The Art Gallery of NSW has unveiled its newly refurbished 20th century galleries


The newly refurbished 20th century galleries of the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) have officially opened to the public. The galleries now display works by Australian and international artists together, over two floors. This is part of an attempt to give greater context to the role of Australian art in an international landscape and to show international art from a Sydney perspective. Works by Aboriginal artists have been centered to amplify their significance.

The Pukumani burial posts, which were created by Tiwi artists in 1958, are the focal point of one of the rooms, which is also adorned with works by fellow Aboriginal artists Tony Tuckson and Noŋgirrŋa Marawili. Moving image work The story of the Kelly gang offers another perspective on our national history and identity. Brett Whiteley’s work is presented alongside that of his peer, British artist Francis Bacon. And French modernist Pierre Bonnard sits with the work of Sydney artist Grace Cossington-Smith.

“In a change from traditional museum practice, we are showing Australian artists alongside international artists,” AGNSW director Michael Brand said in a statement. “An exhibition like this not only allows us to explore the connections between local artists and global art movements, he says Australian artists have always been international artists and many international artists continue to work in Australia in different ways.”

You will also find works by the Australian sculptor of New Zealand origin Rosalie Gascoigne; Mona Hatoum, Beirut-born British-Palestinian multimedia and installation artist; leading contemporary artist Tracey Moffatt; and the American painter and sculptor Frank Stella. There is also an incredible interactive artwork involving yellow balloons by Scottish Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, installed in the gallery for the first time. And Ken Unsworth’s Hanging Stone Circle IIfavorite of the public, has also been renewed, this time on two levels in the new atrium.

It’s a prelude to the launch of Sydney Modern, which will see a brand new building open at AGNSW on 3 December.


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