Art media

the art gallery of new south wales reveals its opening program

Step inside the newly expanded Art Gallery of New South Wales

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has unveiled its new exhibitions, collections and first Tank commission with artist Adriàn Villar Rojas, as part of the Modern Sydney Project directed by SANAA. The opening programme, featuring works by over 900 Australian and international artists, will be free to visitors when the art turns museum opens December 3, 2022. Located on Gadigal Country, overlooking Sydney Harbour, the expanded art museum comprises the new building and the existing late 19th century building, connected by an art garden.

“The much-loved existing building has been revitalized with beautifully renovated spaces restoring architectural features and a completely relocated collection in all galleries. Visitors can travel through time, ideas, human stories and contested histories,’ share the gallery.

Art Gallery of New South Wales director Dr Michael Brand says: ‘My vision for the modern Sydney project was to transform the art gallery into an art museum campus with seamless connections between art, architecture and landscape; a generous and intelligent art museum that believes that the art of the past is crucial to understanding the art of our time.’

‘Wall Drawings #955’ by Sol LeWitt in the gallery’s John Kaldor Family Hall
image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Christopher Snee

Offering the world seen from Sydney, the opening program contributes to critical global conversations. Visitors will encounter works across campus that engage, inspire, provoke and delight. Among the recent acquisitions and commissions by artists exhibited for the first time are Khadim Ali, Karla Dickens, Jeffrey Gibson, golden samara, Barkley L Hendricks, Kimsooja, Simone Leigh, Sanne Mestrom, Elizabeth Pulley, Shireen Tawell, Howie Tsui and justene williams.

In the end, the SANAA-designed extension of the art gallery of new south wales’almost doubles our exhibition space and, with a more porous connection between indoors and outdoors, offers new types of spaces for new thinking and new forms of art,’ comments Dr. Brand.

the art gallery of new south wales opening program will be led by adrián villar rojas

The ‘Tank’ area, a former WWII bunker
image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter

Adrián Villar Rojas revealed as inaugural artist

Arts and Tourism Minister Ben Franklin also announced that Argentine-Peruvian Adrián Villar Rojas would be the inaugural artist in charge of the underground gallery known as “Tank”. Located on the lowest level of the new building, the 2,200 m² former World War II oil tank, which has become a spectacular exhibition space, will be brought to life by Villar Rojas’ immersive work, “The End of the ‘imagination’, which will be unveiled when it opens in December.

The project is the culmination of a four-year engagement with the art gallery and is sure to immerse visitors in the world of Villar Roja. The artist is best known for his site-specific collaborative sculptures, including the intervention on The encounter’the roof of New York in 2017.

Villar Rojas, who visited the art gallery for the first time in 2018, says: ‘The project that has grown over the next four years is the product of many hands, many minds, many conversations, many questions and many mediums, including the virtual and the physical. And one of the most important mediums has been time – time to linger in a space, to talk with everyone from archivists to Indigenous curators to conservators, to push ideas and technologies, and to integrate into the project the conditions of a world that has changed massively.

the art gallery of new south wales opening program will be directed by adrián villar rojas

live environmental simulation generated by ‘Time Engine’ software | © Adrian Villar Rojas (2022)
image courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Completion of Art Gallery of New South Wales expansion not only offers more art for more people, but also unveils a hidden treasure – an old WWII naval fuel tank masterfully repurposed into a world-class exhibition space, where visitors will be able to view this first Commission Tank, The End of Imagination,’ Franklin Stocks. ‘Adrián is internationally recognized for his expansive site-specific installations that provide immersive artistic experiences. On behalf of the NSW Government, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to discover its work from December 3rd.

the art gallery of new south wales opening program will be directed by adrián villar rojas

Villar Rojas during his visit to the ‘Tank’
image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Mim Sterling

captivating new spaces and exhibitions to discover

Nine bold and captivating new commissions that will be displayed inside and outside the new building include Francis Upritchard’s “Here Comes Everybody,” a trio of playful pairs of bronze beings that will greet visitors in the Welcome Plaza; “Bial gwiyuŋo” (the fire is not yet lit) by Jonathan Jones, a living work at the heart of the expanded art gallery; Lisa Reihana‘s (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tū) moving image work ‘GROUNDLOOP’, overlooking the central atrium; Richard Legerthe ‘Onsite’ multi-panel painting, and Yayoi Kusamas “Flowers” ​​that bloom in the cosmos, which will be placed prominently on the stepped terrace overlooking Woolloomooloo Bay.

Upon entering the new building, visitors will be greeted by the inaugural exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the new Yiribana Gallery. The collection celebrates the ideas of generosity and caring and emphasizes the connections between people.the art gallery of new south wales opening program will be directed by adrián villar rojas

Yiribana gallery installation view
image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter

Other exhibits include: Dreamhome: stories of art and shelters – artists reflect on ‘home’ from their own richly local perspectives while recording the shared hopes and anxieties that are felt in many places today; make worlds – showcasing ideas of cartography, time, creation and connection centered around Kimsooja’s monumental participatory work Archive of mind in the large columnless gallery; and Outlaw – celebrating the anti-heroes of popular culture in the Art Gallery’s first gallery dedicated to new media.

Meanwhile, ‘From here, for now’ presents works in ten curated rooms and begins with outback Australia as a signifier of national identity, linking it to American stereotypes of foreigners and hidden histories, through works by Charlene Carrington, Rosemary Laing, Robert MacPherson, Richard Prince and Kaylene Whiskey. It also presents a new commission, Simryn Gill’s major new work ‘Clearing’, responding to elements of the natural history of the site of the new building.

the art gallery of new south wales opening program will be led by adrián villar rojas

top: “Rally” (2014) by Nike Savvas, wall: “Solstice” (1974) by Lesley Dumbrell in the 20th century galleries
image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Christopher Snee

Complementing the exhibition are 20th century galleries showcasing works from the art gallery’s Australian and international collections that highlight the connections and distinctions between local artists and wider global developments during some of the most tumultuous, exciting and innovative decades in history of art and humanity. This new exhibit includes Ken Unsworth’s recreation of “Suspended Stone Circle II”, with 103 river stones each weighing around 15kg suspended by 309 threads, now suspended on two levels for the first time in the newly unveiled atrium.

Visitors can also enjoy asian lantern – with the “Correspondence” exhibition marking important moments in Asian art and history, and “Elemental”, which studies the natural elements of earth, water and fire. Last but not least, the Large Courts focuses on the Art Gallery’s historic collections, brought to life by contemporary voices that encourage moments of pause and reflection.

the art gallery of new south wales opening program will be led by adrián villar rojas

‘Suspended stone circle II’ (1974-77, 1988) by Ken Unsworth in 20th Century Galleries
image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Christopher Sneethe art gallery of new south wales opening program will be led by adrián villar rojas

20th century galleries installation view
image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Christopher Snee

project info:

Last name: NSW Art Gallery – part of the Sydney Modern Project

location: Sydney, Australia

architecture: SANAA

inaugural artist: Adrian Villar Rojas

featured artists: 900+