The panel to select the next New Zealand artist (or artists) for the Venice Biennale has been announced. Who are they and what can we expect?Dr Dick Grant is Chair of Creative NZ and also chairs the panel. He's an enthusiastic supporter of NZ’s participation in Venice. He can be counted on for a straight up selection process, not something that has always been a feature in the past.
Alastair Carruthers is the Commissioner for the 2017 Venice Biennale and a past Chair of Creative NZ. As chair of Creative NZ he was hot on transparency and focus on artists. He values his independance and we can expect leadership from him as Commissioner. He'll be after an artist who can make a major international impact. He was on the panel that selected Simon Denny for 2015.
Aaron Kreisler is the Head of the Ilam Art School in Christchurch with a curatorial background, especially at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. He submitted a proposal to a previous panel so he’s familiar with the process, and the importance of curation to the project.
Dr Caroline Vercoe is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Auckland. She specialises in contemporary Pacific artists, particularly those based in New Zealand.
Dayle Mace is a long-time Patron of the Venice Biennale. She's served on every art-related board you can think of from Te Papa to the Auckland Art Gallery patrons and the Auckland Art Fair. She’s an effective arm-twister, especially in Auckland, and an excited supporter of artists. She was on the panel that selected Simon Denny for 2015.
Heather Galbraith was the Venice Commissioner for 2015. She has long been an insider in NZ’s presence in Venice including as curator for Francis Upritchard in 2009. In her day job she is Associate Professor at Massey University's art school in Wellington. She was on the panel that selected Simon Denny for 2015.
Judy Millar is the only artist on the panel. She represented NZ at the Venice Biennale herself in 2009 so she certainly has seen the game from both sides. She is also known for her opinionated writing and thinking around current art issues and brings an international perspective as she is based in both Auckland and Berlin. She was on the panel that selected Simon Denny for 2015.
Leigh Melville is a partner in the Auckland auction house Art + Object. She was chair of the Patrons group in 2015 and is back for more in 2017. Her input will be significant as the Patrons are responsible for coming up with a big chunk of the funding for NZ at Venice and they have had enough experience now to be clear about what works.
Michael Prentice is Managing Director of Designworks in Christchurch. He has had a long involvement with the performing arts including founding then Trust Board for Black Grace. He is on the panel as an Arts Council member.
Rose Evans is a conservator with a long history in the NZ Museum business. She is on the panel as an Arts Council member.
Charlotte Huddleston is Director of ST PAUL St Gallery in Auckland