Sydney International Art Series
Noted British installation artist Cornelia Parker has taken chunks of dry earth excavated from underneath the Leaning Tower of Pisa (part of the works to prevent it from collapsing) and strung thousands of pieces from gallery ceilings. She’s also coopted 200 individuals (including musician Brian Eno, writer and public intellectual Germaine Greer, and whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange) to help embroider a meticulous, 13-metre hand-stitched reproduction of a screenshot of Wikipedia’s 2014 entry on the Magna Carta.

She takes domestic objects and flattens them with a steamroller, transforms charred fragments into loaded monuments, and creates installations that keep you motionless – transfixed – just like the objects she suspends in the air.

Her retrospective – more than 40 works on show at the MCA – is part of the summer Sydney International Art Series, a NSW Government initiative that’s about bringing blockbuster shows to the harbour city.

Also part of the series: Japan Supernatural, a deep dive into the mythical world of Japanese folklore and fantasy. It’s one of the AGNSW’s best shows in years, and includes 180 psychedelic, demonic, ancient and mischievous depictions of the creatures that inhabit the spirit realm and have inspired Japanese artists since the 1700s. Don’t miss the new 10-metre-long commission by contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, and the spooky Dark Arts film series.

Cornelia Parker is showing at the MCA until February 16, 2020. More info here.
Japan Supernatural is at the AGNSW until March 8, 2020. More info here.

Would the graduates please stand
November means one thing for Sydney’s art-school kids, and that’s a packed social calendar of graduate exhibitions with wine by donation. For anyone not in art school, it’s your once-a-year chance to immerse yourself in the local scene and see some incredible work from Sydney’s up-and-comers.

The National Art School’s MFA exhibitions kick off first. Among the works by the 170 masters graduates, look out for ephemeral tintype photography and intricate porcelain sculptures created with a piping bag and traditional icing techniques. In late November, the annual Sydney College of the Arts Degree Show will be spread across the old Rozelle campus, encompassing sculpture, painting and photo media. Then UNSW’s Art & Design Annual will follow in early December.

The National Art School’s MFA exhibition is on until November 17. More info here. The SCA’s Degree Show is on from Tuesday, November 26 until Sunday, December 1 at the Rozelle Campus. More info here. UNSW’s Art & Design Annual is on from Wednesday, December 4 until Saturday, December 14. More info here.

An augmented-reality app that brings to life ancient modes of communication between Indigenous groups across Australia; a virtual-reality experience that’ll transport you into the world of an Indigenous elder and the Martu people of the remote Western Australian desert; and a relational work that encourages you to sit with other visitors and share stories: these are just three of the inventive works in this all-star exhibition that examines concepts of songline, lineage and cultural legacy from the perspectives of 10 leading Indigenous artists.

Linear is at the Powerhouse Museum from Friday, November 15 until June 30, 2020. More info here.

Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail
The fires that have devastated NSW have had a tragic impact on our koala population. Fortuitously, The Royal Botanic Garden has a free, family-friendly koala exhibition on right now (conceived by Arts and Health Australia) to remind us city folks how special these creatures are: visit before November 30 to walk the trail dotted with more than 20 one-metre-tall fiberglass koala sculptures hand-painted by Australian artists.

Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail is at the Royal Botanic Garden until November 30, 2019. More info here.