NPDC has appointed Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh as co-directors of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. The announcement follows a six-month global search.
Burns and Lundh are currently executive directors of the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) in Brisbane, Australia and formerly co-directors of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland. They will start in the role in March.
NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright said: “We’re delighted to appoint this dynamic duo with proven international experience to work with our local community on the gallery’s next chapter. It’s an important part of our economy contributing about $7 million each year and I know Monica Brewster, the courageous founder who took a punt to fund a contemporary art gallery in New Plymouth in the 1970s, would be proud of this equally innovative and bold leadership approach,” says Wright.
Taranaki Iwi CEO, and interview panellist, Wharehoka Wano, said: “Aileen and Johan bring with them experiences from their previous roles in Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland and Brisbane, Queensland, including working closely with aboriginal communities to add the indigenous voice and stories from those communities to the contemporary gallery setting. Between them they add a high level creative and technical skill set that is required in this new role and an energy which is well suited to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre.”
Burns and Lundh are excited about the role.
“We are honoured to take up the Directorship of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. We have followed its programme for many years and been impressed with this ambitious organisation. We share a passion for the artist-centred spirit of the Govett-Brewster and look forward to furthering its development, achievements and reputation,” the co-directors said. “It will be a great pleasure to lead it to its 50th year in 2020 as we celebrate its past and plan for its bold future. We look forward to working closely with the staff and city team, foundations, partners and stakeholders to keep art at the centre of civic life for the local community and visitors.”
Aileen Burns holds an MA in Modern Art from Columbia University, New York, and a BA with Honours in Art History and Cinema from the University of Toronto, Canada. Johan Lundh holds an MA and BA from Konstfack University, Stockholm, Sweden. They have written extensively, curated and produced exhibitions, artist projects and programmes globally.
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre is owned and operated by the New Plymouth District Council, which governs the museum under the terms of the founding Monica Brewster Trust Deed, in association with the Len Lye Foundation.