REBECCA COATES | The Origins of Kaldor Public Art Projects

Coates Kaldor

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Wrapped Coast – One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia (1968-69) remains one of Kaldor Public Art Projects’ (KPAP) most significant projects, both artistically and in its impact on the local and international art scene. A private not-for-profit foundation, Kaldor Public Art Projects has presented site-specific temporary art projects by leading international contemporary artists in Australia for over forty years. Some of these projects, such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s, were important milestones in the development of contemporary art in Australia. Not-for-profit foundations now play an increasingly important and visible role in the contemporary art world. This essay considers the circumstances that surrounded the inception of one of the earliest of these foundations, Kaldor Public Art Projects. It considers the factors that led to its creation. These include John Kaldor’s upbringing and experience as an émigré in Australia; his mentors, Sir Nicholas Sekers and Claudio Alcorso; and the influences on and of his collecting interests. The essay argues that gallerists such as Ileana Sonnabend played a pivotal role in the development of Kaldor’s collection and artistic interests. Kaldor’s collecting interests also played a key role in the development of the Art Projects. The role of the collector and patron are inextricably linked.

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