The MCA Collection
Collecting is a vital part of the MCA’s support for Australian artists: collecting as well as exhibiting is crucial in terms of endorsing the importance of preserving Australian art for future generations. The MCA Collection consists of more than 4000 works bought since the constitution in 1989 of the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay. The MCA also manages the Power Collection on behalf of the University of Sydney, works brought together since the late 1960s through the JW Power Bequest.
The Museum collects across all art forms with strong holdings in painting, photography, sculpture, works on paper and moving image, as well as significant representation of works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The Collection includes the MCA Contemporary Art Archive; a unique collection of material including artists’ publications, notebooks, music, scripts, letters, writings and drawings that represent a range of experimental practices and capture the ideas and working processes of today’s artists.
The MCA has important holdings of Indigenous art from Arnhem Land dating back to the 1950s including a collection that is held in trust with the community of Maningrida and The Arnott’s collection of bark paintings. A number of significant collections were donated to the museum by Loti and Victor Smorgon (1995), Henry Ergas (2009), Ann Lewis (2009) and Cathy and Andrew Cameron (2012). Following the founding of the MCA through the JW Power Bequest and with assistance from the New South Wales Government, the Museum continues to manage the Power Collection on behalf of the University of Sydney.
Following the reopening of the museum in 2012, when a significant proportion of gallery space was dedicated to the presentation of the collection, the Museum simultaneously embarked on a new MCA Collection Online initiative, supported by the Ian Potter Foundation. This growing resource includes in depth analysis of artworks, images, exhibition histories and biographical details. MCA Collection Online is a work in progress; an evolving resource that will over time represent many more of the Museum’s collecting highlights.
MCA Collection Online
JW Power Collection
Contemporary Art Archive
The Gift of Ann Lewis AO
The Loti and Victor Smorgon Collection of Contemporary Australian Art
The Maningrida Collection of Aboriginal Art
The Arnott’s Biscuits Collection of Aboriginal Bark Paintings