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Art and Architecture (sold out)

6:00 PM – 8:45 PM
Wednesday 17 October 2018

Nicole Foreshew, Wynscreen video artwork, GARRAYWARRA (FIND, SEEK, LOOK FOR), duration 24 mins, looped (still), Sydney, Australia, 2017. Commissioned by Transport for New South Wales. Contributor: artist, Nicole Foreshew.



SESSION 1: 6:00 PM–7:30 PM

‘Art should demand the right to be dangerous, weird and impolite; I don’t think artists have a responsibility except to stay true to that impetus.’ *

Iraqi-American interdisciplinary artist Michael Rakowitz’s architecture-focussed works interrogate the contested history of objects and antiquities in conflict zones such as the Middle East, and the fate of art during war. A key focus is the reconstitution of lost or looted cultural artifacts and practices, such as in the ongoing series The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist (2007), and the highly acclaimed Lamassu on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, constructed from over 10,000 cans of Iraqi date syrup to replicate the 2,700 years-old winged bull sculpture which was destroyed by Islamic State in 2015.

Michael Rakowitz is Professor of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University, Chicago. His work features in major private and public collections worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany; The British Museum, London; Kabul National Museum, Afghanistan; and UNESCO, Paris. Rakowitz has received numerous international awards, including the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (2018), and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2012).

* Michael Rakowitz interview with Evan Moffitt, Frieze: Enemy Territory, March 2018


SESSION 2: 7:45 PM–8:45 PM

Sarah Rees (Curator of Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House): moderator; with architect Peter Tonkin (Tonkin Zulaikha Greer) and artist Janet Laurence (collaborators on major public artworks); plus architect John Prentice (Woods Bagot – Wynyard Walk and Wynscreen), with artist Nicole Foreshew (Wynscreen video artwork)

Architects and artists discuss their experience of the intense process of collaboration on public art commissions; the trend toward the commissioning or ‘embedding’ of art at the conceptual design stage of new buildings and public spaces (such as the innovative 23 metre media art screen, Wynscreen at Wynyard station, and Jenny Holzer’s LED work, I Stay (Ngaya ngalawa), at 8 Chifley building in Sydney); and the emergence of public media art projections, which ‘graft’ art into existing architectural contexts, such as the ‘sails’ of the Sydney Opera House and CBD heritage buildings for Vivid Sydney.


Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas (SCCI) gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Presenting Partner the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS).


Booking Information

Paid event $40. This ticket covers the Michael Rakowitz keynote and Art and Architecture session. This event is booked through Eventbrite.

Art and Architecture (sold out)
Wednesday 17 October 2018
6:00 PM – 8:45 PM
MAAS 500 Harris Street Ultimo


Michael Rakowitz

Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York) is an artist living and working in Chicago. His work has appeared in venues worldwide including dOCUMENTA (13), P.S.1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli, the 16th Biennale of Sydney, the 10th and 14th Istanbul Biennials, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, and Transmediale 05. He has had solo exhibitions at Tate Modern in London, Lombard Freid Gallery in New York, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Torino, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago and Kunstraum Innsbruck. His public project, Return, was presented by Creative Time in New York in 2006. He is the recipient of a 2012 Tiffany Foundation Award; a 2008 Creative Capital Grant; a Sharjah Biennial Jury Award; a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures; the 2003 Dena Foundation Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO. His work features in major private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago; Van Abbemuseum, Endhoven, Netherlands; The British Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Kabul National Museum, Afghanistan; and UNESCO, Paris. His first US museum survey, titled Backstroke of the West, opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in September 2017. He has also been awarded the Fourth Plinth commission in London’s Trafalgar Square which was unveiled this spring. Rakowitz is Professor of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University.


Sarah Rees

Sarah Rees has 10 years experience working in the Arts in both the public and private sectors. She has a Masters in Curating from the University of Sydney and has curated several multidisciplinary art projects including, Circa 1979: Signal to Noise as part of Sydney Festival and 100 Million Nights with artist Daniel Boyd and musical duo, Canyons. Sarah worked in the Curatorial and Digital Division of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia before being appointed as inaugural Curator, Contemporary Art at Sydney Opera House, where she is currently developing a strategy for the production and presentation of temporal, site-specific artworks. Sarah’s practice is informed by ongoing research in art and architecture.

Dr Peter Tonkin

Dr Peter Tonkin is a director of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects. The firm has an international design, heritage and urban design reputation and has won over 120 design awards. TZG has a wide range of experience from simple to complex buildings, heritage refurbishment and site planning, with a focus on civic and environmental responsibility. Major works include the Australian War Memorial in London, the National Arboretum, Canberra, the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct in Sydney and major cultural buildings and urban projects across Australia. Peter is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra, and an emeritus Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW.

Janet Laurence

Janet Laurence is a Sydney based Australian artist who exhibits nationally and internationally. Her practice examines our physical, cultural and conflicting relationship to the natural world.

She creates immersive environments that navigate the interconnections between organic elements and systems of nature. Within the recognized threat to so much of the life world she explores what it might mean to heal, albeit metaphorically, the natural environment, fusing this with a sense of communal loss and search for connection with powerful life-forces.

Her work is included in museum university and corporate and private collections as well as within architectural and landscaped public places and has done many collaborations with architects and environmental scientists.

In 2019 she will have a major solo exhibition at MCA.

John Prentice

As a Principal at Woods Bagot, John is excited by what makes a city good and is well connected to contemporary ideas shaping Australian urbanism and architecture. With 18 years of global experience, his expertise locally is evident in civic projects including Wynyard Walk, the MLC Centre redevelopment at Martin Place and the Nan Tien Education Centre, Wollongong. John has a natural affinity for managing large and complex projects and is currently leading the architectural design of Sydney’s Central Station Metro. Prior to joining Woods Bagot 11 years ago, John worked for DTAH, an interdisciplinary firm in Toronto, Canada. He understands the value of collaboration and integrating disciplines to create meaningful and sustainable places that people love.

Nicole Foreshew

An artist, writer and curator Nicole Foreshew, a member of the Wiradjuri nation, Central West NSW, Australia, works across a range of mediums, from photomedia to sculpture, film and video. Foreshew has taken part in several notable group shows across Australia and internationally, most notably the 2017 Primavera exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Maamungun Compatriots at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 2012, Shadowlife at Bendigo Art Gallery, curated by Natalie King and Djon Mundine, 2013, Born in Darkness Before Dawn, 2013 for Place Projections, Eora Journey, a City of Sydney arts initiative, curated by Hetti Perkins, Hereby Make Protest at Carriageworks, 2014, Wiradjuri Ngurambanggu at Murray Art Museum Albury, 2015 and Shimmer at the JamFactory, part of Tarnanthi - Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, South Australia 2015.


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