At the Gallery
The Mix: (Un)familiar Forms
The Life of Len
Untitled [Quentin (Kin) Woollaston Shearing] by Sir Toss Woollaston
Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation's Fifth Annual Gala Dinner
We recently opened a new collection-based exhibition, Your Hotel Brain. Curated by Lara Strongman, it focuses on the cohort of New Zealand artists who came to national – and in some cases international – prominence in the 1990s. The title of the exhibition is a phrase drawn from Don DeLillo’s epic novel, Underworld, published in 1997. It gestures towards the way that pieces of information float through your mind, checking in and out, everything demanding attention, everything happening all at once – a metaphor for postmodernism in the 1990s and for the increasing slippage of context in the digital era. The 1990s were a time of great social and cultural change in Aotearoa New Zealand, set against a broader backdrop of globalisation and the rise of digital technologies. Artists, as ever, registered these cultural shifts early. We asked a number of people who were working in the arts at the time to recall their experiences of the 1990s.Continued
New Zealand artist Laurence Aberhart is internationally regarded for his photographs of unpeopled landscapes and interiors. He photographs places redolent with the weight of time, which he captures with his century-old large-format camera and careful framing. But he’s always taken more spontaneous photographs of people too, particularly in the years he lived in Christchurch and Lyttelton (1975–83) when he photographed his young family, his friends and occasionally groups of strangers. ‘If I lived in a city again,’ he says, ‘I would photograph people. One of the issues is that I even find it difficult to ask people whether I can photograph a building, so to ask to photograph them – I’m very reticent. I also know that after a number of minutes of waiting for me to set cameras up and take exposure readings and so on, people can get rather annoyed. So it’s not a conscious thing, it’s more just an accident of the way I photograph.’
I joined the Foundation in 2014, not because I’m an art aficionado or collector, but because it was a chance to contribute to our city’s regeneration. As a Foundation, we didn’t want to follow the traditional way of doing things. Instead, we concentrated on using our diverse networks to build relationships based on loyalty and art. We asked people to engage and believe. As a result, we’ve preserved art in the hearts and minds of long-standing Christchurch residents as well as a new generation of Cantabrians. I’m incredibly proud to be part of that.
See Italy and Die
‘A man who has not been to Italy is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.’
Samuel Johnson, 1776
As every traveller knows, there is something obsessive about setting out on a journey: the preparatory work of consulting guides, the organisation of itineraries, the accommodation pre-booked, bags packed with essentials, provisions for the journey assembled. This essay explores the metaphor of a journey, with the particular Italian twist that informs the work of the artists gathered together in the exhibition The Weight of Sunlight.
London's hottest chefs are coming to town – and you're invited to dinner!
In Pictures: Quasi
He whare whakairo ki te tohunga, he whare kōrero, he whare rangatira.
'The master carver’s house becomes one that is treasured and is revered.'
George Dunlop Leslie was a successful, prolific artist who exhibited annually at the Royal Academy from 1859; usually theatrical, symbol-laden paintings of young women from a previous age.
In the Wizard’s Garden was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1904. Attending the opening was Wolf Harris (1833–1926), a Kraków-born, London-based Jewish businessman recorded by The Times as, ‘a great friend of many of the artists’, who had established a hugely successful importing and manufacturing company in New Zealand during the 1850s Otago gold rushes. When Leslie lent this painting for the 1906–07 New Zealand International Exhibition, Wolf Harris purchased it for the Canterbury Society of Arts; it was given to the city in 1932. (Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)