Two of our best curators have returned to New Zealand to take up new positions. After a stint as director of Brisbane's Institute for Modern Art (IMA), Robert Leonard arrived in the New Year to take up the position of senior curator at the City Gallery Wellington (he is also the curator of the New Zealand pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale), and Simon Rees has just arrived back in the country to take up the directorship of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth.
Leonard will bring a fresh approach to curating and programming at the City Gallery. He says: “I want to balance my love of detailed exhibition making with coal-face responsiveness, high turnover and direct collaboration with artists. I am interested in the radical relativism of contemporary art, the fact that everything is up for grabs, but also understand that all new moves are always read against a tradition, a canon, and will transform or succumb to it. I appreciate art that stands the test of time, but I am equally into art that is right here, right now.”
You can read more about Leonard's approach to curating here.
Rees returns to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (GBAG) as director this time – he was curator there during Greg Burke's directorship – to oversee the building of the Andrew Patterson-designed Len Lye Centre (LLC) and launch the combined GBAG/LLC in 2015. We'll have wait to see what kind of project and programme he rolls out, but he brings a wealth of ability and experience to the task. He is, for instance, the only New Zealand curator to have won a prize at the Venice Biennale. In 2007 he curated the award winning Lithuanian pavilion with artists Gediminas & Nomeda Urbonas. Rees is also a regular contributor to frieze and frieze d/e.