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German curator to give national lecture series

Media Release
6 August 2004

Leading German curator to give national lecture series in New Zealand

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is pleased to announce the New Zealand visit of leading German art curator Dr. Britta Schmitz.

Dr. Schmitz is the Chief Curator of the Hamburger Barnhof, a division of the Nationalgalerie, Berlin and the city’s main museum of contemporary art. The museum, a former railway station and historic landmark, houses some of the world’s best collections of contemporary art.

“Dr. Schmitz is the museum’s Chief Curator and has an extensive history of curating significant international exhibitions of contemporary art, most recently Face Up: Contemporary Art from Australia, the first major exhibition of Australian art in Europe, at the Hamburger Bahnhof in 2003,” said Gallery Director Gregory Burke.

Dr. Schmitz joined the Nationalgalerie in Berlin as a curator in 1983 after studying art history in Germany, Austria and Italy. In 1993, she became the Chief Curator responsible for the collection and exhibition of art from 1960 onwards for the Nationalgalerie in Berlin. In 1996 Dr Schmitz led the establishment and opening of the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the Nationalgalerie.

Dr Schmitz is in New Zealand to research the work of Len Lye, the major 20th Century New Zealand artist whose work is housed at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and to view the work of contemporary New Zealand artists and give lectures in Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch. The lecture series is a joint initiative between the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Artspace, Auckland and supported by Creative New Zealand.

“Dr. Schmitz is an extremely active curator who has produced and promoted the work of many leading European artists. Hosting this visit reflects both Artspace and the Govett-Brewster’s commitment to presenting, and exposing New Zealand audiences, to the latest developments in international art,” said Mr Burke.

Dr. Schmitz has curated retrospective exhibitions on Gerhard Richter (New National Gallery 1996), Sigmar Polke (Hamburger Bahnhof 1997) and Cy Twombly (New National Gallery 1997). From 1996 to 1999 Dr. Schmitz presented exhibitions on Stefan Balkenhol (1998), Thomas Ruff (1999), Thomas Struth (1996) and John Armleder (1998) at the New National Gallery. In 2003 Dr. Schmitz curated the survey show Video Art in Germany held in Iceland.

“Dr. Schmitz has also curated shows of contemporary photography and is a board member of the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, a major exhibition space in Berlin.,” said Mr Burke.

While in New Zealand Dr. Schmitz will research contemporary New Zealand photography within her role at the Kunstverein and speak on the Hamburger Bahnhof at the Auckland Art Gallery on August 12, in New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster on August 16, Te Papa on August 18 and at Christchurch’s SOFA Gallery on August 19.

Dr. Schmitz will also speak at the official opening of the Govett-Brewster’s latest exhibitions – Gridlock: cities, structures, spaces and Marcel Odenbach: installations 2000-2003 > videos 1978-1995 on Saturday August 21 at 6pm, and participate in the Gallery’s Winter Forum – The politics of curating on Sunday August 22 at 12.30pm.

The panel, consisting of Gregory Burke (Chair), Ihor Holubizky (writer/curator Australia and Canada), Marcel Odenbach (artist/curator Changing the point of view: African video art), Niklas Östholm (curator International Artist’s Studio Programme in Sweden, Stockholm) and Dr. Schmitz will discuss the politics of curating reflecting different national positions and topical experiences.

New Plymouth
6.00pm Monday 16 August 2004
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
12.00pm Thursday 12 August 2004
Auckland Art Gallery
6.00pm 18 August 2004
Te Papa
6.00pm Thursday 19 August 2004
SOFA Gallery
New Plymouth
Opening weekend events, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
6.00pm Saturday 21 August: Gridlock: cities, structures, spaces, Marcel Odenbach: installations 2000-2003 > videos 1978-1995 opening guest speaker

12.30 Sunday August 22: Participant in Winter Forum: The politics of curating

Thursday 12 August – Friday 13 August inclusive
New Plymouth
Saturday 14 August midday – Monday 16 August inclusive
Saturday 21 August midday – Sunday 22 August pm
Tuesday 17 August midday – Wednesday 18 August inclusive
Thursday 19 August mid morning - Friday 20 August inclusive


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