Cultural and creative life

Sydney Modern opens with artworks you can’t miss

After a decade of planning and construction, the expansive new building hits the scene in true style with showstopping pieces.

  • Step inside the brand new Sydney Modern

    Costa Rican-Australian visual artist Randal Arvilla loves the building.

    "The whole collection belongs to all the people of New South Wales."

    And with the opening of Sydney Modern, the Art Gallery of NSW has doubled its exhibition space.

    The site of the new building interconnects different neighbourhoods of Sydney – the city centre, Woolloomooloo and Potts Point.

    Credit: Abril Felman / City of Sydney
  • Here Comes Everybody

    Before you even set foot inside, the building’s Welcome Plaza stands tall with its folklore-inspired giant blue figures.

    Francis Upritchard’s work invites you touch it – something you don’t hear very often at an art museum!

    Each of the 3 bronze sculptures features a pair – one with long arms and another with long legs – helping each other.

    Credit: Abril Felman / City of Sydney
  • Visit museums to see First Nations artwork

    At the Art Gallery of NSW’s North Building, you’ll find the Yiribana Gallery. The collection showcases First Nations art from across the continent in a range of practices and mediums.

    From outside, you can see Lorraine Connelly-Northey’s major commission Narrbong-galang (many bags). The work is made from rusted and salvaged metals.

    You can also take a guided tour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works at the Museum of Contemporary Art or a Waranara tour at the Australian Museum.

    Credit: Abril Felman/City of Sydney
  • Flowers that Bloom in the Cosmos

    90 years ago, Japanese-artist Yayoi Kusama was born in a nursery and has had a lifelong love of colourful flowers.

    The new stainless steel work will now overlook Woolloomooloo day and night.

    Credit: Abril Felman / City of Sydney
  • The End of Imagination

    Walk down a wide spiral staircase and you’ll find yourself in a cavernous underground space.

    Argentine sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas is the first to exhibit in this unique gallery, now called Tank. The space was originally a World War 2 fuel tank that was decommissioned in the 1980s and left dormant until Japanese design firm SANAA saw the potential for something extraordinary.

    Villar Rojas’ work is constantly changing thanks to the lights whizzing around in the otherwise pitch-black Tank.

    Credit: Abril Felman / City of Sydney
  • Entrance Pavilion

    No museum is complete without an amazing gift shop and Sydney Modern is no exception. The shop’s walls and shelves are made from bio resin. It took 109 days to pour each layer of the outside shell.

    The Gallery Shop stocks books, prints, homewares, fashion and more.

    Credit: Abril Felman / City of Sydney
  • Space to stretch out and meet friends

    The forecourt of the Art Gallery of NSW also got a welcome makeover, with 2 polished granite reflection pools now flanking the familiar entrance.

    Public use of the space is now greatly expanded, thanks to the forecourt’s design.

    Credit: Abril Felman / City of Sydney

Sydney Modern is Australia’s first public art museum to have receive a 6-star Green Star design rating.

Check out its 9 day festival to celebrate the opening.

Open every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day.

See the gallery’s opening hours.

Free entry

Published 3 December 2022, updated 19 January 2023