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Minister Cullen launches IMMA’s 2009 Programme

Major exhibitions by such leading artists as Hughie O’Donoghue and James Coleman; the first European exhibition devoted to the jewellery of the iconic American artist Alexander Calder; a series of intriguing displays from the Museum’s own Collection, and an exhibition featuring many of the finest works from MoMA’s photographic collection are all part of an exciting and wide-ranging programme for 2009 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, announced today (Wednesday 4 March) by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr Martin Cullen, TD. Plans for the coming year also include solo exhibitions by three acclaimed American artists Elizabeth Peyton, Terry Winters, and Lynda Benglis, French artist Philippe Parreno and Irish artist Alan Phelan, and a number of new partnerships and initiatives under IMMA’s Education and Community Programme.

Speaking at the launch of the programme Minister Cullen said: "The Irish Museum of Modern Art is widely admired for the range and relevance of its exhibitions, for the innovative use of its growing Collection and for its popular education and community initiatives. What is particularly striking about the 2009 programme is the breath of modern art available. The 2009 calendar includes an innovative collaborative display to mark Seamus Heaney’s 70th birthday,  a magnificent collection of photographs from the Museum of Modern Art in New York and new events and research projects with both Irish and international partners. I am delighted to see this ongoing development in the Museum’s programme and the ever increasing public engagement with its work." Minister Cullen added: "IMMA attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year and 40% of its visitors are from overseas. This also demonstrates the important value of the Museum to our cultural tourism infrastructure." 

Commenting on the programme IMMA Director Enrique Juncosa said: "This year has a special American flavour. We are not only presenting surveys of American artists of different generations, but we are working for the first time with two leading American institutions. The Calder Jewellery exhibition travels to Dublin from the Metropolitan Museum and Picturing New York is in its totality a loan from MoMA, who have organised this exhibition at our request. Both projects underline, somehow, the position that IMMA now enjoys internationally. We are also organising exhibitions of the work of three major Irish figures: Seamus Heaney, James Coleman and Hughie O’Donoghue, which I am sure will arouse lots of interest, with both local and international audiences."

The new temporary exhibitions programme is already underway with an exhibition of 27 monumental works by the acclaimed British artist Hughie O’Donoghue. This presents recent paintings revealing new directions in the artist’s work, alongside seven works from O’Donoghue’s celebrated Passion series, and marks the permanent loan by the American Ireland Fund to the Museum of all 22 works in the series, together with 17 further works, the gift of an anonymous American collector.
This will be followed on 7 March by an important exhibition by the internationally-renowned Irish artist James Coleman, being shown in collaboration with Project Arts Centre and the Royal Hibernian Academy. Featuring works from the 1970s to the 2000s, it includes a number of works not previously seen in Ireland, including three of the artist’s most celebrated works.
The first exhibition in Europe devoted exclusively to the jewellery created by the American artist Alexander Calder, one of the most innovative figures in 20th-century art, opens on 1 April. Calder Jewellery explores the artist’s lifelong interest in wearable art, much sought after in New York’s artistic and social circles. Calder’s original BMW Art Car will also be on show. Dealing with something of the same milieu, but from a modern-day perspective, American painter Elizabeth Peyton presents her distinctive, intimate portraits of friends, historical characters and celebrities, also from 1 April.
Two other American artists also feature prominently later in the year. The distinguished painter Terry Winters’ evolving relationship with abstraction can be seen from 12 June in an exhibition of works exploring the cerebral spaces of information technology in a collection of powerful paintings and drawings created over the past ten years. The first solo exhibition in Ireland by the leading American sculptor Lynda Benglis opens on 4 November. Spanning 40 years of her pioneering and richly diverse body of work, it also documents her, often celebrated, involvement in performance and media-based projects. Irish artist Alan Phelan will present two bodies of work from 22 July, both rooted in the narrative possibilities of art that inform all aspects of his multi-faceted practice; one addresses issues from nationalism to popular culture; the other focusses on the world of the boy racer. French artist Philippe Parreno, co-curator of IMMA’s widely-praised Lunar Reggae exhibition in 2007, makes a welcome return on 4 November with a major exhibition questioning ideas of time, reality and representation, as well as exhibition-making and performance.
The temporary exhibition programme ends on a high note with some 150 photographs from the outstanding collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, opening on 25 November. Presenting images by some of the greatest photographers of the past 120 years, from Alfred Stieglitz to Cindy Sherman, Picturing New York explores the fascinating diversity of that city from its soaring architecture to its legendary mix of inhabitants.

Owing to budgetary constraints this year, the Museum is introducing an admission charge for two overseas exhibitions – Calder Jewellery and Picturing New York. The full charge will be €5.00, with concessions at €3.00. Under-18s will be free, as will those in full-time education, those on IMMA programmes and IMMA Members. Admission will be free for all visitors on Fridays.

Explaining the need to introduce the charges, Enrique Juncosa said that he very much hoped that visitors would understand the position that the Museum finds itself in, facing – like many other public bodies – an unexpected reduction in its funding following the sudden economic downturn. “I am confident that, under the circumstances, IMMA’s many faithful visitors will be prepared to contribute in this way, rather than see a reduction in the exciting range of international art, which the Museum is committed to making available to Irish gallery goers.”
During 2008 alone 69 works have been added to IMMA’s Collection through purchases, long-term loans and donations, and this very significant growth will be much in evidence in 2009. In addition to the works acquired via the American Ireland Fund in the Hughie O’Donoghue exhibition, other gifts and donations will also have pride of place in a variety of exhibitions and displays.  

The first new Collection display of 2009, Exploring a new Donation  opens on 10 March and marks the gift of 25 major works by leading Irish artists from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s from the prestigious Bank of Ireland Collection. The exhibition explores the manner in which the donation broadens and enhances  the reading of the Museum’s existing works, as well as expanding the context within which more recent artistic developments can be viewed.

