Show us your space: Citizens of the World x Glenn Barkley, MCA Australia
We humans kind of have a hard on for categorising and segmenting things. Often if the narrative doesn’t make sense we either vilify it or dismiss it. Such beautiful and lovely creatures we are.
Thank god for the art world, where oddities are embraced and difference can mean distinction.
But let’s be honest for a moment, while walking the hallways of many a gallery, can’t we all admit to having had the odd layman moment. That brief second where we’ve gazed upon a dead Tiger Shark encased in formaldehyde and wondered “is it art?” and “why didn’t I think of this first?”
To play devil’s advocate, is it possible that the world is so terrified of misunderstanding genius that it seems like we’re willing to embrace it all?
Being at the pointy end of the 18th Biennale of Sydney we thought it was time we meditated on this question. How does a curator decide a work’s place in the program, or the scheme of things in general. Is it art? What makes a work more exceptional than anything else?
The Museum of Contemporary Art’s recent multi-million dollar renovation has sometimes been considered almost as controversial as some of the art on its walls but there’s no denying it has succeeded in reigniting public interest in creativity for creativity’s sake.
We spoke to Glenn Barkley, curator at the MCA, who kindly took us on a tour through Volume One: MCA Collection, celebrating 170 works from Australian artists. Glenn shared some of his personal background in the field, where he’d like to see the gallery go in the future, and educated us a little, saying that “it’s often the things that you’re most baffled by that end up being the things that stay with you the longest.”
Photos by Dom on Nikon D4