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Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


08 Dec 2009 to 18 Apr 2010


Hany Armanious, Ralph Balson, Curley Barduguba, Ian Burns, Robert Ambrose Cole, Timothy Cook, Richard Dunn, Mikala Dwyer, John Firth-Smith, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Rosalie Gascoign, Ann Hamilton and David Ireland, Callum Innes, Kitty Kantilla Kutuwulumi Purawarrumpatu, Robert Klippel, Emily Kami Kngwarreye, Ildiko Kovacs, Rosemary Laing, Jon Lewis, Marrirra Marawili, George Milwulurrurr, Rosella Namok, Dorothy Napangardi, Jimmy Ngalakurn, Bobby Barrdjaray Nganjmirra, Robert Owen, Gloria Petyarre, Robert Rauschenberg, Neil Roberts, Lola Ryan, Ricky Swallow, Walala Tjapaltjarri, Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula, Victor Vasarely, Wukun Gathinikpa Wanambi, Judy Watson, Louise Weaver, Judith Wright, Timothy Wulanjbirr, Anne Zahalka

Curator: Glenn Barkley

about the exhibition

Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO provided an extraordinary road map of Australian art practice over the preceding fifty years, shaped by the vision of one of Australia’s best regarded collectors and art supporters. This exhibition presented the generous donation made by Ann Lewis to the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009. As a result of Ann’s roles as a collector, philanthropist and gallerist, visitors to the exhibition could enjoy a collection of works brought together through a unique personal vision. It also included a selection of Ann Lewis’ gifts to Newcastle Region Art Gallery and Moree Plains Gallery, as well as earlier gifts to the University of Sydney’s Power Collection, the precursor to the MCA Collection, which the MCA manages for the University.

Almanac mapped changes in taste and influence, styles and ideas, through a personal collection of depth and currency. It included a range of artworks from different times and locations, beginning with a work from 1953 by Sydney based abstract artist Ralph Balson, to paintings by Aboriginal artists from remote communities.

A diversity of materials and approaches were included in this exhibition, from Hany Armanious’ hotmelt sculpture that solidified the negative spaces of various wine glasses, to works by Rosalie Gascoigne and Neil Roberts that used found objects which carry the traces of their history. Recent works by leading artists from Aboriginal communities such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Dorothy Napangardi and Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori brought long standing cultural traditions into the present. Ann Lewis was one of the first advocates of Aboriginal art in Australia, a further reflection of the important role she has played during recent Australian art history.

Assembled as a private collection, this exhibition revealed the deep relationships Ann Lewis enjoyed with many of the artists. The end result was a fascinating showcase of her personal networks both in Australia and abroad.

Following its showing at the MCA, Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO toured to four regional venues:

• New England Regional Art Museum: 18 Nov 2011 – 5 Feb 2012
• Wagga Wagga Art Gallery: 9 Mar – 29 Apr 2012
• Tweed River Art Gallery: 11 May – 24 Jun 2012
• Newcastle Art Gallery: 25 Aug – 11 Nov 2012

Featuring Works from the MCA Collection

Hany Armanious
  • Untitled Snake Oil
Curly Bardkadubbu
  • Rainbow serpent of the Dreamtime
Ian Burns
  • Showtime
Robert Cole
  • Body paint
Richard Dunn
  • 1919
Mikala Dwyer
  • Wall sculpture
Sally Gabori
  • Makarrki
Rosalie Gascoigne
  • Leaning piece
  • Winter morning
Callum Innes
  • Exposed painting charcoal black deep violet
  • Exposed painting pewter
Martin King
  • Liberty or love
Rosemary Laing
  • airport # 3
  • groundspeed (Red Piazza) #3
Jon Lewis
  • Arawa Swimming Hole From the series 'Bougainville'
  • Aussie Soldier in Ainaro Hospital Ruins From the series 'East Timor'
  • Bondi Cherub From the series 'Bondi'
  • Joe Tapp Kilarney Station, NT
  • Little Ross at Oenpelli Spring From the series 'Outback'
  • Man at ATM, Paris
  • Man Ray is alive and well in Paris
  • Mataranka, NT
  • Octopussy Man From the series 'Coming Back'
  • Roper River, NT
  • Top Springs, NT
Marrirra Marawili
  • Dhakandjali
George Milwulurrurr
  • Namangwarri - crocodile with mimi spirit figures
Rosella Namok
  • Para Way, other way
Dorothy Napangardi
  • Sandhills
Jimmy Ngalakurn
  • Untitled
Bobby Nganjmirra
  • Barramundi, snake and two broken head fish
Robert Owen
  • Untitled XII From the series Origami
Gloria Tamerre Petyarre
  • Leaves in the wind
Robert Rauschenberg
  • Tampa Clay Piece 4
Neil Roberts
  • 3 works from the series The Great Ultimates
  • 92 bounces 30.11.95 from the series Bradman's tank
Lola Delhi Ryan
  • Harbour Bridge
  • Sailing boat
Ricky Swallow
  • iMac with cloud
Walala Tjapaltjarri
  • Tingari cycle #7269
Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula
  • Untitled (spear straightening)
Wukun Wanambi
  • Gudultja
Louise Weaver
  • Liberty or love
Timothy Wulanjbirr
  • Untitled (hollow log coffin)
Anne Zahalka
  • English Garden, Weston Park, Australian Capital Territory from the series Natural Wonders

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