US V THEM: Tony de Lautour
Welcome to the low brow, high art world of Tony de Lautour’s paintings, sculptures and ceramics.
The Gallery has an incredible team of forty Volunteer Guides – and we want more! We’re currently seeking expressions of interest for ten enthusiastic individuals to join us.
There’s something not-quite-right about this photograph by Yvonne Todd. A young woman wearing gloves to play the guitar fixes the camera with a baleful stare. Her Victorian-style dress looks like 1970s polyester. The photograph is difficult to place in time—the studio set-up recalls the styling of commercial portrait photographers from the 70s or 80s, producing the kind of awkward family photograph that sits on a chest of drawers in an unused bedroom. Like many of Todd’s photographs, Ethlyn is a portrait of an individual consciousness at odds with the world.
Todd started with the dress, which was left over from an earlier series. (She has a large collection of vintage clothing which she often uses for her photographs.) She dyed it battleship grey, assembling a pastiche of looks to create a distinct character. “The green guitar was a last minute purchase from Cash Converters. And the leather gloves were also a last-minute decision, probably snatched out of a props bag I had on hand.”
Todd grew up on Auckland’s North Shore in the 1970s, and describes her childhood as being “starved of glamour”. She says that “cultural cringe was prevalent during my formative years and I looked to American culture to fuel my escapist fixations”. She watched TV shows like Falcon Crest and televised beauty pageants; “I began fetishising the women at the local chemist shop who wore lots of makeup and jewellery.” She was also fascinated with 1970s pulp horrors like Flowers in the Attic or The Stepford Wives, which deal with the dark side of a quest for perfection.
“I wanted to make images that feel familiar, like they’ve pre-existed as part of the cultural landscape. And those feelings of familiarity stem from literary, cinematic and photographic influences. Some of these influences weren’t particularly highbrow, but there is something visually compelling about them.”
(Your Hotel Brain 13 May 2017 - 8 July 2018)
In early March we were lucky enough to have the incredibly talented Grayson Gilmour performing at the Gallery, supported by the equally talented Purple Pilgrims and New Dawn. I love these gigs, but there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes to make sure that, by the time the public walk in the door, the foyer is gig ready. The process normally feels like a long, slow marathon with a sprint at the final corner. So here’s a guide to how you too can get the NZI Foyer gig-ready in five (or six) easy steps.
My main base is in Vienna although I’ve lived a reasonably nomadic life for quite some time now. The last time that I lived in New Zealand was back in 2011, and I left just a few days after the earthquake to start a PhD in Sydney. After four years in Australia I did a couple of residencies in Paris and Italy before moving to Vienna.
Pickaxes and Shovels
See the lives of the early settlers and Kāi Tahu tangata whenua in this selection of extraordinary works by frontier Pākehā artists.