As the weather outside heats up and people swarm our harbour, there’s no better time to get comfortable than inside a gallery. Plenty of quality work is showing over the summer months around the inner city.
1. Pipilotti Rist Sip my Ocean at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Until 18 February
The MCA’s summer blockbuster is always a good bet. The major new exhibition from the pioneering Swiss video and multimedia artist promises a stunning kaleidoscopic environment. The show surveys Rist’s groundbreaking practice, from her single-channel videos of the 1980s to the artist’s large-scale audio-visual installations today.
2. Robert Mapplethorpe The Perfect Medium at the Art Gallery of NSW
Until 4 March
Many would be intimately familiar with the famous 20th century photographer through Patti Smith’s pulsating book Just Kids. Now is the time to see Mapplethorpe’s work here in Sydney. With his camera, he captured the shift from New York’s counter-cultural politics of the 1960s to the excess and image consciousness of the 1980s. He called photography “the perfect medium” for the 1970s and 80s “when everything was so fast”.
3. Lee Kun-Yong Equal Area at 4a
20 January–25 February
Meet Lee Kun-Yong, one of Korea’s most seminal conceptual artists. His performance practice emerged in South Korea in the 1970s, when the country suffered diminished civil rights and martial law. He explores the relationship between the mind and the body through experimental work that often involves repetition.
4. Heavenly Creatures, Coca-Colonized and We are infinite at Verge Gallery
1 March–7 April
Three exhibitions explore the varied effects imperialism and colonialism. In Heavenly Creatures, artists Louisa Afoa, Natasha Matila-Smith and Molly Rangiwai-McHale capture ideas around bodily and cultural sovereignty. In Coca-Colonized, Marikit Santiago looks at colonial occupation in the Philippines and the globalisation of American culture through popular American products. Finally, Nicole Barakat’s textile works respond to objects held in the Nicholson Museum from the artist’s ancestral homelands in the South West Asia and North Africa (SWANA) region.
For other ideas on summer activities, art or otherwise, head to What’s On.