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Reconnecting with the Arts

It’s time to emerge from the warm, Netflix-narrowed depths of our COVID hibernation, and remind ourselves how to behave in public. Because art galleries, museums and some performing arts venues (in minimal capacities) are re-opening their doors to the public! This edition of PULSE takes you through the latest art-offerings around Sydney, and how you can book yourself a safe, exciting, socially-distant experience.

NIRIN – Sydney Biennale

Having only just opened when Australia’s lockdown began, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, titled NIRIN, spread out across six Sydney locations, has sat dormant, patiently waiting for eager art lovers to return once restrictions eased. Exploring almost eerily relevant themes, NIRIN reveals the transformational power of art, demonstrating what artistic director Brook Andrew describes as, “the power to resolve, heal, dismember and imagine futures of transformation for re-setting the world”.

The biennale is artist and First Nations-led, presenting not only an expansive selection of makers and work but inviting communities and artists to work together, exploring issues around sovereignty, healing, connection and transformation. Uniquely, the works are presented alongside what are referred to as “powerful objects” acquired from both private and public collections from around Australia and the world. These objects sit alongside the artworks revealing the potential for a new, unique understanding of the work, and connecting each collection to a range of historical legacies touched on by the artists.

Some Mysterious Pieces – Art Gallery NSW 

Across the park, the NSW Art Gallery’s Some Mysterious Pieces curated by Director Michael Brand showcases a selection of the spectacular international collection that the gallery has acquired over its 50-year history. Taking its title from American artist Philip Guston’s musings on the act of making art: ‘There’s some mysterious process at work here which I don’t even want to understand’, the exhibition weaves together the gallery’s unique history, providing exciting revelations about what future collecting might look like, as the NSW Art Gallery eagerly awaits the completion of the Sydney Modern Project.

Spanning ‘Early Years’, ‘Minimalism and Abstraction’, ‘Universal Ideas’ and ‘Pop Art’ the exhibition features the likes of Dana Schutz, David Hockney, Josef Albers, Yves Klein and one of our favourites, American Roman Catholic nun turned pop artist, Sister Maria Corita Kent. Incorporating elements of songs, magazines, advertising and Catholic scripture, Kent reimagines a world of religion for the 20th century, taking on a distinctly pop-aesthetic. You can also view a selection of Kent’s works at our prestigious Paramount office-space in Surry Hills, alongside our collection of contemporary international and Australian art (see this month’s Guide article).

Red Carpet Cabaret – Darlinghurst Theatre Company

Though it might be a while yet before our theatres are wholly back open to the public, Darlinghurst theatre is providing enthusiastic audiences with a unique soulful evening filled with food, stories and song! Red Carpet Cabaret invites intimate groups of patrons into the Darlinghurst Theatre foyer, for an exquisite three-course dining menu expertly prepared by their restaurant, and specially curated entertainment by some of Australia’s most exciting Cabaret performers.

Back by popular demand, Darlinghurst Theatre will open its doors again throughout July. Check the website for the artist line-up and menu details from the in-house restaurant, Two Trout. Book a table now to catch Friday night’s performance – Julliard-trained Timothy Springs performing an exploration of music influenced and written by African American artists, composers, and poets.

Heading image – ibrahim mahama, no friend but the mountains 2012-2020, 2020, charcoal jute sacks, sacks, metal tags and scrap metal tarpaulin / dimensions variable installation view (2020) for the 22nd biennale of sydney, cockatoo island photo by zan wimberley, courtesy the artist; white cube; and apalazzo gallery, brescia
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