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WHAT IS_? Programme

WHAT IS_? is an information programme comprising talks, information booklets and web resources. The purpose of this programme is to introduce key concepts and themes in contemporary art to the general public. Series 1 comprises seven topics supported by a talk, booklet and resource material available to download

An additional series focusing on the ‘Materials & Methodologies’ of modern and contemporary art is being developed to complement Series 1 and to provide supplementary information to IMMA’s collections and exhibitions programmes. What is Photography? is the first in this series of ‘Materials and Methodologies’.

What is_ New?

What is Drawing?
Brian Fay, artist and lecturer in DIT, will give a talk about Drawing on Saturday 2 February 2013.
12:00 noon
IMMA at Earlsfort Terrace.
> arrow linkClick here to book and for more information

Please click on the link to download the booklet
> arrow linkWhat is Drawing? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 pdf - 807KB)

Previous talks in the series and booklets to download

To download the booklets from the talks series please click on the following links:

What is Modern Art and What is Contemporary Art? November 2009
Francis Halsall and Declan Long, Department of Visual Culture, National College of Art and Design.
> arrow linkWhat is Modern and Contemporary Art? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 pdf - 455KB)
Please note new booklet will be available to download next week.

What is Conceptual Art? November 2009
Mick Wilson, Dean of the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM)
> arrow linkWhat is Conceptual Art? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 pdf - 483KB)

What is New Media Art? January 2010
Maeve Connolly, Department of Film and Media, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
> arrow linkWhat is New Media Art? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 pdf - 440KB)

What is Participatory and Relational Art? April 2010 
Brian Hand, artist, writer and lecturer
> arrow linkWhat is Participatroy and Relational Art (Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 pdf - 463KB)

What is Installation Art? June 2010
Niamh Ann Kelly, lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology.
> arrow linkWhat is Installation Art? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 pdf - 401KB)

What is Public Art? December 2010
Clíodhna Shaffrey, curator and writer.
> arrow linkWhat is Public Art? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 pdf - 584KB)

What is Performance Art? Saturday 1 October 2011
Amanda Coogan, artist and PhD Student, University of Ulster and GradCAM.
> arrow linkWhat is Performance Art? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 pdf - 614KB)

What is Modern and Contemporary Art? at the Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda

In association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Highlanes Gallery hosted a talk by Francis Halsall and Declan Long on modern and contemporary art on Saturday 29 January 2011 at 12:00noon.

Materials and Methodologies

What is Photography? Saturday 23 July 2011
Fiona Loughnane, art historian and lecturer
> arrow linkWhat is Photography? (Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.3pdf - 677KB)

Glossary of Art Terms
The following are a select number of terms relating to the subjects of Modern and Contemporary Art. This glossary is not comprehensive or exhaustive and is intended to be informative rather than definitive.
 > arrow linkGlossary (Word doc 2003 - 90.5KB)

For further information, please contact Lisa Moran, Curator: Education and Community Programmes, Tel: 01-612 9912, Email or Sophie Byrne, Assistant Curator: Talks and Lectures Programme, Tel: 01-6129914, Email:

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Tel: +353-1-6129900, Email:


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