Michael Brand Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Dr Michael Brand serves as the ninth Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. An international art scholar and cultural leader, Michael’s commitment to the arts is evident in his significant contribution to Australian and international art and in his work that spans art museums and academia as well as the government, philanthropic and community sectors.
As the Gallery approaches its 150th anniversary in 2021, Michael’s vision for the institution is to enhance its cultural, social and economic vibrancy while advancing its national and international reputation as an innovative art museum that welcomes and engages diverse local and global audiences.
Creating a new narrative for the Gallery is the Sydney Modern Project, a bold vision lead by Michael and the Gallery’s team of creative thinkers to deliver inspiring new cultural infrastructure for the pursuit of artistic expression and appreciation in New South Wales, informed by both Sydney’s natural beauty and its multicultural community.
Prior to returning to Australia to take up his Art Gallery of New South Wales appointment in 2012, Michael was consulting director of the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto while it was under construction prior to its opening in 2014.
Before this, he worked as director of the world-renowned J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from 2005–2010. Here Michael’s priorities and achievements included resolving claims for the restitution of antiquities made by the governments of Italy and Greece and bringing contemporary and non-Western art into the Museum’s programs.
Earlier appointments included positions as director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond from 2000–2005; assistant director for curatorial and collection development at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane from 1996–2000; curator of Asian art at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra from 1988–1996 and co-director of the Smithsonian Institution Mughal Garden Project in Lahore, Pakistan from 1988–1993.
Michael currently serves on the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Art Museums, the International Advisory Board of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Board of Trustees of the Australian Institute of Art History and is a member of the Asia Society Australia Advisory Council.
Michael was born in Canberra, earning his BA (Honours) from the Australian National University and his MA and PhD in art history from Harvard University. In 2014 Michael was awarded the Australian National University joint Alumnus of the Year with fellow Australian Therese Rein. Michael also enjoys professional affiliations with the Los Angeles Institute of the Humanities, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and the American Association of Museum Directors.
Michael lives in Sydney with his wife, Tina. They have two daughters.