Your 2023-2024 summer exhibition planner

ArtsHub’s ‘must see’ exhibition picks for this summer, in an easy state-by-state planner.
exhibition planner. image is of an installation of trees in an art gallery

Is it just me, or does this summer season feel busier than usual? Are we still experiencing post-COVID catch-up? Or is it just a case that we now live in a society where “more” is expected.

It is that time of the year when festivals and institutions start to throw out program teasers for the new year, on top of their bumper blockbusters to drive summer crowds.  

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 2023-24. So plan your movements now to keep the vibes chilled and creative.


Agnieszka Pilat, ‘Basia and Bunny.’ NGV Triennial 2023. Photo: Pilat Studio Art Critics.

1. NGV Triennial

The NGV Triennial has always been big, and the 2023 edition will be no exception, with 75 extraordinary projects by no fewer than 100 artists, designers and collectives. It will take over all four levels of NGV International, with artists such as Yoko Ono (Japan), Sheila Hicks (US), Tracey Emin (UK), David Shrigley (UK), Iván Navarro (Chile) and so on… you get the idea. A must-see this summer.

Dates: 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024. Free.

Charlie Chaplin with light fixture, St Moritz, Switzerland 1932 by Lee Miller (NC0203). Image: © Lee Miller Archives England 2023. All Rights Reserved.

2. Surrealist Lee Miller

Heide Museum of Modern Art is presenting a major survey of ground-breaking 20th century US photographic artist, Lee Miller, curated by her son. The gallery describes her as ‘a surrealist before she even knew of the movement’. Over 100 photographs are on show.

Dates: until 25 February 2024. Free with museum admission.

Grand Staircase at ‘Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition’, coming to Melbourne Museum. Photo: Alexandre Schoelcher. Source Museums Victoria.

3. Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition

This is the only exhibition in Australia to feature more than 200 real artefacts recovered directly from the Titanic wreck site. It focuses on the voyage’s compelling human stories, and is presented by the Melbourne Museum.

Dates: 16 December 2023 – 14 April 2024. Ticketed.

4. John Nixon: Four Decades, Five Hundred Prints

The first comprehensive survey of John Nixon’s prints will take viewers through his inventive techniques, which ranged from simple woodcuts and potato prints, to more complex screen prints, stone lithographs and etchings. Exclusive to Geelong Gallery.

Dates: until 11 March 2024. Free.

Marshmallow Laser Feast, Distortions in Spacetime 2018. Image: Courtesy ACMI and the artists.

5. Marshmallow Laser Feast: Works of Nature

From the roots of a majestic Amazonian tree to the cells inside our bodies and the galaxies above, everything is connected – an idea that is the foundation for London-based experimental art collective, Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF), which is behind the world premiere exhibition at ACMI this summer. Five major digital artworks on an awe-inspiring scale will captivate visitors.

Dates: 23 November 2023 – 14 April 2024. Ticketed.

Artemisia Gentileschi, ‘Lucretia’,1630-35. Private collection. Image: Supplied.

6. Emerging From Darkness

Hamilton Gallery, in regional Victoria, will host Emerging From Darkness: Faith, Emotion and The Body in the Baroque, featuring world renowned masterpieces by Artemisia Gentileschi, Lavinia Fontana, Sofonisba Anguissola and Peter Paul Rubens, among others. It explores female heroes and their empowerment. It will include loans from the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the National Gallery of Australia and private lenders from across the country.

Dates: 8 December 2023 – 14 April 2024. Ticketed.

New South Wales

kandinsky. image is the back of a woman in long dark skirt and grey top with bag over her shoulder and a dark ponytail standing to the left of a modernist painting full of squiggles and a large dark sun-like circle in the top left corner.
Installation view Kandinsky, Art Gallery of NSW, 2023. Photo: ArtsHub.

1. Kandinsky and Louise Bourgeois

Part of the Sydney International Art Series 2023–24, Kandinsky has travelled to the Art Gallery of NSW from the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York. Forty-seven oil paintings have come to Sydney for this rare opportunity. And in the Tanks Gallery at Sydney Modern is Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night or Has the Night Invaded the Day? – the largest and most comprehensive display of the work of the iconic French–American artist yet seen in the Asia Pacific with over 120 artworks. A must for your summer calendar.

