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HELEN KLISSER DURING
Creating access, insight and engagement and education through the arts and education.
Helen Klisser During is an art advisor, curator, and photojournalist who has championed global art projects for over 25 years. Recognised by KEA as a World Class New Zealander, she creates, documents and fosters cultural exchange to promote understanding and address issues of social justice. An art world insider, Helen nurtures relationships among individuals and institutions to create significant cultural initiatives. Helen is committed to facilitating partnerships and cultivating connectivity using her extensive global networks.
Helen serves as Ambassador to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor at Auckland University of Technology, where she has co-founded the AUT Art Science Lab, a dynamic cross-pollination space where multidisciplinary artists, innovators and industry experts combine to solve real-world challenges.
"Helen’s international expertise and experience in the arts sector and her commitment to, vision for, and strategic thinking about the arts in New Zealand make her an invaluable returnee."
- Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and UNDP Administrator
Helen has directed and produced numerous large-scale arts initiatives including #UNLOAD: Arts Trigger a Conversation, a foundation to promote conversation through the arts and education around the issue of gun violence in America, and Voices for the Future, an immersive art installation by Joseph Michael which projected collapsing icebergs onto the United Nations General Assembly and Secretariat buildings in NYC ahead of the UN’s Climate Action Summit and global school strikes in 2019. In 2010 Helen founded The Artist Collective of Westport, which continues to thrive and grow over a decade later with 150 artists.
"It is a huge advantage for contemporary culture in New Zealand to have Helen's expertise and experience."
- Anthony Korner, Publisher, Artforum International Magazine
Helen has curated hundreds of exhibitions for artists at the forefront of the contemporary art world, for example, Christo and Jeanne-Claude (Over the River, The Mastaba and The Gates), Eric Fischl (Photographs and Paintings, 2015), Edward Burtynsky (Nature Speaks, 2014). Other notable exhibitions include On the Wire: Veiled Rebellion (photo essay on Afghan women by Lynsey Addario), Memory (works by Mayer Kirshenblatt, Leo Kok, Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Anselm Keifer, 2010), Chuck Close (About Face, 2013-14), On Duty: Arnold Odermatt, Enrique Metinides and Arthur (Weegee) Felling, Hope In Haiti (photographs by 50 children from Carma Foundation Orphanage in Haiti, 2011), Divine Comedy (drawings by R. Crumb and Roz Chast, 2010), Champions to End Malaria (featuring PLATON), and BUILD (architecture by Louis Kahn, 2005).
Helen has held a number of international arts consultancies and adviserships, including Gibbs Farm (New Zealand), The Hall Art Foundation (Massachusetts, Vermont, and Germany), Gubernatorial Appointment to Connecticut Arts Council, Art Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Art Toronto (Canada), and The Armory Show (New York).
Helen is an award-winning photojournalist, she has undertaken assignments worldwide for the United Nations in Malawi and Rwanda; AmeriCares in El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua; and Carma Foundation in Haiti. Helen served as the still photographer for Gaylene Preston's 2016 film "My Year with Helen: The Helen Clark Documentary," and her photographs and photo essays have been published in a wide range of national and international publications.