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Media Release: May, 2003. 

Andy Warhol, KFC and ABBA come together in a fun and quirky exhibition at City Gallery Wellington that explores the relationship between art and money. Opening on 10th May Money for Nothing addresses the concept of value through art from the 1960s to today, and includes works by twenty-one New Zealand and international artists.

Exhibition curator and director of Artspace, Tobias Berger, wanted to first question the value of art and then test out the way today’s artists deal with this. In Money for Nothing the idea was to use art to look at the relationship between people and the economy; the way artists deal with value, economy, and the economic impacts on and of the art world.

The exhibition starts with small, more conceptual works from the 1960s like Billy Apple’s FOR SALE (1961), Robert Watts attempt to copyright POP (1965), and the 1970s plaque by English Pop artist Peter Blake, from the Beatle’s Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover fame. Two pieces by Andy Warhol, the iconic figure of 1960s Pop art, also feature.

More recent examples include Santiago Sierra who paid six men in Cuba US$30 each to stand in a row and get a line tattooed on their backs, and a film by Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas in which the volunteer employees of the Lithuanian Savings Bank are singing the Abba classic “Money, Money, Money” the day before this last state owned bank is privatized.

Works by nine New Zealand artists also feature, including David Hatcher’s pictorial representation of the wild gains and losses of the New Zealand stock market; Eimi Tamur’s models of Kentucky Fried Chicken stores; and Violet Faigan’s interpretation of volunteer work with her thrift store sound piece.

Artists featured include: Billy Apple (NZ/US), Peter Blake (GB), Andy Warhol (USA), Plamen Dejanoff, Violet Faigan (NZ), David Hatcher (NZ), Christian Jankowski (D), Andrew McLeod (NZ), Larry Miller (USA), Dane Mitchell (NZ), Kate Newby (NZ), Seth Siegelaub (NL), Santiago Sierra (MEX), Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas (LIT), Emi Tamua (NZ), Rirkrit Tiravanija (IND), Robert Watts (USA), Lauren Winstone (NZ), Peter Robinson (NZ).

For further media information please contact Anna Davidson, Publicist, City Gallery Wellington

Phone 64 4 801 3959

Fax 64 4 801 3960

Email anna.davidson@wcc.govt.nz

Media Release: April, 2003. 

An exhibition that draws on the kiwi tradition of the backyard hobbyist opens this week at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington. Ray Ritchie, a local self taught artist, has been making eye-catching pieces of painting and sculpture for the last 30 years. The First Exhibition Ever is the first public exhibition of Ray’s artwork. Many of the pieces in the exhibition are everyday objects and materials which Ray elevates through his own creative ‘language’ and transforms into colourful, whimsical creations.

Ray’s work first came to light when his wife Margaret responded to a notice artist and Massey University lecturer Stuart Shepherd placed in a local community newspaper as part of a Massey sponsored survey of self-taught and visionary artists in New Zealand.

As guest curator Stuart Shepherd explains, “Ray Ritchie can be seen as following the noble NZ traditional of backyard tinkering, which has produced whirligigs in the form of the running Pukeko or cut-out used tyres that resemble swans.”

Often in Ray’s work non-sense is made out of signs and institutional authority gets set up. But it’s not just a simple mockery of established orders, there’s an affection for a great creator - as Stuart Shepherd says, “a creator who loves human animals and four legged animals, colour, and chaos, and one who permits a poor mortal to find wonder in the ordinary, to transform a flip-top ashtray into the blinking eyes of a dog, and an old bathplug into a royal crown.”

During the past 30 years Ray Ritchie has worked as a civil servant, a merchant seaman, and an actor. He has been making artwork from his house in old undeveloped Newtown, Wellington for the past 30 years.

Ray Ritchie - The First Exhibition Ever is presented within the 360 programme – a full perspective on Wellington Art, which is generously sponsored by Designworks, Workshop DIY Framing and Suspect Productions.

Media Release: March, 2003. 

Peter Black - Real Fiction, a survey of the 35 year career of one of New Zealand’s leading photographers, opens at City Gallery Wellington on 23 March. The exhibition will include approximately 200 photographs from the major periods of Black’s career many of which have never been shown publicly before.

The exhibition tracks Peter Black’s career from his first ‘street photograph’ taken in Brisbane in 1973, to his 2002 series Streetworks, images taken ‘from the hip’ while walking along the pavement, mainly in Auckland and Wellington. His photographs provide a powerful record of the everyday, reflecting the pace and behaviour of daily urban life – from brass bands and fashion shows to photographs of Springbok tour protests.

A major figure in New Zealand photography, Peter Black is also an important Wellington artist. One of a generation of photo-artists that has also included Laurence Aberhart, Peter Peryer, Bruce Foster, Anne Noble and Fiona Clark, Peter studied photography with William Main at Wellington Polytechnic before spending the late 1970s as a freelancer. His images from this time still surface occasionally in The Listener and elsewhere.

