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DR GENE SHERMAN AM | UPDATED SUMMARY CV MARCH 2018

Summary

Dr Gene Sherman AM is a leading Australian cultural figure and philanthropist. She is Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas (SCCI), established in 2017 as a cultural-exchange platform focusing on contemporary fashion and architecture. For 21 years (1986-2007) Dr Sherman was Director and Proprietor of Sherman Galleries, a commercial gallery with a focus on artists from Australia, the Asia Pacific and the Middle East (further details follow in previous bio below). From 2008- 2017, Dr Sherman was Chair and Executive Director of the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, presenting 37 projects by significant visual practitioners across art, architecture, fashion, film and design from the Asia Pacific, Australia and the Middle East. She is Adjunct Professor, UNSW Art & Design, a Member of the Tate Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee (since 2009) and currently co-Chair (since 2015), a Member of the Tate International Council (since 2017), and a Board Member of The Australian Institute of Art History (since 2009). Dr Sherman regularly lectures on Australian and Asian contemporary art, Australian and Asian private foundations, gallery management, the art of collecting, and architecture and fashion. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 in recognition of her cultural philanthropy and support of emerging and established artists. The French Government has honoured Dr Sherman with two prestigious awards in its Legion of Honour awards system: the Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016), and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2003).

Career

Born and raised in South Africa, in 1976 Dr Sherman moved to Australia with her husband, Brian Sherman (co-founder of pioneering fund management group, EquitiLink). She taught at the University of Sydney from 1976 - 1980 and awarded her doctorate in early 20th century French literature from the University of Sydney in 1981. She later became Head of Languages at Ascham School (1981 - 1986).

After 17 years teaching and researching at both secondary and tertiary levels, Dr Sherman founded Sherman Galleries, a two-site commercial art gallery based in Sydney and focusing on contemporary artists from Australia, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, including Gordon Bennett, Shane Cotton, Shaun Gladwell, Guan Wei, Janet Laurence, Akio Makigawa, Mike Parr, Imants Tillers and Hossein Valamanesh. From 1989, Dr Sherman worked extensively with now celebrated artists from Asia, including Ah Xian, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shen Shaomin, Wenda Gu and Xu Bing. Frequently producing up to 16 exhibitions each year, plus Australian and international touring shows, Sherman Galleries arguably became one of Australia's leading private commercial art institutions and one of few private galleries operating at top-tier level in the Asia Pacific region.

After 21 years (1986-2007), Dr Sherman closed Sherman Galleries and created the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF), a philanthropic enterprise dedicated to commissioning and presenting work by internationally renowned visual practitioners from the Asia Pacific, Australia and the Middle East. Over the decade of its operation (2008-2017), SCAF developed 37 projects, produced some 40 publications and staged over 400 talks, forums and workshops. Among the many creative practitioners who created site-specific projects for SCAF are Ai Weiwei (China), Brook Andrew (Australia), Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan (Philippines), Jitish Kallat (India), Jompet Kuswidananto (Indonesia), Dinh Q. Le (Vietnam), Sopheap Pich (Cambodia), Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa /SANAA (Japan), and Tokujin Yoshioka (Japan).

In 2017, Dr Sherman presented SCAF's final suite of exhibitions: The inventive work of Shigeru Ban, a two-site exhibition of the work of the eponymous Pritzker prize-winning Japanese architect; and two major exhibitions in Israel of leading Australian artists - Shaun Gladwell's 1000 Horses (Tel Aviv Museum of Art) and the group show Tracks and Traces (Negev Museum of Art, Be'er Sheva), featuring Vernon Ah Kee, Brook Andrew, a newly-commissioned work by Shaun Gladwell, Rosemary Laing, Danie Mellor, Shirley Purdie, Scottish-born Joan Ross, Japanese-born Hiromi Tango and Christian Thompson.

Established in 2018, Dr Sherman's newest venture, the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas (SCCI), aims to forge a new path that elevates fashion and architecture to a more prominent place alongside other mediums of cultural expression, by providing a vibrant platform for the exchange of challenging ideas within the broader framework of culture.

SCCI will feature two concentrated programmes each year, over the five-year period 2018-2022: SCCI Fashion Hub, in April/May, and SCCI Architecture Hub, in September/October. Partnerships have been developed with major Australian and international cultural entities including Google Arts and Culture, Sydney's Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS), the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA).

