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ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Rosc exhibition in Ireland. These pivotal, and often controversial, exhibitions were the first major series of large scale international art exhibitions in Ireland, at a time when Ireland did not have a National Museum of Contemporary Art. Rosc took place approximately every four years between 1967 and 1988, with IMMA being founded in 1991.

For many visitors, Rosc was the first time they would have been introduced to work by international artists such as Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, Laurie Anderson among others. Indeed, from 1967 the Department of Education enabled all schools to take a day out of school to visit the Rosc exhibitions, a visionary policy which had a significant impact on future generations of artists and arts audiences.

There were several landmark moments across the exhibitions including the first performance of Rest Energy by Marina Abramovic and Ulay in Rosc ’80, which involved Ulay holding a steel arrow pointed directly at Abramovic’s heart for four minutes.

But there were also many controversies associated with Rosc during its 21 years, such as the movement of ancient monuments for the 1967 Rosc, the exclusion of Irish artists from the first two Rosc exhibitions and the ongoing debate about the representation of Irish art and artists in Rosc, not to mention the under representation of female artists.

Call for Public Reflection and Response

Where you there? Visitors are also encouraged to share their experiences and memories of Rosc both in person and online throughout 2017.

The public are encouraged to share their memories of Rosc by discussing their personal experiences or memories of the exhibitions both online and offline. This process of capturing the audience’s reaction to Rosc will then re-enter the archive, adding the audiences’ voice to this rich archive for future generations.  Visitors are called to contribute to this initiative online by using the hashtag #ROSC50 on social media or by submitting personal stories, testimonials and photographs to

ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 Exhibition

5 May - 30 July 2017
Project Spaces

ROSC 50 is presented in collaboration with NIVAL (the National Irish Visual Art Library) and the opening display at IMMA provides an intriguing, detailed, and contextualised look at these controversial and pivotal Exhibitions. Visitors can engage with the history of Rosc through a rich presentation of archive materials including catalogues, photographs, news footage, and exhibition reviews and reports, alongside first-person accounts.  Visitors are encouraged to consider Rosc’s intentions, impact and legacy.

View the ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 Exhibition Page

Associated Events

IMMA/NIVAL : ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 Opening Talk / 05 May 2017 - 1pm
Join Sean Kissane (Curator Exhibitions, IMMA) for an opening introduction of ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017, a research project presented in IMMA's Project Spaces from 05 May - 18 June 2017. Listen back to this talk.

IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017: Lunchtime Talk / 17 May 2017 - 1:15pm
Art historian, writer and appointed researcher of the IMMA/NIVAL: ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 project, Brenda Moore-McCann shares artists’ testimonies on the various ways ROSC supported some of the most iconic artworks made at the time by Brian O’Doherty, Marina Abramovic and others. Listen back to this talk.

IMMA/NIVAL : ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 Artists' Discussion / 31 May 2017 - 6:30pm
Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Rosc, IMMA invites artists to come together in conversation to reflect on the direct experiences of a particular generation of artists associated with the Rosc exhibitions. Listen back to this talk.

IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 / 1967-2017: Closing Discussion / 28 June 2017 - 3:00pm
On the final week of the IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 | 1967-2017 in the Project Spaces, you are invited to join us for a series of reflections on the Rosc exhibitions and their impact on the visual arts in Ireland. Speakers include Patrick J. Murphy, former Chairman of Rosc; Matt Packer, Director of EVA International; Jonathan Carroll, writer and independent curator; and Sarah Glennie, Director of IMMA. Drop In.

IMMA/NIVAL SEMINAR: ROSC 50 Artist Research Commissions / Sat 11 Nov, 2pm - 5pm
An important part of the IMMA/NIVAL ROSC 50 collaboration is to generate new research and new perspectives from both artists and audiences today, and to record these for future generations. Audiences are invited to attend a seminar comprising of artists’ performance, lecture presentations, screening and a panel discussion. Learn more.


ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 Exhibition Press Release

Download a PDF of the Timeline created for this exhibition.

ROSC 50 Artist Commissions Press Release

Presented in partnership with


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