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20 May, 9.00am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

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Everything I Touch Turns To...

Let’s all take a moment to get to know the artist who will wave over the Museum with an ethereal wand and dip the building in gold for MCA ARTBAR. more

MCA Kids Committee & Artist Educators In Conversation

MCA Kids Committee members Sasha, Alesandro, Riley, Siobhan, Kayla and Max interviewed some of the artists behind Junior Art School to learn more their practice. more

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Film curator James Vaughan interviews MIFF Artistic Director, Michelle Carey, about April’s, CONTEMPORARY FILM PROGRAM. more

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Volume One: MCA Collection

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Remain in Light: Photography from the MCA Collections

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ARTIST INTERVIEW

Watch our latest artist interview with Khaled Sabsabi

Richard Bell

Uz vs Them 2006

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2008

single-channel digital video, colour, sound, 2min 47s

2 min 47s

About the Artwork

The work of Richard Bell tackles the position of Aboriginal art and artists within the contemporary art world, directly criticising its appropriation by non-Aboriginal artists and its domination by white curators, critics, academics, dealers and collectors. Combining political bite and caustic humour, Bell’s works argue for greater Aboriginal control over Aboriginal art, and by extension, Aboriginal culture within Australian society.

The use of language and text is a regular strategy for artists addressing political ideas in their work, and one that Bell embraces. Bell’s four-panel work Worth Exploring? challenges the position of Aboriginal art and artists inside the art system, linking it to the historical legal status of European colonisation. With his trademark directness and humour, Bell uses a combination of painting and legal documents to raise complex questions of artistic authenticity, appropriation and reception, as part of a broad debate on Australian race relations.

Uz vs Them stages a highly stylised physical and verbal sparring match between two men—one of whom is portrayed by the artist. The men’s dialogue is based on their opposing intellectual positions and political declarations.

References

Christine Morrow (curator), MCA Collection: New Acquisitions 2008 (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008

This artwork examines and challenges existing socio-political power structures. Depicting a cool, calm, collected Black man against an angry white villain, it presents no apparent winner.

Richard Bell, 2007

Richard Bell

– About the artist

b.1953

Richard Bell was born in 1953 in Charleville, Queensland, and is a member of the Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang communities.

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– Other works by the artist

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