Dates: Kandinsky: Until 10 March 2024. Ticketed. Bourgeois: 25 November 2023 – 28 April 2024. Ticketed.

Read: Exhibition review: Kandinsky, AGNSW

Granite bust of Merneptah, New Empire, 19th Dynasty, in Australian Museum’s exhibition ‘Ramses & The Gold of the Pharaohs’. Image: World Hertiage Exhibitions.

2. Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs

In a coup for Australian audiences, the Australian Museum’s Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs (given five stars by ArtsHub‘s reviewer) will include the sarcophagus of Ramses II – one of the most impressive royal coffins from ancient Egypt ever to be discovered. Along with other incredible artefacts, it will be jaw-dropping eye candy for budding Egyptologists.

Dates: until 19 May 2024. Ticketed.

Read: Why do Australians love Egyptian blockbusters … still?

Tacita Dean, ‘The Wreck of Hope’, 2022. Installation view, Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, 2023. Image courtesy Pinault Collection, © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier. Photo: Aurélien Mole.

3. Tacita Dean

UK-born, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean will be showing at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) over the summer, with a distinctive body of her works that encompass film, photography, drawing and multi-sensorial installations. It will be the largest presentation of her work in the southern hemisphere. Among the highlights will be a new work developed in collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor and composer Thomas Adès for the Royal Ballet London’s The Dante Project.

Dates: 8 December 2023 – 3 March 2024. Ticketed.

Installation view ‘I remember you: Salote Tawale’, Carriageworks, 2023. Image: Supplied.

4. I remember you: Salote Tawale

I remember you is an ambitious presentation of new work by Anglo-Australian and Fijian artist Salote Tawale. Conceived as a “memory bank”, the installation at Carriageworks considers how identity is formed through memory and growing up in Australia as part of the Pacific diaspora. 

Dates: until 28 January 2024. Free.

‘Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People’ installation view, Bundanon, 2023. Photo: Zan Wimberley

5. Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People

On the south coast of NSW, Bundanon (Arthur Boyd’s property) will present 13 senior and emerging Yolŋu artists from the Yirrkala Community in East Arnhem Land in the exhibition, Miwatj Yolŋu – Sunrise People. Curated in collaboration with Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Art Centre and The Mulka Project. During January 2024, the exhibition will be a key regional destination for Sydney Festival. 

Dates: until 11 February 2024. Gallery admission applies.

6. Valerie Taylor and Octopus Garden

There’s plenty to see with the children at Australian National Maritime Museum with Valerie Taylor: An Underwater Life, tracking her incredible 60-year engagement with the ocean, and the new immersive space, Octopus Garden – a collaboration with Junior Major and InkHunter.

Dates: Valerie Taylor opens 30 November. Ticketed. Octopus Garden runs 22 December 2023 – 5 February 2024. Ticketed


Del Kathryn Barton, ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ (video still) 2015. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art/ © Del Kathryn Barton / Image courtesy: The artist and RoslynOxley9 Gallery, Sydney.

1. Fairy Tales

Visitors are invited to enter the woods this summer with Fairy Tales, exploring how these stories have captured our imagination for centuries and continue to permeate contemporary culture through art, design and filmmaking. It pairs contemporary artists from Australian and abroad.

Dates: 2 December 2023 – 28 April 2024. Ticketed.

PUMA x RIME NYC Luxe Sky Wedge, 2013. Image: Design Museum, London.

2. Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

HOTA Gallery, on Australia’s Gold Coast, has the perfect summer show – the Australian premiere of Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street. First unveiled by The Design Museum in London, the exhibition will present over 400 objects, including 200 shoes, photography, videos and artworks and more.

Dates: from 25 November. Ticketed.

Gordon Hookey, ‘hoogah boogah,’ c. 2005. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane.

3. Regional highlights – Gordon Hookey, Richard Bell, Jessica Loughlin and Lawrence English

Among the top offerings regionally in Queensland are the touring survey exhibitions of renowned Waanyi artist, Gordon Hookey: A Murriality and JamFactory ICON: Jessica Loughlin: Of Light. Loughlin is one of Australia’s most internationally acclaimed glass artists, well-known for her highly innovative technical approach to kiln-formed glass. She and Hookey are both showing at Cairns Regional Gallery over the summer. While at Rockhampton Museum of Art is Richard Bell: Bell’s Theorem – the largest solo exhibition in his home state to date. It is paired with Lawrence English’s The Lullaby of Industry, a sound-based installation created from field recordings at sites of heavy industry in central Queensland.

