Lonely Planet review
With its classical Greek frontage and modern rear end, the ultrareputable Art Gallery of NSW plays a prominent and gregarious role in Sydney society. There are three permanent collections: Australian, European (post-16th century) and Asian. Don’t miss classic Australian paintings by Brett Whiteley, Arthur Streeton, Sidney Nolan and Lloyd Reese, and the Yiribana Gallery’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
Blockbuster international touring exhibitions arrive regularly (past examples include Man Ray and Caravaggio), and there are free guided tours on the hour from 11am to 2pm (Tuesday to Sunday). Kids swarm to the GalleryKids Sunday program, offering workshops, performances and free guided tours with costumed actors. There are also concerts, screenings, courses, celebrity talks and programs for the deaf and visually impaired. Wheelchair access is good.
The unfailingly controversial Archibald Prize for Australian portraiture exhibits here annually, as do the Wynne Prize (landscape or figure sculpture), the Sulman Prize (subject or mural painting), and the Artexpress exhibition of the year’s best HSC student art. Equally controversial, Speakers’ Corner happens on Sunday afternoons on the lawns out the front.