Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) – established in 2008 under the Artistic Directorship of Dr Gene Sherman AM – is a philanthropic enterprise dedicated to providing an innovative forum for contemporary art and presenting work by internationally renowned visual practitioners primarily from Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. The Foundation was built on Sherman Galleries’ 21 years of commercial exhibitions and artist representation (1986–2007), a glimpse of which is provided in Twenty: Sherman Galleries (1986–2006).
SCAF’s installations and exhibitions energise and respond to the gallery’s five-part complex, which comprises:
- a large exhibition area
- a mini ‘out-site’ space
- a versatile theatre annexe
- a Courtyard Garden
- an artist in residency contemporary cottage.
The multipurpose site and the Foundation’s constantly recalibrated cutting-edge technology enable the presentation of film and video to museum standards, immersive installations, architectural interventions and site-specific sculptures.
Since 2008, SCAF has developed over 33 projects, produced 36 publications and staged over 400 talks, forums, workshops and functions. Among the many artists who have created site-specific projects for SCAF are Ai Weiwei (China), Janet Laurence (Australia), Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnam), Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa /SANAA (Japan), Tokujin Yoshioka (Japan) and Brook Andrew (Australia). Others, including Yang Fudong (China), Fiona Tan (Indonesia/The Netherlands) and Jitish Kallat (India), have presented existing work in accordance with SCAF’s mandate and site.
Extensive projects are developed through partnerships with public art institutions at a regional, state, national and international level; for example,
- The Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
- The National Art School, Sydney
- The National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
- The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
- UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art & Design, Sydney
- M+, West Kowloon District Authority, Hong Kong.
Concurrent or travelling exhibitions, co-publications, discrete projects and off-site events feature – and are constantly in planning. Entry to all SCAF projects is free, as is participation in all public programmes (SCAF occasionally charges for materials relating to workshops).
SCAF is recognised as a pioneer in the Australian cultural landscape. As a privately funded, public exhibition space with a focus on the axis of the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, SCAF is staffed by highly qualified art professionals and directed by an academically trained proprietor with almost three decades of gallery management experience, outreach into the business, political and film worlds as well as engagement with the broader community. The Foundation’s longstanding singular geographic focus and rigorous standards distinguish it from other similarly conceived institutions.
Dr Gene Sherman AM
Chairman, Executive Director
Dr Gene Sherman AM (PhD, University of Sydney, 1981) is Chairman and Executive Director of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, a philanthropic organisation dedicated to the public exhibition of significant contemporary art from Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. From 1986–2007 she was Director and Proprietor of Sherman Galleries, organising up to 22 exhibitions annually with a focus on artists from Australia and the Asia-Pacific. She is Adjunct Professor, UNSW Art & Design (formerly the College of Fine Arts), and a board member of The Australian Institute of Art History (2013) and Sydney Contemporary (2014). Dr Sherman’s former appointments include: Powerhouse Museum Board (1994–2001); Bundanon Trust Board (1995–2002); Deputy Chair, Power Institute Council at the University of Sydney (1996–2006); ARTAND Australia (formerly Art & Australia) Editorial Advisory Board (2003–2015); and Deputy Chair, National Portrait Gallery Board (2008–2015). She is Co- Chair of the Tate Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee, a member of the International Association of Art Critics and works as an Asialink Asia Literacy Ambassador, a role that involves inspiring young people to become Asia literate and thus expand their career and life opportunities. The Foundation is a member of CIMAM, the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art. In 2012, the Foundation supported Dinh Q. Lê’s project, Sketches of Life from the War Zone, 2011–12, produced for dOCUMENTA (13). Dr Sherman is the inaugural patron of the Designers Circle for the MAAS Centre for Fashion.
Dr Sherman regularly lectures to a wide range of institutions on topics such as gallery management, the art of collecting, philanthropy, private foundations, Australian and Asian contemporary artists, and contemporary Japanese fashion. Dr Sherman’s awards include the B’nai B’rith award (2014), Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for her cultural philanthropy and her support of emerging and established artists, and a Doctorate of Letters honoris causa by the University of Sydney (2008). The French Government has acknowledged Dr Sherman with two awards: the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016), and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2003).
Communications and Events Manager
Coordinator – Programmes & Publications
Executive Assistant to Gene Sherman
Aaron de Souza
Andrew Cameron AM, John Kaldor AO, Sam Meers,
Akira Nakayama, Tomoko Nakayama, Dr Claire Roberts,
Digital Media Consultant