Eight new art spaces to know about


Despite a tough couple of years for Australian arts, around the country a number of new galleries, museums and art spaces have either opened, or have reopened after a substantial refurbishment. From Melbourne to Sydney to Rockhampton to online, and regional towns in between, we’ve rounded up these new art spaces you should know about—whether galleries, artist-run-initiatives or new NFT platforms.


Shoalhaven: Bundanon

Set in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales, Bundanon opened the doors to its new $34 million museum and stunning bridge in late January. A regional space of landscape, experimentation and art, the thoughtfully designed museum and bridge incorporate radical solutions to our changing climate. It’s cleverly embedded in the vast landscape, and is defensible against fire and flood, all with a net-zero energy target. The museum’s first show is From impulse to action, where 12 artists have been commissioned to create work in response to the legacy of Arthur Boyd (Bundanon was gifted to the Australian people by Arthur and Yvonne Boyd, and was established in 1993). The show runs until 12 June, and Bundanon will have an official opening event on 5 March, including live music and performance events.

Arthur Boyd and Izabela Pluta, From impulse to action (installation view), 2022, Art Museum, Bundanon. Photo: Zan Wimberley.


Sydney: Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct

Just in time for the Biennale of Sydney, the newly redeveloped Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct will officially open its doors in March. Located on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour, the revitalised heritage precinct is home to leading performing arts companies including Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Theatre for Young People, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Bell Shakespeare, Gondwana Choirs, Sydney Dance Company, and Sydney Theatre Company. The venue is also a key exhibiting site for the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, opening 12 March—and from April onwards there’ll be an array of upcoming theatre, performance and musical events.

Redeveloped Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct. Photo credit: Brett Boardman.


Melbourne: 99% Gallery

Housed in Melbourne’s iconic Nicholas Building in the CBD, 99% is a new gallery started by curator and writer Chelsea Hopper—and it’s opened with nothing less than RICH, a solo show by renowned Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang artist Richard Bell. It largely features the text-based works Bell is admired for: “Don’t eat cake. Eat the rich.” commands one painting. In this exploration of populist slogans—where Bell inverts commonly divisive slogans to transform them into something more akin to pointed activism—the gallery has a full 2022 program looking at populism in our current moment.

Installation view of RICH, 99%, Melbourne, 2022. Richard Bell, Red Dye(t), 2020, acrylic on linen, 180 x 240 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Photo: Christo Crocker.


Online and Sydney: Culture Vault

If you’re curious about the world of NFTs, Culture Vault is for you. It’s new curated platform and creative agency that presents and sells high-quality NFTs and helps artists and cultural brands navigate the blockchain. It’s aiming to bridge the gap between the IRL art world and the world of NFTs. In early February it launched its online Culture Vault platform, and in March will show the exhibition The Future is Phygital at Sydney’s Verona Studios, which will display NFTs by 12 artists, framed on digital screens (and attendees can purchase these NFTs through QR codes).

Culture Vault launched with an interesting roster of artists, spanning fine art, film, music, dance, graphic design, architecture, sculpture, food and fashion. This currently includes Reko Rennie, Shantell Martin, Serwah Attafua, Adam Briggs, Romance Was Born, The Huxleys and StephenOrmandy.

Culture Vault NFT, Gary Heery.


Melbourne: MILK

MILK is a new artist-run initiative in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, founded by Brodie Kokkinos, Josephine Mead, Isaac Christie & Kurt Medenbach. It officially opened its doors two weeks ago with its first show Mother’s Milk, which ruminates on the power of maternal structures, featuring work by Noriko Nakamura, Lucy Foster and Kirby Casilli. The themes of MILK’s inaugural exhibition were echoed in the poetic text used to introduce this new space: “MILK automatically fills your cup and allows you to drink. As the liquid swims down your throat, a waterfall washes over the crown of your head. A wet shrug. You sleep for a while, waking to the sound of a ticking clock.” The show runs until 3 March.

Documentation of ‘Mother’s Milk‘ exhibition at MILK, 2022. Works shown by Nariko Nakamura, Kirby Casilli & Lucy Foster. Image by Jamal Twycross-Smith.


Rockhampton: Rockhampton Museum of Art

As Steve Dow recently wrote for Art Guide, “The ‘reimagined’ $33 million Rockhampton Museum of Art, rebuilt along the Tunuba— Fitzroy River—four blocks away from its previous site, capitalises on a very colourful past of art collecting and scorned love, and holds a promising future of greater interaction with the local Darumbal people.

“First opened in 1967, Rockhampton’s great hope is that the museum—reshaped as a cultural hub with new permanent and touring galleries, education spaces, community recreation, a restaurant and café—will boost cultural tourism and employment. Re-opening after the two-year rebuild, the museum will display its extensive holdings of 20th century Australian art, affording a designated collection space for the first time.” It’s only been open for a couple of weeks, and you can read more here.

Rockhampton Museum of Art external view. Image courtesy of Rockhampton Museum of Art.


Melbourne: Void

Void is a new, independent art space in Melbourne’s CBD, located within a heritage listed building that formerly housed the Bank of New South Wales. The new gallery’s current exhibition, Vernissage, runs until 19 March and features a selection of largely Victoria-based artists including Paul Handley, Mark Hislop, Elvis Richardson, Josephine Mead and James Little, as well as Jennifer Leahy, Nathalie Borowski and Lilit Stepanyan. Thoughtfully curated in a stunning space, Void’s next show is a solo by Mark Hislop from 23 March.

VOID Melbourne, Vernissage, Installation view, 2022.


Sydney: Sketch Collective Gallery

Sketch Collective Gallery is a new art space in Sydney’s Surry Hills. Its aim is to support artists, particularly those who are emerging, with pieces priced as low as $350, and nothing over $5,000—it’s an accessible step for those entering art collecting, or expanding existing collections. There’s also a roster of exhibitions in the space’s art gallery, and Sketch Collective is also part marketing agency, focusing on representing emerging artists.

Sketch Collective Gallery, Installation view, 2022. Image courtesy of Sketch Collective Gallery.


Feature Words by Tiarney Miekus