Sexualising The City

Gallery 1 October 20 - December 2, 2012

Sexualising the City: Imaging Desire and the Gold Coast Identity

Meter maids, surfer boys, bikini girls … for decades the Gold Coast has been portrayed as a ‘sexy’ city.  Explore the art, fashion, popular culture and advertising that started and cemented this reputation.

View the blog on ABC Open

Within the popular imagination there is a direct link between the image of the sexualised body and the city image of the Gold Coast. These perceptions are however often limited by cliché and disparaged, leading to a wider dismissal of the Gold Coast as a whole.

This exhibition challenges and confronts this view and will present important and visually rich images and objects from art, design, fashion, popular culture and architecture from the 1920s to the present. It aims to offer a much more layered and diverse view of the way in which the crafting of these types of images grew to contribute to city identity.

The exhibition also charts in microcosm, the changes that have occurred in wider Australian society regarding the depiction of women and men. The Gold Coast as a cultural site has seen the creation of very potent images of women and men. Sexualising the City brings the background and reasons for this type of imagery to the forefront and identifies the wider culture around the city as a tourist destination and what, in effect, was actually being promoted to potential visitors.

The exhibition also explores the way that artists have responded to this visual culture and have sought to define their own way of seeing the body within this very particular city environment. The exhibition presents design elements from the fields of architecture, graphics, commercial photography and fashion and as such acknowledges the work of these creative disciplines in contributing to this broader visual culture.

 The exhibition catalogue is available to purchase for $25 at the Gallery Information Desk.


Discover the evolution of fashion on the Gold Coast -

So Chic - Dressing for Fun in the Sun 
Fri 16 Nov, 12.00 noon 

Enjoy a hot breakfast, fashion parade and panel discussion on the Gold Coast's sexualised image.
Breakfast Event - Sexing Up the City - Where do we go from here?
Fri 23 Nov, 7.00am


Aaron Burton, Jeff Carter, Alex Chomicz, John Gollings, Jack Kilgour, Ruth Maddison, Abbey McCulloch, Trent Parke, Peter Powditch, Betty Quelhurst, Scott Redford, Luke Roberts, Richard Tipping, Paul Wrigley, Jay Younger.

Hayley Bateup, Gold Coast Bulletin, DBI, Unit, Ivy Hassard, Regina King, Molly and Polly, Patrick Russell for Vogue, Paula Stafford.

Curated by Virginia Rigney.

This event has been made possible with the support of The Arts Centre Gold Coast Benefactor Program

View the opening night speeches

Read a poem by Claire Varley, inspired by the exhibition!