Thursday, 18 December 2014

Installing the Lindauer Māori Portraits exhibition in Berlin

As a Registrar, I have been responsible for the logistics associated with the tour of Gottfried Lindauer portraits travelling to Europe. It has been a complex process that I have been working on for the last 18 months, with exhibitions in both Berlin, Germany, and afterwards in Pilsen in the Czech Republic in 2015. Like Sarah Hillary, I was a courier, but in my case I travelled on a passenger plane and was responsible for 38 paintings and 91 photographs of Māori travelling on four pallets from the collections of the Auckland Art Gallery, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Alexander Turnbull Library.


On arrival at Auckland Airport I oversaw the palletisation of the four pallets of crates in the Air New Zealand cargo sheds. The pallets were then loaded onto the aircraft.



After 29 hours travelling time, I finally arrival in Frankfurt where the crates were transferred to a Hasenkamp truck and we then spent eight hours travelling to Berlin. Thankfully it was a beautiful autumnal day for sightseeing. We arrived at the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, late in the evening, and the crates were moved into the exhibition space for 24 hours acclimatisation.

The Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin


Over the first two days we opened all the works on paper – photographic images of Māori and the Lindauer Visitors Book – and Ingeborg Fries, Paper Conservator, and myself condition checked the works to make sure they arrived in the same condition as they left New Zealand. And yes, they all arrived safely and in good condition!


The Technicians then secured the framed photographs to the vitrine panels and tested the positioning of the matted photographs within the vitrines, waiting for the Designer to finalise the layout.


The carte-de-visite photographic albums, and the Lindauer Visitors Book, were placed within glazed, locked vitrines, sitting on custom-made book supports.


We then started the process of opening the crates containing the Lindauer Māori portraits. One by one the works were condition checked by Sarah Hillary and Ina Hausmann, Paintings Conservator, prior to being installed by Lutz Bertram and his team of Technicians.


We worked with a wonderful team in Berlin, consisting of Conservators, Designers and Technicians, and the works looked amazing in such a beautiful building. Signage and banners were installed and we were ready for the dawn blessing of the exhibition Gottfried Lindauer: The Māori Portraits.


As dawn broke on that calm Tuesday morning, a large crowd of press and other dignitaries were welcomed to view the blessing of the exhibition by Haerewa (the Auckland Art Gallery’s Māori Advisory Group), supported by nine members of the Ngati Ranana Māori London Club.


So if you’re in Berlin over Christmas break, do visit the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin to see this wonderful exhibition, which is on display until 12 April 2015. The exhibition will then head to Masné Krámy Exhibition Hall, in Prague, Czech Republic from May to September 2015.


Members of Haerewa (Auckland Art Gallery's Māori Advisory Group), Ngati Ranana Māori London Club, Auckland Art Gallery Director and staff members, New Zealand Ambassador to Germany, descendants of the portrait sitters, and descendants of Gottfried Lindauer

– Julie Koke, Senior Registrar

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Art, artists and AIDS in New Zealand



Isn’t it frustrating that there are few ways to easily review historic broadcasts of New Zealand’s documentary film and television? Little of this material is straightforwardly accessible. While some thematically-based vintage moving image material is available, only a small amount is published online. One reason that vintage television material is difficult to access because of the demands of copyright.

We seldom encounter exhibitions which profile panels from New Zealand’s AIDS Memorial Quilt with moving images. So, I am grateful to curator-at-large (and photographer) Gareth Watkins for assembling Thirty; firstly for Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision at Wellington. A revamped and expanded version of the show is currently showing at their Auckland office until February 27 2015.

Thirty is a type of exhibition we infrequently encounter. I have never seen before a multi-part documentary about AIDS and its effects on New Zealanders. You can download the Auckland exhibition’s catalogue here. The Auckland exhibition includes additional material on women and AIDS.

