Arthur Boyd’s new Bundanon Art Gallery opens with fire and flood resistant design

After bushfires came within a kilometer of destroying one of the country’s most important collections of single-artist works, plans to build a more secure gallery were accelerated.

The result is the stunning new fire and flood resistant Bundanon Gallery near Nowra on the NSW south coast, which will house the $46 million collection of renowned artist Arthur Boyd.

While site planning had been underway since 2015, construction became even more important when the Black Summer fires nearly destroyed the collection.

Bundanon Trust chief executive Rachel Kent said staff managed to get the work trucked in, just in time.

“Fortunately, the art collection has been secured in Sydney.”

The truck leaves with millions of dollars worth of artwork from the Bundanon Trust, Riversdale Property.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Architect Kerstin Thompson said the gallery buildings were now as disaster-resistant as the buildings could be.

The new buildings include a trestle bridge, which will allow flood waters to flow freely from the property to the River Shoalhaven, and an underground gallery-museum.

“There are two important principles guiding the whole project.

“One is about fire resistance, and the gallery is based on that idea, and the second part is about resilience and being able to go with the flow with things like flooding.”

A middle aged woman smiling in front of a modern building
Kerstin Thompson designed the new Bundanon Gallery to make it both fire and flood resistant. (ABC Illawarra: Jessica Clifford)

The new gallery is dug into the ground and is barely visible on the surface.

The $33 million facility, jointly funded by the state and federal governments, is designed to provide safety and thermal stability for the artwork, as well as provide fire shelter for site personnel. .

Realizing the Boyds’ vision for artists

Arthur Boyd’s work is appreciated around the world, from flamboyant costume designs to Shoalhaven-inspired landscapes painted on the Bundanon estate.

The new museum will feature not only Boyd’s work, but the work of modern artists who spend time in residence at Bundanon or are inspired by his work.

A black and white photo of an elderly man and woman in a garden
Arthur and Yvonne Boyd in Bundanon.(Provided: Bundanon Trust Collection)

Curatorial and learning manager Sophie O’Brien said this was exactly what Arthur, who died in 1999, and his wife, artist Yvonne who died in 2013, had planned for the site.

“Bundanon’s vision of Arthur and Yvonne Boyd was always to have a place to show the work of new artists,” Ms O’Brien said.

Ms Kent said the pandemic presented challenges to being able to officially open the gallery, but she expected that eventually international visitors and locals would want to visit Bundanon.

‘I imagine it will attract people from across the region, immediate family and community, as well as NSW, possibly Australia and of course an international audience as well,’ she said. declared.

a modern painting of two bathers reclining on rocks with a lake and trees behind
Boyd’s ‘Hanging Rocks Bathers and Mars’, 1985, oil on canvas.(Provided: Bundanon Trust Collection)

Ms Thompson said she hoped the new buildings and facilities would ensure people would continue to be inspired by the landscape and appreciate Arthur Boyd’s work for generations to come.

Bundanon will be open to the public from this weekend.

A young man making pottery in a black and white photo
Arthur Boyd in 1945(Provided: Bundanon Trust)

William E. Bennett