Vivienne Binns exhibition to celebrate ‘key protagonist’ of Australian art

Vivienne Binns exhibition to celebrate ‘key protagonist’ of Australian art

Vivienne Binns
Words by Lucas Radbourne

A retrospective of one of Australia's most significant feminist artists, Vivienne Binns, will exhibit at Monash and the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2022.

Since the 1960s, Binns’ ground-breaking work has played an important role in the evolution of feminist, collaborative, community-based and studio practice.

A new restrospective of her work titled On And Through The Surface will show at Monash Museum of Art from February 5 – April 2022, then at the Museum of Contemporary Art from July 15 – September 25, 2022.

What you need to know

  • A new retrospective exhibition of Vivienne Binns’ art will run from February to September, 2022
  • Binns is one of Australia’s most important and transformative artists
  • Her work will be shown at Monash and the Museum of Contemporary Art

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Binns’ early career was defined by powerful images of sexual awareness and psychological enquiry. Her first solo exhibition at Sydney’s Watters Gallery in 1967 was widely criticised for its provocative and sexually explicit imagery, yet several of the paintings are now recognised as iconic feminist works and held in the National Gallery of Australia collection.

The exhibition will encompass over 100 key works and cover six decades of Binns’s practice, spanning painting, drawing, assemblage and collaborative projects, loaned from public and private collections as well as the artist.

Among the many highlights will be Binns’s painting The aftermath and the ikon of fear, 1984–85, which was recently co-acquired by the MCA with Tate. The exhibition will be accompanied by Binns’s first monograph, which traces the artist’s practice and biography, underlining their inseparable nature. 

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Binns’s uncompromising practice has seen her experiment with styles, methods and subject matter that have questioned the very nature of art itself: how we define art, who gets to be an artist, and who arbitrates taste. Binns’s work exemplifies a feminist and avant-garde ethos, while holding principles of community engagement and egalitarian creative expression at its core. 

Vivienne Binns’s survey exhibition is co-curated by Hannah Mathews, Senior Curator, MUMA and Anneke Jaspers, Senior Curator, Collection, MCA.

“We intend for this project to celebrate Binns’s achievements and ensure the legacy of her work, but also to signal to a broad audience the importance of arts practice and education that promotes feminist values and inclusivity”, say Hannah Mathews and Anneke Jaspers.  

MUMA Director, Charlotte Day notes ‘’it is critical that we recognise and celebrate the work of the artists that have shaped Australian culture and there is no doubt that Vivienne is a key protagonist in our art history. We look forward to working together with the team at the MCA and co-presenting her work at both museums, anticipating that audiences will be revel in its iconic imagery, community activism and progressive thinking.’’

MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE also added her enthusiasm for the project, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with MUMA on this important exhibition and that Vivienne’s work has been included in our joint acquisition program with Tate. We Iook forward to seeing her ground-breaking work in an international context. This comprehensive exhibition gives audiences in Australia the opportunity to see the breadth of her practice.”