Wystan Curnow, edited by Christina Barton and Robert Leonard
Wystan Curnow was born in Christchurch in 1939. He studied English literature, completing his MA at the University of Auckland in 1961 and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970, before taking up a position in the English Department at University of Auckland in 1970. Since his retirement in 2009 he has been made an Honorary Research Fellow and now writes from his home in Birkenhead. Curnow has produced a large body of writing over more than 50 years, demonstrating dedication to a core group of artists including Colin McCahon, Billy Apple, Len Lye, Max Gimblett, Philip Dadson, Imants Tillers, Jim Allen, and Stephen Bambury. He has curated over 30 exhibitions around New Zealand and internationally. Curnow has played many roles in the art scene, as curator, writer, critic, commissioner, speaker, editor, and advocate. He was instrumental in establishing Artspace in Auckland and is a Trustee of the Len Lye Foundation. In 2005 he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for contributions to art and literature, and in 2009 was Distinguished International Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
About the editors Christina Barton is currently Director of the Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington. She is an art historian, curator, and editor known for her work on the history of post-object art in New Zealand.
Robert Leonard is the new Senior Curator at City Gallery Wellington. He has held senior positions including Director of the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane and curator at Wellington’s National Art Gallery, New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Auckland’s Artspace, and Auckland Art Gallery. He was J.D. Stout Research Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington in 2002.
Thomasin Sleigh completed her master’s degree in Art History in 2010, writing her thesis on Wystan Curnow’s art criticism and poetry.