From 14 April Artists/Heaney/Books: An Exhibition, will form part of Seamus Heaney’s 70th-birthday celebrations, focusing on the poet’s collaboration with a variety of visual artists, including Barrie Cooke, Felim Egan and Martin Gale, alongside an extensive display of the poet’s books, and artworks from IMMA’s Collection by many of the artists concerned.

Opening on 14 May an extensive exhibition, Between Metaphor and Object: Art of the 90s from the IMMA Collection, will present a range of sculptures and installation pieces from the 1990s, emphasising the diversity of practice that is represented in the IMMA Collection from this period, by artists such as Tony Cragg, Barry Flanagan and Antony Gormley. The exhibition will incorporate a number of pieces from the renowned Welkunst Collection, on loan to IMMA since 1995, which will return to the Welkunst Foundation in 2010.

This will be followed in July by New Acquisitions, presenting  a changing display of works acquired since 2005. This acquisition period provides a rich source of recent painting from Ireland and the exhibition will include examples of works by both younger-generation and more senior artists. Works in a variety of other media such as animation, film and site-specific sculpture are also included, plus a large-scale granite sculpture by the Brazilian artist Iran do Espirito Santo in the Formal Gardens.

Opening in November, What happens next is a secret is an experimental exhibition, which addresses the question of what happens when artworks are shown in different contexts. Taking the installation work Line Writing by the Laotian artist Vong Phaophanit – which is embedded in the floor of the gallery – as its starting point, it features a selection of other works from the Collection also employing secrecy or invisibility.

Works being installed in the grounds of IMMA in 2009 include an outdoor sculptural sound work by Michael Klein, Slattery’s Lamp, 2004, in the guise of a street light; the Iran do Espirito Santo piece, Correcoes D, 2008, and an Edward Delaney sculpture kindly donated by Agnes Toohey.

In addition, IMMA’s presence outside the Museum continues with the five-year loan of 22 works from the IMMA Collection to the Irish Ambasssador’s Residence, The Hague, which was inaugurated in November 2007. As part of the National Programme, Exquisite Corpse, will be exhibited in the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, from 15 October to 28 November, to coincide with the Belfast Festival.

Education and Community
The Education and Community programme continues to create access for all sectors of the public, and to work on specific projects to animate IMMA’s exhibitions and provide in-depth exploration of IMMA’s Collection throughout the year.

Again in 2009, new events and research projects are being developed with both Irish and international partners. A research project, with St Patrick’s College (NUI) and Poetry Ireland, will explore children’s critical thinking in relation to the visual arts and the written word. Other projects are being developed with a cross section of organisations, including the Council of National Cultural Institutions, The Ark, Dublin Institute of Technology and the Department of Education and Science.

Other new initiatives include the first two of a series of art packs, designed for primary school children, featuring 12 images of artworks from the IMMA Collection, accompanied by written information about the artist and ideas and themes stemming from the artwork. Also, a new series of workshops for families are being organised during the Easter, summer and Halloween school breaks.

Work on the Studio 8 youth programme and the three-year project exploring online learning, both initiated in 2008, will continue in 2009, with each involving very active partnerships with a wide range of museums and educational institutions across Europe. The former will host a visit of the five partner museums in Ireland in April and the latter will go live in the autumn.

The Talks and Lectures Programme continues in 2009 with a diverse range of artist’s and curator’s talks, lectures and seminars, starting with a series of seminars in association with the James Coleman exhibition. The programme will also include a new lecture series, What is…?, introducing aspects of contemporary art in association with IMMA’s Collection, and the annual Winter Lecture delivered by Hughie O’Donoghue.

The launch of the publications based on the international symposia, Curating Now, Access All Areas and Museum21, will take place on Culture Night, 25 September.

National and Artists’ Residency Programmes
The Museum’s unique National Programme will again take IMMA’s assets and expertise to 11 locations around the country in 2009. Projects, based around works from the Collection, take a variety of forms arising from the Museum’s engagement with the venue in question and input from the local community. These will include partnerships with Mayo County Council Arts Office and South Tipperary Arts Service on a multi-sensory exhibition, the first of its kind in Ireland. Further projects are planned for Counties Antrim, Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Limerick, Monaghan and Wexford. With the continued support of the Department of Education and Science, the Museum will again work with all 11 centres in developing an appropriate primary school programme.

The Artists’ Residency Programme will host 21 artists who represent a diverse group of individuals coming together to live and work at IMMA. Irish artists Fergus Byrne, Allan Hughes, Eithne Jordan and Linda Quinlan, will participate in the programme, alongside, artists from Australia, Canada, Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, England and Scotland. The aim of the ARP is to generate a creative space for artists at a crucial point in their career and for the participating artists to leave IMMA with new experiences and networks that will enable them to further their practice. Each artist will also show their studio work
in the Process Room for a two-week period during their time at IMMA.

On Saturday 4 July and Sunday 5 July the Museum will present two concerts to mark the 60th birthday of the distinguished South African-born composer Kevin Volans, who has been resident in Ireland since 1986. Featuring the Ensemble Madrid, a contemporary music group from Spain, the programme will focus on Volans’ own compositions and those of the younger composers he has influenced. The central piece will be Chakra, Volans’ spectacular percussion piece, which will be played at both the Saturday and Sunday concerts. Volans will also contribute a new piece for string quartet and percussion. The music in both cases will include a string ensemble, electronics, and percussion.

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: + 353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected]

4 March 2009

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June. A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. There are three exhibitions to visit  Hilary Heron: A Retrospective; Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s shop, café and gardens are all open.