Guides

The Art Lover’s Guide To Brisbane In Spring

Here's where to get your art fix.

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There’s plenty to do and see this spring in Brisbane City

To an outsider, Brisbane may not appear to emanate the same creative energy of the big hitters in the art world – like New York, the Paris, or Berlin. It takes insider knowledge about life in Queensland’s most populous city to reveal a thriving arts community that refuses to play by the rules. The truth is, Brisbane rivals the likes of Melbourne and even Barcelona with its graffiti-adorned laneways, thought-provoking exhibitions and arts festivals.

This spring, Brisbane’s art scene is as compelling as ever, with shows and special events to appeal to even the most discerning art enthusiast. Whether you’re stopping by for a weekender or planning a staycation in your own city, here’s how to explore the best art the city has to offer with a fresh set of eyes.

Explore Brisbane’s well-lit past at The Salon Electric

Photo: The Salon Electric/State Library Of Queensland

Fans of the ‘80s and neo-noir will enjoy taking a step back in time to the days when Brisbane was drenched in neon light. There are only 200 large-scale neon lights currently flickering in Queensland, but this exhibition pays homage to a special period in Brisbane’s history – when neon was an art form, symbolic of the convergence between nightlife, design and the city’s culture.

The Salon Electric features neon works, photographs, an interactive site and a feature screening of Neon, an Australian documentary directed by Lawrence Johnson. Long-time Brisbane locals will recognise signs from adored establishments like the Kookaburra Cafe, Mr Fourex and Jo-Jo’s restaurant.

The Salon Electric will be on at the State Library until February 11 next year.

Count the dots at Yayoi Kusama: Life Is At The Heart Of Rainbow

Photo: Obliteration Room, Yayoi Kusama/Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery Of Modern Art

See a free exhibition by one of the world’s most recognisable artists at Queensland’s shrine to modern art, QAGOMA. Kusama has spent decades refining her spotty craft; it now comes to Brisbane’s premier contemporary art gallery in the form of a retrospective exhibition.

Life Is The Heart Of The Rainbow is an examination of Kusama’s entire body of work – from experiments in painting and performance art to large-scale installations and the ever-iconic ‘Infinity Rooms’. Prepare for your Instagram feed to be flooded with the artist’s trademark dot patterns and bright, bold colours.

QAGOMA delivers this internationally acclaimed, blockbuster show to art lovers in Brisbane and beyond completely for free, opening November 4 running through ‘til February 11, 2018.

Get to know the city a little better at Tastes Like Sunshine

Photo: Museum Of Brisbane/Facebook

A celebration of all things quintessentially Brisbane, Tastes Like Sunshine brings together contemporary art, personal stories, historical documents and images that explore the city’s evolving relationship with food.

Featuring artwork and installations by local artists Elizabeth Willing, Sean Rafferty and Carol McGregor, Tastes Like Sunshine offers a sensory experience for art lovers who maintain a strong connection to place – and you can bet on some memorable dining experiences, too.

Tracing and celebrating Brisbane’s history with food, Tastes Like Sunshine traverses the region’s Indigenous Australian ingredients and Aboriginal food culture, through to the influences immigration has had on the city’s palate, all the way through to the modern food industries that keep the Brisbane going.

Tastes Like Sunshine runs at the Museum of Brisbane until November 12. It’s a must-see for art and food lovers alike.

Discover an alternative Australian narrative at Donnas On The Run: Exhuming The Australian Badlands

Photo: Donnas On The Run/Metro Arts

Lucy Forsberg and Sally Molloy are two young Brisbane-based artists using their practice to explore the counter-narratives and colonial histories inherent to the modern Australian identity.

Their multidisciplinary work can’t be placed in any kind of ‘box’ – part video, part sound and part digital print, their most recent collaboration is a compelling investigation into the forgotten renegade figures in Australian history. If you’ve ever wondered how female convicts and transgender felons existed during the colonial period of Australian history, this is the exhibition for you.

Donnas On The Run draws on oral histories and archives to create an entirely new body of work, one that probes the mainstream understanding of Australian history. Forsberg and Molloy raise questions about colonial violence against Indigenous Australians, who is included in the retelling of the nation’s history and why and the roots of contemporary connections to place.

The exhibition will run until November 14 at Metro Arts and is free to visit.

Lead image: Yayoi Kusama/Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery Of Modern Art

There’s plenty to do and see this spring in Brisbane City. Find out more here.