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A Heap of Huge Australian Art Events Have Teamed Up to Create the Country's First Art Grand Tour

The Biennale of Sydney, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art and more want you to make stunning exhibitions your next reason for a getaway — or to play tourist in your own town.
By Sarah Ward
February 09, 2024
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By Sarah Ward
February 09, 2024
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Take a number of similar events, link them together, then get everyone turning hitting them all up into an event itself. To paraphrase the late, great Carl Weathers in Arrested Development: baby, you've then got a crawl or tour going. Pub and bar crawls do it, as do wine walks. Now, so is Australia's first Art Grand Tour, which is popping up to celebrate a heap of exhibitions and art events taking place in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide across the first half of 2024.

This is the first time that the Biennale of Sydney, Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art and PHOTO 2024 International Festival of Photography in Melbourne, all three of which are free to attend, have teamed up in such a way. The idea is encourage not only folks in each event's own city to attend, but to spark multi-stop getaways based on seeing the trio.

Felicity Jenkins

A range of fellow exhibitions and events have also joined in, so the full tour includes Melbourne Art Fair, NGV Triennial and MPavilion 10 by Tadao Ando in Melbourne; Adelaide Festival in South Australia; and the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Art Gallery New South Wales, plus projections on the Sydney Opera House. Think of it as your go-to itinerary for exploring the best art that's on show across Australia's southeast, whether you want to check out famous towering spider sculptures, architectural installations or a room-sized ode to plants.

The three key events are reason enough to head to Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide anyway — or to play tourist in your own town if you live there. The Biennale of Sydney is celebrating its 50th-anniversary year, embracing the theme "ten thousand suns" and featuring pieces by 88 artists and collectives from 47 countries. And, it's opening White Bay Power Station to the public for the first time in over a century as part of the event, which runs from Saturday, March 9–Monday, June 10.

In SA, the 18th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is focusing on the human condition, complete with 24 artists and poets featured. You can head along from Friday, March 1–Sunday, June 2.

PHOTO 2024 marks its third edition from Friday, March 1–Sunday, March 24, with "the future is shaped by those who can see it" the theme tying together 100 free installations and exhibitions, including work by 150-plus artists.

Installation view: Troy-Anthony Baylis: Nomenclatures by Troy-Anthony Baylis, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photo: Saul Steed.

Announcing the Grand Art Tour, Biennale of Sydney Chief Executive Officer Barbara Moore dubbed it "an exciting celebration of the power of art to connect, share and bring joy".

Art Gallery of South Australia's Director Rhana Devenport described it as "an extraordinary art adventure" and "a rare opportunity to experience these exemplary gatherings of art that push boundaries, and alter your perceptions, and create new memories".

J Forsyth

For PHOTO Australia Founder/Artistic Director Elias Redstone, it's set to "inspire audiences with immersive art experiences that celebrate human connection as society faces uncertain futures".

While the Art Grand Tour has tour right there in its name, there's nothing formal about it — so there's no ticketing packages and the like. Instead, it's a self-guided affair, so make your own schedule and travel plans accordingly.

Marie-Luise Skibbe

Art Grand Tour 2024 Events:

Sydney

Until Sunday, April 28 — Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night or Has the Night Invaded the Day?, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Saturday, March 9–Monday, June 10 — Biennale of Sydney, various venues
Ongoing — Badu Gili: Celestial, Sydney Opera House Bennelong Sails

Adelaide

Friday, March 1–Sunday, June 2 — Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia
Friday, March 1–Sunday, March 17 — Adelaide Festival, various venues

Melbourne

Until Tuesday, April 7 — NGV Triennial, NGV International
Until Monday, March 29 — MPavilion 10 by Tadao Ando, Queen Victoria Gardens
Thursday, February 22–Sunday, February 25 — Melbourne Art Fair, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Friday, March 1–Sunday, March 24 — PHOTO 2024 International Festival of Photography, various venues

Lillie Thompson

Australia's first Art Grand Tour encompasses events in Sydney and Adelaide until June, Melbourne until March. Head to the tour's website for more information.

Top image: PHOTO 2022, Will Hamilton-Coates.

Published on February 09, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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