Reboot: The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection

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Media Release: February, 2008.

Reboot: The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection at City Gallery Wellington

Jim Barr and Mary Barr’s distinctive, colourful and provocative contemporary art collection, speaks volumes about their commitment to the art and artists of our times. Reboot: The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection, part of City Gallery’s New Zealand programme for the International Arts Festival, runs from 23 February until 15 June, 2008. The exhibition allows a rare opportunity to view an extraordinary and significant private collection of work by local and international artists, ranging in scale from the knee-high to the towering.

The sequel to the 2001 Dunedin Public Art Gallery exhibition Good Work, also shown at City Gallery Wellington, Reboot showcases the energy and diversity of a further five years’ of collecting. Curator Justin Paton has presented works in suggestive groupings that maximise playfulness and pursue unexpected affinities between artists of different generations and nationalities. For example, emerging artist Eileen Leung meets senior artist Richard Killeen in the section Painting in Pieces, while New Zealander Peter Robinson trades ideas with Italians Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Los Angeles based Ali Subotnick in What It’s Worth.

Big bunny! Size matters in the work of Michael Parekowhai’s Cosmo, a towering rabbit which usually sits with its ears brushing the ceiling of the Barr’s Wellington apartment. These cartoon-like forms continue Parekowhai’s fascination with one of New Zealand’s introduced feral species. Also playing with the power of scale, Melbourne artist Rose Nolan, will paint a colossal wall with some of her trademark red-and-white ‘big words’.

Reboot also introduces the work of several internationally renowned artists to New Zealand audiences including Paul McCarthy, Ricky Swallow, Martin Creed, Gillian Wearing, Laurence Weiner as well as Axel Stockburger’s and N.I.C.J.O.B.’s digital videos. Works by New Zealand artists living abroad, including Ronnie von Hout, Michael Stevenson and Francis Upritchard, also feature.

Jim Barr and Mary Barr, also known for their work as curators and writers, rotate their extensive collection throughout their Wellington apartment. Much of the work not on display is on long term loan to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, as the couple wishes "as many people to share the pleasures we get from works in our collection".

Reboot: The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection is a Dunedin Public Art Gallery Touring Exhibition

Reboot: The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection

23 February – 15 June 2008

City Gallery Wellington