Art & Design

Art Beat | 6 Epic Exhibitions To See In Sydney This Month

By Emma O'Neill
2nd Jul 2019

Exhibitions Sydney July | Urban List Sydney

Summer is well and truly behind us—meaning now's the best time to explore the great indoors and get warmed up by some of the best art exhibitions happening this month.

From an exploration on the sensitivities and complexities of love in a former cop station to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, rooftop art brunch and art infused with rock-climbing, these are the best exhibitions to see in Sydney in July. 


Housed in the site of an ex-1800s police station, the latest show at The Lock Up in Newcastle buoys the otherwise heavy atmosphere of the brutalist, heritage-listed building. Curated by Courtney Novak, the show is about love and is named after a historical tag found scrawled upon one of the cell’s sandstone walls that read: "I Love you Melissa".

The show sees five artists articulating love in all its forms—whether it be lustful, familial, a longing or the pang of love lost. In a durational performance work entitled Under Water Love Songs, artist Caitlin Dempsey attempts to sing unheard words underwater to a former lover in a hopeless attempt to communicate. Jodie Whalen’s Declaration of Love is the final part of a three-part performative work, in which the artist enshrines a historical holding cell in red glitter and confetti. There, a video-work plays of her singing cover songs in a red dress, with each song signifying an important moment in the history she shares with her husband. Sensitively curated, the show offers humour while evading cliché and saccharine sweet territory.  

When: Until Sunday 21 July
Where: The Lock-Up, Newcastle


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Apollo 11

It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and the moment has since been etched into human mythology. The feat has become synonymous with technological advancements, optimism, futurism and the heights of human possibility. This winter, The Powerhouse Museum celebrates the moment and its enduring impact on science and design in an epic showcase of more than 200 objects. From the moon-shaped furniture and the fashion it inspired, to the backup speeches written in case Apollo 11 didn’t make it and the equipment used to transmit that iconic footage, the show promises to pique the interest of even the least nerdy among us.

To coincide, you’ll get a chance to experience the iconic and immersive Museum of the Moon installation. Created by artist Luke Jerram, lay beneath a giant 7-metre moon created using detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, while soaking up the musical sounds of award-winning composer Dan Jones.

Where: Powerhouse Museum
​When: Until Friday 31 Jan, 2020  


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The Invisible Hand 

The Invisible Hand considers the invisible computing forces that are constantly at work in our world. The ones recording our every online click and gathering even the most mundane details of our lives to be used in commercial and also potentially sinister ways. With a focus on the East Asian region, which has the highest internet household penetration globally, curator Michael Do calls on five artists to respond to the complex debate through a series of new and commissioned works at Chinatown’s 4A Centre for Contemporary Art.

In June, Kiwi artist Simon Denny unveiled a life-size board game at MONA that alerted gallery-goers to how their data is being mined and monetized (even by MONA itself). Though his contribution to 4A is smaller in scale, the focus on big data remains. Other contributions include South Korean artist Sunwoo Hoon who translates key socio-political moments from history into isometric 8-bit "digital drawings", and Japanese artist collective exonemo who flex the boundaries between the digital, real-life and analogue realms. Join the curator and featured artist Baden Pailthorpe on 20 July for what has become a 4a custom: traditional Chinatown congee breakfast followed by a walkthrough of the exhibition.

Where: 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
When: Until Sunday 4 August


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Head to Jerico Contemporary to soak up the delicate watercolour paintings and weavings of artist Jedda-Daisy Culley in her debut exhibition with the gallery. The body of work is a reflection of the artist’s musing on her own body as a vessel for life and, in turn, loss.

Exploring expectation, birth and motherhood Culley explains, “My watercolours were like a map I drew. Navigating the way through, I felt like a portal for change. I saw an in and an out. Change is like life and death, there is a beginning and an end and there is always a newness that’s left behind. I let something go. I invited it in but then I chose to let it pass through me. This show is a self-portrait.” The act of producing the work was both redemptive in process and output, as the artist became a vessel for a new form of creation. Comprising two large-scale, handmade weavings, 13 watercolour paintings, and a video work, the show’s vulnerability is its strength.

When: 4 - 20 July
Where: Jerico Contemporary


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Art For Brunch

Under the winter sun on a rooftop in Redfern, 107 Projects is hosting wicked weekend mornings complete with blankets, brunch and winter time art workshops. Drop in of a Saturday for screen printing with Josh Gilchrist or weaving workshops Nadeena Dixon, wrap up in provided blankets, enjoy beating heaters along with sweet wintertime beats from Eddy Diamon of FBi radio. For just $10, you'll avoid the queue of your standard Saturday brunch. More details are here

When: Saturday 6 July and Saturday 13 July, 11am
Where: 107 Projects


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Climb, Grip, Hold

Kai Wasikowski’s photographic works hover in the space between natural and unnatural environments. Drawing from the science fiction of novelist J.G. Ballard, the films of Hong Kong director John Woo and research of Scottish-American naturalist, John Muir, the artist yokes worlds that are at once romantic and strange and that teeter on the edge of catastrophe.

For Climb, grip, hold at Artereal Gallery, rock-climbing holds scattered along the wall decorate a highly stylized room, "eco-heroes" in camouflage photograph the surrounds that they mimic. Across all the works on show, fantasy and for-real fold into a single image.

When: Until Saturday 3 August
Where: Artereal Gallery


OPENING TOMORROW FROM 6PM - 8PM: Kai Wasikowski ‘Climb, grip, hold’ • This July, Artereal Gallery presents ‘Climb, grip, hold’ and the neoteric work of Kai Wasikowski, whose experimental practice maps our intimate connections with nature, paying homage whilst simultaneously critiquing, sublime and romanticised representations of the natural world. Exploring the threat of impending ecological disaster and the emotional reverberations of our relationship with the environment, Wasikowski’s photographs and installations evoke worlds underpinned by fantasy and (dis)illusion, conjuring up a poignant sense of solastalgia. • Join us tomorrow night from 6pm-8pm for drinks with the artist! • Image: Kai installing his installation ‘Climb, grip, hold #2_2018_hydrographic prints on rock climbing holds_edition of 3 + 1AP_dimensions variable. @kaiwasikowski

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Looking for more things to do this month? Here are 10 free things to get around this July

Image credit: Luke Jerram. 

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