Introducing... Murray Art Museum Albury


Located near the Victorian border in southern New South Wales, Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) exhibits contemporary Australian and Indigenous art with an aim to invigorate, reflect and challenge the community. We spoke with Bree Pickering, the Director of MAMA, about the pertinence of addressing truth in photography.

Why is photography as a medium important for MAMA?

Photography has been a focus medium for MAMA for over 40 Years. Our relationship with photography owes much to Audray Banfield, the visionary director of Albury Regional Art Gallery (MAMA’s forebear). It was Audray who brought a Diane Arbus exhibition to regional Victoria (Benalla) back in the 70s. And it was Audray who invited a young Tracey Moffatt to Albury in 1989 out of which came her seminal ‘Something More’ series. The impact of Audray’s legacy is significant. I would argue that our community has a stronger appetite (higher tolerance!?) for experimental/challenging art, across mediums, because of her legacy. The National Photography Prize began in 1983 as the National Photographic Purchase Award under Audray and has been an important barometer of current photographic art practice since that time. MAMA’s permanent collection now documents the development and maturity of Australian photographic art practice since the 1980s.

Why is it important for MAMA to participate in PHOTO 2020?

We’re excited to be part of this agglomeration of IRL photography at a time when life is saturated with the digital. It feels pertinent and necessary, which are both things MAMA aims to be.

Why is it significant that PHOTO 2020 is taking place in Albury?

As an art museum in a regional city, somewhat removed from the major centres, it is significant for us to be part of a program that connects cultural institutions across Victoria all celebrating the importance of photography. We have certainly benefited from the connectivity that our contemporary context provides. We have an online audience that are following our program but have not yet had the opportunity to attend the museum. It is programs like PHOTO 2020 that encourage some of that audience to make the trip and experience this place in the flesh.

Why is the relationship between photography and truth important to investigate in the post-internet age?

At MAMA we operate under the belief that artists are the truth tellers of our culture. At a time when we rely on the networked image as a dominant form of communication and when claims to truth are variously slippery and enraging, it seems more important than ever to look to artists to find new ways to understand ourselves and our world.

What can we expect from MAMA during PHOTO 2020?

We will be celebrating the importance of photography to contemporary art in Australia through a number of exhibitions, including the National Photography Prize.

MAMA exterior with Summer Place 2018 Installation Plastic Palace

MAMA exterior with Summer Place 2018 Installation Plastic Palace

Bree Pickering is Director of Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA). Prior to joining MAMA, Bree was Executive Director at Vox Populi in Philadelphia, one of the longest running experimental art spaces in the USA. She also spent a few years in Washington DC as Curator at the Australian Embassy under Ambassador Kim Beasley.

Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March