Sydney may not be Paris or London, but its State Museums are also free.
Art After Hours is a cosy affair at the NSW Art Gallery, kicking off at 5pm with free live music in the café. Sip your latte and lose yourself to the beats and grooves of soul, jazz, funk or folk. Wander beneath sandstone arches and high white ceilings to explore the permanent collection, a combination of Australian and international artworks from the 19th to 21st century. Take a free art lesson.
If Arthouse cinema is your thing, be sure to head downstairs to the theatre and enjoy a selection of foreign films around the theme 'We Used to Talk about Love'. I recently saw 'Les Amants du Pont Neuf' (Lovers on the Bridge) and its exploration of destructive, compulsive love between a homeless man and a young girl losing her eyesight (Juliette Binoche) was an interesting contribution to the theme. The evening we arrived, we were just in time to hear former High Court Justice Kirby discuss the art and law. Having read many of his dissenting judgements for exams, it was quite amusing to hear him now wax lyrical about the curious absence of the truly erotic in modern Australian art.
Portrait of Hugo Weaving by Kathryn Del Barton. Image from gallery website.
While we were there, we decided to check out the Archibald exhibition- it was definitely $10 well spent. The diverse explorations of self on display challenge you to rethink identity. One artist had created an artwork which covered an entire wall made with thread, aluminium, cloth, each material representing an aspect of his life and experience which constituted who he was. The winning portrait of Hugo Weaving was also impressive. I especially appreciated the 'For Kids' plaque beneath it which poses the question: "What kind of animal do you think he is holding?"
The NSW Art Gallery truly is a lovely place to while away a Wednesday evening. If you're running late, here's a tip: take the underground express walkway. Enjoy the bright artwork on the walls and let your inner child rejoice at the way the moving rubber footpath undulates uphill and downhill beneath your feet allowing momentum for a superb running dismount.