The Walters Prize 2012

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The Walters Prize 2012


International Judge
Jurors' statement
People's Choice Award


The $50,000 Walters Prize is awarded for an outstanding work of contemporary New Zealand art produced and exhibited during the past two years. Previous winners were Yvonne Todd for Asthma and Eczema (2002), et al. for restricted access (2004), Francis Upritchard for Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed (2006), Peter Robinson for ACK (2008) and Dan Arps for Explaining Things (2010).

Named in honour of the late New Zealand artist Gordon Walters, the Prize was established in 2002 by Founding Benefactors and Principal Donors Erika and Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs, working together with Auckland Art Gallery. The Prize, held every two years, aims to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of cultural life.


4 August - 11 November 2012
Level 2 exhibition spaces
Free entry



Kate Newby is the winner of the Walters Prize 2012 for her work Crawl out your window. She wins $50,000 and an all expenses paid trip to New York with the opportunity to exhibit her work at Saatchi & Saatchi's world headquarters.

International judge, Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo, Japan, Mami Kataoka says, 'I would like to award the 2012 Walters Prize to Kate Newby. It has been very difficult to create an order among the four artists' practices, which are all outstanding in different ways. 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.

'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 colour yellow emphasizes the cognition for the light and the space and the whole installation offers the physical experience and awareness of both void and silence. This decision is derived from my attempt to evoke a state of equilibrium in our ever competitive and hierarchical society and its abiding belief in power.'



Simon Denny: Introductory logic video tutorial, shown at Artspace, Sydney (5 March-10 April 2010)
Alicia Frankovich: Floor Resistance, shown at Hebbel Am Ufer, HAU 3, Berlin, (25 June 2011)
Kate Newby: Crawl out your window, shown at Gesellschaft für aktuelle Kunst GAK,
Bremen (28 August-7 November 2010)
Sriwhana Spong: Fanta Silver and Song, shown at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (4 February-5 March 2011)

Read more about the artists here.



David Cross - artist, writer, curator and associate professor in Fine Arts at Massey
University, Wellington
Aaron Kriesler - curator at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin
Kate Montgomery - senior arts advisor for Visual Art at Creative New Zealand
Gwynneth Porter - writer, editor and publisher



The international judge for the Walters Prize 2012 is Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo, Japan. Kataoka's curatorial practice extends to projects the world over, including 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012) in South Korea, Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past (2012) at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and Ai Weiwei: According to What? (2012) at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC.

Kataoka will select the winner, announced at a gala dinner in October. The winner will receive $50,000 and an all expenses paid trip to New York, including the opportunity to exhibit at Saatchi & Saatchi's world headquarters. The Walters Prize 2010 international judge was highly respected former-director of London's Tate Modern, Vicente Todoli.



In a two-year period marked by a multitude of compelling exhibitions and projects the jury has settled on four bodies of work which were each seen to occupy unique and adventurous territory in New Zealand art. Nominations were arrived at on the basis of showing strong evidence of a particular kind of searching engagement within the artists' own practice and with the conditions of the larger world beyond.

While a variety of methodological approaches are visible in the selection, this was not the intention of the jury at the outset. Rather, it was a by-product of the vitality and imaginativeness of the field in general. What does inform all of the selections is an engagement with how the discrete sculptural object is pushed beyond itself into film, installation, work in public space and performance.

The jury is firmly of the belief that each artist has in startling ways interrogated and pushed their practice with great rigour and dexterity to offer new meditations on the possibilities of material, form and its assorted social contexts. Ultimately, each project demonstrated a palpable influence on the art making and viewing communities from which it has arisen.



A companion publication to the exhibition is available in the Gallery shop.

Title: The Walters Prize 2012
Author: Natasha Conland
Publisher: Auckland Art Gallery
Date of publication: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-86463-289-0
RRP: $14.00



Congratulations to Sriwhana Spong who was named the winner of the people's choice award for her artwork Fanta Silver and Song.


Thanks to our preferred accommodation providers


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Date & Time

Saturday 4 August - Sunday 11 November


Exhibition spaces, Level 2


  • Wheelchair access available
  • Free
  • Wheelchairs available



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