Your 2022-2023 summer exhibition planner

ArtsHub’s 20 ‘must see’ exhibition picks for this summer.
summer exhibition planner

It is that time of the year when festivals and institutions start to throw out program teasers for the new year. Generally, it is a good balance between deep-dive survey exhibitions, international ‘art stars’ and fun immersive exhibitions for the whole family.

What is promised? ArtsHub has pulled together this one-stop drop of the hottest must-see events on the visual arts calendar to help you map out a comprehensive summer exhibition planner for 2022-23. It is going to be a bumper summer, so plan your movements now to keep the vibes chilled and creative.

Do Ho Suh, ‘Hub’ series, installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2022, © Do Ho Suh. Photo: Anna Kučera.

1. NSW: Do Ho Suh

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) is presenting the first solo exhibition from South Korean artist Do Ho Suh staged in the southern hemisphere. He is known for his large-scale sculptures and architectural installations created from fine textiles in bright colours, and the exhibition spans three decades with some works having an interactive quality. Do Ho Suh has lived and worked in Seoul, New York, Berlin and London. It is a Sydney-exclusive exhibition, guaranteed to awe and excite.

Dates: 4 November 2022 – 26 February 2023

Adrián Villar Rojas during a visit to the Tank in 2018. Image: AGNSW, Mim Stirling.

2. NSW: Opening program for Sydney Modern

This is what we have all been waiting for… Checking out the new Sydney Modern building at the Arts Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) will be a huge summer talking topic, and the inaugural commission for the new Tank Gallery (the lower level repurposed fuel tanks at Sydney Modern) is going to create worldwide ripples. Created by Argentine-Peruvian artist Adrián Villar Rojas and titled The End of Imagination, it will be an installation of ‘time-travelling sculptural bodies’ that explore materiality, dreams, function, politics and movement – and will offer an incredible visitor experience.

Dates: 3 December 2022 – mid 2023
Free, but ticketed for optimal viewing.

People seek shelter under heavy smoke at the relief centre set up in Mallacoota. Rachel Mounsey, ‘Mallacoota fires in the sky 1 (from ‘Mallacoota fires in the sky’ series) 2020, Inkjet print. Image: Courtesy the artist/© Rachel Mounsey.

3. Qld: Air

Air follows the epic exhibition Water, and has been curated by the Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane around a timely environmentally charged topic. It will be a highlight this summer with its immersive and large-scale works by leading international and Australian artists – a roll-call of cool art-makers globally right now. The exhibition explores the cultural, ecological and political dimensions of air. A standout work will be Tomás Saraceno’s floating work, Drift: A cosmic web of thermodynamic rhythms with a sequence of 13 large suspended spheres, partly mirrored and partly transparent, with some remaining still and others in subtle vertical motion. The stellar line-up of complex and exciting works will offer great summer engagement.

Dates: 26 November 2022 – 23 April 2023

Frida Kahlo, ‘Life of an Icon’. Image: Layers of Reality and Krida Kahlo Corporation.

4. NSW: Frida Kahlo

For the first time in Australia, a unique biographical and immersive exhibition will allow visitors to get to know Frida Kahlo better. Co-created by the Frida Kahlo Corporation and the renowned Spanish digital arts company Layers of Reality, this multi-sensory experience features nine transformational spaces, from collections of historical photographs and original films, captivating holography, 360-degree projections and a virtual reality system that will literally transport visitors inside Kahlo’s most famous works. Life of an Icon will be presented at The Cutaway at Barrangaroo as part of Sydney Festival programming.

Dates: From 4 January 2023

5. WA: However vast the darkness

As part of Perth Festival programming, and marking its 25-year partnership with John Curtin Gallery, is the exhibition However vast the darkness, which brings together work from nine artists: Bow Echo by Afghan artist Aziz Hazara, an award-winning project that confronts the viewer with an assembly of young boys from Kabul; Lisa Reihana (Aotearoa/New Zealand)’s in Pursuit of Venus [infected] is the acclaimed project from the 2017 Venice Biennale; and the exhibition, OCCURRENT AFFAIR profiling First Nations artists from the Brisbane-based artist collective proppaNOW. This year is Perth Festival’s 70th anniversary.

Dates: 10 February – 6 April 2023

6. SA: Nalini Malani: Gamepieces

Nalini Malani’s radically inventive practice spans five decades and is celebrated in this first major Australian survey, exclusive to the Art Galley of South Australia (AGSA). Born in 1946 in Karachi – in the year before Partition in the Indian subcontinent – Malani’s own history of displacement as a refugee has informed her narratives that touch on epic mythologies to diverse political histories across mediums from painting to film to animation.

