New public sculpture made possible by leading philanthropists, Callum Morton's Silverscreen

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Monday 14 February 2011.

New public sculpture made possible by leading philanthropists, Callum Morton's Silverscreen image New public sculpture made possible by leading philanthropists, Callum Morton's Silverscreen image

Melbourne, Australia A 20-metre high public sculpture – part architecture, part drive-in screen, part sculpture, billboard and scaffold – is set to become the iconic entrance to the Monash University Museum of Art’s new premises at the Caulfield campus.

Monash University has officially launched Silverscreen 2010 – The Marc and Eva Besen Commission – by Callum Morton, one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists.

A generous donation from Marc Besen AO (Hon LLD, Monash; Hon PhD, Tel Aviv) and Eva Besen AO (Hon LLD, Monash) enabled the commissioning of the new architecturally-integrated work.

Marc and Eva Besen recently made a major philanthropic gift to create the Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design. This senior position is the first endowed research chair in the Monash Faculty of Art & Design. These recent gifts extend their long history of support for Monash University.

“We are proud and delighted to contribute to the new and vital museum by gifting an amazing major sculpture by one of Australia’s most eminent contemporary artists and to promote the value of good design by funding a Chair dedicated to the discipline for which Australia has a history of exceptional brilliance during the last half of the 20th Century”, said Dr. Marc Besen AO.

In thanking the Besens for their philanthropy, Monash University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ed Byrne AO said that the sculpture would be enjoyed by thousands of people, including students, staff, alumni and the public. Silverscreen gives the Museum a significant presence on Dandenong Road, one of Melbourne’s principal gateways.

“Silverscreen – The Marc and Eva Besen Commission – is a stunning addition to the Monash University Collection. We are indeed privileged to have been able to commission such a major work by Callum Morton, one of Australia’s most distinguished contemporary artists,” said Professor Byrne.

“Marc and Eva, thank you for enhancing this campus and providing such an iconic focal point for MUMA, and for the University’s Art and Design precinct.”

“Silverscreen will provide enjoyment, provoke thought, and inspire creativity. Fittingly, the work exists along the continuum of art, design and architecture – fields where Monash University strives to be a leader,” said Professor Byrne.

About the work
Propped between two buildings on Dandenong Road, Silverscreen provides a declarative identity for the Museum, and a ceremonial entry for visitors to MUMA, ushering them from the street to the sculpture court and the entrance to the museum.

More than 20 metres high, and constructed from galvanized steel and energy-efficient LED lights, Silverscreen is inspired by the mid-twentieth century form of the drive-in cinema screen, a modern technology related to economies of entertainment, spectacle and visual modes of public address.

Morton’s Silverscreen makes reference to a number of canonical sculptural, museum and architectural forms: Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International 1917, a utopian albeit unrealised symbol of modernity; Cedric Price’s Fun Palace 1961, with its experimental urbanism and interest in processes of transformation and play, information and identity; and Rogers and Piano’s Pompidou Centre 1972-76, with its principles of transparency and circulation, daring structural assemblage and interaction between museum and urban context.

About the artist
Callum Morton is one of Australia’s leading and most distinguished artists. He has represented Australia at the Venice Biennale, 2007, and has participated in a wide range of prestigious exhibitions nationally and internationally.

Recent architectural and public projects include Valhalla, Venice Biennale 2007 and Melbourne International Arts Festival 2009; Hotel, Eastlink Freeway 2008; and Grotto, Fundament Foundation, Netherlands, 2009.

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