MCA Collection

MCA Collection Online

Browse a selection of works from the MCA Collection and learn more about the artist, the ideas and the context behind the work. We’ll be adding more works so check back often, and email artisticprograms@mca.com.au if you’d like to see your favourite work online.

Browse the Collection online

The MCA is grateful to the Ian Potter Foundation for their support in funding the MCA Collection Online pilot project which forms the basis of the MCA Collection Online.

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MCA Collections

Collecting is a vital part of the MCA’s support for Australian artists: collecting as well as exhibiting is crucial in terms of endorsing the importance of preserving Australian art for future generations. The MCA Collection consists of more than 4000 works bought since the constitution in 1989 of the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay. The MCA also manages the Power Collection on behalf of the University of Sydney, works brought together since the late 1960s through the JW Power Bequest.

The MCA Collection includes innovative practices by Australian and international artists in a wide range of media from painting, sculpture, photography and prints to kinetic and light-works, installation, video and DVD, conceptual and process-based art as well as instructional works and performance pieces.

Since 2003 the MCA has focused on building its collection with the acquisition of major works by Australian artists from the past ten years; work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists; work by young Australian artists who have exhibited in the MCA’s annual Primavera exhibition and work for the MCA’s Contemporary Art Archive.

Acquisitions are decided by the Director, the Head of Artistic Programs and the Curators. The group meets regularly to discuss proposals submitted externally and by the curatorial team. Gifts are also considered by this group in relation to the MCA’s priorities for acquisition.

Volume One: MCA Collection

The MCA reopened in March 2012 with a major focus on its collection. Volume One: MCA Collection features over 280 works by more than 170 Australian artists drawn from a period of acquisitions which began with the constitution of the MCA in May 1989. This new presentation reflects the diversity of Australian contemporary art over the past 20 + years, including work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, the consolidation of film and video practice from a marginal to central position; the emergence of diverse cultural voices; as well as ephemeral and performative practices. It also includes references to the MCA’s exhibition and collecting history.

A purpose-built screen space engages visitors with video and a resource room within the original boardroom of the Maritime Services Building provides opportunities to research the collection and view works from the MCA’s Contemporary Art Archive, a unique aspect of the MCA Collection.

Find out more

Images (top to bottom, left to right): Shaun Gladwell Apologies 1-6 (still) 2007, Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Andrew and Cathy Cameron, 2011; installation view, Volume One: MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2012; Arlo Mountford The Folly (still) 2008-09, Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2009; Simon Yates Brain Scapes 2006 Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Henry Ergas, 2009; Simryn Gill Caress (Underwood Universal) 2008, Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2010; Patrick Hartigan Dog, Horse, Museum Piece (still) 2005-06, Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Henry Ergas, 2009; Hayden Fowler Goat Odyssey (still) 2006, Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Henry Ergas, 2009; Imants Tillers White Aborigines 1983, Museum of Contemporary Art, gift of Loti Smorgon and Victor Smorgon, 1995; James Angus Mountains, Valleys, Caves 2005, Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Michael Hawker, 2009; Dorota Mytych Mutatis Mutandis (still) 2005 Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2009; Hany Armanious Second hand political (detail) 1995, Museum of Contemporary Art, gift of the artist, 2001

All images courtesy and © the artist