Dates: 5 November 2022 – 22 January 2023

7. Vic: Alexander McQueen

Fashion legend Alexander McQueen remains one of the most extraordinary and significant designers in recent memory, lauded for his conceptual and technical virtuosity. Organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne, this is the first major Australian exhibition to explore McQueen’s work, showcasing over 120 garments and accessories alongside more than 80 artworks.

Dates: Opens 11 December 2022

Peter Booth, ‘Pointing Two’ 1988, Collection National Gallery of Victoria. Image: Supplied.

8. Vic: Peter Booth

Melbourne-based artist Peter Booth is a unique voice in Australian painting, and this new survey of his work will be the first major public gallery exhibition since his NGV retrospective in 2003. It will feature a number of the artist’s most significant works from the 1970s to 1990s, alongside important recent works from the past two decades. Catch it at TarraWarra Museum of Art – a perfect setting for summer gallery-going.

Dates: 26 November 2022 – 13 March 2023

9. SA: Soda Jerk

In this eagerly anticipated follow-up to their breakout success TERROR NULLIUS (2018), the Australian born, Brooklyn-based artist duo Soda Jerk continue to challenge things in a new exhibition at Samstag Museum of Art, to coincide with the Adelaide Film Festival. They have commissioned Hello Dankness, which has been four years in the making, and is premiered as part of their exhibition, Open Sauce.

Dates: 18 October – 16 December 2022

Exhibition review: Open Sauce, Soda Jerk

10. Regional NSW: Siteworks

Siteworks 2022: From a deep valley draws on climate research and the concept of the weather report. Bringing together 25 artists and 15 scientific researchers, the project positions the artist as a weather balloon, capturing and presenting diverse information and ideas over two weekends during summer. Presented at Bundanon on the south coast to coincide with the Sydney Festival season, this incredible site will come alive with performances, outdoor installations, talks and debates, walks and workshops spread across the 1000-hectare wildlife sanctuary.   

Dates: 5 – 29 January 2023
Free, but bookings required

Paul Yore, ‘WORD MADE FLESH’ 2022. Installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
Commissioned by ACCA, and supported by Carriageworks. Courtesy the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide and STATION, Melbourne and Sydney. Photo: Andrew Curtis. 

11. NSW: Paul Yore

For some OTT art (over-the-top visually engaged art) this summer, why not head to Carriageworks and see Paul Yore: WORD MADE FLESH curated by ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne) and presented as part of Sydney Festival. Conceived as a cacophonous, kaleidoscopic gesamtkunstwerk – an architecturally-scaled installation, anarchically composed of improvised makeshift structures, mixed media sculpture and found objects, collage and assemblage, painting, video, and pulsating sound and light – WORD MADE FLESH imagines a queer alternative reality.

Dates: 5 January – 26 February 2023

Read: Paul Yore: Battling controversy with love and labour

Barbara Hepworth, ‘Sculpture with Colour and Strings’ 1939/61. Ingram Collection, London. Copyright Barbara Hepworth. Image: Supplied.

12. Vic: Barbara Hepworth

The doyenne of modernist sculpture, Barbara Hepworth was one of the leading British artists of her generation and the first woman sculptor to achieve international recognition. The first exhibition of her work in Australia, Barbara Hepworth: In Equilibrium brings together more than 40 works from prestigious international and national collections, including sculptures in stone, wood, bronze and other metals, and a select group of paintings, and is showing over the summer at Heide Museum of Modern Art.

Dates: 5 November 2022 – 13 March 2023

Oliviero Toscani, Italy, born 1942, ‘Andy Warhol’, 1975, New York, United States of America, pigment print on paper; Public Engagement Fund 2021, Art Gallery of South Australia. Photo: © Oliviero Toscani.

13. SA: Andy Warhol

The first exhibition in Australia to explore Andy Warhol’s career-long obsession with photography will open at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) in March, as part of the 2023 Adelaide Festival. Andy Warhol & Photography: A Social Media will reveal an unseen side of the celebrated Pop artist through more than 250 works, spanning photographs, experimental films, screenprints and paintings. Decades before social media, Warhol was attuned to the power of the image to shape his public persona and self-identity – so was he the first social media influencer? Many of these images will be seen for the first time in Australia – another good reason to add AGSA to your summer exhibition planner.

Dates: 3 March – 14 May 2023

Liam Benson, ‘A Christian Country’ 2011, Collection of the artist. Image: Supplied.

