Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours

Making art public: 50 years of Kaldor Public Art Projects opens

With new contemporary artist commissions revealed

An installation view of the box for Kaldor Public Art Project 3: Gilbert & George, The Singing Sculpture, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 16 – 21 Aug 1973, and Agatha Gothe-Snape’s performance work Lion’s honey, 2019, from the exhibition Making art public, 50 years of Kaldor Public Art Projects at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. © Gilbert & George Photo: John Gollings

Friday 6 September, 2019

The Art Gallery of New South Wales and Kaldor Public Art Projects are delighted to announce the launch of the major exhibition Making art public: 50 years of Kaldor Public Art Projects. Recognising the legacy of Kaldor Public Art Projects as a ground-breaking public art organisation, the exhibition is part of a year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

Created by acclaimed British artist Michael Landy, the exhibition is both the 35th Kaldor Public Art Project and an unconventional retrospective of half a century of large-scale public art projects. For Making art public, Landy has surveyed the archives, documentation and remnant materials of the past 34 projects as well as the memories of those who encountered them, reimagining each project in new and surprising forms within the architecture of an oversized archive box.

As part of the 50th anniversary program, Kaldor Public Art Projects is also showcasing four contemporary Australian artists who have developed new works for the exhibition. The artists are Alicia Frankovich, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Ian Milliss and Imants Tillers.

The Gallery first collaborated with John Kaldor AO in 1973 when Gilbert & George presented The singing sculpture in the Entrance Court and has been involved in almost a third of the 35 Kaldor Art Public Projects since. Dr Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of NSW, said Making art public marks a significant milestone for public art in Australia.

“John Kaldor’s pioneering vision for Kaldor Public Art Projects has captured the imagination of the Australian public and the Gallery is delighted to present Making art public.

“The exhibition will resonate with those who have experienced or participated in these projects previously but will also attract new audiences who have never seen these works before,” Dr Brand said.

“By staging the unexpected and profound, Kaldor Public Art Projects expands our understanding of the possibilities for contemporary public art,” Dr Brand added.

John Kaldor AO, director of Kaldor Public Art Projects, said he was thrilled to see Michael Landy’s vision for the anniversary exhibition realised at the Gallery together with the new works by contemporary Australian artists.

“Michael Landy was wonderful to work with. He came up with the brilliant concept of creating 34 enlarged archive boxes in which he would distil the essence of each project. Michael’s vision awakens our memories of past projects, but also reimagines them in new and unpredictable ways,” Kaldor said.

“Kaldor Public Art Projects continues to be committed to presenting new and engaging contemporary art projects as part of the 50th anniversary program and in conjunction with Making art public, we are delighted to announce a group of new artist commissions showcased at the Art Gallery of NSW,” Kaldor added.

50th anniversary artist commissions

Kaldor Public Art Projects has commissioned contemporary Australian artists Alicia Frankovich, Agatha Gothe-Snape, and Ian Milliss to produce new works. Additionally, Imants Tillers has created a new painting that joins these commissions at the Art Gallery of NSW alongside the exhibition Making art public.

Frankovich’s commission The work is a large-scale choreography that explores the language of public art and offers insights into the Kaldor Public Art Projects archive. Performed by those who have worked behind the scenes across Kaldor Public Art Projects’ history including photographers, security guards and gardeners, the performance will be staged in the Gallery’s Entrance Court on two dates in September.

Gothe-Snape’s commission Lion’s Honey takes the form of a single reader occupying Making art public for the duration of the exhibition. Drawn from a group of readers aged between 19-80, and including the artist herself, the readers come from a wide range of backgrounds, all with interests across language, reading and writing.

Milliss and Tillers both volunteered on the inaugural Kaldor Public Art Project Wrapped Coast – one million square feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia 1969 by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Their works for the anniversary celebrations reflect on the significance of this experience.

Milliss’ commission revisits his own response to the experience of Wrapped Coast in a work he staged at Sydney’s Cape Solander 50 years ago, using rope from Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project and titled Natural Parallels. His newly commissioned work, Natural parallels 2, which inhabits the western stairwell of the Gallery and spans four floors, references 1969 as both the inauguration of Kaldor Public Art Projects and the period in which Milliss’ artistic practice became more socially and politically engaged.

Tillers helped to install Wrapped Coast in 1969 and credits the experience as inspiring him to become an artist. His painting entitled A new world rises pays homage to the first Kaldor Public Art Project and is on display in the Gallery’s Entrance Court until Sunday 13 October.

Making art public: Kaldor Studio

At the heart of the exhibition Making art public is Kaldor Studio, a dynamic artist-led learning space, providing opportunities to interact and explore contemporary art practice through 50 years of Kaldor Public Art Projects. For the duration of the exhibition, Kaldor Studio will be taken over and transformed by three contemporary Australian artists – David Capra, Lucas Ihlein and Nadia Odlum – and their collaborators. Each artist will share their working processes and ideas, bringing the history of Kaldor Public Art Projects to life through a range of drop-in activities and creative workshops.

Making art public: public programs

Making art public is accompanied by an extensive range of public programs at the Art Gallery of NSW that run throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Exclusive screenings of Bill Viola’s powerful and haunting video works Fire Woman and Tristan’s Ascension will be on view for one day only (Saturday 7 September) to mark the opening of the exhibition.

The free film program on opening weekend continues with the first edition of the monthly movie marathons and a screening of the documentary Marina Abramović: The artist is present directed by Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre.

Art After Hours will dedicate three nights in September to celebrate the exhibition with the talks series Unwrapping 50 years of Kaldor Public Art Projects. The series features artist Michael Landy in conversation with exhibition curator Nicholas Chambers; a panel discussion with Australian artists Mike Parr, Imants Tillers and Ken Unsworth; and concludes with a Living Archives story swap hosted by Chris Taylor from The Chaser.

Monthly Living Archives study sessions will reveal the people and stories behind, and examine the lasting legacy of, temporary art projects. In December an international curators’ panel will reflect on the legacy of Kaldor Public Art Projects as the world’s first public art organisation and the ongoing role of public art.

A range of free tours and workshops are on offer including access workshops for adults with specific needs and people living with dementia, and an Auslan tour of the exhibition.

Daily guided tours of the exhibition are on offer with an additional express tour available on Wednesday evenings.

A special edition of Tours for Tots in September presents a fun art-making tour of the exhibition for children aged 3-5 and their families.

Additional public programs and artist events in association with Making art public: 50 years of Kaldor Public Art Projects will be announced during the exhibition.

Making art public: 50 years of Kaldor Public Art Projects is a collaboration between Kaldor Public Art Projects and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

On view
7 Sep 2019 – 16 Feb 2020
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney


Media contact

Hannah McKissock-Davis
Tel 02 9225 1671