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A DAY AT THE GALLERY . . . by Natasha Stein

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is absolutely a must-see when in Sydney. Although I entered unfamiliar with Australian art, what I saw exceeded all expectations. When I got to the museum, I was engulfed by a welcomed blast of air conditioning. I then saw a sign saying that the entire gallery had free wifi. On top of that, admission was free. How luxurious. I liked the museum already.

The main floor had 19th to 21st century Australian art as well as 15th-20th century European art. My favorite from this floor was definitely surrealist, Sidney Nolan’s work. He was one of Australia’s leading artists of the 20th century and has a very unique, almost childish style to his painting that I loved.

As I walked from gallery to gallery, I saw people of all ages, from Australian high schoolers in their uniforms, to 20-something hipsters on their museum dates, to elderly travelers speaking languages I’d never heard before.

Down on lower level two were the Contemporary Galleries. Some of the collections included “Colourwheel” and “Seven artists from the John Kaldor Family Collection” - both equally intriguing and inspiring.

All I can say about the Kaldor Collection is that family collected some crazy art! There were giant light bulbs, statues of sad clowns laying on the floor, big colorful circles, and a statue of a gas pump machine made out of fossils. It was strange and very, very cool.

Next up: Colourwheel. The pure white walls were decorated with vibrant rainbow colors of all the pieces in the exhibit. The room featured colorful paintings, sculptures, photographs, footage, and food--all exploring the incredible and mysterious workings of color.

Down the hall from these exhibits were works from some of the greats. Picasso’s Nude in a Rocking Chair, Monet’s Port-Goulphar, Belle-Île and Van Gogh’s Head of a Peasant were all featured. Imagine my surprise to discover these in a museum I hadn’t ever heard of!

I was so captured by the amazing pieces and exhibits that I didn’t even realize I had spent over four hours there--and I didn’t succumb to browsing the free wifi once! Art Gallery NSW was hands down my favorite experience in Sydney thus far.