A series of major exhibitions, commissions and projects by artists and collectives on the theme of ‘union’ will be presented at The University of Queensland Art Museum throughout 2020. Art Museum Director Dr Campbell Gray said ‘union’ offered a complex and layered context for the Art Museum to think publicly about a range of urgent issues. “While the term is often associated with ideas of unity and mobilisation against dominant power structures, union can also occur when there’s an urgency to collaborate or a restlessness against the status quo,” Dr Gray said. “As a university art museum, we’re in a unique position when compared with other art spaces, because we’re at the critical and cultural epicentre of a university.”

Union, the Art Museum’s 2020 program, includes major exhibitions by Paris-based Australian artist Mel O’Callaghan, Brisbane-based Aboriginal artist collective proppaNOW and a group exhibition of Australian and international artists entitled Conflict in My Outlook: We Met Online that explores how the Internet shapes social relations and ideas. Senior Curator Peta Rake said issues such as retracting borders and the rise of insular nationalism along with data mining provided new territories to consider ideas around human rights, democracy and privacy.

In line with the Art Museum’s focus on teaching and learning, the program also features a student-mentored collection-based show, Music of Spheres, which explores the vibrational hum of the cosmos as an enduring source of influence for human cultures.

The second iteration of UQ Art Museum’s front window commissions will be launched in January and features Brisbane artist Sam Cranstoun. An exciting new participatory work by Greek artist Andreas Angelidakis will also be on display throughout the year.

Union is the second in a series of multi-year research enquiries titled An Art Museum in Several Acts that investigates and articulates the role of the Art Museum in university and artistic contexts.

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