Dr Sherman is married, with two children and six grandchildren. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

Appointments and Awards

Dr Sherman's former appointments include: inaugural Patron of the Centre for Fashion at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney (2015 - 2018); Trustee, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (1995 - 2001); Board Member, Bundanon Trust (1995 - 2002); Deputy Chair, Power Institute Council at the University of Sydney (1996 - 2006); Art + Australia Editorial Advisory Board (2003 - 2015); Member, National Portrait Gallery Advisory Board, Canberra (2009 - 2011) and Deputy Chair, National Portrait Gallery Board of Trustees, Canberra (2011 - 2015); Member, Commissioner's Council, Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007 - 2009); Board Member, National Gallery of Australia Foundation, Canberra (2000 - 2009); Chair, Voiceless Council (2009 - 2015); Board Member, Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) (2005 - 2010); Patron, NSW Friends of Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design, Jerusalem (2005 - 2010); Member, International Council of the Asia Society, New York (2001 - 2003); Member, Advisory Board of the Asia Society, Australasia Centre (2002 - 2003); Member, Cultural Advisory Committee to the City of Sydney (1997 - 1999); Board Member, Australian Centre for Photography (1994 - 1997); Board Member, Visual Arts Export Group (1996); Board Member, Alliance Francaise de Sydney (1991-1994).

Dr Sherman's awards include an Honorary Doctorate of Design from the University of Technology, Sydney (2017); the B'nai B'rith award (2014); Member of the Order of Australia (2010), the Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016), and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2003), both given by the French Government; and a Doctorate of Letters honoris causa from the University of Sydney (2008). She holds a PhD in French Literature from the University of Sydney (1981), a Master of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Arts (French) (Hons) from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

DR GENE SHERMAN | DIRECTOR OF SHERMAN GALLERIES (1986 - 2007)

In brief

Dr Gene Sherman is Chairman and Executive Director of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF), a Sherman family philanthropic enterprise dedicated to the public exhibition of significant contemporary art from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. She assumed this role following twenty-one years as Director and Proprietor of Sherman Galleries (1986-2007).

Dr Sherman has a specialised knowledge of art, literary theory and French and English literature. She spent seventeen years teaching, researching and lecturing at both secondary and tertiary levels.

During her directorship of Sherman Galleries - assisted by a staff of up to thirteen people - Dr Sherman initiated and organised twelve to sixteen Sydney-based exhibitions annually as well as Australian and international touring exhibitions aimed at foregrounding Australian contemporary art and connecting with art and artists in the Asia-Pacific region.

These exhibitions, with additional associated projects, forums and discussion panels, saw Sherman Galleries emerge as one of Australia's major private art institutions.

For example, Flagging the Republic toured nationally (1996-98); Systems End: Contemporary Art in Australia, co-curated by William Wright and Takeshi Kanazawa, toured the Asia-Pacific region to OXY Gallery, Osaka, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Tokyo, Dong-Ah Gallery, Seoul and Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (1996-97); and The Rose Crossing, an East-West dialogue inspired by Nicholas Jose's eponymous novel travelled from Brisbane City Gallery to the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Singapore Art Museum and thence to Holmes á Court Gallery, Perth, S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust Centre, Sydney and Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery, Sydney (1999-2000).

Dr Sherman undertakes a full programme of mentoring, presentations to museums, universities and collectors, art writing, art prize judging and radio talks. In 2006, for example, she wrote on Israeli contemporary art for Art & Australia (vol. 43, no. 4), addressed the Australian Business Council on 'Collecting Asian Contemporary Art' (4 October 2006), and was Judge of the 2006 Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture (23 July 2006). Board appointments have included the Bundanon Trust (1995-2002), the Powerhouse Museum (1995-2001) and the Power Institute Council at The University of Sydney (1996-2006). Currently Dr Sherman sits on the Board of the National Gallery of Australia Foundation, the Australia-Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) and the Commissioner's Council for the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She advises on the acquisition and maintenance of contemporary art collections and is an accredited government valuer.

Supportive of art activities within the local art community, Dr Sherman sponsors a scholarship for a Master of Arts Administration student at the University of New South Wales, a studio at Bundanon, and a contemporary Australian art research room at the Power Institute, The University of Sydney. In the past Gene and Brian Sherman AM have sponsored prizes for sculpture at various universities and in relation to a number of events, such as 'Sculpture by the Sea', and an Artbox Inc. prize for young artists.

In 2003, the French Government honoured Dr Sherman with the award of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from The University of Sydney in 2008.

An Australian, born in South Africa, Dr Sherman lives in Sydney with her husband. She has two children and five grandchildren.

