Michael Buxton’s Landmark $26 Million Art Donation
In one of the most significant cultural donations announced in Melbourne in recent times, MAB Corporation’s Executive Director Michael Buxton has revealed that he is gifting his private collection of contemporary Australian art to the University of Melbourne as part of a $26 million donation.
The landmark donation includes $10 million worth of works from some of the very best Australian contemporary artists, including names such as Bill Henson, Howard Arkley, Patricia Piccinini, Pat Brassington, Emily Floyd, Ricky Swallow and Callum Morton.
A further $16 million is being donated towards the construction and endowment of a new museum called the Michael Buxton Centre of Contemporary Art (MBCOCA). Situated on the corner of Dodds Street and Southbank Boulevard, the museum will be nestled in the heart of the Southbank Arts Precinct, and will form part of the planned redesign of the Victorian College of the Arts.
The collection represents the very best of contemporary Australian art, with Michael Buxton deciding from the outset that he would create a collection that had a strict curatorial focus and provide a benchmark of contemporary Australian art over the last 20 years. The collection now includes in excess of 300 works from 53 individual artists.
The works will remain in Buxton’s collection, led by his daughter, Luisa Bosci, until the new museum is completed in late 2017.
“It was always our goal to build a museum but the difficult thing for a family is giving it longevity, to see it through for more than a generation. The university can offer that,” said Mr Buxton.
Due to its proposed location amongst the studios of the Victorian College of the Arts, the new museum will be in a unique position to enrich and inspire the next generation of contemporary Australian artists, as well as provide a resource to all Australians aspiring to understand or collect challenging contemporary art.
For Michael, the new museum is an extension of his day job.
“My whole life since I left school has been about creating, that’s why I got into property development because I liked building beautiful things and I think the art work is just a progression of that,” said Mr Buxton.