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Media Release • 8 Sep 09

2009 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award

Opening next week, the National Gallery of Victoria will present the 2009 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, a triennial exhibition and award that celebrates the ongoing achievement of some of Australia’s most distinguished contemporary artists. This will be the sixth and final award in the series.

In 1991 a generous gift from Joan and Peter Clemenger enabled the National Gallery of Victoria to establish the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award. Since then, the Award has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the most prestigious and exciting visual arts events in Australia.

Peter Clemenger said: “Joan and I have been proud to present this award for almost 20 years. The award has been an important platform for showcasing the talent of mid-career artists.

“This will be the last award in the series. We look forward to celebrating not only the artistic achievements on display this year but also the success of previous exhibitions,” said Mr Clemenger.

Dr Gerard Vaughan, NGV Director, said: “The Clemenger Contemporary Art Award is one of the most respected and important awards for Australian contemporary arts.

“Through their generosity in establishing this Award, the Clemengers have made a profound and important statement of support for contemporary art in Australia. We are deeply grateful to them for establishing and supporting this award for the past 18 years,” said Dr Vaughan.

“The Award was always designed to conclude at the end of six exhibitions over a time span of nearly twenty years. The Clemengers are now discussing with the NGV other ways in which they will be involved in NGV contemporary art activities in the future.”

As the past five 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.

Previous recipients of the Award are Bea Maddock (1993), Richard Larter (1996), John Nixon (1999), John Mawurndjul (2003) and Judy Watson (2006).

Dr Alex Baker, Senior Curator Contemporary Art, NGV said: “Since the first exhibition in 1993 the Clemenger Award has become one of the most anticipated events for the display of new works by the most distinguished and influential Australian artists.

“The Award draws together a group of established 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,” said Dr Baker.

The artists represented in this year’s exhibition are Peter Atkins, Vivienne Binns, Stephen Bush, Domenico de Clario, Destiny Deacon, Janenne Eaton, Julie Gough, Louise Hearman, Janet Laurence, Trevor Nickolls, Dennis Nona, Scott Redford, Julie Rrap, Guan Wei and Ah Xian.

The recipient of the 2009 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award of $50,000 will be announced on Wednesday 16th September 2009.

The 2009 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square from 17 September 2009 until 7 February 2010. The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is open 10am-5pm, closed Mondays. Admission to this exhibition is free.


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Image caption:
Ah Xian
Concrete Forest 2: Sagittaria trifolia (Threeleaf Arrowhead) 野慈菇 2008-2009 (detail)
55.5 x 45.5 x 27.5 cm
Collection of the artist
©Ah Xian