Since it was established in 1971 the gallery known as 'the Dowse' has gone through many changes. During the 70s the Dowse Art Gallery established a strong reputation as one of New Zealand's edgier contemporary galleries, notably under Jim Barr's directorship. In James Mack's time the gallery shifted its focus away from contemporary art towards the decorative arts and became the Dowse Art Museum. With Tim Walker came another shift in direction – creative thinking and entrepreneurship were added to the mix. “Forget museum or gallery – think 21st century creative hub”, he said as the Dowse Art Museum became TheNewDowse. And the latest in the line of directors, Cam McCracken, has signaled another shift of direction with his early exhibition forays and the appointment of Emma Bugden as the Dowse's new senior curator. Contemporary art is back in the mix and TheNewDowse is starting to look more like the old Dowse in its heyday when it was at the forefront of contemporary art programming in New Zealand.
Emma Bugden is currently the director of Artspace in Auckland and will take up her curatorial position at the TheNewDowse in March 2011.
Image: Emma Budgen