Catherine Opie: Binding Ties

Heide-Installation-view-Catherine-Opie-Binding-Ties-photo-by-Clytie-MeredithHeide Museum of Modern Art has unveiled the first survey exhibition in Australia of renowned American photographer Catherine Opie.

On display at Heide until 9 July 2023, the exhibition Catherine Opie: Binding Ties brings together more than fifty key works traversing the artist’s historic and recent practice.

Since the 1990s, Catherine Opie’s photographs have challenged and illuminated our understanding of notions of personal and political affiliation, the central theme of the exhibition.

In 1994 Heide exhibited eighteen of Opie’s portraits in the exhibition Persona Cognita, curated by Juliana Engberg, which represented Opie’s first showing in Australia.

Now almost three decades later, Heide will host the first survey of the artist’s work in this part of the world.

“We are delighted to present the first survey exhibition of Catherine Opie’s photography in Australia, three decades since her work was first displayed at Heide,” said Heide Museum of Modern Art Artistic Director Lesley Harding.

“The exhibition is an exciting opportunity to consider Opie’s remarkable body of work from new perspectives, from her iconic portraits of her friends and contemporaries to photographs and digital animations giving voice to political and environmental issues that concern and unite communities across the world.”

The exhibition at Heide presents Opie’s early, most recognisable works exploring constructions of gender and sexuality, through alternative conceptions of the nuclear household, to more recent explorations on solidarity and collective action in the face of proliferating global crises.

Opie remains well known for her portraits of leather dykes, drag performers and trans members of her queer community in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the nineties, offering incisive commentary on identity expression and group membership.

Her most recent series extend this thinking, exploring the ways our identification as individuals is eclipsed by the more critical need for us to identify collectively, working together toward common goals of environmental sustainability and social equality.

Now more than ever, we relate to one another as citizens of the world tasked with its protection, reflected in social movements like Black Lives Matter.

“The selected works demonstrate Catherine Opie’s mastery of photographic technologies and genres to offer us a heterogeneous conception of human relations – one that moves beyond the traditional limits of identity as defined within and against the wider group, through changing notions of family, community and collectivity,” said Guest Exhibition Curator Brooke Babington.

“A consistent motivation across Opie’s three decades of work, these ideas offer us new and challenging ways of thinking through the role of the individual in a rapidly changing world.”

Bringing together over fifty works traversing Opie’s incredible oeuvre, Catherine Opie: Binding Ties is the first chance for audiences to experience a major survey of the internationally celebrated photographer’s work here in Australia.

Catherine Opie: Binding Ties
Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen
Exhibition continues to 9 July 2023
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Installation view, Catherine Opie: Binding Ties, Heide Museum of Modern Art – photo by Clytie Meredith