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Walters Prize judge announced

Auckland Art Gallery MEDIA RELEASE

7 August 2006: For immediate use

Auckland Art Gallery is delighted to announce the 2006 judge for the $50,000 Walters Prize New Zealand’s richest and most prestigious contemporary art award.

Italian contemporary curator and writer Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is at the forefront of an exciting new generation of globallyconnected curators. She is a highly active player in the international art field with a string of major exhibitions and publications to her name.

Currently chief curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin, ChristovBakargiev will be artistic director of the 2008 Sydney Biennale. Last year she cocurated the first Turin Triennale and was previously senior curator at New York’s P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre.

She is an expert on the Italian Arte Povera movement and specialises in weaving connections between historical avantegardes and contemporary art.

Auckland Art Gallery director Chris Saines says; “Appointing an international judge to select the Walters Prize brings the finalists’ works to the attention of one of the world’s top art commentators, and also forges an ongoing relationship for the New Zealand contemporary arts community”.

“While knowledgeable insiders pick the finalists, the judge comes to the projects with fresh eyes and awards the prize based on the work presented. For this reason the outcome is at once difficult to predict and telling."

The Walters Prize, modelled on Tate Britain’s Turner Prize, is awarded for an outstanding contribution to contemporary art in New Zealand in the past two years. In June, a jury of experts appointed by Auckland Art Gallery selected four finalists.


Stella Brennan nominated for Wet Social Sculpture 2005, first shown at St Paul St Gallery

Phil Dadson nominated for Polar Projects 2004, first shown at Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Peter Robinson nominated for The Humours 2005, first shown at Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Francis Upritchard nominated for Doomed, Doomed All Doomed 2005, first shown at Artspace

The judge will announce the winner at a gala dinner at Auckland Art Gallery on 3 October. The winner receives $50,000 plus an all expenses paid trip to New York to exhibit their work at Saatchi & Saatchi’s world headquarters. The finalists receive $5,000 each.

Judging the Walters Prize holds a special resonance for ChristovBakargiev.

Her mentor, eminent Swiss curator Harald Szeemann, judged the inaugural Walters Prize in 2002. Szeemann, who died last year, awarded the prize to the work he considered “the most irritating” by Auckland artist Yvonne Todd. In 2004, New York curator Robert Storr, listed by Guardian Unlimited as one of the art world’s 10 most important people, awarded the prize to et al, saying the work “puzzles me the most”.

Longstanding gallery supporters Simpson Grierson are proud sponsors of this year’s judge.

Chairman Rob Fisher says “The Walters Prize recognises the best and boldest of New Zealand contemporary art and helps elevate New Zealand talent globally."

The judge is currently in New York and available for phone interviews. She will also be available for interviews in New Zealand on 3 and 4 October.

The exhibition runs from 2 September to 19 November at the New Gallery, on the corner of Wellesley and Lorne Sts.

Images can be downloaded from


Walters Prize 2006 Judge CV

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is a writer and curator based in Rome and Turin. She is currently Chief Curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Italy.

Previously, she organized exhibitions as an independent curator in Europe and was Senior Curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center – A MoMA Affiliate from 1999 to 2001. In 2001, she was a jury member of the 49 th Venice Biennale.

Interested in the relations between historical avantgardes and contemporary art, she has written extensively on the Arte Povera movement for magazines and catalogues. Her book Arte Povera was published by Phaidon Press, London, in 1999. She published the first monograph on the work of South African artist William Kentridge, which accompanied Kentridge’s first touring retrospective exhibition (Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Serpentine Gallery, London; MACBA, Barcelona) in 19981999, and the first monograph on Canadian artist Janet Cardiff (PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2001) as well as a monograph on the work of Pierre Huyghe (Skira, Milan, 2004).

