Govett-Brewster Art Gallery contemporary art museum re-opening 2015

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum located in the dynamic coastal city of New Plymouth in Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific Rim. The Govett-Brewster is also home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye.

Reuben Paterson, The Golden Bearing, 2014. Photo: Bryan James.

Reuben Paterson, The Golden Bearing, 2014. Photo: Bryan James.

The museum develops and maintains an important contemporary and modern art collection, operates an international and New Zealand artist residency programme, and presents a diverse programme of exhibitions and public engagement. Through publications, its website and discursive events that extend beyond its walls, the Gallery drives the development and exploration of contemporary art within New Zealand contemporary culture.

As aforementioned, a greatly expanded museum will be re-launched in 2015 with the addition of the Len Lye Centre. The new building—designed by award-winning New Zealand architects Patterson Associates—is the repository of the works, archive, and spirit of Len Lye. Its expansive exhibition spaces, archive room, education studio, and dedicated 62-seat cinema, will give the Govett-Brewster means to truly research, exhibit and disseminate the unique work and vision of Len Lye (1901–1980).

Meanwhile, the museum has a new director, Simon Rees, who commenced in February. Previously the head of programming and development at the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary in Vienna, Rees is best known internationally for his working with, and writing about, artists from former-communist Europe and as the head of exhibitions at the CAC, Vilnius. While at the CAC, Rees was Commissioner of the award-winning project Villa Lituania by artists Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, made for the Lithuanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007. While in Europe, Rees never forgot his New Zealand and Australian roots, and often included artists from those places in his international exhibition making and writing. A tireless connector-of-dots Rees hopes to connect-those-dots across the space of the globe from an updated perspective—as the director of a new museum—in the Southern Hemisphere.