CAO Yin 曹音
Art Gallery of New South Wales

A New Curator at a Changing Gallery

Cao Yin joined Sydney's AGNSW just the institution was about to embark on an evolutionary change. While she continues her role as a curator of Chinese art in the conventional sense, she faces fresh opportunities as well as new challenges. In this presentation, she will discuss these changes and their impact on her work at AGNSW.

The AGNSW is the leading museum in Australia in terms of its long history of collecting Chinese art and promoting Chinese culture. The Chinese programme was a particular area of interest over the past three decades when the gallery was under the leadership of Mr. Edmund Capon with his expertise and passion for traditional Chinese art.

In the past decade, AGNSW held several important exhibitions curated by Director Capon with the assistance of Dr. Liu Yang, then curator of Chinese Art, including The Lost Buddhas: Chinese Buddhist Sculpture from Qingzhou (29 Aug - 23 Nov 2008) and The First Emperor: China's Entombed Warriors (2 Dec 2010 - 13 Mar 2011), the latter the gallery's most popular exhibition to that point, attracting more 300,000 visitors.

The Chinese programme at AGNSW entered a new phase in 2012 with the retirement of Mr. Capon, who had been the gallery's director for 33 years, and the departure of Dr. Liu who was the Chinese Curator for more than a decade. The new director, Dr. Michael Brand, is determined to continue the long tradition of a strong presence of Chinese culture at the gallery, and is also planning to develop a more comprehensive programme to engage with China.

The new strategic plan is a reflection of the gallery's response to the larger social and political development in Australia, and to the ever closer ties between Australia and China in recent years. The renewal of the entire executive team has also brought new ideas and a different management style to the operation of the gallery. The institution's planned "Sydney Modern" expansion now being under way will add further impetus to the transformation of the gallery to inspire audiences of the 21st century.