Making Art Public: 50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects
John Kaldor may not be a household name, but it should be. Over the past 50 years his deft hand has helped shape the Australian contemporary art scene; he’s brought to the country the world’s most influential artists – often long before they themselves were household names – and changed the way we think about art in the process.
No project is more representative of this than Kaldor’s first: he brought Bulgarian-born environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Australia in 1969 to wrap 2.5 kilometres of Little Bay’s coastline in fabric. Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay was named the most important art event of the year by Time magazine and at the time was the largest artwork ever created.
In the ensuing decades, with 34 such ambitious projects realised by his Kaldor Public Arts Projects (KPAP), the headlines have continued. Apart from Wrapped Coast, every artwork shown by KPAP has been free to the public.
The organisation is celebrating its 50th birthday this year with Making Art Public: 50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects, a sprawling retrospective at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The exhibition will include archival materials and reconstructions relating to famous works such as Jeff Koons’s Puppy (1995), Marina Abramovic’s In residence (2015), Jonathan Jones’s barrangal dyara (skin and bones) (2016) and many more.
On Sunday February 16, the last day of the five-month exhibition, Kaldor will lead two free tours of the works – at 11am and 3pm. Each hour-long session will be free and no bookings are required.