– 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


Contemporary Kids School Holiday Program

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


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean [Unplugged]

23 Jan, 6.00pm, Level 3: Galleries


Spoken Word Series

03 Feb, 1.00am, Throughout the 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.

Press Releases – MCA introduces 'Why Painting' talk series with Sydney College of the Arts

Posted on Sept. 11, 2015
Why Painting

Left: Adam Cullen, Pirate, 2003-2004, installation view, MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2015, image courtesy and © the artist, photograph: Maja Baska; right: Matthys Gerber, Self Portrait, 2002, Collection of the University of Queensland, purchased 2005, image courtesy and © the artist, photo: Carl Warner

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), University of Sydney, are presenting a new Talk Series exploring the recent history, current state and possible futures of painting.

The ‘Why Painting’ series will take place at the MCA in Spring for the next three years. It launches this year to coincide with the upcoming MCA exhibition of the works of Matthys Gerber (22 September – 6 December 2015), one of Australia’s most influential contemporary painters and a Senior Lecturer of Painting at Sydney College of the Arts.

The 2015 series consists of three free talks in the MCA Lecture Theatre by renowned academics and curators: Rex Butler, Professor of Art History, Monash University (Saturday 26 September 2015), Jacqueline Millner, Associate Dean, Research at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney (Thursday 8 October 2015) and Leonhard Emmerling, Director of Programs South Asia, Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi (Saturday 31 October 2015).

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with SCA for this exciting and thought-provoking Talk Series. Painting remains a key aspect of museum collections and artistic practice, and we look forward to exploring and discussing its presence within contemporary art today.”

Sydney College of the Arts Associate Dean of Research, Dr Jacqueline Millner, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for SCA to contribute to the public programs that extend MCA exhibitions and explore key topics in contemporary art now. Many of our staff at SCA are practising artists who frequently exhibit at the MCA, so this partnership builds on the many continuing connections between our two contemporary art- focused institutions.”


Professor Rex Butler (Professor of Art History, Monash University)
Saturday 26 September, 2-3:30pm. Free, booking recommended.

In December 2014, The Courier-Mail carried a long article by journalist Susan Johnson: 'CJ Hendry shows how artists are finding fame and riches by using social media’, featuring the work of CJ Hendry, an artist whose work she thought bore an uncanny resemblance to that of another Queensland artist, Michael Zavros. Painter Zavros is known for his “post-critical” attitude towards art-making, his doing away with that critical “irony” that distinguishes the work of art from that object or attitude it appears to represent. And yet Zavros and his dealer in the article are quoted defending his work against its imitation by Hendry. Rex Butler asks: In what could the difference between the two bodies of work lie? How are we to distinguish between Zavros’ “original” and Hendry’s “copy”? And why would Zavros, given his apparently “post-critical” attitude, want to? Rex Butler is currently working on a history of UnAustralian art with ADS Donaldson and has recently completed a book on Deleuze and Guattari’s What is Philosophy?


Dr Jacqueline Millner (Associate Dean, Research at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney)
Thursday 8 October, 6:30-8pm. Free, booking recommended.

Far from having exited the scene in the post-medium age, painting remains a key aspect of museum collections, commercial gallery stock, and artistic practice. But expectations of painting have been changing in our current times of promiscuous knowledge and image exhaustion. By considering how painting has been contextualised in certain recent international exhibitions, Jacqueline Millner draws out some of the distinctive features and strategies of
contemporary painting. Jacqueline Millner lectures on contemporary art theory and history. She has published widely on contemporary Australian and international art in key anthologies, journals and catalogues of national and international institutions. She co-convenes the research group Contemporary Art and Feminism at the University of Sydney.


Dr Leonhard Emmerling (Director of Programs South Asia, Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi)
Saturday 31 October 2-3:30pm. Free, booking recommended.

What is painting’s specificity? Does this term make sense in the “post-medium era”? And if so, in which way can a certain specificity be attributed to painting in a meaningful way? And if there is a thing like “specificity”, does this amount to what, from Kant to Adorno, has been named art’s autonomy? Can this traditional concept be fueled with new meaning by looking at it from the viewpoint of system theory? Leonhard Emmerling elaborates on this topic to give contour to the notion of painting as the “implicit horizon” of every visual arts practice today. Leonhard Emmerling is an art historian, curator and writer. He has curated more than 50 exhibitions in Germany, New Zealand, Russia and Austria. He has written several books, including one on Basquiat, and lectured in Auckland, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich.


Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Claire Johnson / Myriam Conrie
02 9245 2417 / 2434

Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney
Many Campbell
0418 012 742