Contemporary Art Museum


Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre contemporary art museum and home of Len Lye - opening July 25 2015. 

The Len Lye Centre will inspire the mind and engage the senses. New Plymouth will be the world centre for the care, display, access to, research and development of the works and ideas of Len Lye, an extraordinary thinker and visionary artist.

Our vision is to offer powerful and memorable experiences generated by the art and ideas of Len Lye. A visionary New Zealander, Lye’s work has enthralled audiences throughout the world since early last century. His ingenuity, expansive creativity and technical brilliance are qualities emblematic of what New Zealanders value. The Len Lye Centre will offer permanent access in an exceptional home that honours the artist, his Collection and Archive and its value for New Zealanders and global visitors.

In June 2011, Hon. Christopher Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage announced support of $4 million over two years from the Government’s Regional Museums Policy for Capital Construction Costs. This is a major step in making the planned Len Lye Centre a reality.

Internationally  acclaimed architectural firm Patterson Associates is on board as the design architects. Pattersons has developed an inspirational design that’s effective and fit for purpose and will offer a striking new contribution to the architectural landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand. Andrew Patterson, from Patterson Associates, on Close Up TV1 »

For more details on the Len Lye Centre see our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Len Lye Centre will be a catalyst for the following conversations:
• Innovation with passion »
• Valuing art, beauty, culture »
• Endless inquiry »
• Transforming minds »


‘The Len Lye Centre will demonstrate unequivocally to the world the very best of New Zealand creativity, determination and technical innovation through one of its greatest and most celebrated exponents.' Sir Richard Taylor, Creative Director Weta Workshop, Wellington, 2010.

Len Lye Committee Chair, Cr. Lance Girling-Butcher comments, ‘The Len Lye Centre project will make an outstanding contribution to the quality of life for the people of New Plymouth and will provide a new destination for national and international visitors to Taranaki. The Centre will join the region’s other leading cultural and environmental attractions and strengthen New Plymouth’s unique place as a culturally and economically progressive community.’

The Len Lye Collection and Archive has been under the legal care of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery since Len Lye bequeathed his entire Collection and Archive to the Len Lye Foundation through a Deed of Trust in 1980. The Govett-Brewster is renown internationally as the home of Len Lye. One in three people that visit the Gallery each year request to see Len Lye's work. To meet this demand while enhancing the care and preservation of this unique, large and fragile collection to global standards, the New Plymouth District Council - in partnership with the Len Lye Foundation - is working towards the realisation of the Len Lye Centre for the benefit of New Plymouth and New Zealand.

The Centre would guarantee permanent access to Lye's work and will consolidate New Plymouth as the world centre for the care, display, research and development of the works and ideas of Len Lye, an extraordinary thinker and visionary artist. The Centre will become a significant cultural attraction for New Zealanders and international visitors to Taranaki.

The site for the Len Lye Centre is in central New Plymouth, on the corner of Devon St West and Queen St, adjacent to and connecting with the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. This site acknowledges the long association between Len Lye and the Gallery, and maximises the benefits of shared facilities, services, staff and management.

Capital costs for the construction of the Centre will be raised from outside the New Plymouth District Council sources. The annual net operating cost of the Len Lye Centre will be jointly funded through support from sponsorship, revenue generation, fundraising and the New Plymouth District Council. The New Plymouth District Council will own and operate the combined Len Lye Centre and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

Plans for New Zealand’s first dedicated single-artist museum include a programme of dynamic exhibitions presenting the full range of Lye’s work encompassing kinetic sculpture, film, painting, photography, book design, batik and writing. The inclusion of a cinema to present Lye’s work alongside other independent filmmakers is planned as well as online access to the Len Lye Collection and Archive. Additionally, the Len Lye Foundation is undertaking the realisation of a several small and large scale kinetic works in accordance with the artist’s intention. Len Lye’s films are officially housed and cared for by New Zealand Film Archive (NZFA) in Wellington as instructed by the artist in the 1980 Deed of Trust.

The legal partnership between the Len Lye Foundation and the New Plymouth District Council - with museum leadership from the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery - is key to the development of the Len Lye Centre for the benefit of all New Zealanders. A partnership programme to secure public and private investment, sponsorship and partnership and fundraising is currently underway towards the realisation of the Len Lye Centre which is planned to open to the public in 2014.

This project is published on

Courtney Johnston talks with Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ's Nine to Noon about Len Lye

Radio New Zealand Morning Report, Tuesday 29 July 2014: The first of the 14-metre-high panels that are part of the new stainless steel facade of New Plymouth's Len Lye Centre will be erected today.

On Radio NZ's The Arts on Sunday, Lynn Freeman talks with Len Lye Comittee Chairman Lance Girling-Butcher and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport about the Len Lye Centre.