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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Six Ways to Get the Most of Sydney's International Art Series

Get more bang for your buck by seeing more than just the art on the wall.
By James Whitton
December 14, 2016
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By James Whitton
December 14, 2016
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Sydneysiders are almost spoilt for choice when it comes to art and creative culture. The Sydney International Art Series aims to contribute further to the glut of goodness that we experience by bringing some of the most influential works from around the globe to our shores. The 2016/17 series is no different — it bridges the gap between the East and West art worlds, delivering some of Europe's most famous (and infamous) nude artworks to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and curating an exhibition by Tatsuo Miyajima, one of Japan's seminal contemporary artists, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Art Series also offers the Art Pass, where culture hounds can purchase a $37 ticket that grants access to both exhibitions, and can be used at your own convenience — you can just rock up and see the art, providing the exhibitions are still running. With so much on offer at both spaces, make the most of the ticket by checking out everything there is to see. In the spirit of soaking in as much culture as $37 can buy, here's a little list to get you started.

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HEAD TO THE AGNSW AND SEE SOME NUDES

Bodies. We've all got one, but we all still seem to be fascinated with looking at other peoples', and artists are no exception to this rule. In fact, they're probably the main contributors. This collection of studies into the bare human form — aptly titled Nude — comes to the Art Gallery of New South Wales directly from London's Tate Gallery. The exhibition is a multimedia experience, with pieces ranging from Picasso's paintings, to Rodin's sculpture and Dijkstra's photography. In the case of Rodin's The Kiss, it's actually its first sojourn outside of Europe, so it's definitely worth feasting your eyes upon.

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MOVE ON TO TATSUO MIYAJIMA

Tatsuo Miyajima is one of Japan's premiere artists, and his stint at the MCA with his exhibition Connect With Everything marks his first outing to Australia. He brings with him a vast array of his works — which range from sculpture to performance, but all are expressions of his three core philosophies: keep changing, connect with everything, and continue forever. Miyajima aims to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western thought, in terms of our relationships with the universe and the phenomena within it. Included in this exhibition is Mega Death, Miyajima's stark reminder of the industrial waste of human life in the last century, and humanity's ability to rebuild again.

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SIP ON SOME SAKE AT THE CHERRY BLOSSOM BAR

Paying homage to Miyajima's motherland, the MCA has created a lovely little pop-up bar to coincide with his exhibition. The bar will provide an array of snacks like edamame, gyoza, cauliflower tempura and chicken rib karaage, as well as bigger eats like their bento box with yuzu sake and ponzu-cured salmon, gyoza and slow-cooked duck leg on a sesame rice cracker. There's also an impressive selection of whisky and sake cocktails, which has been specially curated by QT's booze boss Jared Thibault. As well as the Japanese theme being evident in the food and drinks, the Cherry Blossom Bar has also been transformed into a secret garden of sorts, with the flowers forming a delicate canopy over the harbourside space, which is dotted with Japanese lanterns. The effect is that the visitor is transported into the world of Miyajima's Japan, all from the setting of Circular Quay.

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SIT DOWN FOR LUNCH AT CHISWICK IN THE AGNSW

Matt Moran's flagship restaurant at Woollahra has had its own incarnation at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for nearly two years, and although the two spaces maintain elements of similarity, the Art Gallery version has created a name for itself as a unique, casually-high-end destination for art lovers and foodies alike. The menu focuses on fresh, local produce with a mind that leans towards the sustainable, without the sacrifice of quality. With starters like grilled octopus with cucumber, kohlrabi and harissa, and classic mains like the Moran family's slow-cooked lamb, there's an excellent mix of options available for diners of all taste, and the ludicrously extensive wine collection has something for everyone.

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EXPLORE THE AGNSW AFTER HOURS

Art After Hours runs every Wednesday night, giving regular working Joes the opportunity to catch some mid week culture and sip a drink at the gallery's pop-up bar. As well as showcasing the existing collection, Art After Hours also organises weekly lectures and performances, film screenings and tours to reveal absolutely everything on display at the gallery. Coinciding with the nude artworks coming across the pond from the Tate, a number of the events will broach the topic of nude art and its place in the canon, including Nude Fictions, where writers will share their experiences of the exhibitions.

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TAKE YOURSELF TO A MEDITATION WORKSHOP

If there's one thing we can all relate to it's that underlying notion of being never-endingly busy. We live in a world where technology develops at an exponential rate, where we always have somewhere to be, where we never have enough time. The MCA and The School of Life have teamed up to develop a series of workshops that aims to take the students out of this bubble through the practice of mindful meditation. Inspired by Miyajima's philosophies, workshop leader Steve Pozel will equip participants with a scientific understanding of how mindfulness affects the body, and how meditation can help the mind to grow. Best to book in advance for this one as spaces are limited.

 Sign up for an Art Pass and take yourself on a cultural tour of Sydney for $37. 

Published on December 14, 2016 by James Whitton

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