As an independent curator, she organized exhibitions including “Molteplici Culture”, Rome, 1992 that brought together over fifty artists and curators such as Liam Gillick, Philippe Parreno and David Hammons; and “Il suono rapido delle cose”, a homage to John Cage, cocurated with Alanna Heiss for the Venice Biennale in 1993. As part of the curatorial team for “Antwerp ‘93: European Capital of Culture” with Iwona Blazwick and Yves Aupetitallot, she devised the international survey exhibition “On taking a normal situation and retranslating it into overlapping and multiple readings of conditions past and present” at the MUKHA in Antwerp (1993). In 1996, she curated the first largescale survey on Italian postwar artist Alberto Burri in Rome (Palazzo delle Esposizioni), Brussels (Palais des Beaux Arts) and Munich (Lenbachhaus); and, in 1997, she organised “Citta’Natura”, a citywide exhibition of international artists including Lawrence Weiner, Giovanni Anselmo, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Luca Vitone, Jannis Kounellis, Willie Doherty, Gary Hill and Mark Dion, held in Rome in museums and public spaces, from the Zoology museum to the Botanical gardens. She then cocurated with Laurence Bossé and Hans Ulrich Obrist, “La Ville, le Jardin, la Memoire” at Villa Medici in Rome (19982000) which included new projects by over one hundred artists ranging from Janet Cardiff to Olafur Eliasson and Cai Guo Qiang. She was a selector for the 1999 edition of “New Contemporaries” (London and Liverpool), a yearly exhibition that highlights new art in Britain.

As Senior Curator at P.S.1, she was an initiator and cocurator of “Greater New York” in Spring 2000, a collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art that marked a generation of new art from the United States, with over one hundred and twenty artists included.

She then curated a historical exhibition on international art in the eighties, “Around 1984: A Look at Art in the Eighties” (Fall 2000). She also organized a second group show of young artists, “Some New Minds: Julia Loktev, Omer Fast, James Yamada, John Pilson, Christophe Girardet” (December 2000), and solo shows of “Georges Adeagbo”, “Massimo Bartolini”, “Santiago Sierra” and “Carla Accardi”, as well as the first U.S.

survey exhibition of Luigi Ontani’s work (2001). In Fall 2001, she curated the first retrospective exhibition of Janet Cardiff’s works, and the group exhibition “Animations” that explored the ways artists round the world today from Pierre Huyghe and Angus Fairhurst to Oladele Bamgboye and Damian Ortega are using animation, both returning to the early twentieth century utopian beginnings of the medium or approaching hightech software programs. At P.S.1, she also organized a number of experimental Studio Projects, dedicated to young and emerging artists in the New York area.

She was appointed Chief Curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum for Contemporary Art in January 2002. Her first project at the Castello was Matrix.2 by Francis Alÿs, an automated answering system for the museum, in May 2002. In 2003, she organized the group show “The Moderns / I moderni” which explored new modernist perspectives in the works of younger visual artists and sound artists from around the world. For the Castello di Rivoli she curated a second survey exhibition of works by “William Kentridge” in early 2004, an exhibition which has toured throughout 2004 and 2005 to the Kunstmuseum K20 in Dusseldorf, the MCA Sydney, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, and the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg. This was followed by a solo exhibition of works by “Pierre Huyghe” in Spring 2004, premiering a new project by the artist. In Fall 2004 she organized a survey of works by American postwar artist “Franz Kline” which was followed in 2004/2005 by the group exhibition Faces in the Crowd / Volti nella folla, cocurated with Iwona Blazwick, an exhibition exploring figuration as an avantgarde practice from Edouard Manet to Destiny Deacon through paintings, sculptures, installation, photography, film and video works by over one hundred artists from 1873 to today.

She cocurated with Francesco Bonami The Pantagruel Syndrome. T1 TorinoTriennaleTremusei, a project which will open in November 2005 and which explores excess, conceptual gigantism and the fragility of our pantagruelian world, through two solo exhibitions (Takashi Murakami and Doris Salcedo) and a citywide group exhibition of works by 75 younger artists from around the world, including Tamy BenTor, Fernando Bryce, Sebastián Díaz Morales, Jin Kurashige, Araya Radsjamroensook, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

She is currently the Artistic Director for the 2008 Sydney Biennale.

ChristovBakargiev graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Pisa, Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, in 1981, majoring in literature and art history. Her master thesis was on the relation between contemporary poetry and painting. She is married and has two children, Lucia and Rosa.


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