58th Venice Art Biennale 2019

We are seeking proposals for the official New Zealand presentation at the 58th La Biennale di Venezia. The Biennale is the most prestigious event on the international contemporary visual arts calendar. Both curator or artist-led presentations are welcome.


Closing dates:

Find out who got funded recently


13 Sep 2017

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as Visual arts .

1. Check your eligibility

This will be New Zealand’s 9th official exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia. A series of diverse and powerful presentations by New Zealand artists have built up a legacy of art which is brave, affecting, rich, resonant and superbly well executed. See the history on NZ at Venice

The Commissioner and the Creative New Zealand Selection Panel members for 2019 will be announced prior to the assessment meeting (see 4. Assessing Applications). 

The Biennale is yet to announce the artistic director or curatorial direction for 2019 so projects do not need to address a specific theme. However, we do require that projects have a strong curatorial rationale.

We invite proposals from both curator and artist-led presentations. Proposals can be for a single or multiple artist concept, or of any media or artform.  

To be eligible to present in Venice at the New Zealand pavilion:

  • the artist(s) and/or curator must have significant exhibition experience in New Zealand and/or experience internationally. Priority will be given to those with established profiles within New Zealand’s contemporary arts sector and internationally and who have clearly articulated long term international goals.
  • the proposal must include artist(s) that are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.  Artists can be based overseas. Proposals including international curators and/or collaborators will be considered.
  • the creative team must have a history of working collaboratively on significant projects.
  • the artist(s) and curator must be able to participate in media interviews and promotional activities and be ambassadors for the project. Media training will be available if required. The creative team are key members of the exhibition promotion team in New Zealand and Venice.

You are required to discuss your eligibility prior to submitting your proposal.

2. See what's funded

New work

The budget for the new work will be negotiated with the selected artist(s). There is no set amount. Previous support has ranged from $50,000-$200,000. The level of funding will depend on a number of factors, e.g. venue selected, the scale of the work proposed, materials, additional labour and installation costs and other financial support received for the project. 

Artist and curators fee

An artist fee will be negotiated with the selected artist(s). This will be calculated on the number of artists involved and the proposed project.  The fee is not a salary and is not intended to be the artist’s sole income during the project.  We recognise the artist is likely to be involved in other projects. A solo artist's fee has ranged between $20,000 -$30,000.

The inclusion of a curator’s fee will depend on a number of factors, eg the level of support the curator will receive from their institution (if relevant) and the specific role they will play in the delivery of the project.

Previously curators have not been paid fees if they are employed by an institution which is prepared to allow them time to work on the project.  For freelance curators, the fee is not a salary or sole income for the duration of the project.  It is recognised that the curator is likely to be involved in other projects.

If required, a fee will be negotiated with the selected curator and/or supporting institution.


Support for the exhibition catalogue has historically been between $30,000 –$45,000.  Artist’s gallerists have supported the production and/or domestic and international distribution. 

The catalogue publisher should have international distribution networks or an established partnership. Catalogue prints runs have varied between 1,500-2,000, with at least 500-600 free copies for key international influencers during or soon after the Vernissage.

3. Make an application

Downloads (application forms and criteria)

Register or Log in

You are required to complete an online application by 5pm on Wednesday 13 September 2017.

Late proposals and/or late supporting material (CV’s or visual support) will not be accepted. 

Login or register to apply online

The proposal must include:

1. Exhibition 

Details of the proposed exhibition concept, including:

  • a curatorial statement outlining the work(s) and its suitability and relevance to New Zealand’s presence in the Biennale and to international audiences
  • an overview of logistical and specific site requirements
  • an overview of the exhibition catalogue including content, contributors, publisher and distribution plan.

Please include images of the proposed work or previous works to help explain the exhibition concept.


The New Zealand pavilion will preferably be in the Arsenale.  The specific site will be chosen in conjunction with the selected creative team. The selected artist(s) and/or curator will be required to travel to Venice in early November 2017 before the Biennale closes on 26 November. Ideally both the artist and curator would be available.