Peter Black’s first exhibition was at the PhotoForum Gallery, Wellington, in 1979. After shows at the Wellington City Art Gallery and the Waikato Art Museum, he exhibited Fifty Photographs at the National Art Gallery in 1982-the first solo exhibition by a contemporary New Zealand photographer to be staged by that institution. In 1990, his ‘Moving Pictures’ were exhibited in the old Wellington City Art Gallery premises in Victoria St – and were shown again recently as the opening exhibition at the McNamara Gallery in Wanganui. (22 images from this important series are included in Real Fiction). Between times, and since then, he has exhibited extensively in public and private galleries throughout the country. He has also made series of work in France and North America, and has produced commissioned series for Peter McLeavey, the Hirschfeld family and others.

Peter Black suggested the title for the exhibition – Real Fiction – because it draws attention to both the artifice and the reality inherent in his photography. Peter’s photographs insist on a close proximity between ‘fictional’ and ‘real’. He is concerned with the capability of real life to yield metaphors, to expand and contract. Pictorial analogies abound in the work: while Black’s photographs are images of the real world, they are also a compendium of selected fictions.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 168 page publication, a special issue of the literary journal Sport, which includes 171 photographs by Peter Black as well as essays and poems about his work by 25 leading art writers and poets (including Bill Manhire, Ian Wedde, Gavin Hipkins, Jenny Bornholdt, Dinah Hawken, Jim Barr and Mary Barr, James Brown).

For further media information please contact Anna Davidson, Publicist, City Gallery Wellington

Phone 64 4 801 3959

Fax 64 4 801 3960

Email anna.davidson@wcc.govt.nz

Media Release: March, 2003. 

Artworks by Christchurch-Berlin-based contemporary New Zealand artist Peter Robinson will show at City Gallery Wellington from 23 March to 29 June. This special installation of sculptures and digital prints, titled Divine Comedy, was exhibited in mid-2001 at the prestigious 49th Venice Biennale in Italy – the world’s oldest and most important visual arts event. With this project City Gallery Wellington brings the two New Zealand exhibitions from Venice Biennale 2001 back for local audiences.

City Gallery Wellington will be the first New Zealand gallery to present works from the site-specific installations by Peter Robinson and Jacqueline Fraser which showed in Venice in 2001. Under the title Bi-Polar, the New Zealand exhibition attracted considerable attention in Venice. Wellington audiences will see these important works at City Gallery just before New Zealand is again represented at Venice in June 2003 by conceptual artist Michael Stevenson.

Divine Comedy was created in 2001 when Peter Robinson was artist-in-residence at New Plymouth. The title of the exhibition comes directly from Alighieri Dante’s infamous book Divine Comedy. The installation features a series of sleek sculptures and digital prints based around complex concepts of existence and draws together unlikely points of reference from Alighieri Dante’s Inferno to quantum physics and Stephen Hawkings’ book A Brief History of Time.

Peter Robinson has fast gained an international reputation. Born in 1966, Robinson became well known in New Zealand in the 1990s for his work that investigated issues of biculturalism and New Zealand race relations. Although Robinson’s work no longer explicitly addresses issues of identity or biculturalism, his signature use of traditional Maori colours of red, black and white is still central in his work.

Robinson has been included in significant exhibitions overseas since 1994 including the Asia Pacific Triennale and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1996, the 1998 Sydney Biennale, the Lyon Biennale in 2000, the Seoul Media City Biennale 2002 and the “Centre of Attraction” Baltic Triennale 2002. The recipient of the inaugural 2000 Creative New Zealand international residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Robinson has strong ties to Berlin and bases himself between Germany and New Zealand.

Peter Robinson - Divine Comedy is an outcome of Peter Robinson’s residency in 2001 at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery as a participant in the Taranaki Artist in Residence Programme, a partnership between the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki, Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki. This residency was generously supported by Creative New Zealand, Toi Aotearoa.

The work from this exhibition formed the basis of Peter Robinson’s installation in the exhibition Bipolar. Bipolar represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and was an initiative of Creative New Zealand, Toi Aotearoa.

JACQUELINE FRASER: A DEMURE PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST STRIP SEARCHED

23 March – 29 June 2003

For the first time since the Venice Biennale 2001 New Zealand audiences will have the opportunity to see the exquisite work of one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognized artists, Jacqueline Fraser. An exhibition of the wire works and light boxes Jacqueline Fraser created for her site specific installation A DEMURE PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST STRIP SEARCHED at the world’s oldest and most important visual arts event, open at City Gallery Wellington on 23 March.

