Barbara Flynn

Specialising in Australian and international contemporary and emerging art, Barbara Flynn is a curatorial advisor to city and state government, educational institutions, foundations, development companies and architectural firms, working with artists to guide the creation of singular new works of art for the public domain. 

She was curator of Jenny Holzer’s ground-breaking 2014 work I STAY (Ngaya ngalawa) at 8 Chifley Square and oversees some of the most innovative and anticipated public art projects in Australia, including the Sydney headquarters of the Paul Ramsay Foundation and Sydney’s City Centre (for City of Sydney); and new precincts in the Sydney mid-city (Greenland Centre), at Circular Quay (AMP Capital’s Quay Quarter Sydney), and Central Park (Frasers Property and Sekisui House) with artists William Brian ‘Badger’ Bates, Olafur Eliasson, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Jonathan Jones, Tadashi Kawamata, Pipilotti Rist, Yhonnie Scarce and other artists. South of Sydney, Flynn oversaw a new work of art by emerging artist Mike Hewson for Wollongong’s revitalised Crown Street Mall on behalf of Wollongong City Council. 

As Curatorial Advisor to the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Lend Lease for Barangaroo (2014–16) Flynn oversaw the process of selecting and commissioning artists for a range of site-specific artworks across the Barangaroo development on Sydney Harbour. As Curatorial Advisor to the City of Sydney for the City Centre (2013–16), she drafted the City Centre Public Art Plan that was unanimously adopted by Sydney City Council in July 2013, and identified artists Junya Ishigami, Tracey Emin, Lara Schnitger and Callum Morton to be part of the transformation of the Sydney city centre with the implementation of light rail in George Street. 

Flynn’s contacts are wide-ranging, which enables her to bring an active network of artists to any project she oversees. Matching artists to sites is one part of the challenge. Having the connections, credibility and diplomacy to secure those artists is essential. She also works with a group of younger curators and researchers, whom she mentors and draws into projects. 

Before arriving in Australia in 1996, Flynn was a gallery owner in New York (1980–94) and an executive with Gagosian Gallery, New York (1994–98). She held curatorial positions in the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, and Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf museums in Germany, with funding from a Yale University Murray Fellowship where she earned a BA cum laude in History of Art, 1975.

Barbara Flynn

Barbara Flynn. Photo courtesy Barbara Flynn