The Best Art Galleries in Hobart to Add to Your Cultural Calendar
The best art galleries in Hobart pack a mighty punch.
To do Hobart’s art scene justice, you’re going to need more than a weekend. From long-standing establishments to flash-in-the-pan exhibitions, Hobart’s vibrant art galleries have something for everyone. Contemporary collections and local works are just the beginning. Australia's most celebrated modern art museum also resides in this historic port city. So, our advice is to fuel up at one of the best cafés in town before making your way through this edit. Read on for the best art galleries in Hobart to meander through this weekend..
For Allanah Dopson, Handmark’s Director, the gallery is an ode to the “... handmade, the family of Tasmanian artists we represent, and our great staff”. Having opened in 1980, Handmark celebrates the diverse and eclectic talents that have emerged from the Tasmanian art scene over the years. Established and emerging artists’ work can be found at the gallery, situated in a coveted building in the historic hub of Salamanca.
Unique works from raku-fired ceramics to glass sculptures, textiles and wood sit in unison with more traditional mediums for you to adorn your walls, or simply admire.
77 Salamanca Place, Hobart
To call MONA an art gallery is almost a disservice. Situated on an 8.5-acre picturesque peninsula just north of Hobart it includes accommodation, bars, a library, brewery, winery, lawns to picnic on and playgrounds to occupy the little ones. Oh, and of course the three-level underground art museum and gallery. Phew!
If you’ve heard anything about Mona it’s likely to be the wall of vaginas or the giant poo machine, but they merely scratch the surface of over 1900 pieces Mona has to offer.
The space itself is an architectural phenomenon that allows such large-scale works as Tunnels of Light by artist James Turrell to be experienced.
Sidney Nolan’s Snake could arguably only be displayed at Mona. An artwork that consists of 1620 panels - each depicting abstract creatures and people - arranged so that from afar the sprawling work creates an image of a snake.
Cloaca Professional is a huge installation that replicates the human digestive system. Fed at 11am it expels its business promptly at 2pm (hint: hold your nose).
There are no tour guides here, or tiny descriptions sitting adjacent to artworks. To navigate the weird and wonderful you’ll receive a pocket-sized tour guide to technologically guide you through the vast art gallery.
From an extensive ancient Egyptian art collection to the most genre-pushing installations, Mona is a place to while away a day, nay a weekend, to really understand what it’s all about.
655 Main Road, Berriedale
An asset to Hobart’s art scene is Art Mob, a gallery specialising in Aboriginal art, jewellery and objects. Having made a name for itself showcasing renowned local Palawa/Tasmanian artists in beautifully curated exhibitions, it is now recognised as one of the leading Aboriginal art galleries globally.
The gallery’s director, Euan Hills, is deeply ingrained in the space, so seek him out as he’s a wealth of knowledge. His deep understanding of the Indigenous art makers, their stories and their techniques is the perfect accompaniment when you visit this space.
If time permits, and you’ve perused the extensive works adorning the walls, they also have a huge collection in the packing room that’s often available to view.
29 Hunter Street, Hobart
Well into its fourth decade, Despard Gallery has been a constant in Hobart’s art scene since 1985. Housed in a beautiful sandstone building a stone’s throw from Salamanca Place, the current space was purpose-built above its original gallery location. Historic timber posts are a nod to the past, but the artwork focuses on contemporary work, and Despard is known for its brilliant and extensive exhibition featuring local, national and international artists.
A leading art gallery since its founding, it has been recognised globally for international exhibitions in the likes of New York and Chicago. Despards’ exhibitions rotate frequently, but it’s the creativity and consideration behind the curation of its shows that sets it apart.
Level 1/15 Castray Esplanade, Hobart
Bickerstaff + Blizzard
Having opened in mid-2022, Bickerstaff Blizzard was never one to sit still for long. Always keeping you guessing, co-founders Jess Blizzard and Shelly Bickerstaff pride themselves on hand-selecting uber-creative talent from Tasmania and afar for their rapid-paced exhibitions. Over the last 12 months, the gallery has showcased the likes of Candice Broderick (a finalist in the 2023 Glover Art Prize), the neon perspex furniture of CK Studio, and acclaimed Sydney-based and cowboy depicting artist, Jacob Pedrana. The gallery has recently closed its bricks-and-mortar space, opting to move to intimate, invite-only art events in secret locations. They’re gearing up for the first one shortly, so drop them a DM to get on the list.
If the bright yellow exterior or vibrant murals on the walls of Good Grief doesn’t cheer you up, nothing will. This progressive studio, housed in a former automotive workshop, doesn’t disappoint once you make your way inside. Good Grief celebrates the experimental and the emerging, highlighting a range of mediums including performances and sound installations, to textiles and furniture design.
Their exhibition openings are always worth a visit, making the most of their internal courtyard for events, installations and the sporadic market day. Keep an eye on their socials for what’s up next - with their inaugural Sunday Cinema Club a sign of great things to come. A cleverly curated shop allows you to take a range of pieces home.
62 Argyle Street, Hobart