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New Len Lye Curator to join Govett-Brewster

Media Release
1 February 2005

New Len Lye Curator to join Govett-Brewster

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has appointed American Harvard graduate, Tyler Cann, to the newly created role of Len Lye Curator.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Director Gregory Burke says: "This is a first for New Zealand; the first time that a curator has been appointed with the sole responsibility to focus on the life and work of a single artist."

He adds: "It is entirely appropriate that it is Len Lye, who is both a truly great New Zealand artist and a major figure in world art. The appointment of Cann will ensure an extremely high level of care for Lye's collection and also help us to meet the growing international demand for access to his work."

The creation of the new position follows the New Plymouth District Council's establishment of the Len Lye Committee in November 2004, a partnership with the Len Lye Foundation.

New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent says: "The appointment is a major step toward achieving our vision that New Plymouth will be the world centre for the care, display, research and development of the works and ideas of Len Lye, an extraordinary thinker and visionary artist."

The Len Lye Curator is responsible for managing the care of and access to the Len Lye collection. Cann, who will be taking up the curatorial role in late February, says: "This position offers some exciting intellectual challenges, and is a great opportunity to help raise awareness of Lye's work in New Zealand and internationally."

He continues: "As a writer, painter, filmmaker and sculptor whose life spanned not only the twentieth century, but the globe, Len Lye provides a unique range of possibilities for a curator. His work is highly experimental and engages some of the major issues of abstract art, yet it still appeals to a broad audience."

Mr Burke comments: "In a field of international applicants, Cann stood out for his focused, original research on Len Lye and his contemporaries. He has also built strong relationships with scholars and institutions in America and Europe that are central to the future development of Lye's legacy".

The appointment of the new Len Lye Curator is an important milestone in the development of a Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth. Prospective plans for a centre are being discussed by the Len Lye Committee, made up of New Plymouth District Council councillors and members of the Len Lye Foundation, the owners of the collection.

Len Lye Foundation Chair John Matthews says "The Len Lye Foundation is very pleased the council has recognised the importance of creating this valued position and we are excited about the credentials Cann brings to the role."

Cann is no stranger to the Govett-Brewster having spent time at the Gallery in 2003 studying the Len Lye collection in association with his doctoral dissertation and will complete his PhD this year.


Notes to editor

The Govett-Brewster held Len Lye's first New Zealand exhibition in 1977 and is now home to the collection and archive of his life's work. Following his death in 1980, the Len Lye Foundation was established to ensure the protection and promotion of his work

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