The arts news you may have missed this week

We’ve recapped the hottest headlines, announcements and arts news that shaped the zeitgeist this past week.

Our top news stories this week

Our top career stories this week

Jump to:
Be in the know
NAIDOC Week: things to do
Quick Diary Dates
What’s on
Review highlights

Be in the know

Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal Design Competition ROI render by Mogamma.

POWERHOUSE SEEKING ARCHITECT: The NSW Government is inviting Architects from around Australia to submit a Registration of Interest to design Powerhouse Ultimo, a world-class museum that will significantly contribute to a vital design, technology and cultural precinct in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. The Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal is underpinned by a transformative $480-$500 million investment by the NSW Government. Registrations of Interest opened this week. Learn more about submission process.

FESTIVAL CURATOR ANNOUNCED (SA): Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival has announced well-known Chinese Australian writer, comedian, and MC Jennifer Wong as curator of the 2022 In Other Words program, which features new writing and ideas from Asian and Asian Australian writers. The 2022 OzAsia Festival will run from 20 October – 6 November.

FUNDED GALLERY UPGRADES (VIC): The Andrews Labor Government is providing new support to upgrade of 36 museums and galleries via $4 million Regional Collections Access Program for capital works. Among the recipients are Hamilton Gallery, Gippsland’s National Vietnam Veterans Museum, Swan Hill Art Gallery, Warrnambool Art Gallery, and Mornington Peninsula Gallery.

MCA Australia, Art Flow. Photo Anna Hay.

WELLBEING PROGRAM (NSW): This past week has been World Wellbeing Week and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) announced a new free program Art Flow. Co-curated with The Mind Room Melbourne over the past two years, the program is for Museum visitors over the age of 18, who will be led on a 45-minute experience by MCA artist-educators. Art Flow will take place every Thursday and Saturday at 10.15am and 12.15pm. Free, but bookings recommended.

IT’S A WRAP – FESTIVAL ATTENDANCE: Dark Mofo has come to a close with nearly 72,000 tickets sold, generating around $3.5 million across 45 ticketed performances. This festival’s most successful single ticketed event to date, The Kid LAROI sold more than 5,200 tickets. Interstate ticket buyers accounted for 65% of all sales, and over 300,000 general entries were counted to festival venues overall. The City of Hobart Dark Mofo Winter Feast welcomed close to 23,000 people through its doors on its final night alone.

Meanwhile, Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 has also wrapped up and its data is also in. Almost 40,000 attendances at ticketed and free events across 32 shows and six venues, including 14 World Premiers.

Australia’s largest photography biennale PHOTO 2022 released its stats this week – it reached over 155,000 people, of which approximately 114,235 viewed the outdoor program, an increase of 40% from 2021. Over 4,500 people attended events during the festival (both in person and online), reflecting an increase of 40% on last year’s attendance.

And for its second edition, Words on the Waves 2022 was deemed a ‘huge success‘ with approximately 2745 adults and 1375 local students recorded across 30+ sessions, all of which were sold out or close to capacity. Words on the Waves is the first writers festival to take place on the Central Coast, and around 33% came from out of the region to hear over 60 authors present.

NAIDOC Week: things to do

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2022 is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! It is about showing your ongoing commitment to creating positive change, so we are helping you with a list of things to do. Head across to our diary of creative First Nations events for this weekend and the coming week.

Read: Creative things to do this NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week runs from Sunday 3 July through to Sunday 10 July.

Quick diary dates

  • Sydney Folk Festival is back 19 – 21 August featuring 35+ acts in two Surry Hills festival hubs.
  • Looking for something creative for the kids this weekend? The Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival has started this week in the City of Stonnington, and will run until Friday 8 July.
  • Open House Melbourne has announced its programme for this year’s open weekend 30–31 July with the theme Built/Unbuilt, and including 83 new buildings and 218 events. Plan your journey.
  • Tickets have been released this week for upcoming survey exhibition of Cressida Campbell’s work at the National Gallery of Australia, 24 September 2022 until 19 February 2023.
  • BLEACH* Festival on the Gold Coast has released its 2022 program this week, comprising 233 artists, 94 performances and 36 events from 11 – 21 August 2022. Check it out and plan your winter getaway.
  • Sydney Opera House announced this week the line-up for its sixth annual Antidote festival, the festival of art and ideas taking place on site and online on Sunday 11 September.

