Vale philanthropist Brian Sherman | ArtsHub Australia

Philanthropist, animal activist, art collector, husband, father… and an incredible entrepreneurial spirit, Brian Sherman AM (1943-2022) died last week after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 79 years old.

On his 9/11 website, his wife, a cultural philanthropist Gene Sherman wrote: “We say goodbye to our beloved Brian with fragmented hearts and souls awash in grief.

“As a husband, he was without equal. Steadfast in his support of my endeavors, fiercely protective, wise in his counsel, graceful, dignified and elegant even during the long decade when Parkinson’s disease tore his body relentlessly apart.

Sherman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010. It was a private trip in those early years, but, like everything he and Gene did, the experience would go back to benefit others.

In March of this year, Walking in honey: my journey with Parkinson’s disease was published via Bookletohpia and the Sherman Center for Culture & Ideas (SCCI). Co-authored with AM Jonson, this is another Sherman legacy, providing readers with patient-centered insight into “more experimental approaches to treating Parkinson’s disease.” Candid and creative, she advocates the use of the arts, including music, art and movement, for therapy.

Remember Brian

As the Sherman family sat on Shiva last week, tributes poured in online, repeatedly remembering Sherman for his “gentle and generous soul”.

In an official statement from the Australian Museum, Director and CEO Kim McKay AO, said: “From the first time I met Brian, I knew I was with a man of integrity and substance.”

“His belief in the vision of the Australian Museum shone brightly, from the twinkle in his eyes when he spoke about the Museum to the care and passion in his heart for this extraordinary institution… He was driven by the belief that it is our ethical responsibility. do better, seek solutions and bring about positive change in the world. Brian left an incredible mark on me, on everyone he worked with and on the Australian Museum itself.

In an official statement, Professor Tim Flannery added: “Brian Sherman’s leadership and ethics have brought a fresh perspective to the operations of the Australian Museum.”

Brian was a hero, a star and an inspiration.

Dr. Gene Sherman AM

These thoughts were taken up by another institution which benefited from Sherman’s generosity. Steven Alderton, Director and CEO of the National Art School wrote: “Brian was a beacon. Highlight great causes to support animals, medical research, the Jewish community, sports, science and the arts.

“With Gene, their work through the Sherman Gallery, the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, and the Sherman Center for Culture and Ideas has provided true leadership in the arts with significant impact for artists, industry, and community.

“Brian had a very rare quality to care for others, invest in results and make a difference,” Alderton continued. “His legacy will live on for a long time, especially through the family. He is not anymore walk through honeybut he will continue to walk alongside all who knew him as a truly inspirational person.

On the occasion of the publication of walk through honey a few months ago, Jeffrey Masson noted: “There’s a kindness in his eyes – it’s true, it’s always been there, but now it’s even more visible.

Western Sydney Creative director Dolla S. Merrillees worked alongside Brian and Gene for many years as Associate Director of the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and later as London correspondent for the Sherman Center for Culture and Ideas. She told ArtsHub: “Brian’s generosity and friendship extended to everyone who came into his orbit.

“I always look forward to seeing that sparkle in his eyes and deeply enjoyed his laconic, wry sense of humor. From his animal activism to his and Gene’s generous philanthropic support for the arts and medical science as well as other causes, he has impacted not only my life but many others. But it is his kindness, his wisdom and his determination to make a difference in the lives of others that I remember and will miss the most,” Merrillees said.

“Even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, Brian continued to be an advocate of hope,” said Australian Museum Director and Chief Executive Kim McKay.

Family was everything to Brian Sherman, here for the 2022 Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI) Lifetime Achievement Award, Australian Museum. Photo Tim Levy. Picture provided.

Who was Brian Sherman?

Brian and Gene Sherman arrived in Australia in 1976, having left South Africa with little. But Brian’s entrepreneurial spirit soon saw the creation of Equitilink in 1981, founded with Gene’s cousin, Laurence Freedman.

It would become one of the largest independent fund management groups in Australia, which the Australian Financial Review described as “the first fund management company aimed specifically at offering retail investors the kind of sophisticated products sold to institutions”.

When Equitilink was sold to Aberdeen Asset Management in 2000 for $153 million, it had $5.5 billion under management, 55% of which was in the United States.

Reflecting this week, Freedman said FRG: ‘We always had this need to compete with who we were, whether against each other or competitors.’

