Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - review by Rusty Compass
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Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

| 06 Jan 2023
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery Rd, Sydney - short scenic walk from St James Station and Hyde Park
06 Jan 2023

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is a uniquely Australian gallery and Sydney’s premier art institution.  It's located not far from the middle of the city in a spectacular neo-classical building looking across the historic Domain - a short picturesque walk from central Hyde Park. In November 2022 Sydney Modern, a major expansion of the gallery opened next door.

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The Art Gallery of New South Wales is a five floor exhibition space with a huge permanent collection of Australian and international art. Regular special exhibitions feature local and international works. This is a quality institution and one of the best things to see in Sydney. The gallery houses one of Australia’s foremost collections of Indigenous art and the Asian collection is impressive too.

In November 2022, Sydney Modern a massive expansion of the gallery, opened and makes an already compelling gallery, even more interesting.

The New South Wales Art Gallery is a great place to get a sense of how British colonial artists interpreted Australia's unique landscape in the 1800s.

The past 50 years has seen a welcome shift to a more extensive coverage of Indigenous and regional art that is boosted further by Sydney Modern's Yirabana First Nations Gallery.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Sydney Modern - Sydney's newest art space
Photo: Mark Bowyer Sydney Modern - Sydney's newest art space
Yiribana Gallery of First Nations Art - Sydney Modern
Photo: Mark Bowyer Yiribana Gallery of First Nations Art - Sydney Modern

In November 2022, NSW Art Gallery opened Sydney Modern, a major $334 millionAU expansion next to the existing building.

As the name suggests, the focus at Sydney Modern is on modern art with a special focus on contemporary Australian Indigenous work.

Expensive new cultural institutions rarely materialise without controversy and this one has generated plenty; from the location and architecture, to the roster of local philanthropists who have been major funders - an assortment of high powered Sydney property, finance and gambling moguls. You'll note the names as you peruse the exhibitions.

Whatever the criticism, Sydney Modern adds new depth to an already impressive NSW Art Gallery experience.

Art Gallery of New South Wales opened in these premises in 1897. Prolific colonial architect Walter Liberty Vernon was the architect. Vernon's other major classical work is the NSW State Library - also home to an interesting collection of art.

Admission to the permanent exhibition is free. There are usually admission fees on special exhibitions.

There's a great cafe with views over Woolloomooloo Bay.

For our other gallery tips, head check out our listing here.

Rusty Compass listings are always independent. We list the places we think you should know about. That's it. We will always disclose any commercial arrangements.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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