Comprised primarily of works drawn from the Queensland Art Gallery’s permanent collections of contemporary art, ‘21st Century’ reflects on a decade of both art-making and collection development. The exhibition includes many newly acquired works that have not previously been exhibited, alongside Collection works that have featured in the Gallery’s major exhibitions over the last ten years, here presented in broader context, and, in several cases, in new installations developed specifically for the exhibition. Broad in its geographical scope, ‘21st Century’ includes works from Australia, Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
The past decade has been a period of extraordinary development for contemporary art, and has seen the fast expansion of an international network of biennales, art fairs, museums and galleries. This has facilitated dialogue between artists and enhanced audiences’ awareness of art from different parts of the world. Responding to this expanded field for art production and display, the Queensland Art Gallery established an inclusive and broadly international approach to its Collection which, while not attempting to be encyclopedic, seeks to explore points of intersection or conversation between artists from diverse cultures and locations.
The Gallery’s contemporary collecting also reflects the intergenerational nature of contemporary art practice. Juxtaposing recent works by artists born in the 1920s with works by those born in the 1980s, the exhibition examines lines of influence and dialogue between senior and emerging practitioners that have helped shape the art of the past decade.