Glenn Barkley, co-founder of The Curators' Department, is a Sydney-based independent curator. He was previously senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2008–14) and curator of the University of Wollongong Art Collection (1996–2007). Between 2007–08 he was director and curator of the Ergas Collection.
Barkley has written extensively on Australian art and culture for magazines such as Art Monthly, Artist Profile and Art and Australia as well as for numerous catalogues and monographs. He has a diverse area of interest and knowledge including public art; artist books and ephemera; outsider art and other marginal art forms; public and private collection management and development; and horticulture.
Recent curatorial projects include Overundersidewaysdown, The Australian Ceramics Association Biennial Exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Turn turn turn, a survey of 50 years of the Ceramics Studio tradition at the National Art School and solo exhibitions of works by Rosalie Gascoigne (The Daylight Moon: Rosalie Gascoigne and Lake George Goulburn Regional Gallery), John R. Walker (Here I Give Thanks at Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra) and Franck Gohier (Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory). Along with his colleagues Holly Williams and Ivan Muñiz Reed, Barkley curated Right Here Now at the Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House, Canberra, and Installation Contemporary as part of Sydney Contemporary Art Fair at Carriageworks, Sydney (both late 2015).
Runway Australian Experimental Art journal invited Barkley as Guest Editor of Issue #27, which was launched at the Cementa Festival in Kandos, NSW, in April 2015. Barkley was Artistic Director of Art Month in March 2015, an annual festival that encourages engagement with contemporary art and artists. That same year he curated a major retrospective of Australian artist Aleks Danko, My Fellow Aus-tra-aliens, and in late 2014 curated the exhibition Chuck Close: Prints, process and collaboration, both at MCA Australia, as well as Now the heart is filled with hold as if it were a purse at Arts Project Australia, Melbourne.
In 2014 Barkley worked with Justin Hemmes and Merivale on two projects: to hand-pick a group of John Witzig's iconic 1960s and 70s photographs documenting Australian surf culture for Merivale’s new Coogee Pavilion, and to develop and oversee Darwin-based pop artist Franck Gohier’s project for the interiors of Merivale's WIP (Work in Progress) Bar.
In 2013 Barkley curated several exhibition at the MCA including South of No North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston and Noel McKenna and string theory: Focus on Australian contemporary art, a survey of Australian Indigenous textile and fibre arts. He was guest curator of the annual Octopus exhibition at Gertrude Contemporary Melbourne with a show entitled On this day alone.
In 2011 at the MCA he curated a survey of Berlin based New Zealand artist Michael Stevenson and Tell me tell me: Australian and Korean Contemporary Art 1976–2011, a major exchange exhibition between the MCA and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea. In 2012 he curated Volume One: MCA Collection, the initial hang of the MCA Collection for the museum's new collection galleries, and co-curated with Lesley Harding the exhibition Ken Whisson: As if, a major restrospective of Whisson's ouvre shown atthe MCA and Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne.
Other major curatorial projects include Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO, MCA (2009–10), Making it New: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art, MCA (2009), avoiding myth & message: Australian artists and the literary world, MCA (2009), Home Sweet Home: Works from the Peter Fay Collection (co-curated with Dr Deborah Hart), National Gallery of Australia (2003–04, and toured), Multiplicity: Prints and Multiples from the Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of Wollongong (2006 and toured), Without Borders: Outsider Art in an Antipodean Context (co-curated with Peter Fay), Monash University Museum of Art and Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney (2008).