Exhibition Program / Making Art Public

34 ephemeral projects, creatively re-imagined and presented together for the first time, always free to the public.

Making Art Public


7 September 2019 – 16 February 2020

Art Gallery of NSW

Making Art Public is an exhibition that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Kaldor Public Art Projects. Over half a century, our 34 temporary projects in public spaces have had a profound impact on Australians’ experience of contemporary art.

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, initiating what was to become the world’s first public art organisation.

The exhibition has been created by British artist Michael Landy. Rather than take the form of a conventional retrospective, it brings an artist’s perspective to bear on the Kaldor Public Art Projects completed to date.

Landy has reimagined each 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 offer markedly different experiences and reveal diverse approaches to making art public.

Allora & Calzadilla

Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on 'Ode to Joy' for a Prepared Piano

17 October - 30 October 2019, every hour on the hour from 11am-4pm;
Wed 23 & 30 Oct, every hour on the hour from 11am-7pm
Art Gallery of NSW, Entrance Court

Never before seen in Sydney, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on ‘Ode to Joy’ for a Prepared Piano will be presented in the Entrance Court of the Art Gallery of NSW over two weeks. At once poetic and athletic, the work combines music, performance and sculpture to create a captivating experience for audiences.

Stop, Repair, Prepare… is performed by specially trained pianists on a modified Bechstein grand piano, on loan for the occasion from the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy.

This reprisal has been made possible by the artists, Allora & Calzadilla; the Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; Sydney Conservatorium of Music; and IAS Fine Art Logistics.

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla create works that explore societal systems and are characterised by their sense of playfulness and use of humour. They respond to these contemporary issues by using visual art as a tool for experimentation and research, creating poetic videos, photographs, collages, sculptures and installations. Allora & Calzadilla often include performative elements in their works, soliciting public interaction and participation.

Tino Sehgal

This Is So Contemporary

15 November - 1 December 2019
10am-5pm every day, until 10pm on Wednesday
Art Gallery of NSW, Lower Level 2

Your chance to experience the work of artist Tino Sehgal, who is renowned for creating art that leaves no material trace. This Is So Contemporary, which debuted in Australia at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2014, cannot be photographed, and must be experienced through direct, interpersonal encounters.

Born in London in 1976, the Berlin-based artist, who originally studied political economics and dance, constructs ‘situations’ by orchestrating interpersonal encounters through dance, voice and movement. His works elicit a different kind of viewer – one who cannot be a passive spectator, and who bears a responsibility to construct and contribute to the realisation of the actual piece.

Bill Viola

Fire Woman and Tristan's Ascension

Saturday 7 September, 11am-3pm, half-hourly.
Art Gallery of NSW, Domain Theatre

On the opening day of the exhibition, we present exclusive screenings of Bill Viola’s powerful and haunting video works Fire Woman and Tristan’s Ascension.

Previously shown as part of Kaldor Public Art Project 17 at St. Saviour’s Church, Redfern, 2008, and again for Project 21 at St. Carthage’s Church, Melbourne, 2010, the works were originally commissioned for a Los Angeles Philharmonic presentation of Wagner’s epic nineteenth-century opera Tristan and Isolde, in collaboration with director Peter Sellars and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. The two videos were created for the opera’s final act, in which the lovers are united in death. Viola drew their inspiration from elemental transformations described in the Tibetan book of the dead. Fire Woman depicts ‘an image seen in the mind’s eye of a dying man’, while Tristan’s Ascension portrays ‘the ascent of the soul in the space after death’.

Bill Viola has been experimenting with video art since the early 1970s, and has been instrumental in its development as a major contemporary artform. Viola’s unique style and imagery, expressed through his extraordinary range of works, has defined a new language for the moving image, using its fluid, ephemeral nature as a means to explore life and death, the reach and limitations of perception and cognition. In exploring universal elements of spiritual themes, his works often echo medieval and Renaissance paintings, seeming at once contemporary and timeless, meditations on the human experience.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Exhibition

7 September - 13 October 2019
Art Gallery of NSW, Entrance Court

Artists Christo (b1935) and Jeanne-Claude (1935–2009) are renowned for monumental artworks that often involve wrapping or draping the landscape.

In 1969, John Kaldor brought the artists 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 launched Kaldor Public Art Projects.

In 1999, Christo and Jeanne-Claude returned to Sydney where they wrapped the vestibule of the Art Gallery of New South Wales as a new art project. Subsequently, in 2011, Kaldor gifted a large group of works by the artists to the Gallery, a selection of which are on display in the Entrance Court.

Also on view are major new works by Australian artists Imants Tillers (b1950) and Ian Milliss (b1950) that reference their own encounters with Wrapped coast 50 years ago.

50 Years, 35 Projects