new wing of the art gallery of nsw

The New South Wales government provided $244 million in funding, with the art gallery raising $109 million from philanthropic and corporate donors to support the expansion.

It’s a partnership that Art Gallery of NSW chairman David Gonski said was forged by “art and beauty on the one hand and practicality on the other”.

The limestone walls of the art pavilions.Credit:James Alcock

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning international architects SANAA, the new free-standing building sits north of the Walter Liberty Vernon-designed sandstone main gallery with expansive views of Woolloomooloo, the harbor and the city skyline.

Outside, Sydney’s Modern’s Welcome Plaza’s fritted glass canopy rises seven meters above street level. A store built from translucent surfboard resin will begin to be erected nearby from next week, Art Gallery of NSW, manager Michael Brand has said.

At the entrance, the public will first encounter the Yiribana Gallery, dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

The Yiribana Gallery has moved from the basement of the existing Walter Vernon-designed building to Sydney Modern’s entry level to demonstrate the centrality of Indigenous art in the building’s future programs, Arts Minister Ben Franklin has said.

On the lower level, the large large exhibition gallery will hold blockbuster traveling exhibitions of a size, Brand said, that the gallery has, until now, been unable to accommodate.

Prime Minister Perrottet said that art is a mirror of society.

“The art we have here today, which will pass from pre-colonization to today, can be enjoyed by generations to come. Every great city has a great art gallery.


Asked why the state invested four times as much money to rebuild Sydney’s $874m football stadium and Parramatta still had no art gallery backed by the government, the prime minister said Sydney Modern was an example of social good in action.

Sydney’s west benefited from “a combination of everything”, including healthcare, transport and education, he said.

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