Pirates hail Sydney’s MCA reopening after $53m revamp
A sparkling sailing ship doubling as a pirate radio station hailed the reopening of Australia's iconic Museum of Contemporary Art after a three-year, $53 million revamp.
Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich’s Celestial Radio hovered offshore as MCA director Liz Ann Macgregor fielded questions from the press about the opening of the gallery.
The widely anticipated reopening of the Museum is a highlight on the international art calendar.
This milestone will be celebrated with a week-long series of launch events culminating in a dynamic schedule of free artist talks and public programs throughout the opening weekend.
The new MCA opens with Marking Time, an international exhibition which presents major works by eleven artists in the spacious new top floor galleries.
The world-renowned and highly acclaimed 24-hour video installation The Clock by Christian Marclay occupies the largest of all galleries, the Level 1 North Gallery in the new wing.
The Museum has also commissioned Performance Space to curate a performance program in and around the new building. Local Positioning Systems comprises six artists from Australia and a UK collaborative.
The new MCA opens with a collection hang, Volume One: MCA Collection, which features works by more than 170 Australian artists.The second season comprises the 18th Biennale of Sydney across two floors of the MCA.
In October, the annual Primavera exhibition will showcase young Australian artists, alongside the first major solo survey devoted to the work of renowned Australian artist Ken Whisson. Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro will take over the Museum’s Level 1 North Gallery. In December, artist Brook Andrew will curate a thought provoking exhibition which presents recent and new artworks by Indigenous artists from Australia and around the world.
And the MCA will present the first major exhibition by Anish Kapoor in Australia as part of the Sydney International Art Series.
Another two additions to the Museum are the rooftop venues. Created to take advantage of their location, the venues offer spectacular views across Sydney Harbour from the Opera House to the Harbour Bridge.
‘'I am delighted that we are opening with a dynamic program of exhibitions showcasing work by Australian artists alongside their international peers. It is thrilling to see the new MCA take shape,’' said Ms Macgregor.
"The creation of wonderful new spaces for art and for creative learning, right on the harbour is a landmark in the Museum’s history.
"The cutting-edge architecture complements the existing building and the use of new technology sets a new standard for collaboration with audiences.
"The new MCA will be a world-class hub of art and creative learning which responds to the Museum’s growing audience and reaches out across the country.''
A key feature of the new MCA’s program is a series of commissions by Australian artists. Brook Andrew has installed a permanent work on the Circular Quay façade which draws attention to the colonial naval dock remains underneath the new extension. The work is a poetic response to one aspect of the interpretation of the heritage of the site. The artist who represented Australia in the 2011 Venice Biennale, Hany Armanious, has created the first work for the new Sculpture Terrace, a spectacular space for art overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Each year an artist will be invited to create a site-specific installation to be exhibited for a period of 12 months. The MCA Sculpture Series will stimulate ambitious and significant new work to fire the public imagination.
Westpac Institutional Bank is the Major Partner for the new MCA’s inaugural international exhibition Marking Time, which presents major works by eleven artists from Europe, the USA, Brazil, Japan and Australia. The exhibition explores the ways in which artists visualise time, from family history and the failures of memory, to the ancient time of the planet or cosmos, to calendar cycles mapping the duration of the exhibition itself and its passing, across diverse media.
Celestial radio is a seductive and functional sculptural object, a radio station housed on a sailing boat whose surface is covered by 60,000 inch-square mirror tiles; she splinters daylight as if transmitting Morse code messages. The Celestra: Southern Star travels literally across the high seas while conceptually exploring the metaphorical oceans of life’s big questions, both cosmic and microscopic.
140 Geroge St
Sydney NSW Australia
Subway: Circular Quay
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