The shows we’re looking forward to in 2024



Mona: Namedropping
15 June—21 April 2025

David’s Australian Tri-Series 1983–84 autographed cricket bat: Australia, Pakistan and West Indies teams.

“Namedropping”. It’s a stunning theme from the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) that gets to the heart of the art world and an anxiety of social life: status. The Mona curators will “zero in on the evolved, biological underpinnings of status—what is it for and why is it useful?” From Impressionist works to coffins to cricket clubs, exhibiting artists will include

Pablo Picasso, Barbara Kruger, Danh Võ, Tino Seghal, David Bowie, Ai Weiwei, Jenny Holzer, Chopper Read and Vincent Namatjira—to namedrop just a few.

Art Gallery of Western Australia: Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day
2 February—19 May

Yhonnie Scarce, Cloud Chamber, 2020, blown glass, dimensions variable. On loan from the TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria. Copyright Yhonnie Scarce.

Kokatha and Nukunu artist Yhonnie Scarce is bringing her exquisite glass installations to Perth in the largest-ever exhibition of her work. Scarce is known for her glass yams, hung in chandelier-like structures, which are a testament to the beauty of the material as much as they hold complicated narratives surrounding First Nations communities, which are supported by the archival photography that accompanies the sculptures. This exhibition will certainly be as beautiful as it is important.

National Gallery of Victoria: Pharaoh
14 June—late 2024

Plaque of Amenemhat IV, Probably Byblos, Lebanon, 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat IV, about 1808-1799 BC Gold H 2.9 cm, W 3.1 cm, D 0.1 cm. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

The NGV’s Winter Masterpieces series returns in 2024 with a partnership with the British Museum that celebrates 3000 years of ancient Egyptian art and artefacts. Expect exquisitely ornate jewellery, fascinating funerary objects and coffins, colossal architectural reconstructions, and an impressive collection of art commissioned by the likes of king Tutankhamun, Ramses II, and Queen Nefertari. Featuring more than 500 works, Pharaoh is the most ambitious loan of ancient Egyptian artefacts that the British Museum has ever offered to international audiences.

The Lume: Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years Of Genius

Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years Of Genius, The Lume, Melbourne.

Leonardo da Vinci is getting The Lume treatment this year with his iconic works—Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, to name a few—transported into an immersive multi-sensory display. The Lume aims to deliver more than a typical gallery experience, offering an insight into the time and place of da Vinci—imagine weaving through the streets of Renaissance-era Florence, Venice and Milan. For those not flying to Europe this year, The Lume is trying to recreate the next best thing.

Art Gallery of Ballarat: Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
2 March—2 June

Nan Goldin, Twisting at my birthday party, New York City, 1980.

Victorians can see Nan Goldin’s ​​The Ballad of Sexual Dependency when it tours from the National Gallery of Australia to the regional Art Gallery of Ballarat. The collection has been described by Goldin as her “public diary”, featuring her signature style of human-centric photography that depicts the lives of her friends and chosen family, many of whom were lost to the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is a snapshot of many subcultures of the late 20th century, but it’s also a love letter from Goldin to her ‘tribe’.

Queensland Art Gallery: mudunama kundana wandaraba jarribirri: Judy Watson
23 March—11 August

Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses
29 June—7 October

Judy Watson, Waanyi people, Australia b.1959, moreton bay rivers, australian temperature chart, freshwatermussels, net, spectrogram (installation view) 2022, Indigo dye, graphite, synthetic polymer paint, waxed linen thread and pastel on cotton, 247 x 488cm. Purchased 2023 with funds raised through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation Appeal. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art © Judy Watson/Copyright Agency. Photograph: N Harth/© QAGOMA.

The first of two major exhibitions at QAGOMA is Judy Watson’s mudunama kundana wandaraba jarribirri, which translates from Waanyi to ‘tomorrow the tree grows stronger’. Watson has been making art with a social conscience for decades, often addressing colonial, environmental and social concerns, while honouring her lineage in Waanyi Country of northern Queensland. This is an expansive survey, featuring 130 works across paint, print, sculpture, video and installation.

Late in 2024 is a deep dive into haute couture with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen’s ethereal garments, which use sculptural silhouettes and dynamic prints to reference science, technology, and the natural world. The show includes a recreation of the designer’s Amsterdam studio, examples of the developmental nature of garment creation, and depictions of iconic runway shows.

Melbourne Art Fair
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
22—25 February

Wanapati Yunupiŋu, Gumatj fire, Gurtha Wanapati, metal, 2023. Showing with Tolarno Galleries at the Melbourne Art Fair.

The Melbourne Art Fair returns as an annual summer fixture with 60 galleries and Indigenous art centres each presenting solo shows that encompass some of the most exciting contemporary art being made. Featured artists include Sally Gabori, Gordon Bennett, Jess Johnson and Mark Smith, among many others. This iteration is titled Ketherba, a Boon Wurrung word describing togetherness.

Museum of Contemporary Art: Nicholas Mangan: A World Undone
5 April—30 June

Nicholas Mangan. Photograph by Jesse Marlow for Art Guide Australia.

We selected Nicholas Mangan as one of our ‘10 artists to watch in 2024’ and with good reason: he’s set to have a major survey at the MCA. His work is centered on literal and metaphoric unearthing, fashioning “surprising materials into compelling installations, using everything from coral rubble to cryptocurrency as a point of departure”. It’s about history, ecology and politics, in a variety of forms from a film considering our relationship to the sun and a series of sculptures titled Termite Economies, looking at non-human labour and social organisation.

National Gallery of Australia: Gauguin’s World: Tōna Iho, Tōna Ao
29 June—7 October

Paul Gauguin, The Sacred Mountain (Parahi Te Marae), 1892, oil on canvas, 66 x 88.9 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gift of Mr and Mrs Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee 1980.

While this show marks another of a recent slew of Impressionist exhibitions in Australia, the numbers show that Impressionist exhibitions are the most attended art shows worldwide. The NGA is bringing us the French Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin, including many of his works created in the Pacific region. The show will explore his life, work, influences and legacy, alongside his approach to artmaking. As he said, “Colour! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.”

Art Gallery of South Australia: Surrender & Catch: The Art of Brent Harris
6 July—20 October

Reimagining the Renaissance
20 July—13 April 2025

Brent Harris, born Palmerston North, New Zealand 4 October 1956, Grotesquerie, 2008, Melbourne, oil on linen, diptych, 191.0 x 127.0 cm (each panel) Gift of the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2008 Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. © Brent Harris.

Currently showing the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Victoria, Brent Harris’s incredible survey will travel to AGSA. Surrender & Catch features over 40 years of work in Harris’s signature flattened, yet highly emotive, style—all centering mortality and connection. You can read our insightful interview with Harris for the exhibition here. Later in the year AGSA will also show Reimagining the Renaissance which centres the humanism of the famous art movement and its reverberations across Europe after the dark ages.

Feature Words by Art Guide Editors