The Water Mall in the Queensland Art Gallery. Photo: Mark Sherwood
The director of the Queensland Art Gallery has revealed his exciting vision to revamp the facility to better display collections and provide an all-ages interactive learning space.
Chris Saines launched his future vision for the QAG and its sister, the Gallery of Modern Art, in front of supporters and philanthropists on Tuesday.
“I want QAGoMA to become the leading museum for the contemporary art of Australia, Asia and the Pacific,” he said.
Queensland Art Gallery director Chris Saines speaks about his vision for the venue. Photo: Mark Sherwood
Mr Saines said one way of achieving that would be to expand the gallery’s footprint by shifting its Asia-Pacific collections into GoMA’s Level 3, while creating a permanent home for its indigenous works in QAG’s gallery 2.
But he also suggested that existing space around the Water Mall in the QAG could be redeveloped into a multi-purpose learning environment that drew on the successes of GoMA’s children’s program to involve more people in creating art.
“If you don’t happen to have a five-year-old, you’d feel a bit odd, sitting there doing your kangaroo mask,” he said.
“There have got to be other ways in.”
Mr Saines said renovating the existing QAG space to accommodate such a facility was big-picture thinking.
“I’m not putting a timetable on that, I’m not designing anything – I’m thinking out loud to start a conversation,” Mr Saines said.
“I think QAG needs some refreshment in terms of the physical state of the building, and I think that what we’re planning to do in the master plan development around the precinct is all part of that integrated picture.”
The construction of the $ 100 million GoMA complex, which opened in 2006, was the last major infrastructure project for the gallery.
Mr Saines said the plan was in no way a plea for immediate government funding, but rather a look at how to better use existing resources, including targeted philanthropy.
“In a difficult economic environment the government is naturally not in a position to be able to dramatically increase our funding,” he said.
“What we might achieve in QAG might take us between five to ten years, but that’s OK… [it’s] about looking out, not just looking to the ends of our noses.”
Key announcements on QAGoMA’s future vision:
- The most significant single gift to the Collection by Queensland benefactor Win Schubert of the spectacular new commission, Heritage, the centre-piece of the exhibition Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth this summer at GOMA.
- A new series of Gallery-curated exhibitions of internationally acclaimed living master artists, including legendary American photographer Cindy Sherman (2016) and Gerhard Richter, one of the world’s greatest living painters (2018).
- Major solo exhibitions of leading Queensland-born artists including Tracey Moffatt (2014); and Mr Saines would lead a team of Gallery and external curators to develop an exhibition of contemporary Queensland art at GOMA in 2015.
- To mark GOMA’s 10th anniversary in 2016–2017, an exhibition exploring light, space, architecture and the senses will introduce new works to Australian audiences by visionaries including the American master of light, James Turrell.
- The enhanced scope and ambition of the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2015–16) will include the consideration of new countries and a younger generation of artists from several countries; the return of the international symposium to invigorate dialogue around the project; and a stronger presentation of performance throughout the exhibition.
- The development of a new multi-purpose, interactive social and learning environment for audiences of all ages, based in QAG, which would build on the Gallery’s internationally recognised expertise in children’s experiential programming.
- A commitment to progressing national and international touring arrangements for major QAGOMA-curated exhibitions, including My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia, as well as Children’s Art Centre exhibitions.
- The Gallery will present the first major Australian exhibition of contemporary African art in 2016, a focus of recent Collection development. In addition, the Gallery will further its close relationship with Papua New Guinea with the presentation in 2015 of the Collection-based exhibition Number One Neighbour.