Expanded USC Art Gallery reopens with historic exhibition
In late 2019, USC Art Gallery embarked on an ambitious capital works project made possible through the generosity of long-time USC supporter Arija Austin. In 2015, Mrs Austin bequeathed her and her late husband Richard ‘Dick’ Austin’s substantial, personal art collection and a significant portion of their estate to USC.
This support allowed USC to undertake a redevelopment to increase its exhibition space, create a new reception area and construct additional storage for the growing USC Art Collection, doubling the Gallery’s footprint overall. To honour the Austins, the newly constructed exhibition space has been named the ‘Arija and Richard Austin Gallery’.
Michael Cook: Undiscovered
In August 2020 USC Art Gallery reopened its doors with Michael Cook: Undiscovered, the first career survey of this important Australian artist who has lived and worked on the Sunshine Coast for over 30 years. In 2009, Cook left a successful career as a commercial photographer to make art — a move driven by a desire to explore his Aboriginality.
Bringing together over 76 artworks made between 2010 and 2020, Michael Cook: Undiscovered was two years in development and drew together works held in the USC Art Collection, as well as loans from collections around Australia including: Monash University, the University of Queensland, Tweed Regional Gallery and Moreton Bay Regional Council. The exhibition highlighted Cook’s ongoing interest in interrogating the legacy of colonisation in Australia.
In late 2020, USC Art Gallery will publish the artist’s first monograph, Michael Cook: 2010-2020. Lushly illustrated, it will include over 120 full colour reproductions of Cook’s artworks. Essays by Professor Marcia Langton from the University of Melbourne and USC Art Gallery Manager Megan Williams will sit alongside a foreword by USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) Professor Joanne Scott and an interview with the artist by independent curator and writer Hamish Sawyer. The monograph will be available to purchase at the Gallery or online via the Gallery website.