The Griffith University Art Collection comprises a diverse range of media including painting, sculpture, works on paper, screen printing, activist posters and the country’s foremost collection of early Australian video art.
Established in 1973, the Collection began two years after the University’s formal founding with the purchase of David Rankin’s Oriental Hotel (1972). The following year a Works of Art acquisition fund was established, dedicated to collecting artworks to enhance the University’s new Robin Gibson-designed Nathan campus.
Since its founding, the Collection has had a strong commitment to collecting works by contemporary Australian and Asia Pacific artists whose works engage with debates within the wider community and within art practices, and to support both emerging as well as established artists. This ethos continues to inform Griffith University Art Museum’s current acquisition policy.
David Rankin Oriental Hotel 1972, oil on canvas, 183 x 167cm. Griffith University Art Collection. Purchased 1973
THE COLLECTION FOCUSES ON THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
Dale Harding white collared (single) 2015, found collar, rawhide, thread, brass. Griffith University Art Collection. Purchased 2015
Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art
The globally significant movement of Contemporary Australian Indigenous art is well represented in the holdings of the Griffith University Art Collection. Works include those by Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Brook Andrew, Richard Bell, Destiny Deacon, Fiona Foley, Dale Harding, and Tracey Moffatt, many of whom are also alumni of the Queensland College of Art’s Bachelor of Visual Art - Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art, a program which has produced some of the most well-known practitioners in this area.
VNS Matrix Beg and Gen in the Bonding Booth 1993, video still, 5 minutes, colour, sound 4:3. Griffith University Art Collection. Purchased 2000
Moving Image and Sound
Griffith University holds one of the most comprehensive collections of Australian video art in the country. With over 130 works dated from 1967 to the present day, this collection includes moving image works by significant Australian video practitioners including Joan Brassil, Warren Burt, Peter Callas, Barbara Campbell, Linda Dement, David Perry, Randelli (Robert Randall and Frank Bendinelli), Albie Thoms, Geoffrey Weary, and VNS Matrix, as well as documentation of works by important Australian performance artists including Jill Orr, Mike Parr, Stelarc, and Arthur Wicks.
Michael Callaghan Onward Christian Soldiers 1979, screen print, 75.9 x 50.8cm. Griffith University Art Collection. Acquired by Griffith University, 1990.
An example of Griffith University’s progressive roots, artists such as Michael Callaghan and Ray Beattie were engaged by the University to run extra-curricular workshops at the Queensland Film and Drama Centre, with the posters produced at the Centre’s print-making facilities forming the basis of the collection. Including posters related to political, community and music events, the works in the Poster Collection document important local social histories.
Bonita Ely Breadline 1981, Cibachrome print, 30.3 x 46.2cm. Griffith University Art Collection. Purchased with assistance from the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, 1996
Griffith University Art Museum’s photography holdings are a collection strength, with works by some of Australia’s most significant contemporary photographers. Including works by important Australian artists Gary Carsley, Michael Cook, Marian Drew, Simryn Gill, Tracey Moffatt, Jay Younger and Anne Zahalka, the Griffith University Art Collection also holds a large number of works by esteemed photojournalist Tim Page as well photographs by important documentary photographers like Mervyn Bishop and C. Moore Hardy.
Gordon Bennett Notes to Basquiat: Haunted 2000, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 152 x 152cm. Griffith University Art Collection. Purchased 2000
The Leanne and Gordon Bennett Gift
Griffith University Art Museum holds the most comprehensive Australian collection of graphic and print-media works on paper by the late Gordon Bennett (1955-2014), an esteemed alumnus of the Queensland College of Art, and his alter-ego John Citizen. In 2008, Leanne and Gordon Bennett gifted over 100 works created between 1984-2004, across the mediums of linocut and woodblock, lithography, monotype, etching, silkscreen, digital inkjet and collagraphy, documented in a 2004 Griffith Artworks exhibition publication ‘OUT OF PRINT: Gordon Bennett’.
Howard Arkley House Drawing 1987, synthetic polymer paint and watercolour, 25.1 x 32cm. Griffith University Art Collection. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by The Paul Eliadis Collection, 2007
The Dr Paul Eliadis Gift
Dr Paul Eliadis has generously donated many works to Griffith University Art Museum via the Cultural Gifts Program from his private collection. His gift of 75 works in 2007-8 was the largest donation of contemporary artworks, by value and volume, in the Art Museum’s history. Highlights include early works from the 1960s by Ian Burn, a set of works from 1976 by Howard Arkley, major paintings by Michael Nelson Jagamara and Barbara Weir, and important additions to our representation in the collection of artists Andrew Arnaoutopolous, Peter Booth, Eugene Carchesio, Jon Cattapan, Gloria Petyarre, Scott Redford and Luke Roberts.
Nelly Harries Slab vase 1926, earthenware, 20 x 10.5cm. Griffith University Art Collection. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Glenn Cooke, 2012
LJ Harvey and the Harvey School
Griffith University Art Museum holds a select number of works by L.J. Harvey and many examples of Harvey School pottery. These works hold particular significance to Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art through its history as the Central Technical College, where Harvey taught his classes from 1916 - 48. While many Harvey School artists remain anonymous or are known only by their initials, Griffith University is fortunate to hold pieces by more well-known practitioners including Val McMaster, Mona Elliott, Agnes Barker and Edith White, acquired through a major donation by Glenn R. Cooke in 2012 which included 202 historical and contemporary ceramic artworks.
Tony Albert I'm bring'n sexy BLAK from 'Blak velvet' series 2007, synthetic polymer spray paint on found vintage velvet painting, 36 x 30.5cm. Griffith University Art Collection. Purchased 2007
Griffith University Art Collection includes holdings of works by high profile past students such as Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Davida Allen, Gordon Bennett, Leonard Brown, Marian Drew, Noel McKenna, Tracey Moffatt, Luke Roberts, William Robinson, Arryn Snowball, Jenny Watson and Michael Zavros, and more recent early career graduates like Tyza Stewart, Dale Harding and Monica Rohan. Collection holdings also include works by historical alumni of the Central Technical College (an early iteration of the Queensland College of Art) including Bessie Gibson, Vida Lahey, Mervyn Moriarty, Harold Parker and Lloyd Rees.
The Griffith University Art Museum archive
The Griffith University Art Museum archive is available to students, staff, researchers and members of the community to provide cultural asset management, and curatorial and research services. This service is accessible by appointment only.