Review highlights

Unravelling Chiharu Shiota’s threads of humanity ★★★★★
Studying in Australia played a huge part in shaping the career of internationally celebrated installation artist Chiharu Shitoa, currently showing at QAGOMA.

Book review: Big Beautiful Female Theory, Eloise Grills ★★★★☆
Grills critiques the fetishisation of aesthetic counterpoints by highlighting the ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’ of her own personal journey.

Theatre review: Come Rain or Come Shine ★★★☆☆
This adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s farcical short story has uneven notes.

Exhibition review: Transforming Worlds, NGV International ★★★★★
An exhibition that looks at change and tradition – as well as COVID – in contemporary Indian art and society.

Concert review: Bach, ACO ★★★★★
A wondrous journey through the impressive musical legacy of the Bach family

Head to our Reviews page for more.

What’s on

David Livermore’s Il Trovatore for Opera Australia. Image supplied.

NEW PRODUCTION (NSW): Renowned director Davide Livermore will deliver a spectacular new digital production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore for Opera Australia, premiering at the Sydney Opera House this 15 – 30 July. It is the first time OA will perform this popular opera in almost 10 years.

FOR KIDS (VIC): Making Art: Imagine Everything is Real is a free all-ages exhibition that invites kids and their families to experiment via a digital interactive game to produce their own animation. It is presented in conjunction with blockbuster The Picasso Century at NGV International, until 9 October.

WRITERS FEST (VIC): Melbourne Writers Festival has unveiled its full program this week, with international guests including Succession star Brian Cox, comedian Jenny Slate, Mohsin Hamid (Exit West) and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. More than 150 events – check out the program; 8 – 11 September.

VIDEO INSTALLATION (SA): London-based, Australian artist Joanna Dudley will present the world premiere of We Will Slam You With Our Wings in Adelaide next month. It is a seven-channel operatic video installation that steals from some of history’s most notoriously sexist speeches and recasts them into a feminist war cry with the help of an army of six young girls aged 8 – 16 years.

ART FAIR PROGRAM (NSW): Sydney Contemporary announced AMPLIFY this week – the newly named and highly anticipated Installation Contemporary program. Curated by Annika Kristensen, it will feature artists Peta Clancy, Mikala Dwyer, Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro, Nadia Hernández, Sam Leach, Taree Mackenzie, Callum Morton, Vincent Namatjira, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Catherine O’Donnell, Tony Oursler Kenny Pittock, Izabela Pluta, Michael Staniak, Kathy Temin and Angela Tiatia.

The sixth edition of the fair will be presented 8 – 11 September 2022 at Carriageworks with 90 galleries and artists from 34 countries showing. Early bird tickets are now available.

CELEBRATING AGEING: Peter Wegner has been painting centenarians, over 100 of them, since 2013. They will be presented in a new exhibition at Benalla Art Gallery that looks at ageing. Wegner won last year’s Archibald Prize with his portrait of 100 year old peer artist, Guy Warren. 1 July – 28 August.

ACCESSIBLE THEATRE (NT): Opening this week, Trash Magic tells a story about family, nature, and mess. Ruby, a girl who is deaf, goes camping with her family in the NT bush. Their discarded rubbish has magically metamorphosed into the different animals from the bush. Presented by Artback NT and Luminous Productions, an all-abilities theatre company based in Darwin. Show is in Auslan and English. Tour dates and performance details.

TRIBUTE EXHIBITION (NSW): Destiny by the late Mr Wanambi will open across Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin. The exhibition was curated working with the revered Yolŋu artist alongside the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in Yirrkala (NT) over the past three years, with the artist sadly passing during its development. It will be a major celebration of his last creative outpouring – his final body of work. Destiny is exhibiting across three locations and is accompanied by a comprehensive web portal, which is now online.

