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ACCA's Big Picture summer exhibition celebrates feminist concerns in recent Australian art
Sarah Goffman, I am with you 2017 (detail), cardboard, permanent marker, approx. 7.0 x 7.0 m. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Andrew Curtis.

MELBOURNE.- Across Australia, and abroad, feminism is enjoying renewed – and timely – public interest. In the media, and on the streets, small triumphs are made daily: from Julia Gillard’s impassioned misogyny speech of 2012, to the Women’s March in January this year, which saw an estimated five million demonstrators worldwide take to the streets to advocate for transformative social change.

Closer to home, female players have been officially welcomed into the Australian Football League; inequalities within the visual arts have been illuminated by Elvis Richardson’s project The Countess Report; and self-organised groups such as the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective have encouraged young people to take action. Yet for every positive news story, another will remind us that there is still more work to be done.

A major exhibition exploring feminist methodologies and practices in recent contemporary art, Unfinished Business will ask why the movement might be of ongoing relevance and necessity. Trans-generational legacies, inheritances and shifts will be explored alongside contemporary conditions and concerns.

The exhibition has been developed by ACCA’s Artistic Director Max Delany and ACCA Curator Annika Kristensen in collaboration with a curatorium of leading Australian artists and curators including Paola Balla, Julie Ewington, Vikki McInnes and Elvis Richardson.

‘The exhibition is conceived to animate critical, albeit under-represented practices and debates within contemporary Australian art and society,’ said ACCA’s Artistic Director and CEO Max Delany. ‘Taking place within and beyond the gallery, Unfinished Business will reflect upon historical legacies, contemporary feminist art practice, and the “unfinished business” of feminism today,’ he said.

New commissions and recent works will be shown alongside selected historical projects, presenting a survey of diverse feminist art practices, from sculpture, painting, performance, photography and film to community engagement and cultural activism. It will be accompanied by a comprehensive public program of artists talks, forums, film screenings, performances, education programs and a major new publication with contributions from artists, art historians, academics, activists and cultural commentators.

The exhibition includes key works by Frances (Budden) Phoenix, Fiona Foley and Vivienne Binns, all of whom have experimented with the materiality of textiles and the symbolic power of central core imagery; Linda Dement, Kelly Doley and Maria Kozic, whose respective works examine the relationship between art, language and media representation; recent work by Alex Martinis Roe and Elizabeth Pulie that reflect upon the legacies and tendencies of earlier feminist movements; and new commissions by artists including Salote Tawale and Sarah Goffman that the reflect upon both personal and global concerns.

ACCA’s Big Picture exhibition series focuses on contemporary art’s relationship to wider social, cultural and political contexts. Unfinished Business is the second exhibition in this series, following inaugural exhibition in the series, Sovereignty, which explored contemporary art of First Nations peoples of South East Australia.

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