Meet our newest curator, Kelly Carmichael

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Kelly Carmichael, Curator, Special Projects

Kelly Carmichael has recently joined us as Curator, Special Projects | The Rita Angus Residency at City Gallery.  Kelly speaks to publicist Olivia Lacey about her new role.

Where do you call home?
New Zealand is home but until recently I was overseas for 13 years, mostly in Europe but also in the Middle East and the US. Currently home is Thorndon, in a historic wooden cottage surrounded by native ferns and tuis. It’s nice to be back home.

Tell us about some of your work while you were away...
I began with a curatorial internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; worked in a Parisian dealer gallery and dabbled in television production as the specialist researcher for a six part documentary series on the history of British sculpture.  Back in London I worked with ArtAngel, Contemporary Art Society and for Italian gallerist Massimo de Carlo. Two of my favourite projects were in the cultural department at the Commonwealth Foundation, London and the Sharjah Biennial in the UAE. The Middle East remains a big interest of mine and living and working there was like nothing I’d ever known. It led to an interest in cultural diplomacy and being asked to guest edit the website of Visiting Arts, a London based organisation originally set up by the British Council to strengthen intercultural understanding and facilitate international relationships between artists and cultural practitioners.

What were you working on before moving to Wellington?
I was working on a research project at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland and also working freelance. I curated a project by artist Jeena Shin at the Aotea Centre, worked on the Auckland Triennial and wrote a series of curatorial plans for Auckland Council.

What's coming up for us at City Gallery?
A  large solo exhibition of photographer Yvonne Todd late in 2014 offers the opportunity for a substantial and considered exploration of her distinctive practice. Her work offers a heady mix of compelling and perplexing images… this will be an exhibition not to miss. There will also be a ‘frock room’ showing Yvonne Todd’s collection of vintage designer/ celebrity gowns.

The others are still under wraps for now, but there’s a big project in the pipeline that will be incredible….

You may have heard a few of the Gallery staff admiring your outfits. Who are your favourite designers? And what do you consider a ‘must have’ for a Wellington wardrobe?
My favourite dress is a 1970s number from an op shop in Barcelona. It cost 7 euro. It once met Michael Stipe, unfortunately not worn by me but borrowed by a friend. Right now I’m really drawn to colour and textile… anything that looks like it might have been designed by Sonia Delaunay.

Flat boots for walking to work – something with a bit of an edge or a touch of glam.

Finish the sentence: Art, to me is . . .
A process of questioning, not necessarily with an answer. A catalyst for exploring contemporary and sometimes tricky relationships and issues.


Olivia Lacey, Publicist