CREATIVE WALKING APP (QLD): QMF have unveiled a massive new project called ‘City Symphony’, which is a new Brisbane-wide, interactive music and art installation that allows audiences / users the ability to experience the city in a new way. Essentially you download a purpose-built app, pop on some headphones, and based on your geolocation in Brisbane, you’ll have access to music, historical stories, and pivotal moments including speeches by David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg.

PAIRED EXHIBITIONS (ACT): The exhibition CONFLUENCE is the culmination of Craft ACT’s 2021 Artist-in-Residence program showcasing the work of Valerie Kirk and Harriet Schwarzrock. The works are results of their engagement in the two-part residency project – researching at Geo Science Australia and creating in Namadji National Park. Running alongside it is BEEING, and exhibition of craft-based artist Dr Julie Bartholomew and early-career contemporary ceramic artist Mahala Hill. Both showing at Craft ACT, 7 July – 27 August.

Artist Sethembile in the hibition, And she was wearing trousers: a call to our heroines, Arts House, Melbourne. Supplied courtesy the artist.

AFRICAN DIASPORA (VIC): And she was wearing trousers: a call to our heroines is a new exhibition exploring the hope, loss, love and determination of African heroines through a series of new commissions by artists from the African continent and African diaspora in Australia. Catch it at Arts House in the North Melbourne Town Hall; 30 June – 6 August. Features works of collage, installations, video art, music and typography. It is based on archives sourced from independent publishers, oral histories, government held archives and the internet. Free. Curated by Roberta Joy Rich and Naomi Velaphi.

SHIOTA IN QLD & VIC: Anna Schwartz Gallery has unveiled Chiharu Shiota: State of Being, an exhibition of new works by the acclaimed Japanese artist presented until 30 July – and coincides with her major career survey at QAGOMA. Presented for the first time – at the Melbourne gallery – is a sculptural human figure in red, resting beneath yet connected to an immense web that spans the gallery from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, while Brisbane unveils a new commission and kids project space.

Read: Unravelling Chiharu Shiota’s threads of humanity

NEW THEATRE WORK (NSW): Part-mystery, part-drama, part-documentary, part-forensic investigation – Sleeplessness takes audiences on a journey through the artist’s family history, throwing light on the intergenerational impacts of institutionalisation and migration in this unique and radically honest performance. The new work by Kaz Therese is playing at Carriageworks 4 – 13 August. Tickets now on sale.

The production will also be supported by a public program that includes a post-show conversation on Saturday 6 August with Kaz Therese and Dr Adele Chynoweth moderated by Sarah Miller AM. As well as a conversation on Thursday 11 August with participants from Class Action, facilitated by Aunty Rhonda Dixon Grovenor, composer James Hazel and Kaz Therese.

JAZZ FUSION COUP (NSW): Sydney Opera House has announced Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Kamasi Washington who will return to the Opera House on 4 December, bringing his fearless mix of jazz, hip-hop, classical and R&B to an Australian exclusive performance. After stunning audiences in sold-out appearances in 2018 and 2019, the Los-Angeles born visionary will perform in the transformed Concert Hall when the venue reopens in mid-2022, after more than two years of extensive upgrades.

VIDEOGAME PROJECTION(VIC): ACMI, House House and Orchestra Victoria are proud to present Untitled Goose Game Live, featuring the award-winning Melbourne-made videogame projected onto ACMI’s cinema screen, alongside a live accompaniment by musicians from Orchestra Victoria. Following each of the 3.30pm and 6.00pm Friday 8 July performances, visitors can explore sound design and music in videogames via talks that will include advice for students passionate about this artform. Untitled Goose Game Live will be performed at ACMI on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 July 2022. Tickets are on sale now.

TOURING ACTIONS: Artspace will tour its project 52 ACTIONS to regional galleries nationally, commencing with Penrith Regional Gallery from 27 August. The exhibition evolved from Artspace’s online commissioning platform 52 Actions, which presented new works each week by the 52 artists exploring critical ideas including discrimination, climate justice, mapping migration stories and the unceded sovereignty of First Peoples.

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