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Life and Legacy of Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen: Art is Pain Relief – Life and Legacy at Manly Art Gallery & Museum

Over a decade since Adam Cullen’s death, rarely seen works by the artist will be on display at Manly Art Gallery & Museum from 13 October to 3 December.

In this retrospective exhibition, over 70 paintings, works on paper, bronzes, ceramics, film footage, and artist books have been drawn largely from private collections.

The colourful and complex artist, who grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, famously won the Archibald Prize in 2000 for his portrait of actor David Wenham, which will feature in the exhibition. In 2002, he represented Australia at the 25th Biennale de São Paulo.

Northern Beaches Mayor Sue Heins said the exhibition is an opportunity to reflect on the artist’s extraordinary body of work, his influence and legacy.

“As a child, Adam Cullen showed artistic talent and even drew cartoons for the local Collaroy Plateau newspaper,” Mayor Heins said.

“After art school, he emerged from Sydney’s grunge art scene in the 1990s to become one of the most important artists of his generation.

“His bold and challenging paintings are insightful and often confronting, reflecting on contemporary societal issues.

“It is a real privilege and honour to display these rarely seen works here on the Northern Beaches, where the late artist spent his formative years.”

Adam Cullen’s works revolve around issues of national and gendered identity, addressing racial intolerance, bigotry, sexism, and political and social hypocrisies. The artist passed away at his home in Wentworth Falls in July 2012.

More than 10 years later, Max Germanos of 3:33 Art Projects developed this retrospective exhibition with the support of the Adam Cullen Estate and Manly Art Gallery & Museum.

Adam Cullen: Art is Pain Relief
13 October – 3 December 2023

Manly Art Gallery & Museum
West Esplanade Reserve, Manly NSW 2095
Open Tue – Sun, 10am – 5pm (closed Mondays & Public Holidays)
Free entry

Exhibition Opening
Friday 13 October, 6 – 8pm

Friends of MAG&M and Volunteers’ Preview
Friday 13 October, 10 – 11am

Life and Legacy of Adam Cullen
Sun 22 October, 2 – 3pm

Join Max Germanos and Jasper Knight for an informal discussion on the life, times and legacy of Adam Cullen, hosted by MAG&M’s Senior Curator Katherine Roberts.

For more information visit www.mgam.com.au


22 Oct 2023


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: 21 - 22 Oct 2023
  • Time: 11:00 pm - 12:00 am