With the New Zealand Venice Biennale Project 2001 City gallery Wellington brings the two New Zealand exhibitions from Venice back for local audiences. Jacqueline Fraser and Peter Robinson were the first two artists to represent New Zealand at the prestigious international art exhibition. These two separate exhibitions, grouped at Venice under the title Bi-Polar, attracted considerable world-wide attention. New Zealand audiences will see these important works at City gallery just before New Zealand is again represented at Venice in June by conceptual artist Michael Stevenson.

For this exclusive exhibition at City Gallery Wellington, Auckland-based Fraser has reconfigured details of her Venice installation. The work is the first in Fraser’s trilogy of installations which continued throughout 2001 at the Yokohama Triennale, Japan and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Presently focusing on her dealer galleries in Sydney and New York, Jacqueline Fraser is also currently featured in a show at the Museo de Arte, Bogata, Columbia called Solo Dibujo (Just Drawing) as one of their featured international artists.

Media Release: March, 2003. 

Cool, hard-edged and immaculate – words that spring to mind when thinking about the work of Julian Dashper. Arguably one of New Zealand’s most well-known international artists Dashper brings his exhibition Blue Circles to City Gallery Wellington on 15 March.

An ideas-based artist, Dashper has been exhibiting regularly for the past 20 years both nationally and internationally. Crisp, minimal, and clean in look, Blue Circles contains an underlying sense of play and critique.

The works in Blue Circles include Untitled (Blue CV), 20 clear 12” records, recorded especially for the exhibition in front of Jackson Pollock’s famous Blue Poles painting in Canberra, two table top cases containing further archival record covers, a mini drum kit titled Untitled (The Warriors), and a DVD which presents four one hour interviews with the artist ‘explaining’ his work.

No art snob, Dashper’s work frequently subverts the pretences of the art form he works in, by inserting popular culture into it. This has seen him engage in a range of projects from music publishing, through to an exhibition sponsored by the then Auckland Warriors rugby league team. Untitled (The Warriors) 1998, simply comprising of a customised drum kit, pays homage to one of Dashper’s passions, while exploring the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand in art, sport and elsewhere.

Julian’s work also deals directly with issues of art and being an artist, in particular New Zealand artists and their relationship to wider global art markets and communities. For example Untitled (Interviews) 2001-02, which consists of four different interviews with artist, is intended to overwhelm the viewer with artistic gobbledygook. Here Dashper satirises the intellectual art-speak that often frames much art criticism.

Dashper’s work is held in major collections, including the MCA Sydney, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Julian Dashper is currently represented by Sue Crockford Gallery in Auckland, Sarah Cottier Gallery in Sydney and the Brooke-Gifford Gallery in Christchurch.

Julian will give an informal floortalk discussing Blue Circles at 2pm on Saturday 15 March at City Gallery. An illustrated 30 page catalogue will also accompany the exhibition, and can be purchased through City Gallery Wellington.

2003

Media Release: March, 2003.

A Small Town at the Turn of the Century the first solo exhibition of Malaysian-born, Australian-based photographer Simryn Gill’s work in New Zealand, opens at City Gallery Wellington on 23 March. A series of 39 images, A Small Town at the Turn of the Century, sees Simryn Gill revisit her home town of Port Dickson in Malaysia and transform the familiar into the strange by way of humorous intervention.

In A Small Town at the Turn of the Century, each photo is a portrait of a local inhabitant, but with a twist – the face of each photographed person is covered by a headdress fashioned from fruit, vegetables or flowers. Although we are given clues to the photographed people, without faces we are barred from really knowing them as individuals or personalities. The absurdity of the scenario can be seen to refer to essentialist notions of Asia as a place which is exotic and romantic, yet often masked to the western world as outsiders. Though seen together the images create a picture of a particular community at a particular point in time.

The large cibachrome photographs in this series continue Simryn’s interest in exploring the contested relationship between nature and culture. Many of her works have used horticulture as a metaphor for the human situation, such as Self-seeds (1998) where Simryn added miniature wheels to pods and seeds collected in Australia, Finland and Malaysia, transforming them into tiny vehicles which referred to the global spread of technology and foodstuffs.

A Small Town at the Turn of the Century has toured to the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney in 2001. It was also included in the Sydney Biennale, 2002. Simryn Gill has had major solo shows throughout Australia, as well as in Europe and South East Asia.

Media Release: March, 2003. 

PRECIOUS, an exhibition showcasing the work of seven Wellington-based jewellers opens this Friday 7 March in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery. Taking their inspiration from a variety of sources, the works by Peter Deckers, Léola Le Blanc, Steph Lusted, Craig McIntosh, Matthew McIntyre Wilson, Frances Stachl and Suzanne Tamaki cast off the traditional image of jewellery as cute little objects in cases and shows contemporary jewellery as an art form.

