12 international blockbusters right here to blitz your travel FOMO

12 major international exhibitions presented in Australia before the year ends … so who needs to travel?
detail of video of Amazon Rainforest by artist Richard Mosse

While Australia’s international borders have opened, many of us still feel very uncomfortable about the idea of travel abroad.

While that might mean that you won’t get to see this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale or Documenta, or a trove of other major exhibitions that will mark 2022, international exhibition offerings on home soil are still pretty top drawer.

So blitz that FOMO (fear of missing out) and make 2022 one to remember for its great shows. You’ll be surprise how many there are!

Listened in order of closing soon … to keep travel flutters at bay for the remainder of the year:

Robert Wilson: Moving portraits
Venue: Art Gallery of SA, Adelaide
Dates: closes 3 October

The New York artist, designer and director, Robert Wilson creates video portraits of international celebrities, artists, ordinary people and animals. Many refer to pivotal moments in art history and have been created through collaborations with renowned contemporary performers and artists such as Lady Gaga, Isabella Rossellini, Brad Pitt, Zhang Huan and Robert Downey Jr.

From Robert Wilson’s childhood in Waco, Texas, to his pioneering career as one of the towering artistic figures of experimental theatre, this one-off event at the AGSA will reveal his unique approach to theatre and art-making, and his unwavering interest in the body, stillness and time.

Read: Gaze and gesture: the power of moving portraits

Gallery of suitcases suspended with red string by artist Chiharu Shiota.
Chiharu Shiota Accumulation: Searching for the Destination (2014/2021) installation view QAGOMA. Photo ArtsHub.

Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles
Venue: Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
Dates: closes 3 October

The largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date of work by renowned Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota which has been curated by the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. It has travelled the world, and its last stop is Brisbane’s QAGOMA – but with the bonus of new commissions for our Aussie audiences.

‘The Soul Trembles’ surveys more than a hundred works from almost thirty years of Shiota’s practice since the 1990s, incorporating large-scale installations, sculpture, video performance, photography, drawing and set design. It is immersive art heaven, and gives audiences that jolt of the joy that proximity with art can offer.

Read: Unravelling Chiharu Shiota’s threads of humanity

Installation view The Picasso Century, NGV International. Photo Jeremy Kees

The Picasso Century
Venue: NGV International, Melbourne
Dates: closes 9 October

Is Paris calling you? With artworks travelling to Melbourne from Musée Picasso-Paris and Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou – both in Paris – this world-premiere exhibition is fitting for any international museum… but is right here on our shores.

Over 80 works by Picasso are showing alongside over 100 works by more than 60 of his contemporaries: art history greats such as Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, Henri Matisse, among others. This is as good as they get!

Read: Who was Picasso in the eyes of his peers?

Bruce Munro
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Date: until 16 October
Free with museum admission

British artist Bruce Munro, best known for his immersive, large-scale light installations, is presenting his first museum exhibition in Australia, combining spectacular indoor and outdoor experiential artworks.

At once contemplative, playful and thought-provoking, the exhibition will offer an unforgettable interactive experience that engages the senses and enriches the mind.

Rauschenberg & Johns, and significant others
National Gallery of Australia
Dates: until 30 October


Steaming street pipes, exterior fire escapes, boothed diners, classic skyscrapers – New York has an incredible appeal. This exhibition takes you there – well there in the early 1950s – when from their run-down New York studios, artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns began a private creative dialogue that introduced everyday signs, objects, and media into their work, collapsing the distinction between art and life. While their relationship would end after seven years, their art would continue to radiate the new ideas of their creative exchange.

Curated by David Greenhalgh, the Kenneth E Tyler Assistant Curator, Prints and Drawings at the NGA, this collection pushes the creative conversation of the world’s great Abstract Expressionists, who shaped the movement. This exhibition looks at works produced by both artists between 1967 and 1973, and holds key works by their predecessors and contemporaries.

It is a chapter of global art history – and an impact on generations of artists – right here in Canberra.

I Loved You
White Rabbit Gallery (Sydney)
Dates: 2 July – 21 November


China has been a global fascination and contemporary art world destination that is fast paced and fascinating. It is on the bucket list to visit for many. But you don’t have to face that flight with White Rabbit Gallery right here in Sydney, known internationally for its incredible collection of contemporary Chinese art.

The gallery turns its shows around every six months, often introducing new acquisitions, but always fleshing out global narratives of the day. The current show is titled I Love You and has an aspirational twang, putting a lens up to the dating market.

‘I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on a bicycle,’ said Ma Nuo, a female contestant on Chinese dating show If You Are the One. The quote became an online sensation, capturing the essence of the cut-throat Chinese dating world where looks, money, status, and the ability to produce children are top priorities. In this world – ‘love is a fierce competition,’ explains the gallery.

Artists include Pixy Liao, Sin Wai Kin, Qiu Jiongjiong, Shi Yong, Gao Rong, Hu Weiyi, Jiang Zhi among others. It is a dip into a world both familiar and new.

