Defining Moments: Object and Idea

Mon 3 Jun 2019

This is a past program.
ACCA Foyer
Season Pass: $200/$130 Casual Session: $35/$20

Season Pass: $200/$130*
Single ticket: $35/$20*
Ticket includes complimentary cocktail on arrival created by The Melbourne Gin Company
*Concession cards must be shown to obtain concession price

Lecture by Ian Milliss

National Gallery of Victoria Curator Brian Finemore saw the 1973 exhibition Object and Idea as a smaller conceptualist sequel to the 1968 exhibition The Field. But one invited artist, Ian Milliss, declined to participate having already moved on to working with trade unions and resident action groups rather than exhibitions, galleries and art audiences. At Finemore’s request Milliss wrote a catalogue essay titled New Artist explaining his thinking, the beginning of a politicised cultural activism that was really only accepted by the art world many decades later with the rise of relational aesthetics and social practice.

Ian Milliss is a writer and artist. His early interests in minimalism and then social practice in the late 1960 to early 1970s, led to an early form of cultural activism in his involvement with the Sydney Green Ban movement, the Victoria Street Resident Action Group and squatting. He was subsequently active in protests around the Sydney Biennale, the formation of the Artworkers Union, anti-prison and anti-uranium campaigns, sustainable farming, the Australia Council’s Art & Working Life program and the foundation of Union Media Services.

Listen to the podcast


What are the landmark exhibitions that have shaped Australian art? From 2019 to 2020, ACCA’s Lecture Series, Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition Histories 1968–1999, will take a deeper look at the moments that have shaped Australian art since 1968. In this two-year series, sixteen guest lecturers will analyse the game changers in Australian art, addressing key contemporary art exhibitions staged over the last three decades of the twentieth century and reflecting on the ways these exhibitions shaped art history and contemporary Australian culture more broadly.

Ambitious, contested, polemical, genre-defining and genre-defying, contemporary art exhibitions have shaped and transformed the cultural landscape, along with our understanding of the very nature of what constitutes as art. This program traces the legacies of artists and curators, addresses the critical reception of select 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.

Presented by Abercrombie & Kent with Research Partner, Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at The University of Melbourne, the two-year series brings together a diversity of voices with hour-long lectures and conversations involving exhibiting artists, curators, art critics and historians, with the first set of lectures scheduled from April to November 2019.

Presenting Partner

Research Partner

Event Partners

Media Partners