Honey Aunt Dreaming streetscape, aerial view, Papunya Community. Photograph: Max Stollznow, 1976

Fifty years ago this year, eminent Australian art collector and patron John Kaldor invited French artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Australia to wrap two-and-a-half kilometres of coast at Sydney’s Little Bay. 

Wrapped Coast – One million Square Feet 1968-69 was a monumental event in the history of contemporary art in Australia and a pivotal moment for the artists, who went on to mount several large-scale environmental projects at sites around the world.

For John Kaldor, it was the first major installation for Kaldor Public Art Projects.  As his now internationally renowned art organisation celebrates its fiftieth anniversary and some 33 groundbreaking public art works across Australia, John Kaldor will discuss the monumental event that started it all in the first of a series of lectures exploring key moments in the history of Australian art and exhibitions.

Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition Histories 1968–1999 is a two-year series of lectures designed to shed light on markers of change in Australian art, and address key contemporary art exhibitions and projects from the last three decades of the 20th century. The series traces the legacies of artists and curators, addresses the critical reception of selected significant projects, and reflects on a wide range of exhibitions and formats; from artist run initiatives to institutions, as well as interventions in public space and remote communities.

“Ambitious, contested, polemical, genre-defining and genre-defying, contemporary art exhibitions have shaped and transformed the cultural landscape, along with our understanding of what constitutes art itself,” said ACCA’s Artistic Director, Max Delany

“Beginning with a in-depth discussion around Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Wrapped Coast – One Million Square Feet, the 2019 program will take us to a series of sites beyond the museum, with a focus on exhibitions and projects that took place outside of conventional institutional frameworks.”

This two-year series brings together a diversity of voices in hour-long lectures and conversations involving exhibiting artists, curators, critics and historians, with the first set of lectures scheduled from April to November 2019.

In 2019, the series will focus on the period 1968 to 1981, which saw a range of exceptional projects that transformed the production and reception of contemporary art in Australia. These include Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Wrapped Coast – One Million Square Feet, at Little Bay, Sydney, in 1968-69; the Honey Ant Dreaming and other mural paintings at the school at Papunya in 1971; Sculpturescape ’75 – the Mildura Sculpture Triennial; and other experimental contexts engaging with sound, video, performance, conceptual and feminist art practices.

This year's lecture series includes:

  • Monday 15 April: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Coast 1968-69 Lecture by John Kaldor, with respondent Rebecca Coates

  • Monday 29 April: Digging for Honey Ants: the Papunya mural project Lecture by John Kean, with respondent Hannah Presley

  • Monday 3 June: Object and Idea Lecture by Ian Milliss

  • Monday 8 July: Inhibodress, multimedia interference  Lecture by Peter Kennedy, with respondent Sue Cramer

  • Monday 5 August: Clifton Hill Community Music Centre 1976-83 Lecture by David Chesworth

  • Monday 3 September: Almost Anything Goes: Sculpturescape 1975 at Mildura  Lecture by Julie Ewington

  • Monday 7 October: A Room of their own: creating a space for the feminist collective  Lecture by Janine Burke, with respondent Helen Hughes

  • Monday 4 November: Post Object Art in Australia and New Zealand Lecture by Anne Marsh

See the full list of lectures held for 2019 - 2020 at ACCA on their website here!


Dates: 2019 Season dates are between 15 April - 4 November

Location: Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) - 111 Sturt Street, Southbank 3006 Times: Tue – Fri; 10am – 5pm, Sat – Sun; 11am–5pm

Cost: Season Pass $200/$130, Single ticket $35/$20 (Concession price available)

ACCA Website