With its magnificent Harbour backdrop and glorious weather, Sydney is a fabulous city for spending a day (or several) dropping in and out of art galleries. You can choose between major players, like the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art, where you’ll be treated to masterpieces and significant temporary exhibitions, and independent laneway affairs, where you’ll get the chance to acquaint yourself with specialised collections and local artists. Here’s a hand picked selection of the best places to go.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales
Perched on the edge of the domain and just a stone’s throw from the Harbour, the Art Gallery of New South Wales (or AGNSW) is housed in a gorgeous nineteenth century building, featuring expansive rooms and high ceilings. There are some great hotels in Sydney near it. The permanent collection is impressive, including a wide range of Australian works, plus there’s a constantly evolving program of temporary exhibitions, special events and talks. Between November 2014 and March 2015, for example, the gallery will host Australia’s biggest ever Pop Art showcase, displaying works from lenders all over the world. Featured artists will include Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and many others. The AGNSW is open seven days a week between 10am till 5pm. Entry to the permanent collection is free, but there’s sometimes an admission fee for temporary exhibitions.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
A fifteen-minute walk from the AGNSW will get you to the Museum of Contemporary Art (or MCA), situated right on Circular Quay. You can see the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the front steps (and from the top floor bar, should all the art-perusing work up a thirst!). The MCA is the only museum in Australia that’s 100 percent committed to contemporary art. Its permanent collections and visiting shows are sourced from both within Australia and all over the planet. It is open every day between 10am and 5pm. Entry is free, though you might have to pay a small fee for special exhibitions.