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AGNSW Is Opening Its New Building with a Nine-Day Party — Including a Free Ellie Goulding Concert

Meg Mac and Electric Fields will also take to the stage, and Reko Rennie will create a nightly drone show over Woolloomooloo Bay featuring 400 drones.
By Sarah Ward
November 04, 2022
By Sarah Ward
November 04, 2022

Five years in the making, the Art Gallery of NSW's latest addition is finally set to open. The Sydney Modern Project will turn the Harbour City institution into a two-building art museum, almost double AGNSW's space in the process, and has cost $344 million to bring to fruition. It's launching in December, and the gallery is unsurprisingly celebrating in a massive way. How do you mark a huge development like this? With a nine-day party, naturally.

Originally announced in 2017, officially given a green light in 2018 and revealing its first commissioned artworks in March 2022, the Sydney Modern will start welcoming art lovers in with a hefty free program of events in and around the venue. It's a significant lineup, running from Saturday, December 3–Sunday, December 11 and spanning everything from art and music to talks and performances — Ellie Goulding, Meg Mac, Electric Fields, a Reko Rennie drone show and all.

UK pop star Goulding will headline a free concert at The Domain on Saturday, December 10, as supported by Meg Mac and Electric Fields. Called Art for All, the show will see the Grammy-winner play opposite AGNSW and is a one-night-only affair, with free tickets available now.

Spanning the whole length of the celebrations is Art Up, which will see Kamilaroi artist Reko Rennie unleash a stunning sight. He's creating a massive drone show that'll hover over Woolloomooloo Bay every evening, with 400 drones used to animate artworks in the sky over AGNSW and Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. There'll also be a soundtrack to go with it.

Conversation series Art Exchange will similarly span the nine days, bringing together artists, creatives and thought leaders from across the globe. Their overall topic: art and culture today, and its current ideas, innovations and struggles. Attendees will be able to hear from Reko Rennie and fellow artists Lisa Reihana, Howie Tsui and Adrián Villar Rojas — and Beatrice Galilee, co-founder and executive director of The World Around at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Also on the bill: Suhanya Raffel, director of M+ in Hong Kong; chefs Adam Liaw, Christine Manfield, Matt Moran and Clayton Wells; human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson; and comedian Steven Oliver.

Sia Duff

The workshop lineup will see artists from Milingimbi Art and Culture centre in northeast Arnhem Land lead the charge, conducting a weaving session that responds to some of Sydney Modern Project's artworks. In the new building's first gallery, the Yiribana Gallery, a series of naturally dyed woven artworks will be on display as part of a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art — which the workshop will tie into.

And, the performance roster includes, GABAN by Wiradjuri Nation interdisciplinary artist Brook Andrew; RITUAL from actor, filmmaker and martial artist Maria Tran; and disability-led choreographic work Animate Loading by Riana Head-Toussaint.

Laura Fiorio

Funded by $244 million from the NSW Government and $100 million raised by private donations, the Sydney Modern Project sprawls across 7830 square metres, as designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architects SANAA (with Australia's Architectus as the executive architect).

Set to be light, airy and open to its surroundings, it'll feature that aforementioned dedicated gallery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at entrance level. Venture downstairs, however, and Sydney Modern Project will also be home to a huge underground art space that'll be used for special commissions and performances, and happens to be repurposed from a decommissioned World War II naval oil tank. And, the project also includes a new public art garden.

Sydney Modern Project render as produced by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA. © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021.

The Sydney Modern Project will open its doors on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney. For more information about the project, including the open celebrations from Saturday, December 3–Sunday, December 11, head to the gallery's website.

Published on November 04, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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