The New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt was initiated in 1988 and is already dedicated to loved ones who died from AIDS related illnesses. The quilt is a multi-part artwork held, on deposit, by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. As a large-scale community-based memorial the quilt consists of 128 hand-crafted panels. All the panels can be viewed online. I have been wondering if the Memorial Quilt is actually the largest scale public art project yet attempted in New Zealand. Almost all of the AIDS Memorial Quilt was created by amateur artists.

On Monday 1 December, World Aids Day, I recalled that it is three decades since the first death caused by an AIDS related condition in New Zealand. AIDS has shaken up the art world everywhere. When City Gallery Wellington showed Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibition (9 December 1995 – 20 February 1996) most visitors were aware before they visited the show that the artist (1946–1989) died of an illness caused by the AIDS antivirus. I wondered then, as I do know, if the manner of Robert's dying made people more curious about his art?

In New Zealand, during 1988, Fiona Clark made a multi-part artwork with photo-albums that address AIDS. These five albums remain one of New Zealand's most moving artworks dedicated to the lived presence of AIDS . Fiona's images are unforgettable and were created collaboratively with the people in the photographs. Her approach as an artist was ahead of its time locally and the significance of what she achieved is not yet widely understood. Written comments were added by each person to the album pages; reading these comments is like hearing the voice of each person speaking directly to you. Unlike Mapplethorpe’s art where the effects of AIDS are only apparent in his late self-portraits, Clark’s work is upfront and direct because it is so personal. Fiona and I will be holding a public conversation about her important 1988 project early next year.

The first exhibition in Auckland to address AIDS was Implicated and Immune – Artists Responses to AIDS (18 September – 18 October 1992) curated by Louis Johnston for the Fisher Gallery (now Te Tuhi) in Pakuranga. The show included artwork by John Barnett, Jack Body, Fear Brampton, Lillian Budd, Malcolm Harrison, Lesley Kaiser, Richard Killeen, Lily Lai’ita, Stephen Lovett, Richard McWhannell and Jane Zusters. The visitor programmes for this exhibition were the first occasion when local artists and commentators spoke publicly about AIDS and contemporary art. Early in 2015 Michael Lett Gallery will reprise the Fisher Gallery exhibition and return our attention to AIDS and artist responses.

For me, the combined effect of seeing the documentary footage included in Thirty is of a documentary collage focused totally on AIDS and its effect in New Zealand. This show is in fact built into one overall multi-part documentary presenting more than 180 minutes of ‘found’ footage, almost all of which has been publicly broadcast.

I recall the conversations I had during the early 1980s with the late Bruce Burnett, Nigel Baumber, Kerry Leitch and Neil Trubuhovich. This was at a time when amost nothing was being broadcast on local television about AIDS in New Zealand. Gareth Watkins's sampler now lets us review how AIDS was later publicised by on TV. This is a show that marks the 30th anniversary of the first New Zealand death from AIDS with respect. It is tough viewing yet it reveals the imminence of AIDS as an ongoing reality.


Image credit: 
Altered Lives 2012
In the Blink of An Eye produced by Bronwen Gray, animated by Sue Lim.
Stills Collection, The New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero. 


With grateful thanks to Fiona Clark. I appreciate the assistance of Gareth Watkins and Paula Booker of The New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero, Wellington.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

International art courier


I recently travelled to Europe for the installation of the Gottfried Lindauer: The Māori Portraits exhibition at the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Berlin. I couriered the twelve biggest paintings that were too large for a regular plane cargo and had to go by air freighter.

My role as courier began when the crated paintings were collected from Auckland Art Gallery and taken to the airport for palletisation. From then on I was responsible for getting them safely to their destination in Germany.

The crates on the pallet, wrapped in plastic and webbing, ready to be loaded.

The only area of seating in the freighter was behind the cockpit, including a small kitchenette and bathroom. The seats are large and comfortable. There are no movies or alcohol, but you can make endless cups of tea and heat up your own meals when you feel like it.

