September 8, 2009 - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney - Making it New: Focus on contemporary Australian art
September 8, 2009

Making it New: Focus on contemporary Australian art

Raquel Ormella, I’m worried this will become a slogan, 1999–2002. Double-sided banner, sewn wool and felt
220 x 200 cm. Image courtesy the artist, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. © the artist.

10 September–11 November 2009

West Circular Quay, 


Making it New: Focus on contemporary Australian art presents work by Alison Alder, Micky Allan, Jon Campbell, Lou Hubbard, Matthew Hunt, Bob Jenyns, Linda Marrinon, Archie Moore, Tom Moore, Marrnyula Mununggurr, Raquel Ormella, Alwin Reamillo, Khaled Sabsabi, Neil Taylor, Ken Thaiday Snr, Ruth Waller, Toni Warburton and Ken Whisson.

‘Make it New’ was the title of a collection of essays by modernist poet and provocateur Ezra Pound, published in 1937. One interpretation of this title is that the past and its cultural traditions can inform the present and the future, and vice versa. Pound’s essays, like all of his writing, traverse time, geography, form and technique. Similarly Pound’s ‘Cantos’ encyclopaedic and unwieldy, operate like a great poetic pendulum swinging across governance, financial systems and the right to a life of leisure and learning, in addition to culture, knocking down the barriers between seemingly unconnected subjects.

The exhibition takes its cues from Pound bringing together artists whose work is anchored in some sense of tradition, possessing a link back to art history through either a particular regional or national history, or through a medium. There is also an engagement with the political and social world, either gentle or abrasive, in the works and through the artist’s position within his or her own social community as teacher, supporter or advocate. Many of the artists are involved in areas of social justice and cultural access, working with communities beyond their immediate artistic peers and support networks.

Another key element within the artists’ work is an ongoing studio practice and the sense of the studio as an alchemical place where artists reveal mystic truths, and of artistic ‘labour’. A number of the artists work within craft-based traditions, engaging with media in such a way that the processes of the past are inescapable.

MCA l Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
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