MCA, Qantas and Tate announce first series of Australian artwork acquisitions

Sydney | Published on 13th May 2016 at 10:30

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), Qantas and Tate have today revealed the first five artworks in their International Joint Acquisition Program for contemporary Australian art. The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

These joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate include two large video installations, one by Susan Norrie (Transit 2011) and another by Vernon Ah Kee (tall man 2010), two paintings by Gordon Bennett (Possession Island (Abstraction) 1991 and Number Nine 2008) and an artist book by Judy Watson consisting of sixteen etchings with chine collé (a preponderance of aboriginal blood 2005).

Three of these artworks will be on display in the MCA Collection Galleries starting this month, and two more will be included in the new MCA Collection exhibition opening in September. The artworks will then head to Tate to be displayed in the UK in the near future.

Made possible through a $2.75 million corporate gift from the Qantas Foundation, this ground-breaking collaboration is enabling an ambitious five-year joint program through which a range of major artworks by contemporary Australian artists will be acquired for the collections of MCA and Tate, owned and displayed by both institutions.

Museum of Contemporary Art Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, said: “We are thrilled to unveil this diverse range of joint acquisitions with Tate. This initiative is a true game-changer for contemporary Australian artists: it places their artworks in one of the world’s great public collections, where they will be seen alongside those of their international peers. It also enables us to acquire more ambitiously and strategically – transforming the opportunities for international audiences to connect with contemporary Australian art.”

“Working closely with the Tate curatorial team has been an enriching experience; there’s been a real synchronicity in our approaches,” Ms Macgregor continued.

Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, said: “In working with the MCA and the Tate we wanted to develop a program that would have a long term impact – something that could be transformative, that would promote Australian art globally and that would give Australian artists a stronger voice by helping them reach new audiences.”

“The five artworks that the MCA and Tate have chosen meet these objectives. They’re powerful, they’re unique and they tell important stories. This acquisition program provides an opportunity to grow awareness and deepen the understanding of those stories, not just in Australia but also around the world,” added Mr Joyce.

Frances Morris, Director, Tate Modern said: “I am delighted that today we are able to announce our first joint acquisitions with the MCA. Since the turn of the millennium Tate has been proactively transforming its collection, bringing in a greater variety of voices, approaches and ideas from around the world.”

“Thanks to the generous support of Qantas, this new partnership will make a real difference to the representation of Australian contemporary art at home and abroad, and it will allow us to present an even more international view of art for generations to come,” Ms Morris concluded.

Click here (opens in new window) (opens in new window) to read more information about the artwork and the acquisition program.