Flying over Zagros Mountains in Iran

The trip involved stop-offs in Singapore, Chennai (Madras), Sharjah (UA Emirates) and Amsterdam. After two days of air travel it was still another eight and a half hours by truck to Berlin, but I arrived early on the 9 November just in time for the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Berlin. It was an incredible celebration and definitely worth staying awake for!

Balloons illuminating the Berlin Wall for the celebrations 

The installation of the exhibition took eight days and there was a wonderful team of people involved, including my colleague and Senior Registrar from Auckland, Julie Koke. I also had the chance to meet with conservators from the Alte and Neue Nationalgalerie ( Old and New National Galleries) who were interested to hear a bit more about Lindauer’s technique.

Presentation about Lindauer painting technique to local conservators.

Kerstin Krainer, conservator Alte Nationagalerie (second from left), Ina Hausmann (third from left) private conservator involved with the installation, Hana Striecher from the Neue Nationalgalerie (third from the right), Kristina Mösl, Head of Conservation Alte Nationalgalerie (second from right), and Sophie Matthews, Project Manager for the Lindauer exhibition. 

Māori representatives of the sitters in the portraits as well as a descendant of the artist came to Berlin for the various openings, much to the delight of the media and Berlin audience. Also present were Auckland Art Gallery Director, Rhana Devenport, Indigenous Curator and Lindauer expert, Ngahiraka Mason, and members of Haerewa (Auckland Art Gallery's Māori Advisory Board) including the Chair, Elizabeth Ellis.

Afterwards, I travelled to Prague to continue my research into Lindauer’s technique. I met with Theodora Popova, Assistant Professor (Restoration) at The Academy of Fine Arts, to examine a number of early works by the artist. Finally I visited Pilsen, the birthplace of Gottfried Lindauer and the location of another exhibition devoted to his work opening in May 2015.

View of Prague from Petrin Hill

– Sarah Hillary, Principal Conservator

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Development of Schools Programmes for Learners with Special Needs

Twenty students from Rutherford College’s Satellite unit visited the Gallery last term to participate in our Signs and Symbols (shape, pattern and colour) pilot programme – including a Gallery and Studio session.

We began with a quick impromptu tour of parts of the Gallery (I couldn’t not – the kids were so excited to be here!) They loved it! It was a good way to introduce the idea of symbols – particularly shape, pattern and colour and of course, the Gallery. It would definitely be good to do this each time they visit so we can reinforce ideas/experiences, give them opportunities to remember and draw on past experiences here and gradually extend their experiences, responses and understandings. I want them to feel at home here. Posing questions in each space gave them something to focus on.

We then spent time in one of the Gallery spaces, looking at these two artworks:

Sandy Adsett, Waipuna, 1978
Gordon Walters, Genealogy 5, 1971
We looked closely at the work and spoke about what we noticed. In small groups the children manipulated a selection of different coloured shapes to help them understand the work better. Then they made their own patterns using the shapes provided, which we compared to the artwork.

The art making session in the studio allowed everyone to feel proud of their work. Each student chose a symbol that said something about them (e.g. plane, computer, cat) and made a stencil which they drew around to make 8-12 identical shapes in a colour(s) of their choice. They experimented with pattern by moving the shapes around their chosen background paper. The use of more technical terms such as overlapping, reflecting and rotating then modelling what I meant was good for some of the students when making their patterns. They chose their favourite pattern and glued it in place.

They shared and reflected on their work. How can you tell who made this? What could it tell us about the person? Does this pattern/shape seem to match the person who made it? How? How do the colours tell us about the person who made it? Which patterns are similar? How? How could you describe the patterns?

Here’s some of the work made by the students in the studio session:





A focus on pattern, shape and colour seemed appropriate for this group. They were able to draw on prior knowledge and make connections with things they are familiar with. They could be successful but still had the opportunity to learn some new ideas through making comparisons, observing closely and participating in an activity related to the work.

