Dr Grazia Gunn

Dr Grazia Gunn

Dr Grazia Gunn is a Melbourne-based writer, art curator, and critic.

Born and brought up in Cairo, Grazia came with her family in the early 1950s to Melbourne where she completed her schooling.

She trained initially as an artist under John Brack at the National Gallery Art School, and was later employed as Assistant Curator of the Art collections and Curator of the Leonhard Adams Ethnographic collection at the University of Melbourne (1970-1973).

From 1974 to 1975 she worked in Sydney as a Project Officer for International and Australian Touring Exhibitions at the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council.

She was Curator of the Art collection at Monash University and assisted Patrick McCaughey  to establish the Monash University Art Gallery, originally in the department of Visual Arts at Clayton (1975-1980).

The original gallery in the Visual Art department has over the years expanded and is now the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) at the Monash Caulfield Campus. Grazia was a member of its Advisory Board.

In 1976 she was awarded a Myer Foundation Grant to visit University Art Collections on the East and West Coast of USA, and to become acquainted with methods of funding, acquisitions policies and exhibition programmes. From 1976 to 1977 she was a member of the Academic Committee in Art and Design at the Victorian Institute of Colleges. From 1977 to 1978 she was a member of the selection committee for the Visual Arts Board, Australia Council, ‘Art Purchase Programme’ and in 1979 she was a jury member for the Architectural Awards of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

From 1981 to 1989 Grazia was Curator in the Department of International Art at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra (NGA) where she worked under James Mollison’s Directorship during the early phase of the Gallery’s development, recommending acquisitions in the area of international contemporary art including major works by Joseph Beuys; Sigmar Polke; by Georg Baselitz; Mimmo Paladino. She catalogued the Arthur Boyd Gift, a collection of some 2000 art works. She was the curator for the NGA’s exhibition and author of Arthur Boyd: Seven Persistent Images, 1985.

In 1987 Grazia received a grant from the Ministère de la Culture in Paris and the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles in Lyon to visit galleries and centres of contemporary Art in Paris and Lyon, and to meet curators and artists.

In 1988 she was Commissioner for Australia at the XLIII Biennale of Venice and Curator for the exhibition of Arthur Boyd: paintings 1973-1988, and author of the catalogue of the same title.

At the end of 1989 she returned from Canberra to Melbourne to take up a new appointment as Director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) (1989-1991).

In 1991 Grazia and her husband moved to the United Kingdom, living first in Scotland, where she studied Arabic and Islamic art and architecture at the University of Edinburgh, and later in Cambridge (1995-2004), where she was supervisor / tutor, and  taught courses on Modernism in the University’s Department of Art History. She was a member of the Board of the Cambridge University’s Institute of Visual Culture.

On their return to Australia at the end of 2004, she was appointed to a Fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra (2005-2007) where she began work on the modernization of Egypt in the nineteenth century. She returned to Melbourne in 2007 after a break from research, she in 2010 resumed her work on, The Modernization of Egypt and the Dynamics of Cultural Exchange 1798-1882. She submitted this work successfully for the degree of PhD at Monash University in 2013.

Grazia is currently writing on for development of the art  collection of the National Gallery of Australia carried out by its first Director, James Mollison, during the final decades of the twentieth century. The book will be published by Black Inc, Melbourne.

Grazia has published extensively on contemporary art.