The 22nd Biennale of Sydney
The 12-week, mostly free 22nd Biennale of Sydney is all about firsts. It’s the first time the festival has been helmed by an Indigenous Australian artistic director (Brook Andrew), and the first time events will be performed in spaces not usually associated with the arts. There’ll be poetry slams and hip-hop performances in Aesop stores, and film screenings at the Old Clare Hotel and QT Sydney. The festival’s even taking dancing and art making to residents of an aged-care home. You can be transported to Cockatoo Island on a wooden ferry launched in 1947 that’s been reimagined with Pasifika women’s markings, or take a guided Indigenous bushwalk through Dharawal National Park (near Campbelltown) with Aunty Deidre Martin. Additionally, there will be shows at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artspace, Campbelltown Arts Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Art School.
The theme for the artist- and First Nations-led festivals is “Nirin”, which means “edge” in the language of the Wiradjuri people of central NSW (where Andrew’s mum comes from). He says Nirin offers a space for the 100-plus artists to gather and share, to rejoice, disrupt and re-imagine the world, and to challenge dominant narratives. This is particularly relevant this year, the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s landing. Expect 87 days of some of the most thought-provoking work you’ve seen in Sydney in a long time.
The 22nd Biennale of Sydney is on at venues across Sydney from Saturday March 14 until Monday June 8, 2020. More info here.
Sydney’s biggest art-athon is here, and everyone’s on the guest list. Bold, refreshing and far from exclusive, this 24-day art fest returns for another year to introduce the best of Sydney’s contemporary art scene – and make it fun in the process.
Every Friday after work, you can head to a different precinct for Art at Night – a neighbourhood gallery walking tour that kicks on with a party of performances, DJs and dancing. At Collectors’ Space: Finders, Lovers, Keepers, showing this year at Chippendale’s Shapiro Annex, you can get a glimpse inside the private art collections of some of Sydney’s biggest collectors and hear how they discovered some of their most beloved pieces. Or head to Woolloomooloo’s Jerico Contemporary for a talk between the gallery director, Russh’s editor in chief and two artists from the Jerico stable about the intersection of fashion and art. Oh, and there’s about 100 more exhibitions, workshops and events in art spaces spanning from Chippendale all the way to Parramatta.
Art Month is on across Sydney until March 29, 2020. More info here.
And Now: the second decade of White Rabbit
The second installment of White Rabbit’s blockbuster 10th anniversary celebrations, And Now, follows on from Then, looking to the second decade (2011 to 2019) of founder and director Judith Neilson’s revered personal collection of contemporary Chinese art.
Take a journey through Zhu Jinshi’s The Ship of Time and wonder at the 14,000 sheets of xuan paper, 1800 pieces of fine bamboo and 2000 cotton threads that it took studio assistants months to assemble. Also, catch critical and absurdist video works that depict everything from the power of bitcoin to a policeman held captive by a group of fugitive artists.
And Now is on at White Rabbit Gallery from Wednesday March 11 until Sunday August 2, 2020. For more info, see here.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
If your feed is mostly filled with cuddly koalas, fluffy doggos and sweet, prickly hedgehogs, you won’t want to miss the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. From an international entry pool of more than 50,000 snaps, the finalists’ exhibition offers 100 chances for close-up encounters with some of the world’s weirdest and most magnificent wildlife captured in stunning, primal moments.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is on at Australian National Maritime Museum until October 11, 2020. More info here.
The Other Art Fair
How often do you get the chance to see more than 130 of Australia’s most exciting emerging young artists in one place? Not often. Or rather, when the Other Art Fair swings into town. This year, it celebrates its seventh Sydney edition with a new, carefully selected batch of unrepresented art world up-and-comers.
If you’re looking to buy some original art for your home, this is the perfect opportunity to meet the artists and browse works such as the warped urban cityscapes by Sydney-based illustrator Sophie Corks and the finger-knitted artworks of Gold Coast maker Melissa Spratt. If you’re not in the market to buy, there’s plenty more to keep you entertained. Get a hand-poked tattoo (done with a needle rather than an electric tattoo gun) by Hello Hunter, who’ll be doing live inking; do some life drawing using vibrant UV fluorescent paints; take an art tour; or immerse yourself in a burger-based VR experience.
The Other Art Fair is on at The Cutaway at Barangaroo from Thursday March 19 until Sunday March 22, 2020. More details here.
What’s yours? Created out of the belief our world needs a bit more happiness, this multisensory themed exhibit (and site of more than a dozen marriage proposals) from LA has landed on the Broadway Sydney rooftop just as summer comes to an end. Happiness, in this case, comes in the form of rooms filled with giant rainbows, indoor confetti domes, a chocolate-chip cookie-scented space and a backdrop that Instagram dreams are made of: a room blooming with 40,000 golden handmade flowers.
Happy Place is on at Broadway Sydney until Sunday May 3, 2020. More info here.