April 18, 2016 - Govett-Brewster Art Gallery - New team
April 18, 2016

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

Back left to right: Sarah Wall, Simon Rees, Paul Brobbel. Front left to right: Sophie O'Brien, Chloe Cull, Lisa Berndt. Photo: Pip Guthrie.

New team

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Devon Street West and Queen Street
New Plymouth 4342
New Zealand


"It’s been a long-time coming but finally, like Norma Desmond, the team to lead the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the Len Lye Centre through the next phase of programming and development are gussied-up-and-ready-to-go. And the cameras are rolling. (See photo).

"Hope they look like they’re clever, connected, sassy-but-serious, book-wormish but in that soap opera slow-burn way, know their recto-from-their-verso. A couple of them could even be 'playahs,' you pick. Tom Cruise did make a film here in New Plymouth in 2003, which surely inspired him to the heights of 'Flo Rida Low' in Tropic Thunder. Lord knows Tom flew his 'G5' to get here. 'G5' aeroplane, that is."

Snap back to grid: Simon Rees, director, has assembled an international team to work together and shape the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery collecting, commissioning, exhibition, performance, publishing, speaking, and screening programs through the end of the decade (and onward). The new head of exhibitions and collections, Sophie O’Brien, has joined the museum from a storied curatorial career from her role as Senior Exhibitions Curator at the Serpentine Galleries, London (2009–15). Lisa Berndt, who leads the Govett-Brewster’s operations, has touched down from Stuttgart where she headed the touring exhibitions section of ifa. Incumbent Len Lye curator Paul Brobbel was recently a visiting research fellow at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. And incumbent Len Lye assistant curator Sarah Wall (PhD) is currently working towards an exhibition of recent kinetic art—related to Lye’s work—made by Rebecca Baumann, Dale Frank, Ross Manning, and Zilvinas Kempinas. And assistant curator of contemporary art Chloe Cull (Ngai Tahu, Ngai te Ruahikihiki) steps into her role from being the 2015 Toi Maori Curatorial Intern at The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.

Already the first museum of contemporary art in its region, having opened in 1970—thanks to a visionary founder and inaugural director—and now through the expansion of the Len Lye Centre encapsulating the first program and building in this part of the world dedicated to a single artist (the eponymous Len Lye) the Govett-Brewster is uniquely positioned to lead contemporary art advocacy, exhibition making, development and interpretation from beyond the geographical mainstream. Such is the case with the next exhibition EMANATIONS: the art of the cameraless photograph guest curated by Geoffrey Batchen that opens on Friday, April 29.

Accompanied by a handsome book published by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and DelMonico Books-Prestel (Munich, London, New York) it is the first exhibition and publication to extensively survey the history of making photographs without a camera from the earliest days of photographs in the 1830s until today (including newly commissioned work). It is proof, we hope, that the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery will forcefully contribute to expanding the understanding of contemporary art and art history—from its unexpected location in New Plymouth on the untamed western-most coast of New Zealand. 

– Simon Rees, Director


Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Share - New team
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York