1956 Born in Hong Kong.
1967 Moves to Sydney due to the conditions surrounding the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China.
  Receives early training in Russian Impressionism and at the Julian Ashton School of Art.
  Wins scholarship to study painting at The National Art School, Sydney, but declines scholarship to read philosophy.
1977 Reads philosophy of science and aesthetics in the Department of General Philosophy, University of Sydney.
  Completes thesis on Wittgenstein and aesthetics. Paper awarded First Class Honours.
  Searches for conceptual art activities at the Tin Sheds, but finds that most of the artists had moved to the newly formed Sydney College of the Arts.
1978 Initially intends to apply for a tutorship position at Sydney College of the Arts, but instead studies painting and sculpture there. Engages in discussions with David Ahern, Robin Coombes, Richard Dunn and Imants Tillers.
  Involved in the punk movement, especially with the band The Slug Fuckers.
  Edits magazine ZX.
1979 Travels to Beijing and Manchuria. Completes conceptual activities in Harbin and Changchun.
1980 Undertakes factory work and one year’s performative work, later titled Drawing in Ten Parts.
1981 Receives the Power Foundation Scholarship for young artists and resides in London and Paris until 1983.
  Writes (together with Terry Blake) 'Some Alternatives to the Code in the Age of Hyperreality: the Hermit and the City Dweller’ situating Baudrillard’s work within the art context, one of the earliest writings on Post-Modernism and art in Australia.
1982 Undertakes pilgrimage in the UK and Europe. Holds first solo exhibition, The Second Mirage, in a hamlet in the fishing village of Rosroe, Connemara, on the extreme west coast of Ireland.
1983 Lectures in Studio Theory and Painting at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney until 1994.
  Joins Yuill/Crowley in Sydney.
1984 The solo exhibition John Young opens at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.
  Gives sole presentation by an artist in Futur*Fall – Excursions into Post Modernity, the first major conference on Post-Modernity held at the University of Sydney.
1986 Begins the Silhouette Paintings series.
1987 Joins United Artists’ Gallery (now Anna Schwartz Gallery) in Melbourne.
1988 Participates in the XXIV Olympiad of Art at Seoul’s National Museum of Art, together with Jenny Watson, John Nixon and Robert Owen.
1989 Begins the Polychrome Paintings series.
1991 Participates in Asialink’s first regional exhibition, Art from Australia: Eight Contemporary Views, curated by Alison Carroll (Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore).
1992 Meets Nam June Paik in Bonn and Martin Kippenberger in Koln.
1993 Joins Sherman Galleries in Sydney by invitation from William Wright AM.
  Participates in AGWA’s Confess and Conceal, 11 insights from contemporary Australia and South East Asia (Bangkok, Singapore, Perth, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila).
  First monograph by Graham Coulter-Smith is published.
  Begins the Double Ground Paintings series.
1994 Represents Australia in Antipodean Currents (1994-5) at the Kennedy Centre, Washington D.C. and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
  Participates in the travelling exhibition Transcultural Painting (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing).
1995 Establishes the Asian Australian Artists’ Association (Gallery 4A) with Vicente Butron, Melissa Chiu, Emil Goh, et al., now the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, a centre for the promotion of Asian philanthropy and the nurturing of Australasian artists and curators.
  Meets Xu Bing and Gu Wenda in New York.
1996 Participates in Systems End, curated by William Wright AM and Takeshi Kanazawa (Osaka, Seoul, Kaoshiung) and Spirit and Place: A Century of Art in Australia, curated by Nick Waterlow OAM and Ross Mellick (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney).
1997 Moves to Melbourne and lives at Macgeorge House, Ivanhoe.
  Marries Kate Mizrahi.
1998 Son Jasper born in April.
  Receives the VACB Artist’s Residency and travels to Tokyo, Japan.
  Meets Cai Guo Qiang.
1999 Participates in The Rose Crossing, curated by William Wright AM (Singapore, Perth, Sydney, Hong Kong).
2002 Daughter Charlotte-Persia born in April. 
  Lives in Melbourne and Merricks Beach, Mornington Peninsula.
2005 Orient / Occident: John Young – a survey of works, 1978-2005, curated by Maudie Palmer, opens at TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria.
  A monograph by Dr Carolyn Barnes is published by Craftsman House, Thames and Hudson.
2006 Joins Alexander Ochs Galleries Berlin | Beijing.
  Begins the Abstract Paintings series.
2007 Joins 10 Chancery Lane Gallery in Hong Kong.
  Completes the large tapestry commission Open World, woven by the Australian Tapestry Workshop, which is gifted by the State of Victoria to the Province of Jiangsu. The tapestry is now housed permanently in the Nanjing Library, China.
2008 Travels to the Central Desert.
  Travels to Antarctica.
2009 Bonhoeffer in Harlem, a celebration of the life of humanitarian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, opens at St Matthaus Church, Kulturforum, Berlin.
  Re-joins the board of the Asian Australian Artists’ Association, Sydney.
2010 Safety Zone, a tribute to 21 foreigners who saved the lives of 300,000 citizens during the ‘Rape of Nanjing’ in 1937, opens at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.
2011 Safety Zone opens at the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane.
2012 Receives the Australia Council Visual Arts Fellowship for established artists and undertakes a two-year research project concerning the Chinese diaspora in Australia.



The Bridge and the Fruit Tree, a major survey show, opens at the Australian National University Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, under Terence Maloon's directorship.  


Joins ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne


Joins Pearl Lam Gallery, Singapore & Shanghai.

National Gallery of Australia purchases, Castiglione's Dream, a key work from the critical Double Ground series. 


Farewell to William Wright, a great friend, and mentor. 

Open Monument, a three-year project is launched in Frazer Reserve, Ballarat

Friendship with novelist Brian Castro leads to new projects.

John Young Studio relocates to Port Melbourne.  


Travels to Shanghai with family for first solo exhibition with Pearl Lam Galleries 


Joins Olsen Gallery, Sydney. 

Re-kindles interest in the history of Macau, leads to a new project with friend Brian Castro and the publishing of a book 'Macau Days', supported by the JM Coetzee Centre. 


Joins the Board of McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery.


Is conferred as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), in recognition of his substantial and ongoing contribution to the Australian Visual Arts Sector, and for his work as a role model in multicultural advocacy. 


John Young Studio relocates to Kew, Melbourne 



JY Merricks