40th Anniversary:
Art Gallery of
Western Australia

The Art Gallery of Western Australia marks the 40th anniversary of its 1979 Brutalist icon with AGWA 40, a suite of special exhibitions and events exploring the development and design of the building. Perth Brutal: Dreaming in Concrete, showing until February 17, 2020, highlights the layered history of the building’s development. The exhibition features images of the building in construction and its early days, along with ephemera such as building models, plans, diagrams and drawings, and early promotional brochures about the structure and its place in the Cultural Centre, which is now undergoing its biggest development since 1979 as part of the WA Museum project.

Opened on October 2, 1979 by then Premier Charles Court to mark the 150th anniversary of Western Australia’s foundation as a state, the new AGWA building was a dramatic example of late Brutalist architecture designed by Polish-born Charles Sierakowski. Using a hexagonal plan and a generous 3500 square metres of display space, Sierakowski’s design transformed the way the gallery exhibited works. The unique building was designed around 120-degree angles that created several unusual vistas from different spaces within the gallery. Prior to this, the gallery was part of a joint institution known collectively as the Public Gallery, Museum and Art Gallery. When it officially opened its new doors in 1979, the newly designed spaces reignited Perth’s appreciation for art.

The art of the 1970s in Western Australia will also be examined in the exhibition That Seventies Feeling: The Late Modern (December 7, 2019 to March 9, 2020) featuring artists Miriam Stannage, Virginia Cuppaidge, Mike Parr, Robert Rooney, Stephen Shore and Jenny Watson, alongside the work of late modernists Howard Hodgkin, Fred Williams and Albert Tucker.



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