If the art work is site specific and/or requires a specific environment this must be included in your proposal. It will be part of the discussion about the suitability/feasibility of the work’s presentation in Venice and will also influence venue selection.

Non-typical exhibition spaces and/or process-based practices require careful consideration of audience engagement and if relevant this should be addressed in the proposal.

Venue selection will be based on a number of factors including:

  • suitability for the project
  • audience access
  • the ability to host guests during the Vernissage
  • cost.

It is unlikely that Creative New Zealand will fund more than one main venue due to the cost implications.

Floor plan of 2017 venue, Tese Dell'Isolotto (pdf. 1.62MB)

2. Budget

This must detail:

  • new work development and production costs including research, materials, any fees for specialist labour and studio assistants
  • estimated freighting costs for getting the work to and from Venice and crating
  • exhibition catalogue costs, eg designer, writers and editor’s fees, print and bind and distribution
  • possible avenues of other in- kind or direct financial support eg. from tertiary institutions, publishers and gallerists.

A budget template is provided in the online application. The panel is aware that the budget will be indicative. Once a venue has been secured and the exhibition concept finalised the overall project budget will be agreed by all parties.

3. Creative team

Your proposal should include the following details of the proposed artist(s), curator, and individual team members': 

  • national and international experience
  • capacity to undertake an exhibition of international significance, delivering projects on time and within budget
  • the artist(s) long term international goals and the outcomes they wish to achieve by participating in the Biennale
  • previous national and/or international collaborations
  • evidence of willingness to undertake promotional and ambassadorial roles
  • CV's (keep brief)

Employed curators must include a letter of support from their employer. This will confirm they are supported and/or released from other curatorial duties to undertake the Biennale project.

Include details of additional team members you would like to have involved in the project, e.g. technical assistants, curatorial and/or artistic collaborators and exhibition catalogue contributors and designers. These additional team members can be based in New Zealand or overseas and do not need to be New Zealand citizens/residents. 

Read additional information document (pdf) 

4. Assessing applications

It is critical that Creative New Zealand and the Selection Panel are comfortable that New Zealand is presenting the best possible project that suits this context. The Biennale offers a unique opportunity to those presenting due to:

  • the scale of the event
  • the large of number visitors it attracts including international arts professional
  • the challenging spaces in which work is presented

The Selection Advisory Panel

Immediately after the deadline proposals will be assessed by a Selection Panel, constituted by Creative New Zealand for the purpose. If critical information is missing from your proposal you may be contacted about this soon after the deadline.

Panel members will not be available discuss your proposal at any stage of the process. You will not be invited to present your proposal to the panel. You may be contacted after the panel meeting to discuss specific aspects of your proposal.

The panel’s recommendation will go to the Arts Council for a final decision.

See who's on the Selection Advisory Panel in this news item

The panel will assess the proposals against the following criteria:


  1. The proposal presents an outstanding exhibition concept suitable for the Biennale context.
  2. Logistical viability of the project.
  3. The catalogue concept and distribution plan extend the reach of the exhibition internationally.


  1. Viability of the project within the financial resources available.

Creative team

  1. The artist(s) and curator have significant exhibition records and are considered to be at the ‘top of their game’.
  2. The artist(s) and curator have a proven track record of collaborating on significant projects and for completing projects to time and budget.
  3. The artist(s) and/or curator are prepared to promote the presentation in New Zealand and internationally.
  4. The artist(s) long term international goals and their ability to achieve them.

Selection process

If no submitted proposals meet the criteria Creative New Zealand will, with advice from the selection panel, consider other selection processes, eg the invitation process undertaken in 2011 and 2013. 

5. Notification of results

The successful artist(s)/curator team will be announced by the end of October 2017. All applicants, including the unsuccessful, will be contacted prior to the public announcement.

6. On completion

 All team members are required to participate in a formal evaluation. Interim reporting during the development stages of the project may be required, this will be negotiated.

7. Who to contact

Jude Chambers
Project Director, NZ at Venice
Manager, International Programme
09 373 3070 or 027 483 5230

Cassandra Wilson
Project Coordinator, NZ at Venice
Adviser, Special and International Projects
09 354 4863 or 027 403 7157