Future considerations: 

I would like to visit the regular groups at their school so I can see how the teachers work and interact with them and the types of programmes they participate in. Also as a way of building my relationship with them, getting to know them and their needs better (and their teachers) and for my own professional development.

Where to now?

Five other schools have booked in to participate in this pilot programme over the next few weeks. Once I have taught everyone, received feedback from the teachers and made changes where necessary, I would like to make this programme part of our standard programmes permanently on offer to schools. Then on to the next pilot programme – Portraiture and Identity!

As the two artworks used above are no longer on show in the Gallery we will use the works below:

Jonathan Jones, untitled (sum of the parts), 2010/2014 
Michael Parekowhai, The Bosom of Abraham, 1999
– Mandy Jakich, Educator LEOTC

Image credits:

Sandy Adsett
Waipuna 1978
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1995

Gordon Walters
Genealogy 5 1971
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Gift of Dame Jenny Gibbs in honour of Chris Saines, Gallery Director (1996-2013)

Jonathan Jones
Kamilaroi / Wiradjuri people

untitled (sum of the parts) 2010/2014
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2010
Courtesy the artist and Tim Melville Gallery

Michael Parekowhai
The Bosom of Abraham 1999
Edition 2/14
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1999

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

On the Mend: Part II

An update on the conservation of Woman with a Floral Wreath 

Before treatment began
Last week I described how the painting had been removed from its old stretcher and the excess wax carefully removed. The next steps in the treatment plan are to mend the tear in the canvas before lining the canvas for support and to enable re-stretching before retouching the loss so it is no longer a focal point.

Mending the tear 

The fibres around the tear were broken and in disarray and some were sitting on the wrong side of the canvas covering original paint. To have any hope of getting a flat surface (crucial for achieving a perfect retouching) and recovering the hidden original paint meant hours under the microscope, removing old fill and carefully placing the fibres back into their original positions. These were supported by the addition of a few new threads where threads had been broken or were missing.

1. Under the microscope the mess of matted fibres embedded in the white fill is apparent  2. Looking at the same area with transmitted light, after the fill was removed and the fibres were aligned and new fibres were being added to fill in gaps. 

This highly delicate work can only be achieved under magnification.
Filling and lining 

The old losses were then filled and the painting was lined onto a new lining canvas using a vacuum table and with temperature control. After lining, the painting could be stretched onto a new stretcher.

Lining the painting

1. During lining the painting is under vacuum 2. The painting is stretched and ready for retouching
Varnishing and retouching 

The final stages of the treatment are the varnishing and mimetic retouching which aims to make the new repair invisible to the viewer.

Further research

Before a treatment begins, the painting is subjected to a thorough examination, and throughout the conservation process the conservator naturally gains a pretty intimate knowledge of a painting. Examination under magnification reveals just how the painting was made, identifying pigments, revealing the build-up of paint layers and changes since execution. Occasionally samples of paint can be taken and looking at these under strong magnification can reveal the painting’s composition. Two samples were taken from Woman with a Floral Wreath using a method shared in a previous post.

These samples shed light on how the ground was applied – unusually, in three distinct and separate layers.

A tiny sample of paint from the flesh tones of Woman with a Floral Wreath. The upper layer of paint shows a mixture of red, blue, yellow, black and white pigments used to create an area of flesh in shade. The bulk of the sample is three layers of white ground. 
The information gained from these will hopefully make it possible to make an informed estimate of the origin of the canvas. It is hoped that this research into provenance through technical examination will be continued after the treatment is complete. The discovery of French newsprint on the old stretcher, the ground structure and identification of pigments are all great leads for further research on the provenance of this painting.

Fragments of newsprint on the old stretcher
Please check back later for further exciting developments, and to see the painting after the treatment is complete!

