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 visual practice and presenting work by internationally renowned artists from Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and West Asia. 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 works closely with internationally renowned artists in commissioning installations and exhibitions that energise and respond to the gallery’s four-part complex, which comprises:
- a large exhibition area
- a mini ‘out-site’ space
- a versatile theatre annexe
- a Zen garden
The multipurpose site and 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 15 projects, produced 17 publications and staged over 400 talks, forums, workshops and functions. Among the many artists who have created site-specific exhibition 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 accord with SCAF’s mandate and site.
Extensive projects are developed through partnerships with public art institutions at a regional, state and national level; for example,
- the Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
- the National Art School, Sydney
- the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.
Concurrent or travelling exhibitions, co-publications, discrete projects and off-site events feature and are constantly in planning. Free admission to all SCAF programmes is part of our aim to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible.
SCAF is recognised as a pioneer in the Australian Cultural Landscape. A privately funded, public exhibition space with a focus on the new axis of the Asia-Pacific region and West Asia (the Middle East), it is staffed by highly qualified art professionals and directed by an academically trained proprietor with more than two decades of gallery management experience and outreach into the business, political and film worlds as well as 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 currently Adjunct Professor, College of Fine Arts (COFA), Deputy Chair of the National Portrait Gallery Board and a member of the Advisory Board of Art & Australia magazine. Former Board appointments include the Bundanon Trust (1995–2002), the Powerhouse Museum (1994–2001) and Deputy Chair of the Power Institute Council at The University of Sydney (1996–2006). She is a member of the Tate Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee and 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, it supported Dinh Q. Lê’s project, Sketches of Life from the War Zone, 2011–12, commissioned and produced by dOCUMENTA (13).
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 was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government (2003) and a Doctorate of Letters honoris causa by The University of Sydney (2008). She received the Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for her cultural philanthropy and her support of emerging and established artists.
Dolla S. Merrillees
Dolla S. Merrillees is the Associate Director, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation. Previously she worked as Director – Visual Arts, Museums and Galleries NSW, and as Exhibition Manager for the 2000 and 2002 Biennales of Sydney. As Assistant Curator, Decorative Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and Curator of Contemporary Craft at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart she contributed to projects such as 4 + 1:5 Contemporary Australian Designs (1999), and Alvar Aalto: Points of Contact (1996). She has written extensively for print and online media.
Aaron de Souza
Manager – The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection
Communications and Events Coordinator
Laura Brandon (on leave)
Executive Assistant to Gene Sherman
Executive Assistant to Gene Sherman
Andrew Cameron, Doug Hall AM, John Kaldor AM,
Akira Nakayama, Tomoko Nakayama, Dr Claire Roberts,
Michael Whitworth, Sam Meers