The Queensland Art Gallery is an art museum located in the South Bank precinct of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The gallery is part of the Queensland Cultural Centre. It complements the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) building, situated only 150 metres (490 ft) away.
The Queensland Art Gallery is owned and operated by the Government of Queensland, which created the institution in 1895 as the Queensland National Art Gallery.
The two galleries of Queensland Art Gallery each have their own distinct personalities, but are united in their purpose to share exceptional art. Queensland Art Gallery was established in 1895 and moved to its current residence at South Bank in 1982. It was joined by the Gallery of Modern Art in 2006 and the galleries now house a globally significant collection of contemporary art from Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
The experience of a visit starts when the striking architecture of our riverside galleries comes into view. Glimpses of Brisbane continue to anchor you to our subtropical city from inside each gallery, while ever-changing exhibitions, programs and events broaden your horizons.
Queensland Art Gallery is also home to a Children’s Art Centre that presents interactive artworks for kids and families, a cinema that celebrates film from around the world, plus gallery shops with art, books and cultural curios to take home. Every visit is a conversation starter, and our outdoor cafes and award-winning restaurant offer places for stimulating discussion.
The gallery was established in 1895 as the Queensland National Art Gallery. Throughout its early history the gallery was housed in a series of temporary premises, and did not have a permanent home until the opening of its current architecturally-acclaimed building on Brisbane’s South Bank in 1982, the first stage of the monumental Robin Gibson-designed Queensland Cultural Centre. The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) was established in 2006 which lead to the creation of a two-campus institution. In 2014, over 10 million people had visited both the sites since the establishment of GOMA. The Queensland Art Gallery was listed as a State Heritage Place in 2015.
In the late 19th century, Queensland artists Isaac Walter Jenner and R. Godfrey Rivers successfully lobbied for the creation of a state art gallery, which opened as the Queensland National Art Gallery in 1895. It occupied a series of temporary premises prior to the opening of its permanent home at Brisbane’s South Bank in 1982.
The establishment of the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) in 1993 forged a focus on artwork of the region, and as an ongoing exhibition series the APT created a case for a second building to display growing contemporary collections. The Gallery of Modern Art opened in 2006, creating a two-campus institution.
The Queensland Art Gallery was considered to be a building of its time for it incorporated the best techniques and materials available within the economic limits of the project. It was also the first major building to be built on the south side of the river adjacent to the new Victoria Bridge, which established a benchmark of scale and quality for future buildings.
The Queensland Art Gallery is a 4700 square metre display space broken down with walls and barriers that interchange between the art world and the public. The walls have been placed purposely to create flow and change of course of the viewer’s journey. The primary orientation element of the Gallery’s design is the Watermall that separates the tranquil environment of the exhibition galleries from the proactive environments of the administration, public programs and education areas. The varying ceilings heights and floor levels, colour and textured surfaces enhance variety and define the sequence of display areas. The entrance foyer efficiently acts as a hub for the public circulation and main access point for arrivals and departures for all visitors where they are able to select which collections they plan to visit. The buildings use of light coloured and maintenance free materials such as cement reflect and adapt to the Mediterranean- like quality of Brisbane’s sub tropical climate.
Only 150 metres apart, the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern art are two vibrant architectural sites connecting art and people.
The Queensland Art Gallery building opened in 1982 as part of the first stage of South Bank’s Cultural Precinct. In December 2006, a new Robin Gibson-designed entry was added at Stanley Place — a sweeping glass structure through which the public can see into the interior.
In July 2002, Sydney-based company Architectus was commissioned by the Queensland Government following an Architect Selection Competition, to design the Gallery’s second site, the Gallery of Modern Art.
Queensland Art Gallery: ‘It is not only a place for the collection and exhibition of our art works, it is a place where the walls and barriers of the Gallery are broken down, where there is a constant source of interchange between the art world and the public.’ – Robin Gibson, architect’s statement
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA): ‘The duality of the design approach [for GOMA] is that the architecture is impressive and monumental without losing its openness and freshness, and without being intimidating; international yet responsive to local conditions and the south-east Queensland context. By adopting this approach the architects propose to realise one of the Gallery’s most important aims – to place the institution in the public experience of the city.’ – Lindsay and Kerry Clare, architect’s statement
Queensland Art Gallery is home to more than 17000 artworks from Australia and around the world, in every imaginable medium. It holds an internationally significant collection of contemporary Asian and Pacific art.
Shaped by its history and projecting into the future, the Collection is a record of the institution’s past and an expression of its aspirations.
Each work that enters the Collection is considered for how it might contribute to conversations between works.
An intellectual adventure as well as a cultural record, the Collection is at the heart of the Gallery.
The Gallery is committed to profiling Indigenous Australian art and strengthening relationships with Queensland’s Indigenous communities.
Artistic expressions from the world’s oldest continuing culture are drawn from all regions of the country in the Gallery’s holdings of Indigenous Australian artworks, with a focus the on rich diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and experiences in Queensland.
The Indigenous Australian Art collection has a focus on contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and installation. It includes the most significant collection of contemporary Indigenous Australian fibre art from across the country, with objects made from natural and introduced materials, related sculptural objects and paintings and prints which reference fibre and reflect major themes and stories.
The work of Australian artists has been collected by the Queensland Art Gallery since its foundation in 1895. These works date from the colonial period onwards, with rich holdings of paintings and sculptures by Australian expatriate artists living in the United Kingdom and France at the turn of the twentieth century. The Australian art collection tracks developments in the modern movement of the 1950s and 1960s, including abstractions and assemblages and conceptual/post-object art of the late 1960s and 1970s.