– Genevieve Silvester, Paintings Conservation volunteer

Friday, 31 October 2014

On the Mend

The conservation of Woman with a Floral Wreath from the collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
 

Before treatment: the discolouration of old overpaint over a large tear in the lower right of the painting is very distracting.
Probably late 18th century, Woman with a Floral Wreath is a copy of the work of Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805). Scarred by an old tear in the lower right of the canvas – which had become raised and discoloured – our painting has lingered for a number of years in storage awaiting conservation treatment.

First steps

The impetus for treatment centred on that tear. The edges had begun to lift and the retouching was significantly discoloured, no longer integrated with the surrounding original paint. To improve the repair, the old retouching and fill needed to be removed.

But, to complicate matters, the painting was wax-resin lined (a second canvas is adhered to the original) some time ago, but the adhesion had begun to fail. Unfortunately the adhesive was applied unevenly which caused deformations in the original canvas. To remove these, the two needed to be separated and the glue removed. This also allows realignment of the fibres in the tear which would help ensure an almost invisible repair.

Removal of the lining

To protect the surface of the painting, a sheet of strong but flexible tissue paper was adhered to the surface.

Applying facing tissue
The stretcher and lining canvas were then removed. It was exciting to discover newsprint in French still adhered to the stretcher giving further clues to the painting’s provenance. The thick layer of wax resin adhesive was removed as far as possible. After which the painting regained much more flexibility and the deformations relaxed back into plane.

1. Removing the old stretcher  2. The lining canvas, made from cotton duck 3. The original canvas, with a layer of thick uneven wax-resin

Removal of the varnish 

To support the painting during varnish removal and while mending the tear, it was temporarily adhered to a polyester fabric around the perimeter. This was attached to a strainer, allowing safe handling, access to front and back, and air circulation during varnish removal.

The back of the painting made accessible while attached to a temporary strainer during treatment.
A film of discoloured varnish and much of the overpaint was removed, revealing the subtle tonal modelling of the painting.

Halfway through varnish removal, the left side still has a layer of yellowed varnish.

About me

A kiwi paintings conservator, fresh from training and working in Europe, I was looking to gain experience with fellow New Zealand conservators when the chance to be involved in this project arose and I have been preparing this French beauty for a return to the gallery wall.

In my next entry I hope to show the process of repairing the canvas and lining and retouching, and maybe dabble with some technical examination results. Check back soon!

– Genevieve Silvester, Paintings Conservation volunteer

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Gough Whitlam’s cultural legacy – a game-changer for the public imagination


The ‘towering patrician’ and former Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC (born 1916) passed away on Tuesday 21 October 2014 at the impressive age of 98. Much has been written and more will be said about this remarkable politician and key figure in Australian politics, both about his achievements and his miscalculations. I would like to make reference here to his formative contribution to culture.

In power for three potent years from 1972 before his dramatic dismissal on 11 November 1975, Whitlam altered the cultural and social climate and helped reshape public imagination. He increased Australia’s ties with Asia, recognised the People’s Republic of China, introduced the health system which later became Medicare, replaced ‘God Save the Queen’ with ‘Advance Australia Fair’ as the national anthem, established the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, ended conscription, introduced free university tuition and expanded justice for Indigenous Australians by granting land rights. He led a new focus on women, the environment and the arts.

On the cultural front Whitlam elevated the Australia Council for the Arts to the level of a separate statutory authority with increased powers, he established the National Film and Television School in Sydney and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. In 1973 Whitlam purchased for the National Gallery, Blue poles, painted in 1952 by Jackson Pollock, at a cost of $1.3 million, the highest price ever paid for a modern painting at the time. The acquisition radically divided public opinion; Whitlam knew its significance and toured the painting across Australia. I remember my excitement seeing the work and its impact on the population, and being rather amused that in the face of outrage, Whitlam used an image of Blue poles as the official government Christmas card. Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret (who passed away in 2012) will be long remembered for their brilliant minds, enormous vitality and fearless vision.

