Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Gallery collection valued at $18.7m

Taranaki Daily News
Monday, 08 December 2008

New Plymouth's prestigious Govett-Brewster art collection has rocketed in value so much that it is now worth three times the government valuation of the building that houses it.

Information obtained by the Taranaki Daily News shows the collection, which now comprises 862 works, carries an insurance indemnity value of $18.7 million.

This value does not include the $140,000 the Govett-Brewster Foundation and the New Plymouth District Council paid last month for eight new works for the collection.

The value is also separate to the value of the Len Lye collection which comprises around 4000 items and is also stored at the Govett-Brewster.

In addition, the gallery also stores seven long-term loan art collections which includes a total of 107 artworks.

Art enthusiasts in New Plymouth say the size and value of all these collections, and the fact they are currently held in increasingly cramped storage facilities, underline the importance of the proposed $10 million Len Lye Centre.

This centre, proposed to be built alongside the Govett-Brewster gallery, would house the Len Lye collection which would free up space for more efficient storage of the gallery's collection.

District councillor Lance Girling-Butcher, who is also chairman of the council's Len Lye committee, said storage room at the art gallery was now getting critically short.

"The climate control system is also getting near the end of its useful life, and this year there have been problems with leaks," he said.

"It is important that this is rectified, given the value of the collections that are housed there."

Len Lye supporters must raise $10 million to build the centre before the council will fund the annual operating costs, and even now there is debate over whether ratepayers should meet these costs.

Mr Girling-Butcher said the committee was working hard to get the operating costs down, and he was confident this would happen.

And he added the latest information showed how important it was for New Plymouth to have improved facilities for storage of its internationally-recognised art collections.

"It's a complex and interlocking thing," he said.

"Even if we don't get the Len Lye Centre, we're going to have to invest in upgrading the storage facilities."

Govett-Brewster director Rhana Devenport said the gallery's collection, although still modest in its size when compared with other collections at the likes of Te Papa, was a very important contemporary collection.

"It's hats off to all the previous directors for the job they have done," she said of the collection, which had its beginnings in 1970.

"What they have done over the years is buy up important artworks soon after they were created - that's where they have really added value. For example, one Colin McCahon work called Am I Scared, purchased in 1976 for $500, now has a value of $450,000."

Ms Devenport said the need for more space to permanently house the collections was now getting desperate.

"We really do have a tiny amount of storage space left, and the collections are growing all the time."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


What do you call a deer with no eyes?
No idea.
What do you call a deer with no eyes that is made of mahogany?
Still no idea.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

City Gallery hard at work

From: Heather Galbraith
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 09:42:40 +1300
To: Heather Galbraith
Subject: We are moving next week - 4 December, new details attached

(apologies in advance for cross posting and for sending a group email… at the moment time is of the essence!)

Kia ora koutou,

City Gallery Wellington staff are moving to new temporary office premises during the building development. We are not going far - across the road to Level 2, Anvil House on Wakefield Street - and our telephone numbers will stay the same. We expect to be back in the City Gallery building in August. For more information about the City Gallery development please go to our website .

For the folk we are currently working with, access to our computers may be a bit sporadic from the afternoon of Wednesday 3 December until Monday 8 December when we should be back to full IT strength. I will be helping with packing but also potentially working remotely (when I need a computer) so hopefully service should be (pretty) uninterupted during this period.

Also, if you are in Wellington, keep your eyes peeled for a new suite of works within the Courtenay Place light boxes that we are producing. Give us a sign will be installed from 17 December 2008 for a period of six months and features new work by (in alphabetical order); Joseph Churchward & David Bennewith, Gavin Hipkins, Sarah Maxey, Kate Newby, Stanley Nives (Kelvin Soh) and Jim Speers. Press releases will be circulating towards the end of this week regarding the project. It will be on display during the much anticipated TYPESHED11 conference in Wellington ( during which the book on Joseph's work edited and designed by David will be launched, and Kelvin, Sarah and David will all be presenting papers), plus Sarah Maxey has a solo show at Bowen Galleries also in February 2009.

In addition to the light box project, the SQUARE” video programme will continue on the flat-screen monitor within the main entrance to City Gallery during closure, changing monthly, plus our Education team are currently delivering two highly popular art in public space sculpture trails to primary and secondary school students.

For information about Francis Upritchard and Judy Millar's projects for the 2009 Venice Biennale please go to

Warm regards,


Heather Galbraith
Senior Curator/Manager Curatorial Programmes

tel. +64 (0)4 801 3987
Fax. +64 (0)4 801 3950

City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi
Civic Square
101 Wakefield Street
PO Box 2199
Aotearoa New Zealand

City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi is temporarily closed for a major addition to its building. The enlarged new-look Gallery will reopen in September 2009. with three exciting new gallery spaces and a state of the art auditorium. Walk-through access from Harris St. to Civic Square will also be added. Keep up to date with news and progress on

Friday, October 31, 2008

Frogs in the news

October 30, 2008

Italian museum boss, Corinne Diserens, sacked after leaping to defend a crucified frog

The director of an Italian museum that defied the Pope by refusing to remove a modern art sculpture portraying a crucified green frog has been dismissed from her post.

