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Mori Art Museum Chief Curator Mami Kataoka announced as Walters Prize judge
Portrait of Mami Kataoka attached. Photo credit: Jennifer Yin.

AUCKLAND.- This week, the international judge for the Walters Prize 2012 is announced. Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo, Japan, will decide the winner of New Zealand’s most prestigious award for contemporary art, the Walters Prize.

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.

‘We are honored that Mami Kataoka has agreed to judge this year’s prize. Mami brings a vast wealth of experience to the role, and her current work with Gwangju and the Hirshhorn are testimony to her truly international outlook as a contemporary curator. She is the only Walters judge who has previously traveled to New Zealand, and her close interest in contemporary art here is something I hope will be expanded through this visit,’ says Auckland Art Gallery Director Chris Saines.

‘I am thrilled to return to New Zealand, especially as the judge of such a significant prize with a history of brilliant New Zealand artists and distinguished international judges,’ says Kataoka. ‘I am very much looking forward to encountering great works from the rich well of artistic practices in New Zealand.’

The Walters Prize 2012 exhibition opens on Saturday 4 August. The finalists’ artworks will be exhibited for three months and entry to the exhibition will be free. The winner will be announced at the Walters Prize dinner held on Saturday 20 October, and 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 is awarded for an outstanding work of contemporary New Zealand art exhibited during the past two years. The Prize aims to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of cultural life. 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.

• 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 fr 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)

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