Three New Galleries: Deane, Hirschfeld and Hancock


Media Release: August, 2009. 

One of three new architecturally-designed galleries thanks to support of Wellington arts families

It’s been an 11 month building programme and several years of negotiations by Director Paula Savage, but City Gallery is set to reopen on 27 September with three new gallery spaces, one dedicated solely to the exhibition of Māori and Pacific art. The additions to one of the capital city’s favourite buildings, the art-deco City Gallery in Civic Square, have been designed by Wellington architect Stuart Gardyne of Architecture+. In 1992/93 Gardyne converted the old Wellington public library into a contemporary art gallery for City Gallery Wellington, achieving a National Award from the NZ Institute of Architects.

The development project was made possible by the generosity of some extraordinary Wellington arts patrons: Gillian and Roderick Deane; The Adam Foundation; the Hancock family; the Hirschfeld family; and of course Wellington City Council.

“The addition will be clad in a metal webgrate rainscreen, identifying it as discrete from the original building, and forming a relationship with the contemporary stair and lift tower additions of 1993. The rainscreen is simple, bold, yet unexpected, supporting City Gallery’s role to challenge preconceived notions of art and design,” says Gardyne.

The new two-story tower block will house the Gillian and Roderick Deane Gallery, the only civic gallery with a dedicated space to exhibit contemporary Māori and Pacific Art. In a country devoid of many arts benefactors, City Gallery is just one of the many recipients that has benefited from the generous support of the Deane Endowment Trust, created in memory of the Deane’s daughter Kristen. A Curator, Maori & Pacific Art and the opening show will be announced very soon.

Thanks to the ongoing support of Wellington’s Hirschfeld family, the new tower will also include a purpose built gallery for the much-loved Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, dedicated to the exhibition of Wellington artists and designers. The Gallery will open with a major installation by Regan Gentry, a highway bypass constructed entirely from cane basketware, commissioned by City Gallery. Regan is one of our most exciting artists, well known for his large scale outdoor installations, including Of Gorse Of Course at the NewDowse (2007). Regan Gentry: Make Way will run until 22 November.

Downstairs, the Russell Hancock Gallery replaces the former cinema and will showcase the Civic art collection in a light-filled extended foyer space. Russell Hancock, along with his wife Kathleen, was an active and long-standing supporter of Wellington’s literary and arts community. In 2004, the Hancock family made a generous bequest to the city, which included Russell’s personal arts collection, to create a municipal gallery space, resulting in the new City Gallery space.

The multi-purpose Adam Auditorium adds versatility to the Gallery’s vibrant public programming and hosting facilities, both for the public and corporate sectors. The Auditorium is supported by Wellington art collectors and benefactors, Denis and Verna Adam of the Adam Foundation. Their support for the arts has included the Adam Art Gallery and the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University, among other projects.

Direct from the MCA in Sydney, the stellar exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years will open in the main galleries and run from 27 September 2009 until 7 February 2010.