– Highlights


Primavera 2017

23 Aug - 19 Nov


Hilarie Mais

23 Aug - 19 Nov

Mca Collection

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

01 Sep - 31 Aug

– Learning Events


2017 Lloyd Rees Lecture

22 Nov, 6.00pm, Level 2: Veolia Lecture Theatre


Art Safari

24 Nov, 1.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Artbar November 2017

24 Nov, 7.00pm, 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.

Peter Robertson: Sharpies

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


28 Nov 2001 to 03 Mar 2002

Curator: Russell Storer

About the exhibition

Sharpies was an exhibition of photographs from the albums of Melbourne based artist Peter Robertson and his friends. These photographs documented the years from 1974 to 1978 presenting a visual record of a period in which this group of friends dressed sharp and acted tough as an antidote to the boredom of suburban boredom. Produced as large, framed photographs these images were strange, humorous and sexy; a compelling document of Australian youth culture.

The Sharpies were a male-dominated youth culture which arose in Melbourne and to a lesser extent Sydney and Brisbane. Robertson said that the Sharpies were a result of the 'unbearably boring’ cultural life of suburban Melbourne in the seventies which 'revolved around football, pubs and cars.’

Sharpies’ emphasis on image, which included displays of hostility and sometimes violence towards other groups, enabled a sense of resistance toward authority, individual agency and escape from what many saw as limited options. For Robertson, becoming an artist was an extension of a decision at a young age to break away from the suburbs and what they represented. In this sense, Sharpies chronicled a formative time when certain life choices were made, identities were experimented with, and friendships either continued or fell away.

Tour itinerary

Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, Vic: 8 March – 28 March 2002
Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Qld: 30 November 2002 – 25 January 2003
Blacktown Arts Centre, Sydney, NSW: 6 June – 5 July 2003
Albury Regional Art Gallery, Vic: 29 August – 28 September 2003