Dates: Gordon Hookey: A Murriality 16 December 2023 – 18 February 2024, JamFactory ICON: Jessica Loughlin: Of Light 25 November 2023 – 28 January 2024, Richard Bell: Bell’s Theorem and Lawrence English: The Lullaby of Industry, 18 November 2023 – 18 February 2024.

Western Australia

Yhonnie Scarce. Image is suspended yam forms made from glass in black and clear.
Yhonnie Scarce, ‘Death Zephyr’, 2016 (detail). Collection Art Gallery of New South Wales. © Yhonnie Scarce. Image: © Art Gallery of New South Wales 14.2017.a-c.

1. Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day

Three decades of work by one of Australia’s most important First Nations artists, Yhonnie Scarce, will immerse viewers at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in the exhibition Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day.

Dates: 2 February – 19 May 2024. Free.

Read: Landmark survey exhibition of Yhonnie Scarce for Perth

2. Joan Jonas

Iconic US artist Joan Jonas’ first Australian exhibition, Sun Signals, will be presented by Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) for Perth Festival 2024. Ranging from sculpture, performance and video to sound, drawing and installation – the New York artist’s boundary-crossing approach has had a profound impact on generations of artists globally.

Dates: 9 February – 31 March 2024. Free.

‘Wetland’ by Linda Tegg, in consultation with Balladong Whadjuk woman Vivienne Hansen. Perth Festival 2024. Image: Supplied.

3. Linda Tegg and Rebecca Baumann

Wetland by Linda Tegg, in consultation with Balladong Whadjuk woman Vivienne Hansen, is a key commission leading the Perth Festival’s Visual Arts Program, and is an experiential artwork that will occupy the Carillon City shopping centre, as its awaits redevelopment. Also at the site will be Rebecca Baumann’s intervention Light Event.

Dates: 9 February – 3 March 2024. Free.

Installation view ‘Pliable Planes: Expanded Textiles & Fibre Practices’. Image: Supplied.

4. Pliable Planes

And here is your chance to catch the celebrated touring exhibition and new take on textiles, Pliable Planes: Expanded Textiles & Fibre Practices at Fremantle Arts Centre. The exhibition is not just about perceptions of ‘look’ that we assign to fibre art, it also charts a shift in perceptions around conceptual framing and institutional concerns.

Dates: until 28 January 2024. Free.

Read: Rethinking contemporary textiles

South Australia

1. Tarnanthi 2023

Tarnanthi is the Art Gallery of South Australia’s (AGSA) major showcase festival of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. It returns this summer larger than ever. Read ArtsHub Review.

Dates: until 21 January 2024. Free.

Tarnanthi. Image is gallery space full of colourful Namatjira paintings and a full-size sculpture of a First Peoples bearded man in a white cowboy hat.
Installation view of ‘Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour’ survey show, part of ‘Tarnanthi’ 2023. Presented by Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA). Photo: Saul Steed, courtesy AGSA.

2. Vincent Namatjira

Namatjira’s first survey show, Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour, also at AGSA, is impossible to ignore – ‘reverberating in energy, colour and magnetism,’ writes Jo Pickup. Read ArtsHub’s review.

Dates: until 21 July 2024. Free.

3. MAKE Award: Biennial Prize for Innovation in Australian Craft and Design

Presented by JamFactory over summer – and a collaboration with Australian Design Centre – this major new national award celebrates innovation in contemporary craft and design across 30 finalists.

Dates: 15 December 2023 – 28 April 2023. Free.

Northern Territory

NATSIAA 2023 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Image: Supplied.

1. 2023 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards

Still showing at the Museum and Gallery, Northern Territory is this year’s edition of the NATSIAAs, reflecting contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from across this continent. Alongside it, visitors can also see 40: Celebrating four decades of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.

Dates: until 18 February 2024. Free.

2. Claire Freer

Inspired by her life in Central Australia and her experience living in remote communities, Claire Freer is presenting new ceramic, textile and sculptural creations deeply connected with the Country on which she has been living, in her exhibition Raw Earth. It is showing alongside My Country: Tjoritja +Mpulungkinya, which highlights the strength of the Hermannsburg School of Modern Art through a geographical experience of Western Arrernte Country. Catch both shows at Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs this summer.

