Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art
Where else in Sydney can you see a cybernetic dance performed with the aid of a spirit medium and a digital avatar? Performance Space’s annual showcase of experimental art returns to enliven Carriageworks with 10 days of electric performance art, late-night music and feminist sound works. Don’t miss Lauren Brincat’s large-scale drumming installation – the first major commission of an Australian female artist in Carriageworks’ public space. Gin purveyor Bombay Sapphire is taking over the bar, while Sonic Nightcap is a free series of after-hours parties featuring electronic music, pop and sound art.

Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art is on at Carriageworks from Thursday October 17 until Sunday October 27, 2019. More info here.

Sydney Craft Week
Take a crafty train ride from Sydney to Thirroul, just outside Wollongong, and end your commute with a polymer clay beaded necklace and rag rug made at a workshop along the way. Other events include a visit to the studio of an eyewear designer, where you can learn to make your own pair of glasses, and Craft Up Late – three nights of talks, demos and touring the studios of local makers.

Craft Week organisers at the Australian Design Centre have this year partnered with artisan workshop marketplace ClassBento for 10 days of exhibitions, talks, markets, workshops and open studios, with events reaching from the inner-city suburbs to greater Sydney and beyond.

Sydney Craft Week is on at multiple venues across Sydney from Friday October 11 until Sunday October 20, 2019. More info here.

Sculpture by the Sea
While the full list of works are yet to be announced, this is one outdoor exhibition that should be in everyone’s October calendar. More than 100 sculptures by both Australian and international artists will occupy the iconic coastal trail stretching from Bondi to Tamarama for what might be the last time – rumour has it they’re scouting for a new home in 2020.

Sculpture by the Sea is on at Bondi Beach from Thursday October 24 until Sunday November 10, 2019. More info here.

Western Sydney has a new artist-run initiative: Pari. After a successful crowd-funding campaign, this talented art crew has transformed a cafe into Parramatta’s first independent contemporary art space. At inaugural exhibition 10 Degrees Hotter, see 10 cutting edge-artists with a connection to Sydney’s west reflect on current environmental and cultural climates. The show includes a new installation of tasty treats by Mechelle Bounpraseuth, arguably one of Sydney’s coolest ceramicists, with a penchant for hot chips and party pies.

10 Degrees Hotter is on at Pari from October 12 until November 20, 2019. More info here.

In the galleries
Primavera returns to the MCA with an exhibition of seven young up-and-comers curated by Sydney-based artist Mitch Cairns. Look out for works hidden from view in packing crates, painted on the front of the MCA, and offsite in an artist-run space in Camperdown.

Primavera is on at the MCA from Friday October 11 until Sunday February 9, 2020. More info here.

For Carriageworks’ Eternal Opening, the boundary-pushing performance artist Mike Parr will create a gallery inside a gallery with a reconstruction of his 2017 performance Left Field [For Robert Hunter]. Inside the fabricated white walls there will be video documentation of past works, and Parr will perform live twice during the exhibition’s run.

The Eternal Opening is on at Carriageworks from Friday October 25 until Sunday December 8, 2019. More info here.

Small in stature but big in ideas (and prize money), the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize this year celebrates its 19th iteration with 43 finalists who have responded to the social and environmental issues of our time.

Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize is on at Woollahra Council Chambers from Friday October 11 until Sunday November 3, 2019. More info here.

And if you want to see what 300 budgerigars in an artist’s studio looks like, head to Olsen Gallery for photographer Leila Jeffreys’ intimate and high-focus avian portraits.

Leila Jeffreys’ High Society is at the Olsen Gallery from October 16 until November 9, 2019. More info here.