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Making Art Work

A commissioning initiative of the Institute of Modern Art, Making Art Work proposes an experimental role for the institution as administrators of economic stimulus for artists. Drawing on the historical model of the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal Federal Art Projects of the Great Depression, this expansive project reimagines the idea of ‘relief measures’ for artists working in the 21st century.

Taking place across 2020—during and post COVID-19 lockdowns—the project will see over 40 artists create new works that reinforce the importance of creative labour in a time when the cultural and economic value of art has been diminished. Drawing from the politicised language of our current crisis, each artist has been asked to respond to the provocations posed by four curatorial pillars; Unprecedented Times, Industrial Actions, Permanent Revolution, and Relief Measures.

Released in four rounds of presentations, commissions will span new artworks, texts, workshops, ephemeral projects, and more. The outcomes will be presented via makingart.work, a forthcoming publication, and at the Judith Wright Arts Centre gallery space.

In the spirit of solidarity, organisational resources have been reallocated to provide opportunities to as many artists as possible. IMA staff from across the organisation have collaboratively developed Making Art Work and are engaged as curators, managing different aspects of the project.

As a whole, this initiative not only responds to the current global emergency, but more importantly reinforces the value of artists during a time of increased precarity and apathy towards the arts. A call to action, Making Art Work demonstrates the public ‘use’ of art and the art institution in contemporary life.

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Commissioned Artists, Writers & Facilitators:
First Round:
Tony Albert, Kieron Anderson, Mariam Arcilla, ∑gg√e|n, Hannah Gartside, Mindy Gill, Kinly Grey, Susan Hawkins, Tori-Jay Mordey, Sally Olds, Amy Sargeant, and Des Skordilis.

Second Round:
Hannah Brontë, Monika Noémi Correa, Merinda Davies, Julian Day, Ana Paula Estrada, Gordon Hookey, Chantal Fraser, Jenna Lee, Steven Oliver, Sarah Poulgrain, and Angelica Roache-Wilson.

Curatorial Pillars:
Unprecedented Times—projects that document the current moment
Industrial Actions—projects that activate the community to resist, protest, and organise
Permanent Revolution—projects that use radical thinking to build frameworks for our post-COVID future
Relief Measures—projects that engage with care, assistance, and give back to community

Curatorial Team:
Artwork Curators, Llewellyn Millhouse and Liz Nowell
Audience Engagement Curators, Alex Holt and Tulleah Pearce
Editions Curator, Ashleigh Ralph
Ephemeral Project Curators, Tulleah Pearce and Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer
First Nations Curator, Warraba Weatherall
Product Curator, Jahlia Aird
Research and Publication Curator, Sarah Thomson
Project conceived by Sarah Thomson

Web Design & Development:
Kiah Reading of thoughtful.website

Commission Launch Dates:
Round 1, Monday 8 June 2020
Round 2, Monday 10 August 2020
Round 3, Monday 12 October 2020
Round 4, Monday 7 December 2020

Our partners:

A project by:

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands where the IMA now stands. We pay our respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.