Acquisitions announced: MCA, Qantas and Tate reveal the first five - Art Collector

Susan Norrie, Transit, 2011. Edition 2/3 (+ AP). Tate and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, purchased jointly with funds provided by the Qantas Foundation 2016. Courtesy: the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Tate London and Qantas were teaming up in for a ground breaking international acquisition program for contemporary Australian art, the companies have announced their first five acquired works.

The initial acquisitions include two large video installations by Sydney-based Susan Norrie, and Brisbane-based Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji and Gugu Yimithirr artist Vernon Ah Kee, two paintings by the late Gordon Bennett and an artist book by Judy Watson, comprising 16 etchings with chine colle.

Three of the newly acquired works will be on display in the MCA collection galleries as of this month and two more will be included in the MCA collection show opening in September.

The works will then head to Tate to be exhibited to audiences in the United Kingdom as part of the initiative’s key goal: the promote Australian art globally and help Australian artists reach new audiences. “This initiative is a true game-changer for contemporary Australian artists,” says MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor. “It places their artworks in one of the world’s great public collections, where they will be seen alongside those of their international peers.”

Left to right: Leanne Bennett (wife of the late artist Gordon Bennett); Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE (MCA, Director); Simon Mordant AM (MCA Chair and Luminis Partners, Executive Co-Chairman); Judy Watson (artist); Susan Norrie (artist) and Vernon Ah Kee (artist). Featured artwork: Gordon Bennett, Possession Island (Abstraction), 1991. Photo: Ken Leanfore

The program has been made possible via a $2.75 million corporate gift from the Qantas Foundation. Alan Joyce, chief executive officer of Qantas, comments: “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.”

Following on from this announcement, the collaboration continues across an ambitious five-year 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.

Camilla Wagstaff

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