People are the pulse, the breath, the life of the Queensland Art Gallery


People. Boilermakers, housewives, bus drivers, dressmakers, clerks, students, typists, children, teachers. People are the pulse, the breath of the Art Gallery.

Their presence, their interest, their movement make the building live.

The Art Gallery is not designed merely as a vast repository of paintings and sculptures. Every metre within its halls projects a quality of space, of light.

The atmosphere of the city flows into it. Even the environs provide a fascinating art study — the planes and angles of the city as seen through the windows on the river side  — the arcs and sweeps of the hills and the Merivale Bridge as seen through the western windows.

This is the feeling of the Art Gallery. It is an extension of the life of the city and certainly not a remote, stiffly compartmented art storage.

People give it life and soul. Their presence, their movement provide a kinetic effect.

This is an Art Gallery with an appeal to every Queenslander. It offers a rich collection of art displayed in exceptionally fine surroundings. It heralds a stimulating era in Queensland culture.

Most importantly, it belongs to the people in substance and in lore.

The Art Gallery is yours. Enjoy it.

Queensland Art Gallery, June 1982 / Collection: QAGOMA Research Library

The Queensland Art Gallery celebrates its 30th anniversary at our South Bank site on 21 June 2012. The current building — the first stage of the Queensland Cultural Centre — was officially opened in 1982 at a cost of $28 million and was designed by renowned Queensland architect Robin Gibson. The building was awarded the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Architecture in 1982.

The move to the Queensland Art Gallery’s first permanent home took place in three stages, and all sections occupied the building at South Bank, South Brisbane by 8 March with the transfer of the Collection completed by 13 May 1982.

On 21 June, the new building was officially opened. The official opening ceremony was attended by over 900 guests and an estimated 8,000 visitors attended the gala public opening celebrations that evening, as we opened to the public in our first permanent home after some eighty-seven years.

The public response to the opening was overwhelming, with approximately 50,000 visitors in its first 10 days. In its opening year, the Queensland Art Gallery had over 850,000 visitors.

For the opening, works from the Gallery’s Collection were on display, as well as five major international exhibitions drawn from important art museums in the United States, Japan and Britain, these were ‘Japan – Masterpieces from the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo’; ‘Kandinsky’ on loan from the Guggenheim Museum, New York; ‘Town, Country, Shore and Sea: British Drawings and Watercolours from Van Dyck to Nash’ from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; ‘Renaissance Bronzes’ from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and ‘Renaissance Bronzes and Related Drawings’ from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; and ‘The World of Edward Hopper’ from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Transcript from the publication ‘Queensland Art Gallery’ presented by The Courier Mail and published for the official opening of the Queensland Art Gallery’s new permanent home at South Bank on 21 June 1982

Queensland Art Gallery’s new permanent home at South Bank, June 1982 / Collection: QAGOMA Research Library