July 29, 2016

The Forever Now: Contemporary Art Collections in the 21st Century

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Stuart Ringholt, Untitled (Clock), 2014. Clockwork, tubular bells, world globe, steel, glass, electronics, Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the MCA Foundation. Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. © the artist. Photo: Andrew Curtis.

“How has increased focus upon and work with collections led developments in contemporary curatorial methodology and practice? How are collections of contemporary art being developed in the present? How does the development of collections impact upon the work and careers of artists?”

MCA’s new Collection presentation Today Tomorrow Yesterday
On September 1, the MCA launches Today Tomorrow Yesterday curated by MCA Senior Curator Natasha Bullock. This is the museum’s first complete refresh of its permanent collection galleries since their launch in 2012 with Volume One.

Today Tomorrow Yesterday considers the impact of the past and the influence of history on artistic practice today. From contemporary interpretations of ancestral stories to the continuing effects of early to mid-20th Century avant-garde ideas, each room presents a different perspective on the history of the present.

This exhibition symbolises the guiding principles of the MCA Collection. It is focused on contemporary practices by Australian and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, embraces all media and is motivated by a respect for the creative process and vision of today’s artists. Including work by more than 40 artists from the 1960s to the present, recent acquisitions and a number of new commissions, Today Tomorrow Yesterday tells the story of the ever-evolving nature of contemporary art.

A conference to consider contemporary art collections with artists, researchers and curators 
Presented as part of the opening celebrations of the MCA’s newly transformed collection galleries, The Forever Now: Contemporary Art Collections in the 21st Century conference brings togetherartists, curators, academics and commentators from Australia and abroad. It examines how contemporary art collections shape our pasts and anticipate our futures.

Collections traditionally constitute the basis of the museum. However, the period in which collections of contemporary art have been built is also when art museums have given increasing emphasis to constantly changing programs: to temporary exhibitions, new projects and ephemeral activities that work with a different speed and economy than the long view cultural investment of the collection.

Whilst the audience-focused temporary programming emphasis continues, recent years have seen greater attention paid to the collection within museum programs. These include its visibility and interpretation on digital platforms; its use as a foundation for, or hand in glove with, temporary exhibition programming; its deployment outside the walls of the museum; or as the dynamic hinge in relationships between museums and their artist communities.

This essential conference features lectures, panel discussions, case study sessions and artist performances.

Keynote: Frances Morris (Director, Tate Modern)
Tate Modern Director Frances Morris will deliver a keynote address reflecting on Tate Modern’s new building and what possibilities this has opened up to think differently about how their collection is presented. Following on from this keynote will be two days of conversation and exchange examining the changing identities and functions of collections of contemporary art, primarily within an institutional context and with reference also to private, corporate and foundation collections and their interface with the public institution.

Speakers include:
–Jenepher Duncan (Curator, Contemporary Australian Art, Art Gallery of Western Australia)
–Natasha Conland (Curator Contemporary Art, Auckland Art Gallery)
–Stephen Gilchrist (Associate Lecturer, University of Sydney)
–Thomas J. Berghuis (Director, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nusantara, Indonesia)
–Tom Nicholson (artist, Lecturer, Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University)

The Forever Now: Contemporary Art Collections in the 21st Century
Register now at or view the complete program

The conference is co-convened by Natasha Bullock (Senior Curator, MCA), Yael Filipovic (Public Engagement Manager, MCA) and Blair French (Director, Curatorial and Digital, MCA).


Museum of Contemporary Art Australia presents The Forever Now: Contemporary Art Collections in the 21st Century

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