People standing in a James Turrell light artwork
Raemar, Blue, 1969, Tate Presented by the Tate Americas Foundation, partial purchase and partial gift of Doris J. Lockhart 2013. © James Turrell. Photo Chen Hao.

Light: Works from Tate’s Collection
ACMI (Melbourne)
Dates: closes 13 November

As the title exhibition says, this exhibition is drawn from London’s iconic Tate Collection. Connected by their fascination with light as both material and subject, more than 70 works feature in this exclusive blockbuster exhibition to Melbourne’s ACMI, including must-see historical paintings by the great Romantic painters J. M. W. Turner and John Constable, Impressionists Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, change shapers Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers, as well as contemporary icons Dan Flavin, James Turrell and more.

This exhibition is a really interesting take on the subject of light and a super curious program inclusion for ACMI – but it has something for everyone.

Read: ACMI’s latest exhibition unpacks light as both phenomena and subject

Installation detail Gamepieces by Nalinii Malani at MoMa, New York, (2015). Supplied.

Nalini Malani: Gamepieces
Venue: Art Gallery of SA, Adelaide
Dates: 5 November 2022 – 22 January 2023

India has become a giant in contemporary art circles, a fascinating mix of culture, history and narratives. Some of that is captured in this first major Australian survey, exclusive to AGSA of Karachi-born artist Nalini Malani, one of India’s foremost contemporary artists – who is widely acknowledged to be among the country’s first generation of video artists.

She works with several mediums that include theatre, videos, and installations along with mixed media paintings and drawings, and the exhibition spans five decades of her career. The subjects of her creations are deeply influenced by her experience of migration in the aftermath of the partition of India.

Her works have been shown at renowned museums across the world, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York … and now Adelaide.

Charkha and Kargha
Powerhouse Museum
Dates: until 15 January 2023
Free with museum entry

Have you always wanted to go to India for their textiles? The Powerhouse Museum makes it easy for you. Taking its title from Charkha (spinning wheel) and Kargha (loom), this exhibition features over 100 rare items that incorporate spinning, weaving, dyeing and embroidery techniques.

Charkha and Kargha opened to coincide with the 75th anniversary of India’s independence (15 August). The exhibition demonstrates the role that textiles played in India’s movement towards independence from colonial rule.

Charkha and Kargha will feature live demonstrations of spinning and weaving in the Textile Centre, talks on Indian textiles, masterclasses on textile weaving, dyeing and spinning, daily storytelling of Indian folktales and documentary film screenings in the Kings Cinema over the exhibition period.

Kara Walker
National Gallery of Australia
Dates: until 4 February 2023

The first exhibition of the deeply celebrated and influential African American artist Kara Walker to be held in Australia. It opened last week at the NGA and will remain on show into the new year.

Coming to fame in the mid-1990s, Walker is internationally recognised for her graphically striking representations of the racist imagery, systems of power and stories of colonisation as it emerged in the United States from the time of slavery to this day. The exhibition Project 2: Kara Walker draws upon two decades of practice and signature black-and-white imagery.

Richard Mosse Broken Spectre 2022 (still), Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre
NGV International 
Dates: 30 September – 23 April 2023

The Amazon Rainforest is disappearing, but it is a difficult trip to see it before humanity’s collective impact degrade it completely. Thankfully Irish artist Richard Mosse has captured its beauty and climate message for us.

Co-commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), VIA Art Fund, the Westridge Foundation, and Serpentine Galleries in London, Mosse’s moving image work, Broken Spectre, makes its world-premiere in Melbourne in September.

It is a powerful response to climate change and the devastating and ongoing impact of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, and was filmed in remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon over three years. It will be an incredible – and arresting – immersive video experience for visitors across a 20-metre widescreen panorama. It is being described as Mosse’s most ambitious work to date.

It has been created in collaboration with Australian composer Ben Frost and American cinematographer Trevor Tweeten.

Mosse’s works have been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, Barbican Art Gallery in London, as well as Kunsthalle Bremen (2022) and MAST Foundation, Bologna (2021), among others, and in 2013 represented Ireland at the 55th Venice Biennale.

Now you can see him in Melbourne.

Do Ho Suh, Staircase-III, 2010, installation view, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, 2019. Image courtesy Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and London, and Victoria Miro, London and Venice, © the artist, Photo: Antoine van Kaam

Do Ho Suh
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney
Dates: 28 October – early 2023

Do Ho Suh at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is a major survey spanning three decades, from the 1990s to the present, and is Suh’s first solo exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere. It will present emblematic works across his career, from large-scale installations, sculptures, drawings, printmaking, models, and video works. 

Do Ho Suh added: ‘Much of my work is taken up with the idea of how we clothe our movements through the world – through time (linear and non-linear) and place. I’m interested in survival techniques, the spaces we carry within, as well as those we occupy externally. I hope the exhibition will strike a chord at a time when we have all been forced to consider the boundaries and strictures of different spaces anew.’

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina