Faqs - Museum Of Contemporary Art - Sydney

What is contemporary art?

Contemporary art can be defined in several ways: art which is of this time; art which is recent, new or existing now; or art which follows modern ideas or fashions in style and design. It can also refer to museum collections from 1970s onwards.

How do I submit an exhibition proposal?

The MCA plans and develops its exhibitions program 18 months to 3 years in advance. As well as exhibitions developed by the Museum’s in-house curatorial team, we work with selected partner institutions in Australia and abroad, guest curators and artists, on collaborative and touring projects.

If you would like to submit an exhibition proposal to the MCA we require the following information:

• Covering letter marked attention to the Curatorial Assistant, Exhibitions Dept who will log and circulate your document
• Project outline, including description of artists/works and biographical information on the artist/s and curator
• Proposed dates and funding
• Other relevant information
• Quality visual material – for example digital files at least 96 dpi on disc; or 35mm slides
• Contact details and return address

It is strongly advisable to undertake preliminary research before submitting a proposal - for example, becoming familiar with our exhibition programs either via our website or by visiting the MCA and viewing the gallery spaces.

Proposals are assessed by the Exhibitions Committee quarterly. Due to the large number of proposals we receive, a response may not be immediate.

How far ahead do you plan exhibitions?

We plan our exhibition program 2 - 4 years in advance.

Does the MCA have a permanent collection?

The MCA has a number of collections and also holds work in trust for other organisations. The MCA draws on its collections for various exhibitions - most recently the popular Unpacked series. For more information on the MCA Collections see the Exhibitions section of this website.

How do I donate works to the MCA or see if the Museum is interested in purchasing works of art from my collection?

The MCA would be happy to discuss its collection policy and your proposed gift. Works of art can be donated to the MCA under the Cultural Gifts Program, which encourages gifts of significant cultural items by offering donors a tax deduction for their gifts.

You can contact the exhibitions department of the MCA on programs@mca.com.au with information about your collection, or works within it, and this information will be circulated to the appropriate staff for discussion. Proposed purchases and donations undergo an evaluation process by the MCA’s Collections Development team, and are assessed on the basis of their significance and relevance to the Collection and its parameters; as well as broader artistic, financial, conservation and storage considerations

How is the MCA funded?

The MCA receives ongoing funding and support from the NSW State Government through the NSW Ministry for the Arts and the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council. Each year the MCA raises 60% of its income from additional sources such as ticketed exhibitions and events, sponsorship, donations and venue hire.

Can I take photographs in the gallery?

General photography is not permitted in the MCA galleries. If you wish to seek copyright approval to photograph work for publication or personal use please contact the MCA's Publicity and Public Relations department via publicitypr@mca.com.au.

Can I sketch in the gallery?

Sketching with pencils in the MCA Galleries is permitted. If you wish to use other materials or to set up an easel please speak to staff at the Level 1 Information Desk on arrival. If you wish to sketch with a group please contact the MCA Education department on (+612) 9245 2484 or email education@mca.com.au.

How can I get permission to use images?

If you require an image to accompany a review or article about a current, recent or future exhibition at the MCA please contact the MCA's Publicity and Public Relations department publicitypr@mca.com.au. If you require images of a particular artist’s work not directly related to an MCA exhibition please contact that artist's representative.

Can I get reproductions of artworks?

The MCA Store sells a range of cards, catalogues and posters for most exhibitions.

How do I get permission to reprint text from MCA's publications?

Please send your request via email to programs@mca.com.au or in writing to the postal address below:

Exhibitions Assistant, Artistic Programs
MCA, PO Box R1286
Sydney NSW 1223 Australia

Please note all MCA texts are copyright of the MCA and its authors and may not be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the MCA.

Do you have guided tours?

Yes, the MCA runs free guided tours of exhibitions daily. Weekdays at 11am and 1pm and weekends at 12noon and 1.30pm.

Where is the closest parking to the MCA?

• Clock Tower Carpark (Corner of Harrington and Argyle Streets)
• Secure Parking (155 George Street, The Rocks)
• Overseas Passenger Terminal (Lower Argyle Street, The Rocks)

How do I get a job/internship at the MCA?

Check the Join Us section of the MCA website for information about current positions vacant, internship and work experience programs.

Do you run art classes?

The MCA runs a range of practical programs for all age groups. School and school holiday programs, special events, lectures, forums and talks by artists are held throughout the year. For details of what’s planned see the Exhibitions and Events section of the website.

Is there an entry charge?

In 2000, thanks to MCA Leading Sponsor Telstra, the MCA was able to remove admission charges to exhibitions. The MCA does charge entry to special exhibitions - usually one per year - although, with numerous exhibitions open simultaneously there is always a free exhibition to view.

Does the MCA have a membership program?

The MCA has a Membership program which offers two levels of involvement - Standard and Premium. For further details go to the membership page email membership@mca.com.au or call (+612) 9245 2413.

Do you have a volunteer program?

Yes, for more information please see the Join Us section of this website.

Is the Museum wheelchair accessible? Are wheelchairs available in the Museum?

All public access areas of the MCA are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are also available on request form the MCA Level 1 Information desk.

Who can use the Museum Library?

The MCA Library is available as a resource to anyone. As a volunteer run service hours vary. Please contact the MCA on (+612) 9245 2400 to confirm opening hours.

Does the MCA sell works of art?

The MCA is "dedicated to the exhibition, interpretation and collection of the art and ideas of today" (MCA Collection Policy 2003), and does not sell art works to the public. It exhibits artists' works, which are either on loan from artists or other institutions and collections, and it acquires art works for the MCA collection through purchase and gift.

What is the background of the artwork by Imants Tillers on the wall in the MCA Level 1 foyer?

Pure Beauty (1991-1997) by Imants Tillers is a commissioned work for permanent display in the MCA foyer. The work honours the MCA’s founding donors, who by making a donation had their names painted into the work. The work is made from synthetic polymer paint on canvas boards, and was originally titled Kunst = Kapital. The title changed to Pure Beauty by the time it was installed in October 1991, for the mid-November opening of the MCA.

The stated date of 1991 – 1997 is the period that names were added to the work. There have been a couple of names added since 1997, but there is no current program in place for any more names to be added.

It is fine for the public to take photographs of Pure Beauty as long as they don’t use a flash and it is not for publication purposes.

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