The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Saturday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

Six Unmissable Exhibitions to See in Sydney This Summer

Immerse in intergalactic experiences and connect at communal examinations of music.
By Joe Rivers
October 21, 2021
By Joe Rivers
October 21, 2021


in partnership with

Immerse in intergalactic experiences and connect at communal examinations of music.

For Sydneysiders, the remainder of 2021 is about emerging from our homes and attempting to readjust to normal life. Happily, our city's incredible collection of galleries has long been preparing for our return and a stellar program of events for the upcoming season has been put together. From the paintings of French masters to contemporary pieces from modern-day artists at the forefront of their scenes, we've teamed up with M Live to select a handful of exhibitions that you'll want to be at the head of the queue for this summer.

  • 6

    After the exhibition initially opened at Australian Museum just weeks before Sydney went into lockdown, Unsettled is now set to keep its doors open until January 2022. Head to this truth-telling exhibition to get an undiluted education on what life has been like for First Nations Peoples since European invasion.

    Highlights include works from First Nations artists such as Ryan Presley, Tony Albert, Charlotte Allingham (Coffin Birth), Jai Darby Walker and Danie Mellor. Plus, you’ll hear from First Nations Elders Uncle Waubin Richard Aken (Kaurareg), Aunty Fay Moseley (Wiradjuri) and Uncle Noel Butler (Budawang) who have generously shared their experiences of survival.

    Image: Colleen-Ara Palka Raven

    READ MORE BUY TICKETS Add to Playlist
    Want to start building your ultimate Sydney Playlist?

    Start creating a personalised itinerary to your city here — or add to an existing list. Save it, share it and take it with you on your next local adventure.

  • 5
    Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art 2021

    Carriageworks has been the home of Liveworks since 2015, but this year’s installment is going to be available to experience online. The Festival of Experimental Art is known for its groundbreaking works and there’s yet another lineup of fascinating pieces to discover at this year’s event.

    From a collaborative plant lovers’ nursery to a curated collection exploring liminal spaces and a thought-provoking piece on intimacy and sexuality in a post-pandemic world, there’s something for everyone. And that only begins to scratch the surface of this multi-genre, multi-disciplinary, multitudinous feast of ideas.

    READ MORE Buy Tickets Add to Playlist
  • 4
    Doug Aitken: New Era

    To experience the work of Doug Aitken is to challenge the ways in which we think about art. The Californian, whom The Los Angeles Times has said seeks to “jar viewers awake,” is bringing objects, photographs and immersive multi-screen environments to his first-ever Southern Hemisphere show.

    Originally scheduled to run at the back end of 2020, the exhibition — titled New Age — is long-awaited and covers a quarter-century of Aitken’s boundary-pushing career. If you’re quick off the mark, there’s also the chance to see a conversation between Aitken and MCA curator Rachel Kent on October 30, affording you an opportunity to hear more insights into his striking work.

    Image: Doug Aitken, ‘migration (empire)’ (still), 2008, image courtesy of the artist, 303 Gallery, New York, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Victoria Miro, London, and Regen Projects, Los Angeles. © the artist.

    READ MORE BUY TICKETS Add to Playlist
  • 3

    Devised in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou in Paris, this is the biggest collection of Matisse works ever to be seen in Sydney. It’s a retrospective that takes in the breadth of his incredible career, featuring sculptures, drawings and paintings in a range of styles. The sheer number of pieces means you can follow the story and development of Matisse from his first forays into colour at the beginning of his artistic life all the way through to his Vence Chapel designs. It’s a rare opportunity to fully see the essence of such an important artist here in Australia.

    Image: Henri Matisse, ‘Blue nude II (Nu bleu II)’ 1952, gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on white paper, mounted on canvas, 116.2 x 88.9 cm, Centre Pompidou. Musée national d’art moderne AM1984-276, Photo © Service de la documentation photographique du MNAM Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI /Dist RMN-GP, © Succession H Matisse/Copyright Agency

    READ MORE BUY TICKETS Add to Playlist
  • 2

    Space travel made headlines in 2021 when several billionaires battled to be the first to exit the Earth’s atmosphere. But thankfully, you don’t have to be mega-rich to get your intergalactic fix this year. You and your crew can immerse yourselves in the Australian premiere of Neighbourhood Earth — an award-winning immersive space experience taking place at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour.

    Expect illuminated screens, spectacular surround sound and a giant projection-mapped dome to top off the cinematic and multi-sensory adventure. There’ll also be museum quality models, spacecrafts, tools and astronaut suits showcasing facts and stories about space exploration — plus, touch sensing projections and holographics that’ll leave you mesmerised.

    READ MORE Buy Tickets Add to Playlist
  • 1
    Big in China

    White Rabbit Gallery is unique among Sydney galleries in that it focuses on 21st century works and specifically showcases Chinese art. Following a lengthy closure, its next exhibition promises to be a real treat.

    Big in China is a collection of works from a dozen different artists that seeks to answer the question of how you can represent and capture the spirit of a nation of over a billion people. See how the nation’s rich history, cultural practices and incredible creativity all play parts in creating inspiring artworks that resonate on a personal level with such a large proportion of the world’s population.

    READ MORE Add to Playlist


Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel