Kate Newby wins 2012 Walters Prize - Art Collector

Kate Newby, Crawl out your window. First shown at Gesellschaft für aktuelle Kunst GAK, Bremen (28 August – 7 November 2010). Installation view, 2012 Walters Prize, Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, New Zealand. Courtesy: the artist and Auckland Art Gallery

23 October 2012 | One of New Zealand’s biggest prizes, the biennial Walters Prize, has gone to Kate Newby.

The award, which recognises contemporary New Zealand work produced and exhibited within the past two years, includes $50,000 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York.

Mami Kataoka from Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum was this year’s international judge, responsible for selecting a winner from the four finalists.

“While Newby’s work is probably the least eloquent by making minimal
interventions into the given space, it embraces memories of locations, her personal gestures and subtle actions, which viewers can relate to through small objects embedded into the concrete ramp and the materiality of the suspended fabric,” Kataoka says.

“More importantly, the use of natural light and the way the work gradually crawls out of the museum space is the most reserved but radical way of transcending the fixed architectural space for contemporary art, liberating us towards wider universal space.”

The other finalists were Simon Denny, Sriwhana Spong and Alicia Frankovich.

The Walters Prize was the subject of much controversy this year, with bloggers and collectors Jim and Mary Barr leading public debate about the fact that jurors are note required to actually see exhibitions in person before putting artists forward as finalists.

Kate Newby’s exhibition, for example, was originally exhibited at the rather distant Gesellschaft für aktuelle Kunst in Bremen, Germany in 2010. The other finalists first exhibited their work in Berlin, Sydney and Melbourne.

All of the finalists’ exhibitions have now been restaged in the Auckland Art Gallery for the award exhibition, which continues until 11 November 2012.

Jane O'Sullivan

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