– Highlights

highlight
Mca Collection

MCA Collection

29 Mar - 31 Jul

highlight
Exhibition

Telling Tales

02 Jun - 09 Oct

highlight
Exhibition

New Romance

30 Jun - 04 Sep

– Learning Events

highlight
Workshop

Booked out Out Soyo Lee’s Cactus Grafting Workshop

01 Jul, 10.30am, Level 2: Seminar Room

highlight
Talk

Artists In Conversation

02 Jul, 3.00pm, Level 3: Creative Studios in NCCL

highlight
Workshop

Junior Art School

16 Jul, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

– News from inside the MCA

Where do artists get their ideas from?

Artist Educators Stephanie & Athena are interviewed by kids about their art practice more

Meeting Jumaadi: MCA Kids Committee

Siobhan learns from artist Jumaadi about his shadow puppet performance The Life and Death of a Shadow more

MCA X PITCH ZINE Digital Zine

The MCA has collaborated with PITCH ZINE to create a digital zine in anticipation for the 9th annual MCA Zine Fair this weekend. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

highlight
Volume One: MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

highlight
Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

highlight
Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Richard Bell

Worth Exploring? 2002

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2006

acrylic and gravel on canvas, ink on polypropelene, satin laminated

About the Artwork

The work of Richard Bell tackles the position of Aboriginal art and artists within the contemporary art world, directly criticising its appropriation by non-Aboriginal artists and its domination by white curators, critics, academics, dealers and collectors. Combining political bite and caustic humour, Bell’s works argue for greater Aboriginal control over Aboriginal art, and by extension, Aboriginal culture within Australian society.

The use of language and text is a regular strategy for artists addressing political ideas in their work, and one that Bell embraces. Bell’s four-panel work Worth Exploring? challenges the position of Aboriginal art and artists inside the art system, linking it to the historical legal status of European colonisation. With his trademark directness and humour, Bell uses a combination of painting and legal documents to raise complex questions of artistic authenticity, appropriation and reception, as part of a broad debate on Australian race relations.

Worth Exploring? features two documents that use European legal language and logic against itself: a statutory declaration challenging the legitimacy and legality of European colonisation, and a certificate of authenticity document, common practice in the Aboriginal art market, which Bell connects to forms of racial classification. Combining these texts with Bell’s own appropriation of other artists’ paintings, Worth Exploring? poses a provocative, complex and humorous challenge to our preconceived ideas of Aboriginal art, as well as addressing contemporary debates surrounding identity, place and politics.

Artist Statement

Aboriginal Art is bought, sold and promoted from within the system, that is, Western Art consigns it to “Pigeon-holing” within that system. Why can’t an Art movement arise and be separate from but equal to Western Art – within its own aesthetic, its own voices, its own infrastructure, etc?

Why can’t an Art movement arise and be separate from but equal to Western Art – within its own aesthetic, its own voices, its own infrastructure, etc?

Richard Bell, 2002

Richard Bell

– About the artist

b.1953

Born 1953, Charleville, Queensland. Kamilaroi people. Lives and works in Brisbane

Learn more
– Other works by the artist

– View also

All
Works

Related Exhibitions

In the Shop