Project 35
Making Art Public

Project Summary

Making Art Public was an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kaldor Public Art Projects. Over half a century, the organisation’s 34 temporary projects in public spaces had a profound impact on Australians’ experience of contemporary art.

In 1969, John Kaldor brought artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Australia, where they made one of the most ambitious public artworks ever seen. Titled Wrapped Coast – One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, the project enveloped 2.5km of coastline with fabric and rope. Its success captured international attention and initiated what was to become the world’s first public art organisation.

The exhibition Making Art Public was created by British artist Michael Landy at the Art Gallery of NSW. Rather than take the form of a conventional retrospective, it brought an artist’s perspective to bear on the Kaldor Public Art Projects completed from 1969 to 2019.

Landy reimagined each project within an oversized archive box, using archives, documentation and remnant artworks to distil and reincarnate the projects in new and surprising forms. Installed out of chronological sequence, the archive boxes each offered markedly different experiences and revealed diverse approaches to making art public.

To accompany Making Art Public at the Art Gallery of NSW, Kaldor Public Art Projects commissioned four major new works by Australian artists, reprised three iconic past projects and pioneered the Kaldor Studio, an experimental artist-led learning space at the heart of the exhibition. The Living Archives project, which animated Kaldor Public Art Projects’ history with firsthand stories of past projects, was presented in the form of online articles and live programs.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Kaldor Public Art Projects presented an extensive series of public programs, including a panel of guest international curators and three dedicated Art After Hours’ evenings.

Find the full Making Art Public website here.

Making Art Public:
50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects

7 September 2019 – 16 February 2020
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney



Currently exhibiting at

New Commissions

Kaldor Public Art Projects commissioned contemporary artists Alicia Frankovich, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Ian Milliss and Imants Tillers to create new works that would transform the Art Gallery of NSW over five months of anniversary celebrations.


Three iconic past Kaldor Public Art Projects were reprised at the Art Gallery of NSW. Allora & Calzadilla’s performance Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on ‘Ode to Joy’ for a Prepared Piano, Bill Viola’s haunting video works Fire Woman and Tristan’s Ascension and Tino Sehgal’s This Is So Contemporary were all presented in conjunction with the exhibition.

Living Archives

The Living Archives project animated Kaldor Public Art Projects’ history with the memories of those who experienced the projects firsthand. These stories provide a rare window into 50 years of history through the eyes of visitors, artists, teachers, art lovers and students alike.

Kaldor Studio

Kaldor Studio was a dynamic artist-led learning space located at the heart of the Making Art Public exhibition.

Kaldor Studio was adapted and transformed by three exciting Australian artists and their diverse collaborators – David Capra & Teena, Lucas Ihlein and the Rizzeria Collective, and Nadia Odlum.

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Behind the exhibition Making Art Public

Wrapped Coast: 50 Years

Celebrating 50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects

Agatha Gothe-Snape on Lion's Honey

Michael Landy on Making Art Public

PublicationBack to top

Making Art Public:
Kaldor Public Art Projects, 1969–2019

Beautifully designed and featuring more than 1000 images, Making Art Public: Kaldor Public Art Projects, 1969–2019 celebrates a milestone anniversary for the world’s oldest public art organisation and includes personal stories from a life in art by the founder and director of Kaldor Public Art Projects, John Kaldor.

Making Art Public features fascinating new interviews by acclaimed international curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who spoke to 27 of Kaldor Public Art Projects’ past artists. Christo, Gilbert & George, Jeff Koons, Marina Abramović, Mike Parr and Jonathan Jones are among a host of groundbreaking artists who reveal rich and surprising insights about their projects in Australia.

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Geoff Ainsworth AM and Johanna Featherstone
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