The Contemporary Australian Art collection is rich in paintings, major installation, cross-media and moving image works which are central to contemporary art practice. The Collection includes an outstanding group of works by major Queensland artists.
Asian artists have made decisive contributions to the development of global contemporary art, often by drawing on local concerns and traditional forms, philosophies and techniques.
The Gallery’s Contemporary Asian art collection is among the most extensive of its kind in the world, comprising over 1000 works from the late 1960s to the present which shed light on modern historical developments, current environments of social change and evolving models of artistic production. The Gallery acquires the work of leading artists from all parts of Asia and the Asian diaspora. Contemporary Asian holdings have been shaped by the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art since 1993, including the APT’s commissioning and collecting agenda which keeps the collection dynamic and up to date.
Significant moments in the twentieth and twenty-first century Avant-garde are represented in the Collection by works such as Xu Bing’s A book from the sky 1987–91, Nam June Paik’s Global groove 1973 and TV Cello 2000, and in works by Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan and Ai Weiwei.
The Gallery’s historical Asian art highlights significant artistic developments across the region from the Neolithic period to the twentieth century, exploring diverse media, philosophies and techniques through painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, metalware, lacquerware, photography and furniture. It draws attention to the importance of cultural exchange in the continuing development of Asia’s aesthetic traditions, and contextualises the Gallery’s contemporary Asian collection.
The Gallery’s collection of contemporary Pacific art is the broadest in Australia. With the establishment of the Asia Pacific Triennial (APT) in the early 1990s, the Gallery recognised the importance of actively developing the Pacific collection.
The Pacific collection, with an emphasis on New Zealand, reflects the diversity of the region’s contemporary art, as well as innovation in customary practices. Primarily composed of works made after 1970, it includes paintings, prints and drawings, sculpture, photography, installation, textiles, weaving, body adornment, video and film.
The Gallery’s collection of works from Europe, Africa and North and South America includes early European paintings and works on paper, with an emphasis on the Northern Renaissance; British art from the late-18th to late-19th century, including Victorian and Edwardian painting; and modern European and American painting, sculpture, photography and prints from the late 19th century to the second half of the twentieth century. The contemporary international art collection reflects the increasingly fluid and porous nature of the contemporary art world. In tandem with the Australian and Asian collections, it facilitates collection displays that trace lines of influence and dialogue across different cultures and historical periods.
California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern World (2 November 2013 – 9 February 2014)
Quilts 1700-1945 (15 June – 22 September 2013)
Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado (21 July – 4 November 2012).
Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones (27 March – 27 June 2010)
American Impressionism and Realism: A Landmark Exhibition from the Met (30 May – 20 September 2009)
Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art
The Gallery’s flagship project is the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art series of exhibitions, now a major event on the national and international arts calendar. The expertise developed since APT1 in 1993 in staging the Triennial has led to the establishment of the Australian Centre of Asia Pacific Art (ACAPA), to foster alliances, scholarship and publishing, and the formation of an internationally significant collection of art from the Asia Pacific region.
‘The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT) is the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art’s flagship contemporary art series. Since 1993, the APT series has drawn more than three million visitors with its unique mix of presenting the most exciting and important contemporary art from the region and offering cross-cultural insight. The APT takes over QAGOMA every three years with the exhibition, film program, Children’s Art Centre projects, and a dedicated public program of talks and workshops. Enabling the Gallery to develop expertise and partnerships in the region, the APT has fostered the development of one of the world’s most significant collections of contemporary Asian and Pacific art.
Queensland Art Gallery’s Asia Pacific Council is an incubator for organisations who conduct business across Australia, Asia and the Pacific, to share knowledge and cultural engagement about the region and support ‘The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’.
Art for children
The Gallery is also recognised as an international leader in presenting innovative museum-based learning programs for children. These programs are coordinated through the Children’s Art Centre. Developing youth audiences for visual art is another priority for the Gallery.
To ensure all Queenslanders have access to the collection, travelling exhibitions tour to regional centres and remote parts of the state.
The Gallery’s governing body is a Board of Trustees appointed by the Queensland Government, and it is managed by an Executive Management Team. The current director is Chris Saines.
Research into the Gallery’s Collection informs our exhibitions, publications, education and public programs. The Australian Centre of Asia Pacific Art (ACAPA) examines the artists and artwork of QAGOMA’s focus region and holds an extensive Asia Pacific archive. The Gallery’s Centre for Contemporary Art Conservation is a leader in facing the challenges of preserving artworks created in new and evolving media. Researchers can access an extensive holding of books, journals and special collections in the Research Library, and learn about the ownership history of objects in the Collection through provenance research.
QAGOMA’s Research Library has an extensive collection of art resources that can be enjoyed by visitors to the Gallery. We hold over 50 000 books and exhibition catalogues and close to 250 current journal titles.
Our collections support the Gallery’s Collection, exhibitions and programs. We collect resources on Australian art, especially Indigenous Australian art and Queensland art, and contemporary Asian and Pacific art. We also hold a selection of resources on international art.
The Library’s collection can be searched online. Our general collection is accessible during Library opening hours. Access to the special and archival collections is by appointment only.
Conservators care for the artworks in the Gallery’s Collection. The Gallery employs specialists in the conservation of paintings, works on paper, sculpture, new media and frames.
The Centre for Contemporary Art Conservation (CCAC) is our research facility where we are able to examine artworks in extraordinary detail.
The CCAC is equipped with a range of analytical tools including microscopes, infra-red video cameras, and spectroscopy and X-ray facilities.
A range of learning opportunities is available through the CCAC including internships and work placements for conservation students, and workshops for practicing conservators.