Cornelia Parker Exhibition at the MCA: A Review

  • Mums & Bubs
    Parents Only

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), located in Circular Quay, does an excellent job of making art accessible to everyone, particularly kids. Their current blockbuster exhibition, Cornelia Parker, is a collection of installations and sculptures by the renowned British artist.

Large scale works such as the installation Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View are particularly engaging for children, with their unexpected use of household objects a fun conversation point as well as casting dramatic light and shadows for a visually spectacular effect.

When visiting the exhibition with children, keep an eye out for the “For families” panels on the walls which spark discussions with kids and help them consider the artworks from a different point of view. We enjoyed reading the opinions from other young people quoted on the panels.

The artworks which were the biggest hits for us were Subconscious of a Monument, an installation featuring suspended pieces of earth from underneath the Leaning Tower of Pisa (another excellent conversation starter) and the aforementioned Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, which elicited a “Wow!!!” and moment of silent contemplation from my eight year old art critic.

After taking a look around the exhibit, head to the new creative family space, Boom, Crash, Stitch!, which was inspired by the Cornelia Parker exhibition.

The free space invites families to make their own artwork by squashing and stitching everyday materials. The aluminum foil station to create your own item and then squash it flat and add it to the collective installation was particularly popular. Who doesn’t like to squash things?

There is also a quiet space in the family area with cushions and books for kids needing a bit of time out.

When the rugrats are hungry, head up to the MCA Cafe on level 4. The cafe is a particular favourite of ours thanks to both the stunning view and also the excellent seasonal menu, which always includes kid-friendly options for picky eaters.

The current menu has a special section inspired by the Cornelia Parker exhibition, from which I ordered the A Very British Salad with Burnt Leek Ash ($16) and Banana Matter dessert ($12), along with the Oodles of Noodles with Butter and Parmesan ($12) from the kids’ menu.

After a good feed at the cafe, we highly recommend stopping by the MCA Store on the way out. The store is a fave of ours for locally-made and art-inspired gifts. The kids’ section is excellent, with a wide range of fun and high quality novelty items plus art-related options, including plenty of drawing and painting materials. It’s the perfect place to shop for gifts for crafty kids. The book selection is also excellent, with some unusual and classic Aussie picture books as well as art activity books.

The Cornelia Parker exhibition is exclusive to Sydney and on display until February 16. The Boom, Crash, Stitch! family room is available Saturdays & Sundays, 11am - 3pm, plus extended weekday hours during the school holidays.

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Images by Christine Knight