Making Art Public was a major exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kaldor Public Art Projects, presented from 7 September 2019 – 16 February 2020 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Sydney.
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.
Over half a century, the organisation has realised 34 temporary projects in public spaces, which have had a profound and continuing impact on Australians' experience of contemporary art.
The Making Art Public exhibition was created by acclaimed British artist Michael Landy. Rather than a conventional retrospective, it brought an artist's perspective to bear on the Kaldor 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, Kaldor Public Art Projects commissioned four major new works by Australian artists, reprised three iconic Kaldor projects and presented the Kaldor Studio, an experimental artist-led learning space at the heart of the exhibition. The Living Archives project, which animated the organisation’s history with firsthand stories of past projects, was presented through online articles and live programs.
A comprehensive series of public programs, including tours, panel discussions, study sessions, film screenings, dedicated Art After Hours evenings and a symposium, offered new perspectives on the impact and legacy of Kaldor Public Art Projects.
born 1963 in London, England
lives and works in London, England
Making Art Public:
50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects
7 September 2019 – 16 February 2020
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Marina Abramović; Allora & Calzadilla; John Baldessari; Vanessa Beecroft; Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist (curators), and 13 Rooms exhibiting artists; Martin Boyce; Christo and Jeanne-Claude; Thomas Demand; Urs Fischer; Gilbert & George; Jonathan Jones; Jeff Koons; Michael Landy; Xavier Le Roy; Sol LeWitt; Richard Long; Barry McGee; Miralda; Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik; Tatzu Nishi; Roman Ondak; Mike Parr, Imants Tillers and Ken Unsworth; Asad Raza; Ugo Rondinone; Anri Sala; Gregor Schneider; Tino Sehgal; Santiago Sierra; Harald Szeemann (curator) and I want to leave a nice well-done child here exhibiting artists; Bill Viola; Stephen Vitiello
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 AGNSW throughout the anniversary celebrations. Frankovich’s large-scale performance featured more than 50 past Kaldor project collaborators; Gothe-Snape’s quiet, durational performance saw readers occupy the Gallery every day of the exhibition; Milliss’ architectural intervention traversed all levels of the Gallery; and Tillers’ painting and canvasboard installation incorporated elements from the artist’s own archive, while directly referencing the first Kaldor project.
Three iconic past Kaldor projects were reprised at the AGNSW, as part of Making Art Public. 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 presented throughout the exhibition.
Kaldor Studio was a dynamic artist-led learning space, located at the heart of the Making Art Public exhibition.
Over five months, Kaldor Studio was transformed by three Australian artists and their diverse collaborators—David Capra & Teena, Lucas Ihlein and the Rizzeria, and Nadia Odlum. Each artist brought the history and archives of Kaldor Public Art Projects to life, through newly commissioned installations and programs, including artist-led tours, creative workshops and performances.
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.
Your Public Art Project
Your Public Art Project was an exciting new school engagement program, launched as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Primary and secondary students across NSW were invited to reimagine public spaces within their communities by developing their own collaborative public art works. 235 students from five schools across NSW completed the program, and had the opportunity to share their work at an exciting showcase event at the AGNSW.
The program was documented through a range of video material, using cutting-edge technologies, in partnership with The Arts Unit, NSW Department of Education, and is now available online as a dynamic and adaptable digital resource.
Making Art Public: Kaldor Public Art Projects, 1969–2019
Kaldor Public Art Projects, 2020
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 twenty-seven 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.
Edited by Genevieve O’Callaghan and Mark Gowing, Making Art Public includes new essays by Nicholas Baume, Nicholas Chambers, Rebecca Coates, Ross Gibson, Ross Rudesch Harley, Michael Landy, David Malouf, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Emily Sullivan.
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