– Rhana Devenport, Director, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki


Further reading:


Image credit: Gough Whitlam at Old masters – new visions : the Phillips Collection, Australian National Gallery 1987 Photograph: Whitlam Institute. Ref: Guardian Australia

Monday, 20 October 2014

Research and resources


We are Auckland’s wharenui/home for authentic and meaningful engagement with art for all... 

Over the past couple of years, we’ve started working on expanding what we can offer for secondary students and their teachers, and this statement – part of the Gallery’s new purpose/values/vision statement, really resonates with much of our thinking over this time.

We are very conscious that the Gallery and its resources have a lot of possibility for use in schools, with potential applications across a broad range of subject areas. And we know from our stats that many schools aren’t currently accessing these resources – a shame for many reasons, not least because they’re owned by the very people not accessing them!

So, how do we support meaningful and authentic engagement with this institution and its resources, by students and teachers in a diverse range of subjects? Especially when our subject speciality sits most specifically in the Visual Arts and Art History?

What we know is that you can’t have authentic, meaningful engagement if you don’t know your audience well – what’s happening for them, the challenges they face, and the needs they have. If you can understand that, you’re at a point where you can potentially respond to real needs – and ideally you’ve got a great opportunity to collaborate together, and share your varied expertise in creating the best possible resources and experiences for all.

So as part of this push we undertook a small research project earlier this year. We asked 18 teachers from nine schools, in Visual Art, Art History, English and History, to tell us about their experiences and needs. We also shared specifically the types of resources we have available (for example, the art, our physical environment, our staffing expertise, resources like our research library) and asked what they imagined we could do with these that could best benefit their needs. Lots of interesting data came out of these conversations . . . and even more questions for us to follow up in the future! I’ll share more about our findings (and further questions) in the coming months, but wanted now to share a few, and what we’re doing now to start to respond in one area.

All the teachers we talked to:
  • were enthusiastic about the possibilities of engaging with the Gallery and its resources in their subjects, and had lots of ideas about how meaningful connections could be made 
  • needed to teach students visual analysis skills 
  • said that help in doing this would be appreciated, as especially for English and History, this wasn’t something that teachers necessarily felt confident in doing 
  • identified how an important focus in the classroom is in developing students’ research skills 
  • found it difficult to locate accessible, reliable content that could be used to support students in this process; and in relation to art – a serious lack of information on New Zealand (and even international) art, artists and contexts 
In response to the last couple of points, we’ve started a process of developing some of this content, alongside support activities and resources that could be used or adapted for use by teachers both in the classroom and the Gallery.

For two upcoming collection shows on display at the Gallery during Term 4, 2014 and Term 1, 2015 (Age of Turmoil: Art in Germany 1900–1923 and The Social Life of Things) we’ve developed bibliographies of books, articles and websites students can access for further research. Alongside this, for Age of Turmoil, we’ve developed:
  • a PDF with an overview of the show, plus detailed descriptions of a good number of the key works 
  • two videos of the curator – one with him talking to a PowerPoint where he discusses the German context in the period 1900–1923, the other where he shares his curatorial process in developing the show (including photographic images of his planning process) 
  • curriculum aligned worksheets tailored specifically for students of Art History, Visual Art, History and English 
We intend to continue developing resources for future shows, and we’ve got many more ideas for how we could develop these even further, but we’d love your thoughts to help with this. Feel free to let us know any feedback you have on these resources – how they work for you, how they could be improved, plus any other ideas you might have for other resources of any kind.

We’d also love to hear your feedback on the findings shared above – do these reflect your experiences? Is there more you’d like to share, or a different perspective not represented?

Feel free to respond in the comments section below, or email us at education@aucklandartgallery.govt.nz with your thoughts.

– Christa Napier-Robertson, Schools Programme Coordinator

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Jonathan Ngarimu Mane-Wheoki (1943–2014)


It is with tremendous sorrow that Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki acknowledges the passing of Professor Jonathan Ngarimu Mane-Wheoki (Ngāpuhi/Te Aupouri/Ngāti Kuri), who died peacefully on the evening of 10 October 2014.

