Current Exhibition

1969 The Black Box of Conceptual Art

Ian Burn, Roger Cutforth and Mel Ramsden

Curated by Ann Stephen

1969 The Black Box of Conceptual Art reconstructs the first Conceptual art exhibition staged in Australia, held at Pinacotheca gallery in 1969, with work sent from New York by Ian Burn, Roger Cutforth and Mel Ramsden. The exhibition is accompanied by some video, journals, and other works made at the time to reveal both the broader context for the work, and how influential it became to a generation of Australian artists. A unique element is a wall of Burn and Ramsden’s paintings while students at the National Gallery School.

Image credit: Ian Burn, installation photograph for Xerox Books, 1969, black and white photograph. Photo: Estate of the artist.

The Margaret Lawrence Gallery is a contemporary art space located in the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct. It was established in 2001 to provide crucial links between the VCA School of Art and the University of Melbourne (with its community of academics, artists and students), the wider communities of Victoria and on a national platform.


The gallery performs an integral and generative function within the VCA artistic community and is a showcase for new work, playing an educational role for the Victorian and Australian community.

The gallery offers established practitioners an opportunity to create new work in a supported and critically engaged environment. It also encourages meaningful connections and exchanges between professional artists, academics, students and the wider public.

The program focuses on new work by local, national and international artists. Exhibitions are presented in an environment that fosters critical discussion, as well as an understanding and promotion of visual art and its broader social contexts, with accompanying forums, artist and curator talks, residencies and public lectures. The exhibition program has a strong emphasis on research, developed by directly responding to exhibition proposals, and by inviting artists, curators or groups whose work or research is of particular contemporary relevance to devise a project for the space.

The program is determined 12 to 18 months in advance to allow a reasonable period of exhibition development in discussion with gallery staff. Application proposals may be submitted to the Director at any time.

The gallery is also responsible for the care and management of the VCA Art Collection, which spans the history of the College and its predecessor, the National Gallery School of Art and the Margaret Lawrence Australian Ceramic Collection.

The Margaret Lawrence Gallery is generously supported by the Margaret Lawrence Bequest.


Acting Director: Scott Miles

Gallery and Collection Coordinator: Kay Abude

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