Sydney is famous for its light shows, spectacular sports and fireworks, but it’s also a hub of fantastic world-class art galleries. We’ve pulled together a list of the 6 best art galleries in Sydney for you to immerse yourself in.
Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks
One of Sydney’s most well known galleries, the Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates the work of living artists across all art forms, including painting, photography, sculpture, works on paper and moving images. The MCA is conveniently located in prime position in Circular Quay, and seems almost to be floating on the sparkling water looking out onto the iconic sails of the Opera House. It has major exhibitions held throughout the year, and also features a lovely rooftop cafe, sculpture terrace, high-tech education centre and 120-seat lecture theatrette. It’s easy to spend the day in this museum appreciating the work of over 4,000 artists from 1989 till now.
White Rabbit Gallery, Chippendale
White Rabbit Gallery is the home to the world’s largest privately owned collection of 21st Century Chinese art. You may come in expecting to find traditional Chinese paintings, but prepare to be surprised by the subversive and brilliant works on display. Since 2009, the gallery has been wowing audiences with exciting and jaw-dropping exhibitions, with some eye-catching pieces over the years including a suspended castle made entirely of fetish-wear, an entire 3D printed city in miniature and . Every artwork is handpicked by gallery owner Judith Neilson, whose eye for the unusual and beautiful is unmatched. The gallery also includes a gift shop and cafe, where you can sip on authentic Chinese tea and order a plate of dumplings to nibble on underneath beautiful bird cages hanging from the ceiling. The gallery has four floors of exhibition space and hangs two exhibitions a year.
Sophie Tea Art, Manly
Sophie Tea Art in Brookvale is owned by British artist Sophie Tea who is said to be disrupting the art industry with her one-of-a-kind approach. She started her career solely through Instagram, painting nudes of her audience to celebrate the female form and champion body diversity. Her artworks are vibrant, colourful and powerful, and if you are looking for a breath of fresh air, go check out her gallery.
Australia’s largest multi-purpose art centre and urban cultural precinct, Carriageworks is based in the former Eveleigh Railway Workshops. It foregrounds an artist-led program focused on contemporary and performing artists that is committed to social and cultural diversity. It engages artists and audiences with contemporary ideas and issues, hosting everything from global exhibitions and festivals to weekly farmer markets and more.
Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills
Brett Whitely is one of Australia’s most well known artists. In 1985, he bought a warehouse in Surry Hills and converted it into a studio and exhibition space. He lived there from 1988 to 1992, the year he died in Thirroul, and his workplace and home is now open to the public as the Brett Whiteley Studio. This is a unique art space, as alongside exhibitions of his work, you can see his studio preserved as it would have been during his life, including many unfinished paintings, art equipment and even a graffiti wall covered with quotes and images.
Art Gallery of NSW, Woolloomooloo
The Art Gallery of New South Wales is the leading museum of art in NSW and Sydney, and one of Australia’s foremost cultural institutions. Presenting nearly 40 exhibitions annually, the gallery holds significant art collections ranging from Australia and Europe to Asia. It’s also home to the country’s most significant art award – the Archibald Prize – that celebrates portraits of public figures. The gallery also hosts a variety of other prizes and events, attracting over one million visitors annually. The recently opened Sydney Modern project – a $344 million transformation of the art gallery – features a public art garden and revitalised historic building with dynamic galleries, site-specific works by leading Australian and international artists, and extensive outdoor spaces.
If you enjoyed reading about art galleries in Sydney, why not check out some of the top theatres in Sydney to catch a live show?
Or, if you’re looking for a massive guide to all the unique cultural experiences in Australia, click here.
Travel to Sydney
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