Jonathan will always remain a deeply respected and greatly loved curator, academic and historian in the fields of art, architecture and culture. Since 2010 he has been a pivotal member of Haerewa, Auckland Art Gallery’s Māori Advisory Group, offering invaluable advice and generously sharing his extraordinary knowledge.

Along with his exceptional ability to work effectively and elegantly across the spheres of art, academia and museums, Jonathan has been remarkable in offering both a Māori worldview and a European perspective. His specialist fields deftly spanned art and architecture from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. He has been a highly influential pioneer in the development of contemporary Māori and Pacific art and art history within university and curatorial contexts. In essence, his nuanced understanding defied the categories of academic disciplines and spanned centuries. Jonathan’s contribution is enduring and profound.

Highly respected at home in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, Jonathan will long be remembered for his brilliant oration and his powerful intellectual support of and advocacy for contemporary Māori art practice, alongside his passionate Māori voice in the fields of art history, architecture, fine arts education, cultural exchange and critical writing.

Although his health was failing, 2014 proved to be an extraordinarily fertile year for Jonathan in his tireless and determined pursuit to advance the place of Māori and Pacific art. In March he travelled to the United Kingdom to speak at an international conference on Pacific art in Cambridge and to contribute to the advisory group for a major forthcoming exhibition, Oceania, at the Royal Academy in London. He also participated in an important colloquium with the Centre Pompidou in Paris which examined the legacy of the formative 1989 exhibition, Les Magiciens de la Terre. These projects reflect the level of esteem in which he was long been held within the international cultural community.

Earlier in 2014, Jonathan contributed a pivotal and spirited essay to the catalogue for Five Māori Painters, an exhibition organised by Auckland Art Gallery. Also this year, Jonathan was deservedly made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts. Recently, in September, he was awarded a medal as Companion of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the citation of which reads: 

‘…Jonathan has contributed significantly to academic and museum circles and has held senior positions that situate him at the forefront in ongoing dialogue about New Zealand’s history and expression in the arts. Through his work at the University of Canterbury from 1975 to 2004, as Senior Lecturer and Dean of Music and Fine Arts, Jonathan has had a major influence on a whole generation of our scholars and curators who themselves are now leaders in the field. His depth of knowledge and his willingness to foster debate and research continue to be an inspiration across our sector.’

Jonathan has published extensively; developed exhibitions, presented lectures and seminars on art, museums and cultural heritage both nationally and internationally. His expertise is widely sought and he has served on numerous advisory and governance bodies throughout his career. In recent years he has divided his time between academia and the museum profession in leadership roles at the University of Auckland and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.’

Jonathan will be greatly missed by a wide community of friends, colleagues, artists and students, all of whom benefited from his remarkable insight, generosity, encouragement, faith, passion and intellectual acumen.

Our thoughts and aroha are with his partner of 35 years, Paul Bushnell, and his sister Moea

Kei konā te aroha me te whakaaro

Hei maumaharatanga ki te tino hoa

– Rhana Devenport, Director, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Friday, 12 September 2014

Ralph Hotere's Godwit/Kuaka at City Gallery Wellington

If you're a fan of Ralph Hotere's artwork and will be in Wellington between now and 23 November, I'd highly recommend that you visit City Gallery Wellington.  We're very excited about the City Gallery's exhibition of Godwit/Kuaka, a much-loved large-scale mural by Ralph Hotere.
 

Installation view, Ralph Hotere  Godwit/Kuaka 1977  enamel on board  Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Auckland International Airport Ltd, 1997
This artwork, part of the Chartwell Collection, was last on display at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki as part of the exhibition Toi Aotearoa from 2011 to 2013.    

Ron Brownson, Senior Curator of New Zealand and Pacific Art, wrote about Godwit/Kuaka on this blog after Ralph Hotere passed away last year, and shared the essay that was published about the work in 2011.  

For more information about the Wellington exhibition, see City Gallery's website.