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Bernice Murphy

Author 
Ross Harley

Bernice Murphy is an important figure in the development of video art in Australia. Over a series of cogent articles and precient exhibitions, she was one of the key figures who articulated the potentials for video in the context of contemporary art. Working together with video artist Stephen Jones, she co-curated the first collection of Australian video art to be exhibited internationally in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This exhibition was put together while she was working at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and produced under the ausopices of the Australian Gallery Directors Council.

This collection of important video works from the period was exhibited extensively in venues such as The Kitchen in New York, the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco. On its return to Australi, the works were subsequently shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (under the title Project 30), the Ewing and George Paton Galleries in Melbourne, and the Unioversity of Queensland Art Gallery.

These exhibitions gave Murphy the opportunity to reflect upon the role of video as an "immaterial medium ... that vanquishes earlier associations of art objects with physicality". She continued to write about and support the production and exhibition of video art throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

She was co-founder of the Sydney MCA and now National Director of Museums Australia and Chair of the Ethics Committee of the International Council of Museums

Selected works
Selected events