In 1991 an extraordinary gift from Joan and Peter Clemenger enabled the National Gallery of Victoria to establish the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, a triennial exhibition and award that celebrates the ongoing achievement of some of Australia’s most distinguished contemporary artists.
Presented in 1993, 1996 and 1999 (in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art at Heide), previous recipients of the Award are Bea Maddock (1993), Richard Larter (1996) and John Nixon (1999). The exhibition is accompanied by an award of $30,000, presented to one of the participating artists in recognition of their outstanding career achievement.
The 2003 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award is the fourth in the series, and draws together a group of artists whose work is conceptually and stylistically diverse, yet unified in its engagement with some of the prevailing cultural and social issues of contemporary life. As the previous three exhibitions have demonstrated, the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award is national in its scope, cross-generational, and brings into dialogue the works of indigenous and non-indigenous Australian artists.
Each of the fifteen artists in the 2003 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award continues to develop an art practice of strong contemporary relevance. I would like to extend special thanks to the artists for their enthusiastic participation and for creating new and vital work especially for the exhibition.
Judges for the 2003 Award are Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Bill Henson, artist and participant in the inaugural Clemenger Award; and Joan Clemenger, representing the Clemenger Trust.
The Clemenger Contemporary Art Award has a well deserved reputation as one of the most presitigious awards and exciting visual arts events in Australia. The NGV is particularly grateful to Joan and Peter Clemenger for their foresight in establishing the Award, for their ongoing support of contemporary Australian art, and for their close involvement in the development of this exhibition.
Director, National Gallery of Victoria