When I wrote my foreword for B.182, we were edging closer and closer to reopening; still anticipating this major milestone after almost five years. Having made the vaguely reckless decision to open our doors, come what may, at 10am on 19 December 2015 – a mere week after project completion – we stuck to that deadline.
The cover of Bulletin 181 in September 2015 featured a miscellany of crates in storage, several marked fragile, one weighing 156kg, some with arrows indicating which way up they should be, others instructing the reopener to lay it flat first. Some bear an image of what’s inside. Ralph Hotere’s Malady Panels and Julia Morison’s Tootoo are there, one with a label, the other with an image of the installed piece. As I write this our collections remain in storage. A few new works and some which have been on loan are awaiting return from storage within other institutions.
Since late 2006 when I started as director of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, I’ve written several times about our art collections in Bulletin forewords. Given their centrality to our daily work and our reason for being, this is unsurprising. So it’s good news that we’re focusing on collections in this edition of our quarterly journal.
English artist Richard Long's White Water Falls (2012) in Sydney is really worth a look. It's a fantastic surprise in the stairwell atrium of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Darlinghurst (370 Victoria Street). It's not a place we'd normally go to view art, but totally rewarding - I was so pleased to be told about it when I was close by!
I was delighted to be asked by Judith Blackall, curator at Sydney's National Art School Gallery to speak at the opening of their new Bill Culbert exhibition earlier this month. We had lent our floor sculpture Pacific Flotsam and it features here on the poster.
Following three months outside City Council's building on Worcester Boulevard – Christchurch's favourite bull can now be found at Placemakers Riccarton! That may sound a bit unusual, but these are strange times.