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Contemporary Art presented by Sydney Opera House

Igniting imaginations

Contemporary art at the Sydney Opera House is guided by the promise that visual artists can challenge us to experience the world anew. With an emphasis on commissioning and exhibiting the artists of today, the twentieth century architectural icon is situated as a catalyst for visual artists to stage open-ended exhibitions, installations and projects that offer insights into the most pressing cultural, political and social questions of our society.

Transcending geographical boundaries, the contemporary art projects exhibited at the Opera House encapsulate the diversity of artistic expression, from temporal pursuits such as performance, sound and choreography, to digital art forms such as film, video and moving image, along with new art forms yet to be developed or fully understood. Central to these works is the encouragement of the deep understanding and enjoyment of art by our local, national and international audiences, both virtually and at the Opera House.

Through these meaningful encounters with artists and ideas of our time, the Opera House contributes to the global dialogue of contemporary art, weaving together the established and experimental, the past and present, the physical and the intangible - reflecting the promise that contemporary art, in illuminating our lives, can build a more just world. 

In your life you’ve got to have luck. To have this opportunity, I appreciate it very much. I can’t wait for overseas people and all Australians to see Vivid. God, I’m a lucky dog.

Dr John Olsen

Watch the documentary

By Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman and award-winning producer Alison Page and director Nik Lachajczak.

This new polyphonic piece pulses with the sound of temperatures rising! rising! rising! and the burning intensity of the momentary present. Step by step, I’m pulsing with anticipation to make a work which will make you feel as if someone placed a defibrillator on your eyeballs and drum kit in your soul.

Lauren Brincat

An artefact is something from a different time that shows up and provokes our imagination. It is not only a thing, but a springboard into imagining who we have been, who we are, and who we might become.

Angela Goh

Perhaps one day we can start our own pre-colonised orchestras and come together to play the instruments of our ancestors.

James Nguyen and Victoria Pham

Micheal DoCurator Contemporary Art

Micheal Do is a curator, programmer and writer working across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. His curatorial focus lies in developing thematic and immersive exhibitions that extrapolate research and artistic practices into contemporary contexts. He is curator, contemporary art at the Sydney Opera House, Australia and curator of Projects at Auckland Art Fair, New Zealand.

His exhibition ‘Soft Core’, exploring soft and inflatable sculptures developed for Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney, recently concluded its tour of twelve regional and rural galleries throughout New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland from 2016 – 2019. Micheal  curated ‘Not Niwe, Not Nieuw, Not Neu’ (2017) and ‘The Invisible Hand’ (2019) for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and among other exhibitions curated ‘5X5: The Artist and The Patron’ (2018), a survey of 5 artist/collector relationships for Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest and ‘A Proxy for a Thousand Eyes’ (2020) for Sydney Opera House.

He was the 2018 recipient of The Freedman Foundation’s Travelling Scholarship for Curators and the recipient Museums and Galleries NSW Artist and Curator Residency Grant in 2016. His writing appears in publications including 4A Papers; Art Collector Australia; Art Monthly, Australasia; Art Review Asia, Artist Profile Magazine, S+S Magazine, VAULT Magazine, and 10 Magazine, along with artists’ catalogues.

Sydney Opera House’s Curator Contemporary Art is enabled by Cathy & Andrew Cameron AM.

A man in a two piece grey suit.
Micheal Do, Curator Contemporary Art. Image: Daniel Boud

Be a part of contemporary art at the Opera House

Contemporary art is at the heart of the Opera House, and has been since our 1973 opening. Each year, our donors help to commission new, exciting art projects at the Opera House, like the ones featured on this page.

Contact our Philanthropy team on 02 9250 7077 or