The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is Melbourne’s only major public art Kunsthalle: a gallery focused solely on commissioning contemporary artists to create work and bringing international artists to Australia, rather than building the gallery’s collection. ACCA’s Artistic Director Juliana Engberg has been described by Art Forum as “Australia’s most maverick and ambitious curator of contemporary art.” She also writes regularly for local and international art journals and her international perspective has meant that Melbourne audiences are provided up-to-date examples of contemporary art from around the world. An example was Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger’s The Water Hole, 2008, in which the Swiss artists created an ecological and environmentally conscious installation.
In addition to supporting established artists, each year ACCA invites a curator to select a group of contemporary Australian artists to take part in the prestigious ‘NEW’ exhibition, introducing a new generation of art practitioners whilst investigating the critical trends in the works through the catalogue essay. The selection of artists is always controversial and hotly debated, but the exhibitions always identify at least a few of the next generation of Australia’s most significant artists.