Contemporary Art Archive

The Contemporary Art Archive (CAA), a unique and important part of the MCA’s Collection, is given a permanent presence in the former board room of the Maritime Services Board building which is situated adjacent to the Collection galleries. The archive gives attention to experimental, ephemeral, performative and investigative art practices through the acquisition of lesser known aspects of artists’ activities. It includes material such as artists’ books, films, publications, broadsheets, notebooks, diaries, objects, photographs, experimental music (records/cassettes/texts), collages, scripts, letters, writings and drawings, as well as other works of art. It has been developed through purchases and thanks to the extraordinary generosity of a number of artists. Objects from the CAA are displayed in exhibitions and sometimes in CAA-specific displays in the galleries.

“The CAA exists as a unique and highly valuable resource for artists, curators, writers and viewers alike. No other institution in Australia has initiated or developed a collection that seeks to delineate and make accessible the complexity of contemporary artistic practice through the non-hierarchical acquisition of artists’ materials. The CAA’s early focus on a period of art that was grounded in the performative, ephemeral and post-object also means it is a invaluable resource that gives tangible form to the thinking, processes and realisation of this period; a period which continues to influence new generations of artists and thinkers.”

- Hannah Matthews, from the publication Volume One: MCA Collection, published 2012 by the Museum of Contemporary Art

All images courtesy and © the artists