Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
12 Dec 2008 to 1 Mar 2009
Ah Xian, Brook Andrew, Richard Bell, Stephen Birch, Ian Burns, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Patrick Doherty, Emily Floyd, Shaun Gladwell, Rodney Glick, Paul Knight, Tracey Moffatt (collaboration with Gary Hillberg), Rose Nolan, Raquel Ormella, Trent Parke, Koji Ryui, Joseph Sam, Andrew Sunley Smith, Alick Tipoti, Esme Timbery, Charles Warusam, Pedro Wonaeamirri
New Acquisitions 2008 presented a selection of works by Australian artists recently acquired for the permanent collection of the MCA. Displayed in the level 1 galleries and mezzanine, New Acquisitions 2008 featured diverse media including installation, ceramics, printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and video. It spanned works by younger artists as well as established practitioners, including Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Raquel Ormella, Trent Parke and Alick Tipoti.
Many recently acquired works entered the collection through the artists’ association with the Museum’s exhibition program. Xian’s China China – Bust 81 was donated by the artist subsequent to his inclusion in Cross Currents: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art in 2007. Stephen Birch, who featured in the 2007 MCA survey exhibition Stephen Birch: Looking out my back door, was represented in this exhibition by two major works, Untitled and The Trip. Additionally, the MCA had acquired a number of experimental videos by Tracey Moffatt in collaboration with Gary Hillberg following Moffatt’s solo exhibition in 2003.
The MCA also makes it a priority to acquire works by artists who have been included in the Primavera exhibition series—the annual exhibition for young Australian artists. Artists from past Primavera exhibitions represented in this exhibition included Patrick Doherty, Shaun Gladwell, Paul Knight, Koji Ryui and Pedro Wonaeamirri.
The MCA has a longstanding commitment to acquiring works that pose physical and conceptual challenges to storage and display. In a major installation by Brook Andrew included in New Acquisitions 2008, pulsing neon lights were mounted on an immense background of painted Wiradjeri designs that will be repainted each time it is subsequently shown.
A work by Racquel Ormella investigated the theme of activism. It took the form of a whiteboard drawing featuring images of two sites where environmental activism occurs: outdoors in the wilderness and indoors in campaign headquarters. Members of the public had the opportunity to make a print of the whiteboard image—but in doing so, were made aware of their complicity in using up paper resources.
This exhibition gave MCA visitors the opportunity to experience a wide selection of contemporary Australian art as well as an insight into how the collection is developed. The diversity of works in New Acquisitions 2008 displayed the vibrancy and depth of contemporary Australian practice.