24 Jul 2015
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Former Arts Council Chair Alastair Carruthers CNZM will be the Commissioner for New Zealand’s 2017 presentation at the Venice Biennale.
Arts Council Chairman Dr Dick Grant says Mr Carruthers’ significant leadership, governance and arts experience will make him an assured ambassador as New Zealand returns to the most prestigious event on the international contemporary visual arts calendar.
“I can confirm that New Zealand will be represented at the Venice Biennale in 2017 and we have worked quickly to secure our new Commissioner and begin the process of selecting a compelling proposal for the next New Zealand pavilion.”
Heather Galbraith, Associate Professor at the Whiti o Rehua School of Art at Massey University, will step down from the role after the 2015 exhibition due to family commitments.
Dr Grant says “Heather Galbraith made a very fine and much appreciated contribution as Curator and Deputy Commissioner in 2009, as Deputy Commissioner in 2013 and this year as Commissioner. We are certainly at a high point with this current exhibition. Simon Denny’s Secret Power has been tremendously well-received internationally and we want to make the most of this opportunity to further showcase the best of New Zealand contemporary art to the world in 2017.”
Creative New Zealand is seeking proposals for the official New Zealand-led presentation at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.
Commissioner Alastair Carruthers says, “This will be New Zealand’s 8th official exhibition at the Venice Biennale. A series of diverse and powerful presentations by New Zealand artists has preceded it and a legacy of brave, affecting, rich, resonant and superbly well executed work has been built.”
He says, “Creative New Zealand has a very broad view of the possibilities and form that the 2017 presentation might take. There is no fixed expectation of single or multiple artist concepts or medium. Both curator or artist-led presentations are welcome.”
To submit a proposal applicants must contact Creative New Zealand to discuss their eligibility and receive the proposal guidelines and coversheet.
The deadline for submitting a proposal is Wednesday 16 September 2015, 5pm.
A decision on the successful proposal will be advised in mid-October.
Alastair has longstanding interests in the arts. He was Chairman of the Arts Council (Creative New Zealand) from 2007 to 2012, and was an Arts Board member and then Arts Board Chair from 2001 - 2006. He was a member of the 2010 Ministerial Task Force on philanthropy.
He co-produced the rock musical film Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song which premiered in 2013.
Alastair is currently Chief Executive of law firm Kensington Swan. He is also a Council member of Unitec, a Board member of the Royal NZ Ballet, and a Trustee of the Te Papa Foundation. He has held several previous governance and executive roles in the private and public sectors.
In the 2014 New Year Honours he was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to arts governance.
Creative New Zealand leads New Zealand’s official presentation at the Venice Art Biennale.
The first New Zealand artist to be invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale was Frances Hodgkins in 1940, although she was to represent Britain (and due to war time restrictions the work could not be transported to Venice).
New Zealand began formally participating in the Venice Biennale in 2001, commencing with the exhibition bi-polar featuring the work of artists Jacqueline Fraser and Peter Robinson (curated by Greg Burke, then Director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth). Creative New Zealand received project management assistance from Melbourne-based arts management company Global Art Projects (GAP).
In 2003 Michael Stevenson presented his multi-layered installation, This is the Trekka (curated by Robert Leonard, former Director of Artspace and IMA and Boris Kremer, a curator working at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin). Creative New Zealand worked on the project in partnership with City Gallery Wellington and Dilys Grant was the contract project manager.
At both the 2001 and 2003 Biennales, Jenny Gibbs served as the New Zealand Commissioner.
In 2005 et al presented their installation the fundamental practice (curated by Natasha Conland, then Curator of Contemporary Art at Te Papa Tongarewa) and project managed by contract project manager Terry Urbahn.
At the 2005 Biennale, Greg Burke (then Director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery) served as the New Zealand Commissioner.
In 2007 there was no official New Zealand presentation at Venice. Instead, Creative New Zealand undertook a study of international visual arts events to assist them in strategising for the future.
There were two self-initiated New Zealand projects; Speculation, a book published by NZ Venice Project and JRP|Ringier, featuring work by 30 New Zealand artists selected by eight curators, and Aniwaniwa by Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena was selected to be featured among the Biennale’s Collateral Events section.
New Zealand returned to Venice in 2009 with two separate exhibitions Judy Millar’s installation, Giraffe-Bottle-Gun, curated by Leonhard Emmerling and Francis Upritchard’s installation, Save Yourself, curated by Heather Galbraith and Francesco Manacorda.
In 2011, Michael Parekowhai presented a sculptural installation On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer which included the ornately-carved grand piano He Korero Purakau mo te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river.
In 2013 Bill Culbert presented a site-specific installation Front Door Out Back, comprising of eight new works curated by Justin Paton (Senior Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery).
And, in 2015 Simon Denny presents Secret Power at the Monumental Rooms at the Marciana Library in Piazza San Marco and the arrival lounge at Marco Polo Airport, curated by Robert Leonard (Chief Curator, City Gallery Wellington).
Senior Communications Adviser | Kaiārahi Matua Whakawhitiwhiti Kōrero
Creative New Zealand | Toi Aotearoa
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