– Highlights


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean

01 Nov - 18 Feb


Jon Campbell: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 25 Feb


Word: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 18 Feb

– Learning Events


ARTBAR January 2018

19 Jan, 7.00pm, Throughout the MCA


Contemporary Kids School Holiday Program

23 Jan, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Art Baby

06 Feb, 12.30pm, MCA

– News from inside the MCA

The Importance of Laughter

We sat down with laughter connoisseur Shari Coventry from Sydney Laughter to discover the truth about laughter and why we need it ahead of this month’s Laughter Sessions. more

Coming up in 2018…

Next year is one of the most exciting and diverse seasons yet. Find out what’s on. more

Six Films that Changed My Life (for better or worse): Antenna's Rich Welch

To pave the way for the soon-to-come cinema binge at Antenna Film Festival,Co-Director Rich Welch shared a few of his life changing films. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Approaching Decoration: Works from the MCA Collection

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


09 Mar 1999 to 24 Oct 1999


Enrico Baj, Tony Clark, Juan Davila, Lise Floistad, Keith Haring, Louise Hopkins, Huang Chin-ho, Narelle Jubelin, Anne-Marie May, Anna Opperman, Stieg Persson, John Power, Elizabeth Pulie, Zabunian Sarkis, Yinka Shonibare, Imants Tillers, Constanze Zikos


Linda Michael

About the exhibition

‘It is decoration and decorative art that really moves me most.’ – John Power

Approaching Decoration examined the decorative in art. Curator Linda Michael took her cue from the above comment by John Power, the expatriate Australia artist whose bequest to the University of Sydney established the collection out of which the MCA eventually emerged, and from an interest in the decorative elements of post-modern art.

Because decoration is often associated with domestic and other ‘minor’ art forms, it has been perceived as lacking the authority and criticality of much modern art. In this exhibition Enrico Baj and Zabunian Sarkis adopted this idea, using decorative materials to parody the pretensions of the people they depicted.

Other works in the exhibition were unashamedly decorative, from John Power’s elaborately framed, colourful paintings, to the joyful exuberance of works by Elizabeth Pulie and Keith Haring.

More ambiguous in their approach were works by Tony Clark, Anne-Marie May, Imants Tillers and Stieg Persson. They combined decorative and formal elements, high and low art forms, organic and geometric forms to create works of formal impurity.

Narelle Jubelin, Constanze Zikos and Yinka Shonibare explored the rich cultural signification of particular forms of ornament. Their use of pattern and materials revealed the displacements of meaning created through colonisation, trade or migration.