Selected highlights

1976-1981University of Sydney
PhD (Syd) in French Literature
Awarded Commonwealth Post-graduate Research Scholarship
1976-1980Lectured at the University of Sydney
1986-2007  Director and Proprietor, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
2008-current  Chairman, Executive Director, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation


Current list of professional appointments:

  • Board Member, Commissioner's Council for the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
  • Board Member, National Gallery of Australia Foundation, Canberra
  • Special advisor to the Powerhouse Museum
  • Board Member, Israel Australia Cultural Exchange (AICE)
  • Patron, NSW Friends of Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design, Jerusalem

  • Art & Australia Advisory Board
  • Accredited Government Valuer

Previous board appointments

  • Vice President, Power Institute Council (The University of Sydney) (1996-2006)
    The Power Institute is the research, publications and public education unit that incorporates the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Sydney.
  • Special advisor to the Powerhouse Museum (2002-2004)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Asia Society, Australasia Centre (2002-2003)
  • Member of the International Council of the Asia Society New York, (2001-2003)
  • Trustee, Bundanon Trust (1995-2002)
    (Chair Artist in Residency Subcommittee)
    Bundanon, Sir Arthur Boyd's gift to the Australian nation, is a 1000 hectare property, approximately three hours from Sydney. The Board is appointed by the Federal Government of Australia. An artist-in-residency programme, whose programme and premises were developed and activated under Dr Sherman's stewardship, involving Australian and international artists, commenced in 1998.
  • Trustee, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum), (1995-2001)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Asia Society, Australasia Centre (2002-2003)
  • Member of the International Council of the Asia Society New York (2001-2003)
  • Member, Cultural Advisory Committee to the City of Sydney
    Appointed by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, this committee had particular responsibilities in the years leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games (1997-1999)
  • Board Member, Australian Centre for Photography (1994-1997)
  • Board Member, Visual Arts Export Group (1996)
    An Austrade and Australia-Council formed Board that advised on Australian visual arts export
  • Member, ACGA Export Advisory Panel to the Australia Council's Art Export Strategy
  • Board Member, Alliance Française de Sydney (1991-1994)
  • Consultant to the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) on the Sydney 2000 Limited Edition Prints & Poster programme

Selected awards

  • Finalist (Sherman Galleries) for Business Asia Awards, Art & Entertainment Sector, 2000
  • Finalist for the Cultural Performance & Arts Sector, Executive Woman of the Year Award, Women's Network Australia, 1998
  • Finalist (Sherman Galleries) for Business Asia Awards, Arts & Entertainment Sector, 1998

Gene and Brian Sherman awards

  • Gene and Brian Sherman Master of Arts Administration Award, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales (1999 - current)
  • Artbox Inc. award, for young artists (2003)
  • Gene and Brian Sherman Annual Sculpture Award (College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales), (1996 - 2002)
  • Gene and Brian Sherman Award (University of Western Sydney, Nepean), (1998, 1999)
  • Akio Makigawa Memorial Sculpture Award (2000)

