AUCKLAND.- Auckland Art Gallery announced the judge for the 2008 Walters Prize – New Zealand’s richest and most prestigious contemporary art award. This year’s judge, Paris-based curator and writer Catherine David, is one of the most groundbreaking curators working in Europe today. Earlier this year, she received the Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, in New York. She was selected for the award by a panel of leading critics, curators and art experts, which praised her most recent collaborations between institutions in the Arab World and the art world as being particularly important for our time, and acknowledged her as someone whose contributions have shaped the way we conceive exhibition making today.
Auckland Art Gallery director Chris Saines says, “I am thrilled Catherine has agreed to judge this year’s Prize. The participation of someone of her standing further consolidates the important role the prize plays. Not only does the visiting international judge bring an independent critical response to the work of the four finalists, they also gain a broader experience of contemporary New Zealand art that they take with them out into the world. This has always been one of the most productive dimensions of the Walters Prize,” he says.
David has worked at the National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Georges Pompidou (1982-90), the Galerie National du Jeu de Paume (1990-94) and the Witte de With, center for contemporary art in Rotterdam (2002-04).
She is highly regarded for her groundbreaking role as director of documenta X (1994-97) and her acclaimed project Contemporary Arab Representations 1 and 2, produced in association with the Tàpies Foundation (2003). More recently, she was a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2005-06), where she worked towards a project entitled Di/Visions: Culture and politics of the Middle East (2007).
The Walters Prize is awarded for an outstanding contribution to contemporary art in New Zealand in the past two years. Earlier this year, a jury of experts appointed by Auckland Art Gallery selected four finalists.
Edith Amituanai nominated for Déjeuner 2007, shown at Anna Miles Gallery, Auckland.
Lisa Reihana for Digital Marae 2007, shown at Govett-Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth.
John Reynolds for Cloud 2006, shown at the Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Peter Robinson for ACK 2006, shown at ARTSPACE, Auckland.
David will announce the winner at a gala dinner to be held at the National Maritime Museum, Hobson’s Wharf, on 31 October. The winner receives $50,000 and an all expenses paid trip to New York with an opportunity to exhibit their work at Saatchi & Saatchi’s world headquarters.
The exhibition runs from 13 September to 23 November 2008 at Auckland Art Gallery’s New Gallery, corner of Lorne and Wellesley streets.