Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
21 Sep 2005 to 27 Nov 2005
John Barbour, Robert Boynes, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, Adam Cullen, Neil Emmerson, Merilyn Fairskye, George Gittoes, Pat Hoffie, Deborah Kelly, Shaun Kirby, Ruark Lewis, Ricky Maynard, Miriam Stannage, Madonna Staunton, Freddie Timms, Richard Woldendorp
Interesting Times: Focus on contemporary Australian art was the second installment in an MCA series of major exhibitions that showcased the work of Australian artists. Like its predecessor Meridian: Focus on contemporary Australian art, held over the summer of 2002-2003, this exhibition had an emphasis on established artists who have a sustained exhibiting career of ten years or more. This exhibition featured seventeen artists, with a wide range of approaches and media, demonstrating the richness and diversity of contemporary Australian artistic practice at this time.
Interesting Times: Focus on contemporary Australian art explored the varied ways that artists in Australia at the time conveyed social and political ideas through their work. These ranged from relatively direct documentary-based photography and video to more elliptical works that suggested unease, paranoia and anxiety. Whilst there was a marked increase in interest in the relationship between art and politics around this time, the parameters had also broadened, with artists utilising more open-ended ways of thinking about how this relationship could function. Without attempting to be definitive, this exhibition aimed to highlight the important role that art continues to play in questioning and articulating sociopolitical events, situations and tendencies.
Accompanying Interesting Times: Focus on contemporary Australian art was an off-site project featuring the work of the Tasmanian photographer Ricky Maynard, who for many years documented Indigenous communities from around Australia. This project was presented in association with the Australia Council for the Arts’ New Australian Stories Initiative, and culminated in a major touring exhibition, Ricky Maynard: Portraits of a Distant Land, and exhibition at the MCA in 2009.