8 August 2008 – 15 February 2009
Modern times reveals how modernism transformed life in Australia across five tumultuous decades from 1917 to 1967. The exhibition traces for the first time the impact of modernism on all aspects of Australian culture — from art, design and architecture to advertising, photography, film and fashion.
Modernism sought to build a better future in the aftermath of World War I. An international movement, modernism encapsulated the possibilities of the 20th century. It celebrated the romance of cities, the healthy body and the ideals of abstraction and functionalism in design.
Modern times looks at how modernism defined a new cosmopolitan culture in Australia, highlighting stories of avant-garde experiments. The exhibition also explores the city and its skyscrapers, milk bars and swimming pools, where modernism profoundly reshaped Australian life.
Bringing together over 400 artworks and artefacts, Modern times focuses on a series of major interdisciplinary exchanges between modern architects, artists and designers. It features paintings by Grace Cossington Smith, Sidney Nolan and Margaret Preston; photographs by Max Dupain, Wolfgang Sievers and Jeff Carter; designs by Clement Meadmore, Douglas Annand, Robert Klippel, and Grant and Mary Featherston; as well as models and designs by architects Harry Seidler, Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds and Jorn Utzon.
Modern times: the untold story of modernism in Australia
Sydney Modernism: self-guided walking tour
An easy to use guide highlights stars and successes from the heyday of Modernism, 1920s to 1960s, surviving in the CBD and nearby suburbs. Like the exhibition it demonstrates to you how modernism transformed all aspects of Australian culture across five tumultuous decades.
download walking tour
A collaborative map of modernism in Australia created by Dan Hill and collaborators on GoogleMaps.
Share your images of modernism with our Flickr group
The Museum wants your photographs of 'modernism in Australia'. We have set up a group on Flickr where you can post contemporary photos that represent 'modernism' to you. They could be architectural, city spaces, furniture, interiors, fashion and design - we want to see how you interpret this era today. more...