April 3, 2011 - Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - Michael Stevenson
April 3, 2011

Michael Stevenson

Michael Stevenson, “The gift” (from ‘Argonauts of the Timor Sea’) 2004–06.
Aluminium, wood, rope, bamboo, tar, World War Two parachute and National Geographic magazines.
Purchased 2007. The Queensland Government’s Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund Collection: Queensland Art Gallery Queensland Art Gallery

Michael Stevenson
6 April–19 June 2011

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
140 George Street
The Rocks
Sydney, Australia



Michael Stevenson, a New Zealand artist based in Berlin, has been described as an ‘anthropologist of the avant-garde’. This exhibition is the first survey of his work.

Stevenson’s work re-tells recent histories using allegory in and amongst historical fact. His work—paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and film—utilises narrative forms that transform truth and fable. It engages with absurdities that arise when universal ideas relating often to culture or economics take hold in insular situations and seem to be both radical and perplexing. Stevenson’s practice constantly reveals the fascinating and complex relationship between notions of the specific and the universal.

The exhibition reviews a broad selection of the artist’s works drawn from his diverse practice and includes ambitious projects realised in the last 10 years such as major screen-based works and installations. It also provides an opportunity to see his recent activities in relation to earlier drawings, paintings and objects produced in the 80s and 90s in Australia and New Zealand.

In planning the exhibition, Stevenson considered the installation as a new artwork, articulated across two levels of galleries. At times the space is challenging and confusing: the walls have been altered in parts to reveal the inner workings and skeleton of the MCA. Entryways hidden until now are used to reveal works coexisting in unlikely and symbolic arrangement. Included is a room dedicated to studies, sketches, technical drawings, models, photographs and objects all accumulated in the making of the artist’s work.

Michael Stevenson is represented by Darren Knight Gallery in Australia, Hamish McKay Gallery in New Zealand and Vilma Gold in the UK.

Michael Stevenson
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
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