Sherman remained Chairman and Co-Chief Executive of the EquitiLink Group from 1981 to 2000, as well as Director/Chairman of ASX-listed Aberdeen Leaders Limited, a number of US and Canadian listed investment companies.

Sherman was part of a consortium that bought Ten from Westpac in 1992 for $230 million, and “in five years he was worth $650 million”. (AFR). Sherman served as director from 1994 to 2007.

But it wasn’t all about the money. Sherman was co-CEO of Voicelesswith his daughter Ondine Sherman, founded the organization in 2004 to advocate for animal protection.

Flannery said: “Brian’s involvement in animal rights was ahead of his time and he brought a contemporary view of how the Australian Museum dealt with animal specimens.”

In an official statement this week, Gene said of the plea: ‘…his unwavering devotion to the planet’s non-human species – not just the pets loved by so many of us – but a devotion from deep within of him towards the billions of neglected and forgotten living beings who, caged and cultivated for our gastronomic pleasure, remain out of sight.

Sherman was a board member of the Sydney Organizing Committee for the 2000 Olympics and chairman of its finance committee. He was Chairman of the Australian Museum Trust from 2001 to 2009; was co-founder and chief executive of animal charity Voiceless, director of the Australia-Israel Council and Jewish Affairs, and chairman of the Rambam Israel Fellowship Program.

Brian Sherman was awarded the Order of Australia in 2004. He also received Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Technology Sydney (2010) and B’nai B’rith Gold Medal. for his exceptional humanism.

In December 2020, on behalf of the NSW Government and the Australian Museum, Brian was awarded Governor Emeritus and, in 2022, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI) in recognition of his contribution significant to the welfare of animals, to the advancement of science and scientific research, to his service as a philanthropist.

Unsurprisingly, Sherman was co-author of Brian’s Life: Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Animal Advocate (2018), with AM Jonson (published 2018).

Sherman’s Legacy in the Arts

Many have experienced the generosity of Gene and Brian, who always opened their house after a vernissage or an event, allowing artists and collectors to share a meal together without hierarchy or air.

Brian was director of Sherman Galleries (1986-2007), the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF, 2008-2017) and the Sherman Center for Culture and Ideas (SCCI), an organization created with Gene in 2018 to facilitate discussion and generate ideas in fashion and architecture.

In a 2017 interview, Gene said ArtsHub that the Foundation has always been envisaged as a 10-year project. “I told Brian I wanted to start a family funded foundation and I figured out the cost. It was like $1 million a year to do what I wanted to do. Brian said yes but that I had to cap it – give it a deadline – so I promised to close it or turn it after 10 years.Today I have come to the end of my family contract with SCAF and I am honoring it.

Brian shared Gene’s passion for art; have been bringing together passionate collectors for more than three decades. They first began to pare down this collection in 2015, which had over 900 works of art, with a major donation to the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) – works by 20 of Asia’s most important contemporary artists .

Read: Shermans shows AGNSW how to go east

Other works were donated to collecting institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, the University of Melbourne and later the University of Sydney’s Chau Chak Wing Museum. They have also donated artwork to MoMA in New York and the Tate Modern in London.

They continue to send about ten works to auction each year, anxious and anxious not to flood the market. In May this year (2022) they auctioned another 100 works of art with Bonhams Australia.

Also last year, they donated their entire collection of moving images and virtual reality works ahead of the opening of Sydney Modern, building on their deep relationship with AGNSW. It comes after pledging $1.5 million to the fundraising campaign supporting the construction of Sydney Modern (one of the first to support the construction) – with a project gallery in the new building named Sherman Family Gallery.

At the time Director of the Art Gallery of NSW Dr. Michael Brand said: ‘Gene and Brian Sherman have played a central role in the development of the arts in Sydney, and I salute their philanthropic spirit.’

In 2020, they donated $1 million to the Australian Museum for its redevelopment, Project Discover, with the name Brian Sherman Crystal Hall.

A decade earlier (2010), they had donated $1 million to UNSW’s College of Fine Arts (CoFA) for its renovation, a decision that unfortunately ended in copyright controversy. denomination.

ArtsHub sends its condolences to the Sherman family, Gene, his children, Oscar-winning film producer Emile, fellow author and wildlife activist Ondine, their wives and six grandchildren, and the staff of the Sherman Foundation.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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