What do you do when it’s cold and rainy? What about when it’s hot and steamy? Go to a Brisbane art gallery, of course. They’re indoors, they’re appropriately heated or cooled, and they’re here to bulk up that squishy noggin of yours with something else other than Insta-story drivel. Triple win.
Whether you fancy yourself an amateur art critic or a bona fide connoisseur, our fair city has something to satisfy every taste. So lower your voice, get your slow stroll on and check out our round-up of the best art galleries in Brisbane to feast your eyes on when you’re starving for some culture.
If you’re moseying around South Bank and prefer something a little more cultured than a fake beach, QAGOMA is an easy detour from the parklands. Home to a huge collection of historical (super old), modern (oldish) and contemporary (newest) international art, the modern art gallery also showcases some iconic Indigenous and Australian collections. With new exhibitions constantly hitting the walls (and floors), there’s never a boring time to visit. On your way out, be sure to make a pitstop in the gallery store to browse the shelves of educational and quirky art items, or stay for an art inspired dinner at the restaurant.
Museum Of Brisbane
For a quickie escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Museum of Brisbane is a chill oasis for both the art buffs and the art curious. With a focus on local artists, the gallery also hosts regular artists-in-residence, providing space and support for budding creators. All exhibitions, tours and activities reflect a sense of community and you’ll leave feeling pretty smug that you get to call Brisbane home, if you don’t already.
QUT Art Gallery
Class cancelled? Don’t run off just yet, not when you can hop over to the QUT Art Gallery for a little creative inspiration. At the heart of QUT’s Gardens Point campus and right next door to the Botanic Gardens, the gallery shows off the university’s very impressive art collection, all of which has been curated with a young and bold theme in mind. Meanwhile, if you dig iconic Australian artworks, you’ll find plenty of them just next door at the William Robinson Gallery.
Institute Of Modern Art
One of Queensland’s first ‘alternative art spaces,’ The Institute of Modern Art in Fortitude Valley is for those who prefer their art a little more experimental. Home to some seriously cutting edge exhibitions, this is where you’ll experience art like you’ve never seen before—we’re talking video installations with a side of poetry, large scale sculptures using Tasmanian kelp and building-sized light projections. Sound like your jam? Get down there.
Dead Puppet Society
Wanting to get a closer look at the hard work that goes into creating dainty sculptures crafted from semi-precious metals? Dead Puppet Society are moving to a brand new location at Princess Theatre Precinct on Friday 28 May, and you’ll be able to do just that. The space is designed for the viewing pleasure of the public, with fabrication workshops and a gallery. From creating puppets to cutting edge technology, their skills are unique and are bound to have you intrigued after a single glance at their website. Don’t be surprised if you leave their new space in awe of their talent, and maybe your own if you give their workshops a go.
Jan Murphy Gallery
If you’ve ever strolled down Brunswick Street, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve noticed the Jan Murphy Art Gallery’s constantly changing exhibitions on display (only if you haven’t been hyper-focused on getting to the nearest bar, of course). The focus is on Australian art, both inter and outer state; and for those in the market to buy, on-site consultations are available to help you choose a perfect new piece to class up your living space.
Fancy yourself a bit of an artist? Well Artisan offers the chance to not only enjoy viewing some one-of-a-kind pieces but also creating them. Regarded as the Queensland home of craft and design and nestled in nice and close to King Street for some post-crafting feeds, the gallery offers up an array of workshops to get involved in as well as funky exhibitions to check out. Some of the more noteworthy workshops include Creative Glassware Sandblasting, Making Maquettes Master Class and Leather Sandal Making, but you do you, budding creatives.
TW Fine Art
TW Fine Art sits tucked away down a vine-covered lane off James Street. Blink and you really will miss this one. Pop in to catch ever changing exhibitions, or to pick the owner’s brains on where to put art in your home, how to buy art, and everything in between.
The Third Quarter
For an intimate artistic encounter, The Third Quarter might be small, but it packs a big punch in emerging art. Part social enterprise, part bar, part contemporary art gallery, the team here support and promote up and coming as well as established artists with ongoing exhibitions to showcase local talent. If you want to pick up a sketch pad yourself, drop in for one of their weekly life drawing classes, which happen every Wednesday night.
It may be one of the newest galleries in Brisbane, but don't let its youth fool you—Milani Gallery is run by Director John Milani, who grew up surrounded by art and topped it off with a degree in Art History of his own. Stop by for contemporary art from Australian artists, as well as tips on how to start a collection on a budget.
FireWorks Gallery—known for exhibiting and promoting artworks by some of Australia’s best contemporary artists—is located in a renovated concrete warehouse in Bowen Hills, featuring an impressive double-storey void as well as some seriously eye-catching art. Unique collections featuring established and emerging artists are always on show, and the gallery also makes a point of ensuring both Indigenous and non-Indigenous works are given space on their walls.
Edwina Corlette Gallery
Another Brunswick Street gallery on the New Farm side is the Edwina Corlette Gallery, perfect for a bit of grown-up art-viewing after brunching at any of the cafes nearby—just BYO monocle. Gallery director Edwina Corlette is highly sought after for advice in the art industry, and the collections you’ll find on the walls here are a testament to her years of experience.
Want to get a bit more hands-on than what you can do at Brisbane's art galleries? Find Brisbane’s best art classes here.
Image credit: GOMA