Selected lectures, talks and presentations

2007   Contemporary Art + Philanthropy. Private Foundations: Asia-Pacific Focus, Sherman Foundation forum introduced and chaired by Professor Nicholas Jose, Chair of Creative Writing, University of Adelaide, author and advisor on contemporary Asian and Australian culture, with additional speakers Elaine W. Ng, Editor-in-Chief, Art AsiaPacific; Carrillo Gantner AO, President, Victorian Arts Centre Trust, President, The Sidney Myer Fund; Chairman, The Myer Foundation, former Chairperson, Asialink (1992-2005) and former Cultural Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Beijing (1985-87); Dr Britta Erickson, Independent scholar and curator specialising in contemporary Chinese art, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 19 October 2007
Head On (Judge, with Sandy Edwards, photographer, curator and former director of Stills Gallery and Moshe Rosenzveig, Head On founder and curator), Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, 19 April 2007
Gene Sherman, Mornings with Margaret Throsby, ABC Classic FM, Sydney, 14 February 2007
Gene Sherman, interview with Virginia Trioli, ABC TV Arts Sunday, 3 March 2007
Private Funding/Public Space: Genesis of the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 26 February 2007; 5 March 2007
The Artist/Gallery Relationship: How to Make it Work, Arts Law Week seminar, introduced by Robyn Ayres (Arts Law), with additional papers by John Beard (Artist) and Tamara Winikoff, (National Association for the Visual Arts), Arts Law Centre of Australia and the City of Sydney, Rex Centre, Sydney, 28 March 2007
2006   Between River and Lake, Guan Wei exhibition opening, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula, NSW, 11 March 2006
2006 Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture (Judge), Tweed River Art Gallery, NSW, 23 July 2006
Private Funding/Public Space: Genesis of the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sherman Foundation forum introduced and chaired by Terry Smith, Andrew W Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, Henry Clay Frick Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, with additional speakers Lynne Cooke, Curator, Dia Art Foundation, New York; David Elliott, Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and Rupert Myer AM, Chairman, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 10 August 2006
Monograph launch and exhibition opening, Other Histories: Guan Wei's Fable for a Contemporary World, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 19 October 2006
Gene Sherman interview with Stephen Burstow, with comments on Guan Wei's Echo exhibition, ABC TV, filmed at Sherman Galleries, 20 October 2006
'Philanthropy in the Arts', Global Cities: the contribution of the arts, organised by the Committee for Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 25 October 2006
2005   Women on Boards Forum, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 April 2005
Stelarc Suspensions Folio donation to Faculty of Art and Design Collection by Gene and Brian Sherman, Monash University, Melbourne, 29 July 2005
Cut Your Throat an Inch at a Time: a survey of work by Mike Parr, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW, 30 September 2005
2004   Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award 2004 (Judging Panel), Werribee Park, Victoria, 3 March 2004
Domains: Contemporary Israeli Design, University of Technology, Sydney, 6 April 2004
'Art Smart: an insight into the world of art and art investment', After 5 Cocktail Reception Series, Israel Chamber of Commerce, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 19 May 2004
Conversations about Books, J.M Coetzee: Elizabeth Costello, 'J.M. Coetzee - Fiction and Responsibility', National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, NSW Division, Sydney, 24 August 2004
An Evening with Gene Sherman, Contempo - Young Art Collectors Series, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 8 September 2004
2003   'China Refigured: The Art of Ah Xian', President's Circle Exhibition Dialogue with Melissa Chiu, Curator of Contemporary Art, Asia Society and Museum, NYC, 29 January 2003 and address to American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia (AFNGA), Asia Society and Museum, NYC, 31 January 2003
Evening in Honour of William Wright's Australia Council Emeritus Medal, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 22 March 2003
Conversations about Books, J.M. Coetzee: Disgrace, National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, NSW Division, Sydney, 23 July 2003
Hourglass (Marion Borgelt), Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW, 1 August 2003
Australian Institute of Asian Culture and Visual Arts Limited (VisAsia), brunch, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1 November 2003
2002   'The Art of Collecting', Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 20 March 2002
'City Riches', 2002 Directions Seminar, Centre for Sydney and Museum of Sydney in conjunction with the International Conference on Culture, Economy and Place, Faculty of the Built Environment, UNSW, Museum of Sydney, 23 August 2002
An Evening with Gene Sherman, Contempo - Young Art Collectors Series, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 10 September 2002
2001   Ah Xian, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 13 March 2001
Collecting Contemporary Art Seminar, Friends of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 24 October 2001
2000   Launch of Olympic Portfolio, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 1 September 2000
1999   Keynote Address, Arts Faculty Graduation Ceremony, University of Sydney, 12 March 1999
'The Art of Collecting', Research Institute of Asia Pacific (RIAP), University of Sydney, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 21 October 1999
Collecting Contemporary Art Seminar, Friends of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 25 November 1999
1998   'Intercultural Exchange', Australia-Japan Wednesday Get-Togethers, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Sydney, 2 September 1998
'Culture as Commodity: Australia and the arts in Asia', 1998 Australia in Asia Series, Australia-Asia Institute (University of NSW), State Library of NSW, Sydney, 13 October 1998
1997   Systems End: Contemporary Art in Australia (Sherman Galleries international touring exhibition), Talk to Volunteer Guides, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 March 1997
1995   'Private Galleries: The Glamour and The Grind', The Library Society, Sydney, 22 August 1995
'Strategies for Exchange, Questions of Identity', Contemporary Art in the Asia Pacific Region: Present and Future, International Commemorative Symposium organised by the Yokohama Citizens' Art Gallery, Yokohama, Japan, 21 March 1995
1993   'Art and Investment', Bottom Line, ABC TV, 15 March 1993
'Contemporary Sculpture', Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW, October 1993
1992   'Public Versus Private Galleries', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, July 1992
1988   'Contemporary Australian Sculpture', Department of Education, University of Sydney, October 1988 (also delivered November 1989 and March 1992)

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