volume one: mca Collection

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, March 2010  Ongoing
Curator: Glenn Barkley
Assistant Curator: Ivan Muñiz Reed


Installation view, Volume One: MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2012. Image courtesy the artists and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia © the artists

Installation view, Volume One: MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2012. Image courtesy the artists and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia © the artists

About the exhibition:

In 2010 the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia underwent a major re-development and subsequently an entire floor was dedicated permanently for the presentation of works from the MCA Collection. As MCA Curator at the time, Glenn Barkley lead a broad team on the task of selecting 300 works by 150 Australian artists from the gallery's permanent collection of over 4000 pieces acquired since 1989.

Barkley's selection highlighted the diversity and breadth of Australian contemporary art, as well as the eccentricity of the collection itself.  Volume One included important collections of work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists – bark paintings, woven bags and baskets from the Maningrida and Arnott's Collections – juxtaposed with film and video installations, paintings, photography, drawings and collage, ephemeral and performative art. 

Volume One featured a wide range of contemporary painting practices including works by Daniel Boyd, Juan Davila, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Tim Johnson, Gordon Bennett, Imants Tillers, Jenny Watson and Robert Owen, as well as the expansive work of younger generations of artists such as Rebecca Baumann, Gemma Smith, Agatha Gothe-Snape and many others. Diverse visions of Australian culture shared the space through moving image installations by artist such as Khaled Sabsabi, Shaun Gladwell and Richard Bell among others.

Volume One introduced the Cameron Screen Space – showcasing a program of single screen video time-based works of art – and devoted a room for displaying objects and ephemera from the museum’s Contemporary Art Archive. In addition, an ambitious new wall painting by Helen Eager was commissioned to celebrate the inaugural collection hang.

Both Glenn Barkley and Ivan Muñiz Reed were part of an editorial team overseeing the production of Volume One: MCA Collection – a major publication accompanying the exhibition that looked at over 20 years of the MCA’s exhibition and collection history.