Corinne Diserens, the Swiss head of the Museion museum of contemporary art at Bolzano in the Italian Alps, was “released from her duties with immediate effect” by the new provincial government in Alto Adige after local elections.

The decision was a result of “the difficult financial situation” caused in part by “unauthorised spending”, officials said. Reports indicated that the museum was running a budget deficit of €500,000 (£390,000).

Supporters of Ms Diserens, including Hans Heiss, the head of the local Green Party, said that the real reason was “the row over the frog”.

Ms Diserens maintained that Kippenberger, who died in 1997, considered the work – Feet First – to be “a self-portrait illustrating human angst”.

Pope Benedict XVl took offence while on summer holiday in the mountains near Bolzano, describing the work as blasphemous. The Vatican sent a letter in the Pope’s name to Franz Pahl, the president of the Trentino-Alto Adige regional council (who also opposed the sculpture), saying that it “wounds the religious sentiments of so many people who see in the Cross the symbol of God’s love”.

Mr Pahl went on a hunger strike to demand the removal of the frog, declaring that it was “a grave offence” to the devoutly Roman Catholic population of the area. The museum agreed only to move the sculpture from the entrance to an upper floor.

Ms Diserens remained defiant, saying that “art is always a provocation, and contemporary art is hardly ever understood immediately”. The number of visitors to the museum had increased, “especially the young”, she said.

She was backed by Fabio Cavallucci, the head of the civic art gallery in Trento, who said: “The relationship between art and politics is never an easy one, but to be sacked because of one work of art is really incredible.”

The newspaper La Repubblica said that the row over the Kippenberg frog had damaged the ruling centrist Südtiroler Volkspartei, which in the recent local elections saw its support drop below the 50 per cent mark for the first time, losing its overall majority.

A local far-right party, Die Freiheitlichen, increased its vote from 5 per cent to more than 14 per cent.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Étant donnés

Marcel Duchamp, Étant donnés

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Look alike

Images: Left Anthony Gormley's cast iron sculpture Another Place, Right Max Patte’s cast iron sculpture Solace in the Wind.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Extreme curation

Ueno Royal Museum curators placing a work by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Love Fest

Love in the US

Outside the US

List from Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not reveal

Images: Left, an Issey Miyake shop fitting. Right, banner for Picasso exhibition.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I knew that.

Answers to First words on OTN

1. Sage Tea, Toss Woollaston
2. Cultural Safety: Contemporary Art in New Zealand, Greg Burke
3. Putting the Land on the Map, Wystan Curnow
4. The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont, Martin Edmond
5. Contemporary New Zealand Painters: Volume 1, Jim and Mary Barr
6. New Art, ed Jim Allen and Wystan Curnow
7. New Zealand Painting: An Introduction, Gordon Brown and Hamish Keith
8. Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life, Jill Trevelyan
9. A Concise History of New Zealand Painting, Michael Dunn
10. Frames on the Land: Early Landscape Painting in New Zealand, Francis Pound
11. The World Over, Wystan Curnow
12. Two Hundred Years of New Zealand Painting, Gil Docking

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't ask

Paris Hilton trying to get out of a sports car.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Galleries for Wellington

City Gallery Press release 15 September 2008


We are delighted to announce that City Gallery Wellington is entering a crucial period of growth and change, embarking on a $4million development initiative. The Gallery closes for development construction, as well as seismic strengthening of the existing building, on 19 October 2008 at the conclusion of the Fiona Hall: Force Field exhibition.

The development project, designed by award-winning architect Stuart Gardyne of Architecture+, will involve a new two storey addition as well as seismic strengthening of the existing building.

The new wing includes the multi-purpose Adam Auditorium with the new Russell Hancock Gallery replacing the existing cinema on the ground floor. Walk-through pedestrian access provides a link from Harris Street to Civic Square.

Upstairs there will be two new gallery project spaces, the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery dedicated to the work of Wellington artists and the Roderick and Gillian Deane Gallery dedicated to the work of Maori and Pacific Island artists as well as a reading room/AV space.

The enlarged, new-look City Gallery Wellington is scheduled to re-open in early September, 2009. Follow the progress and keep up to date at

Images (from top to bottom): an external view from above of City Gallery Wellington's new tower; the second image is a cross section of the building showing the new Adam Auditorium and the West Gallery on the ground floor, and on the first floor the new Roderick and Gillian Deane Gallery of Maori and Pacific art, the new reading room/AV space and the existing South Gallery; the third image shows the Roderick and Gillian Deane Gallery of Maori and Pacific art on the first floor featuring a virtual exhibition of works by Darryn George; the bottom image shows the Russell Hancock Gallery. All images are architect's impressions generated by Architecture+.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Letter litter

Letters to the Sunday Star Times re the Goncharova article and post

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Kim Knight in the Sunday Star Times 31 August in response to the OTN story The 12.8 million dollar question. See also Sellers Market follow up. Click to enlarge.