15 June - 23 July 2022
Sally Couacaud (1947-2020) leaves an extraordinary legacy as the visionary and curator behind some of Sydney’s most ambitious displays of public art. As Curator of the Sydney Open Museum for the City of Sydney, Couacaud oversaw a period of immense change and creativity ahead of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2001 Centenary of Federation. She led the creation of the Sydney Sculpture walk, commissioning major works from the likes of Bronwyn Oliver, Janet Laurence, Fiona Hall and Brenda Croft as permanent installations across the city from the Royal Botanic Gardens to Martin Place. This project has continued to expand across the CBD and into Chinatown with a work by Lindy Lee.
As director of Artspace from 1988-1992, Couacaud led its move from Randle Street, Surry Hills, to the Gunnery building in Woolloomooloo. During her tenure she curated Frames of Reference: Aspects of Feminism and Art, an early exhibition of feminist art featuring works by Susan Norrie, Vivienne Binns and Dolly Nampijinpa Daniels. This was one of many exhibitions that Couacaud curated in a career of over four decades, including exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, and the New Museum, New York. Couacaud was also the Inaugural Director of the Australian International Video Festival, and an early champion of video, electronic and new media artists.
Peter Collins AM, who was Minister of Arts during Couacaud’s tenure, noted after her passing that Artspace “bears her stamp and is a fitting reminder of Sally Couacaud’s personal contribution, especially in the years that followed Australia’s bicentennial.” Couacaud is survived by her two children, Zoe and Leo.
Listen to an interview with Sally Couacaud 2011 (un-edited) by John Gillies | SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/user450071597/sally-coucaud-interview-16022011/s-FIkxvtezpq1