme Johnson’s new body of photographs will definitely stop you in your tracks. Using long exposure techniques to capture the movement of waves, Matthew is able to make something new and refreshing. His creations are less photographs, more abstract indigo watercolours that resemble brushwork of early 1800’s Japanese art, but with the spontaneity of a Cy Twombly work. We may just have a new Aussie art star rising from the shores of Byron.

On show until 16th of November.

Cornelia Parker – MCA

Cornelia Parker’s retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art explores many themes, but a through-line is creating something new from the discarded or destroyed. One of the most prominent works that need to be seen in the flesh is Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, in which Parker took a garden shed, filled it with the detritus of human memory not important enough to have in the house (but too important to throw out), and had the British army set off a bomb inside. The pieces were then collected and meticulously reconstructed floating in the air with fishing line, recreating the moment the blast happened frozen in time. This show is a must-see and will challenge your ideas about contemporary sculpture and installation.

On show until 16th of February, 2020. 

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