Dates: until 18 February 2024. Free.

Bruce Munro’s Light Towers, Kings Canyon. Copyright 2020 Bruce Munro. Photo: Serena Munro.

3. Bruce Munro: Light Towers

For his exhibition that opened earlier this year, and 40 years on from his first visit to the Red Centre, Bruce Munro has partnered with Australia’s largest regional accommodation provider, the G’day Group, to bring his immersive sound and light installation, Light Towers, to Discovery Resorts – Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park.

Dates: open now. Ticketed.

People sitting in outdoors watching drone show in the sky over the ancient site Uluru
‘Wintjiri Wiṟu’ is storytelling in the most modern way. Photo: Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

4. Wintjiri Wiru

Also launched this year, Wintjiri Wiṟu is an incredible drone experience at Uluṟu, telling a chapter of the ancestral Mala story through choreographed drones, lasers and projections that illuminate the night sky.

Dates: open now. Ticketed.

Australian Capital Territory

Emily Kam Kngwarray, Anmatyerr people, ‘Yam Awely,’ 1995, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, gift of the Delmore Collection, Donald and Janet Holt 1995. Image: © Emily Kam Kngwarray/Copyright Agency.

1. Emily Kam Kngwarray

This exhibition is an extensive survey of Emily Kam Kngwarray’s work curated by the National Gallery of Australia, from early vibrant batik textiles to later monumental paintings on canvas. A senior Anmatyerr woman, Kngwarray devoted her final years to painting.

Dates: 2 December – 28 April 2024. Ticketed.

2. Jordan Wolfson: Body Sculpture

The first solo presentation of US artist Jordan Wolfson’s work in Australia features the world premiere of Body Sculpturea major acquisition for the Gallery’s Collection. It combines sculpture and performance to generate emotional and physical responses in the viewer – often a moral confrontation.

Dates: 9 December – 28 April 2024. Free but ticketed.

3. Discovering Ancient Egypt

Discovering Ancient Egypt is visiting Canberra from the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO), in Leiden, Netherlands. It features more than 200 objects, including jewellery, sculpture, pottery and an array of stunning funerary material, and showcases the ancient Egyptians’ unique outlook on life and death, religious practices, daily life and the journey to the afterlife. Part of a national tour, it will spend the summer at the National Museum in Canberra

Dates: 15 December 2023 – 8 September 2024. Ticketed.

4. Madonna40: A Celebration

International music icon, Madonna celebrates 40 years in the music business in 2023. Canberran Jerry Kirbell, a long-time collector and major fan of all things Madonna, presents a small slice of his extensive collection of autographed pieces, tour merchandise, promotional items, clothing, posters, printers’ proofs, theatre memorabilia, magazine covers and rare photographs. Wonder at her amazing four-decade career at Canberra Museum and Gallery.

Dates: until 3 March 2024. Free.


1. Hobart Current: Epoch

Hobart Current: Epoch is a thought-provoking contemporary program and exhibition, featuring new works created by 10 local and international artists in response to the theme of “epoch”. Their works span visual art, performance, music, film and poetry, with six works to be exhibited at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), and three public artworks across the Hobart CBD.

Dates: until 11 February 2024. Free.

Troy Emery, ‘Big Blue’ 2022. Image: Courtesy of Martin Browne Contemporary.

2. Strange Nature

Strange Nature immerses viewers into the art of major contemporary artists, both local and national, to display the weird and wonderful facets of the natural world that inspire their versions of plants and animals. Showing at Art Gallery at Royal Park, Launceston.

Dates: until 14 April 2024. Free.

3. Heavenly Beings and Jean-Luc Moulène

Two shows at Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) over the summer typify its breadth as a collecting institution: Heavenly Beings: Icons of the Christian Orthodox World – the first exhibition at Mona of solely old art, specifically artworks made between 1350 and 1900, the same centuries where western art history includes Leonardo da Vinci, Velasquez and Monet – plus four new artworks by French artist Jean-Luc Moulène and Teams made from various Tasmanian sourced natural materials.

Dates: until 1 April 2024. Ticketed museum entry.

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