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ARTSPACE appoints new director


ARTSPACE is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Director, Emma Bugden.

Bugden joins ARTSPACE after two and a half years at the Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Manukau City, where she is credited with transforming a regional community organisation into a world-class public art gallery and bustling cultural hub.

Bugden brings with her a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for growing and consolidating ARTSPACE's position as New Zealand's leading institution for contemporary art.

"ARTSPACE is New Zealand's most important contemporary art institution, with a reputation as a creative and experimental laboratory. With the strength of the programme over the past few years, it's an exciting time to be involved in ARTSPACE, and I look forward to building on the gallery's role as an articulate and passionate advocate for artists," says Bugden.

Emma Bugden is actively engaged with the international contemporary arts community through travel, research and projects. Her upcoming exhibition at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts is with Polish artist Artur Zmijewski. Emma has recently worked with renowned international artists Cao Fei (China), Harrell Fletcher (US), Gabriella Fridriksdottir (Iceland), Aeronout Mik (The Netherlands), Andreas Siekmann (Germany), Tellervo Kalleinen (Finland) Tom Nicholson (Australia), Heath Bunting (UK) and New Zealand artists Kate Newby, Judy Darragh and Peter Stichbury.

ARTSPACE makes an international call for a new Director every three years. The three year term means ARTSPACE can remain light on its feet, pushing forward and harnessing the new energy and innovations that each Director brings. ARTSPACE is an artist-focussed, independent institution, with an innovative and fast-paced programme, and an international outlook that fosters opportunities for artists locally, nationally and internationally.

ARTSPACE Chair William Somerville says that the selection this year of a local applicant affirms the high standard of curatorial practice in New Zealand.

"The selection committee were impressed by Emma's curatorial intelligence and recent achievements working with big ideas in a small institution. She has demonstrated an ability to work with a range of artists and is committed to promoting a critical debate around contemporary art," Somerville says.

ARTSPACE farewells Brian Butler, our current Director, who is returning to Los Angeles in November with his new family. Butler will maintain connections with New Zealand as a mentor and initiator of ongoing projects.

Brian Butler says, "Emma seems the ideal choice for this time in ARTSPACE's history. She brings to the position a combination of thoughtful independence and a broad knowledge of contemporary art."


Emma Bugden has extensive experience as a curator and manager in contemporary art institutions throughout New Zealand, from the grassroots artist initiative The Honeymoon Suite in Dunedin to working as the Director of the Physics Room and curator at City Gallery Wellington. A recent ambitious project entitled The Land Wars in 2008 at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts was held over several platforms in two parts and reassessed concepts of control over land with a global perspective.

Emma Bugden has built on her international experience and networks through travelling regularly to do research, projects and by taking up professional development opportunities such as curatorial residencies including the Nordic Instutute of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, PROGRAM Berlin, and an upcoming residency at Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic. She has formed a range of partnerships with institutions, from organisations such as Tate Modern to the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane as well as developing relationships with corporate sponsors such as Ernest & Young and Telecom.

Highlights from her solid publishing and writing portfolio include managing the publication of LOG Illustrated and establishing The Physics Room Annual. She has produced an extensive range of catalogue essays and published numerous reviews and articles for art magazines including: Artlink, LOG Illustrated, Art New Zealand, Natural Selection, Ramp and Landfall.

Through her professional affiliations and board commitments she has fulfilled roles as diverse as being an external assessor for Creative New Zealand, advised on numerous curatorial panels including Judging the National Drawing Award at ARTSPACE. Emma Bugden's commitment and passion for contemporary art is evident in her advocacy for artists and developing audiences through deepening the connection between the public and their experience of a gallery.


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