Flashback Friday: 2nd Biennale of Sydney, Introducing AGNSW

Posted on 22 November 2013 in Flashback Friday, News
Stelarc, Event for Stretched Skin, 1976

The second Biennale of Sydney, held in 1976, moved from the Sydney Opera House to the Art Gallery of NSW for the first time. Since then the Gallery has remained a venue for every Biennale edition.

Held during a time of heated political debate after the recent dismissal of the Whitlam government, many of the 80 artists who participated pushed the boundaries, generating much discussion within the community. One such artist was Stelarc, whose work involved suspending his body from hooks piercing his skin.

English artist Stuart Brisley captured public imagination by inhabiting an ‘art cage’ he’d built himself in Hyde Park – he eventually broke free to the delight of cheering office workers on their lunch break.

1976 was the first year the concept of using a single Artistic Director to create the theme and select the artists was introduced. Having a different curator for each exhibition is now considered one of the Biennale’s enduring strengths.

Other artists exhibiting included Linda Benglis, Joseph BeuysJan Dibbets, Fujiko Nakaya and The Ant Farm Collective.

Images from the 2nd Biennale of Sydney (1976)

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Image: Stelarc, Event for Stretched Skin, 1976