We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Sydney curtain



David McDiarmid


05 Sep 1952 – 25 May 1995

  • Details

    Other Title
    My Sydney
    Media categories
    Mixed media , Sculpture
    Materials used
    polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, polyethylene, cellulose nitrate, metal, paper, cotton
    195.0 cm x 202.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Don Baxter 2015
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of David McDiarmid/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    David McDiarmid

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'Sydney curtain' 1977-78 is from a group of plastic and collage works McDiarmid made in the late 1970s which emulate suburban craft practices. In these large suspended 'curtains' McDiarmid explored a camp aesthetic and in some an openly gay sexual identity while homosexuality was still illegal in Australia. 'Sydney curtain' is from the former group and is a joyfully and deliberately kitsch celebration of its namesake city, with collaged postcards of beaches, plastic thongs and gum leaves, a bright blue harbour and images of such iconic local buildings as the opera house, harbour bridge and Centrepoint tower.

    The first simpler version of this work was the centrepiece of McDiarmid's 1977 exhibition Australian dream lounge at the Hogarth Galleries, Sydney. This exhibition celebrated the camp retro banality of suburban Australian interiors. McDiarmid reworked the curtain into this more elaborate version for the exhibition New Works by David McDiarmid and Peter Tully at Hogarth Galleries in 1978, and its celebration of Australiana clichés shares the same irreverent humour as the work of McDiarmid's close friends and often collaborators Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee from the Flamingo park fashion label, and artist Peter Tulley.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by David McDiarmid

See all 18 works