14. Regional NSW: Liam Benson

Liam Benson: Virtue Without Stain is a collection of works, performances and community engaged projects by Western Sydney-based artist Liam Benson exploring the intersection of gender, cultural and queer identity. Curated by Richard Perram OAM for Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG), the survey exhibition explores what it is to be a white queer Anglo Saxon male in an increasingly diverse and heterogeneous Australian society.

Perram says of the exhibition: ‘Like the American photographer Cindy Sherman, Benson uses himself as the subject of his work. The addition of costume, makeup and text creates unsettling images of great beauty that subtly deal with issues of masculinity, homophobia, gender and our colonial history.’

Dates: 5 November 2022 – 15 January 2023

Amrita Hepi, ‘Scripture for a smoke screen: Episode 1 dolphin house’ (2022). Image: Courtesy the artist.

15. Vic: Blak Art and Film  

See eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creators present new visions in How I See It: Blak Art and Film, which spans moving image, installation, documentary, photography and video games at ACMI in Melbourne. The exhibition amplifies the artists and filmmakers’ perspectives on representation, the gaze, colonial archives and knowledge systems, with the eight creators considering how First Peoples have been historically represented on our screens. Five new commissions by Amrita Hepi, Jazz Money, Joel Sherwood Spring, Jarra Karalinar Steel and Peter Waples-Crowe will be unveiled alongside other works.

Dates: 16 December 2022 – 19 February 2023

Unite Play Perform, Melissa Gilbert wearing UTOPIA SPIRIT SKINS surrounded by HYPER TEMPLES 2022. Photo: Jason Winston. Courtesy the artist.

16. Qld: Play Moves

Museum of Brisbane’s participatory exhibitions have become well-known. Once again, it is inviting the community to break the boundaries of traditional gallery experiences by engaging with the artwork this summer. Six major immersive and interactive projects will be part of Play Moves, designed so that audience members become participants. They are invited to step in, touch, move, weave, dance, build and embrace these art installations. A great one for kids.

Dates: Friday 9 December 2022 – Sunday 16 April 2023

17. ACT: Cressida Campbell

Directly inspired by her surroundings for over 40 years, the Sydney-based artist Cressida Campbell has transformed commonplace experiences into single-edition prints and painted woodblocks in a mind-boggling individual way. This is a truly beautiful exhibition, and a wonderful one to add a little magic to a Canberra visit over the summer months.

Dates: 24 September 2022 – 19 February 2023

Read: First Australian female artist in history of summer blockbusters

Karla Dickens, For Sale, 2022.

18. NSW: Karla Dickens

In this first museum survey exhibition for the artist, Campbelltown Art Centre (C-A-C) takes a look at the 30-year practice of Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens, with its summer show Embracing Shadows. A highlight will be Dickens’ much loved, quirky Dickensian series, which explores marginalisation, racism and cruelty shown toward First Nations people in circus shows and tent-boxing troupes from the 1920s to the 1950s. Dickens uses recycled materials and found objects to represent persistence against violence and misunderstanding. C-A-C’s exhibition will also premiere the new series Disastrous, created following the floods that devastated the artist’s hometown in the Northern Rivers in early 2022.

Dates: 3 January – 12 March 2023

19. Tas: Tomás Saraceno

Another destination to add to your summer exhibition planner is Mona (Museum of Old and New Art), where Tomás Saraceno’s contagious curiosity will be on full display in a major new exhibition, Oceans of Air – a multi-sensory show featuring a series of artworks spreading throughout the galleries. Internationally celebrated, Saraceno makes work that is attuned to the changes modern humans and capitalism have wrought on the world (in what he and others describe as a new era, called ‘the Capitalocene’). In this exhibition, he presents artworks and community projects, which range from tiny dust particles to large-scale installations, in a call for environmental action on the Earth, its atmosphere and beyond. 

Dates: 17 December 2022 – 24 July 2023
The opening weekend will feature live music on the lawns, on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December.

Tami Xiang, ‘lost and illusion #1’, 2014. Image: Supplied.

20. WA:  Beijing Realism

In Beijing Realism, Chinese artists Tami Xiang, Han Bin, Hu Xiangqian offer us glimpses into the way history plays itself out in everyday life – through the Cultural Revolution, the one child policy, economic reforms and into the present. This timely exhibition presents three significant Chinese and Chinese–Australian contemporary artists working in photography, video and installation, and two are artists who are showing in Australia for the first time. Presented by Goolugatup Heathcote Gallery as part of Perth Festival.

Dates: 11 February – 26 March 2023

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