Installation view

Brad Buckley is an artist, writer, urbanist and curator, and was previously Professor of Contemporary Art and Culture at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney. Currently, he is a Professorial Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, and a founding Research Fellow at the Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne.

Buckley spent his childhood years in Sydney. His father, Jim Buckley, owned the Newcastle Hotel in Lower George Street. The Newcastle was one of the Push pubs and Buckley Senior presided over this place which was frequented by artists, poets, underworld figures and philosophers for almost twenty years. Buckley was deeply influenced by this early exposure to the possibilities of a libertine life.

His work uses the framing device The Slaughterhouse Project, and charts social injustice and the exercise of power to exclude or marginalise those who object, in particular, to neoliberal values whether this be in institutions or more widely in society. Buckley’s work often employs theatrical strategies, such as neon lighting, ambient sound, found or authored text and large-scale wall paintings. Occasionally, a single performer is incorporated into the installation, creating a tension, altering the dynamics in the space.

Buckley has written on diverse topics from the failure of the contemporary curator, the destructions of art schools in Australia after they were amalgamated with universities and the impact of neoliberalism on society and how it has affected how we value contemporary art.   His writings have been published in Broadsheet: Contemporary Art + Culture, Artist Profile, Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (NSW Bulletin) and The Australian.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Buckley travelled widely throughout North America and Europe. He attended St Martin’s School of Art in London and between 1980 and 1982 the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, US, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts. His work has been exhibited widely in Australia, Europe, Japan and North America, including at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Franklin Furnace, New York; Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney; Visual Arts Gallery, at the University of Alabama, Birmingham; the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax. His recent exhibitions have been at the La Chambre Blanche, Quebec; The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; Plato’s Cave at EIDIA House, New York; the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney and the Reflex Wall Painting Project, Toowoomba.

Buckley is the recipient of various grants and scholarships, and in 1990 he was awarded the PS 1/MoMA Institute for Contemporary Art Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts. Buckley with Professor Su Baker AM, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Director of the Centre of Visual Art, Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne, received in 2008 a Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) grant to undertake research into the PhD in creative arts in Australian universities.

During 1999, Buckley convened with John Conomos a series of forums at Artspace Visual Art Centre in Sydney titled ‘The Republics of Ideas’. These forums explored the rhetorical, political and cultural implications of an Australian republic. In March 2001, Pluto Press published an anthology (based on the conference papers), The Republics of Ideas: Republicanism, Culture, Visual Arts, edited by Buckley and Conomos. This first publishing project led to a series of edited books with Conomos that includes Rethinking the Contemporary Art School: The Artist, the PhD, and the Academy, NSCAD University Press, Halifax, Canada (2009); Ecologies of Invention, (with Andy Dong), Sydney University Press, Sydney, Australia (2013); Erasure: The Spectre of Cultural Memory, Libri Publishing, Faringdon, UK (2015); Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics, Libri Publishing, Faringdon, UK (2017) and A Companion to Curation, Wiley Blackwell, Hoboken, US (2020).

Buckley has also developed and chaired with Conomos a number of conference sessions for the College Art Association in the US, including ‘America: the Divine Empire’ (Atlanta 2005), ‘The Contemporary Collaborator in an Interdisciplinary World’ (Dallas 2008), ‘The Erasure of Contemporary Memory, Parts One and Two’ (New York 2011) and ‘The Delinquent Curator: Has the curator failed contemporary art?’ (Chicago 2014).

In 2010, he chaired and developed, with Professor Simone Douglas and senior faculty, ‘Evolution: Art and Design Research and the PhD’, at Parsons The New School (New York). While in 2019, Buckley chaired and developed ‘Gatekeeping and Ethics in a Globalised Artworld’ conference, at the Centre of Visual Art (CoVA),Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, the University of Melbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria.

Buckley has a long-standing interest in curating and two of his recent projects are Reading and Writing Rooms (with Blair French), which was a major 30-year survey of the New Zealand-born, Canada-based artist Bruce Barber at Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney in 2008. The project was developed in conjunction with Manukau Institute of Technology and Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Auckland. In 2018, the exhibition Couplings (with Helen Hyatt-Johnston) was shown at the Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney. Couplings was an exhibition that considered the private ‘pillow talk’ that goes on between artist couples, whether conscious or unconscious and how this dialogue influences their work.

He has been a Visiting Professor and Scholar at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, the University of Tsukuba and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Parsons The New School. Buckley has also been an artist-in-residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; La Chambre Blanche, Quebec; the Norma Redpath Studio, (with Helen Hyatt-Johnston), the University of Melbourne and most recently, at the Bruny Island Foundation for the Arts Residency at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse in South Bruny National Park (with Helen Hyatt-Johnston).

Currently, Buckley is working on a new installation, How to teach a dingo to eat mussels in polite society (with apologies to Beuys and Broodthaers), for Kandos Projects, Kandos, Australia in October 2021. Also, a new wall painting will be included in A Tale of Two Art Scenes: Taiwan and Australia Contemporary Art Exchange, Yilan Museum of Art, Yilan, Taiwan in 2022.