20 Dec 2018

International duo to head up Len Lye Centre

4:08 pm on 20 December 2018

A duo with a proven international pedigree has been lured from across the Tasman to head up the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth.

Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh new co-directors of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth

Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh new co-directors of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth Photo: Supplied

Following a six-month global search Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh have been revealed as co-directors of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre.

They replace Simon Rees who departed suddenly.

It is the first time the leadership role of the gallery has been shared.

Ms Burns and Mr 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.

Ms 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.

Mr Lundh holds an MA and BA from Konstfack University, Stockholm, Sweden.

They have written extensively, curated and produced exhibitions, artist projects and programmes globally.

Ms Burns said they were excited to have been offered the role.

"We have followed the 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.

"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."

Taranaki Iwi chief executive Wharehoka Wano, who was an interview panellist, said the duo had a creative and technical skill set that would be required in this new role and an energy which was well suited to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre.

"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."

New Plymouth District Council chief operating officer Kelvin Wright said the council was delighted to be able to appoint a duo with such a strong record.

"The gallery is 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," Mr Wright said.

The duo take over the reins in March

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.

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