Exhibition curator Rebecca Wilson says, “Wellington boasts a healthy and largely emerging jewellery scene with a generation of practitioners fast establishing names for themselves, alongside jewellers such as Peter Deckers who is a well known nation-wide as a senior practitioner and jewellery teacher.”

“The work in PRECIOUS does not explore a common theme”, says Wilson, “but rather presents a body of work from each artist that shows a consistent treatment of materials and exploration of ideas.”

Senior jeweller Peter Deckers’ work for PRECIOUS entitled The Reproduction Guild comprises of a series of brooches and rings accompanied by the interweaving of a sound component, that represents the ‘digital, manual, manufactured, processed’ divisions of reproduction. The ‘processed’ series of works looks at issues of cloning and genetic engineering, and ‘manufactured’ represents the apparent stability of the Twin Towers. Peter Deckers has exhibited widely and had been represented at the last three New Zealand Jewellery Biennales, now teaches in the new Jewellery Diploma at Whitireia Polytechnic and has taught several of the younger jewellers in the exhibition.

The work of French Canadian and Native American jeweller Léola Le Blanc reflects her varied background and interests, which include anthropology and archaeology. Her work for PRECIOUS is a series of brooches made in part from antler bone and porcupine quills that draws on symbols from the Catholic Church, such as the cross and the sacred heart, to investigate the religious origin of native Canadian people’s swear words.

Young jeweller Steph Lusted, whose striking work – which includes a series of ‘badges of honour’ and butterfly wings and insects imbedded in resin – has already garnered much interest. She had been involved in a number of group and solo exhibitions and last year was interviewed for the Big Art Trip for 2002 and received a Creative New Zealand grant. She recently won a Goethe Institut Scholarship for a four week German language course in Germany for later this year. For PRECIOUS Lusted has crafted a series of brooches replicating early medical implements such as scissors, saw and syringe.

Since graduating with a Diploma in Visual Arts in 2002, Craig McIntosh has worked in “Netsuke’ a form of Japanese adornment carving and has exhibited several times in Tokyo. His work was recently included in the Dowse’s Thrift to Fantasy show with carved jewellery representing sweets. Craig’s work for PRECIOUS explores the irony of turning refuse into objects of interest and fantasy, by crafting brooches and necklaces made from recycled beach detritus.

Matthew McIntyre Wilson pieces for PRECIOUS continue his work in bonded copper and silver with a series of objects (pins intentionally left off what would otherwise be brooches) and chains, exploring formal patterning that also resembles a kind of weaving with metals.

Frances Stachl has studied painting at Wanganui Polytechnic and jewellery at Whitireia, and has been exhibiting and selling her work at Avid Gallery since 2000. For PRECIOUS she has created a very long sterling silver chain that can be seen as resembling a feather boa.

Traditional and contemporary Maori and Polynesian materials and ideas provide the inspiration for the works of wearable art and adornment that Suzanne Tamaki crafts. Her garments created from blankets are part of Te Papa’s collection, and she has mounted several high energy multimedia fashion shows including Tribal Borders in this year’s Fringe Festival. Suzanne’s work for PRECIOUS includes a neckpiece, bikini and g-string made from rooster feathers, beads and courie shells.

As part of the public events programme at City Gallery, on Tuesday 25 March at 6pm renowned visiting German jeweller Otto Künzli will give a free public floortalk in City Gallery Cinema.

Otto Künzli (born 1948) is a Swiss-trained goldsmith and a professor at the Munich Academy of Fine Art. He has built up a remarkable reputation and gained international acclaim as an artist, jeweller, curator and academic. Künzli's jewellery is noted for its meticulous craftsmanship and attention to materials. His work is held in private and public museums throughout the world. In this public lecture Otto Künzli will discuss his philosophy and creative approach to jewellery design and making. Otto Künzli’s visit to New Zealand is supported by Whitireia Community Polytechnic, School of Arts and the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes New Zealand.

PRECIOUS - 7 Wellington Jewellers is presented within the 360 programme – a full perspective on Wellington Art, which is generously sponsored by Designworks and supported by Montana Wines Ltd

Media Release: January, 2003. 

Concrete tumblers, an ash tray, steel tubing, Lion Brown beer bottles, a filing cabinet, a toothbrush holder. These are some of the everyday objects Wellington-based artist Andy Irving has used to construct the works in Nothing Less, now on at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery.

The exhibition, Irving’s first solo exhibition at a public gallery, can be described as expressing an ‘urban vernacular’ – or how common-place, found or ‘scavenged’ materials, assembled in relatively straight forward ways can demonstrate a merging between art and design, function and dysfunction, the home and the office.

In Nothing Less Irving challenges viewers to see how his works are constructed and how he has recycled them to achieve a kind of functionality or usefulness. “I am fascinated by the way that things are thrown up in a basic, raw and tactile way,” Irving says.

Trained as an interior designer and having worked for several years on design and building projects for domestic, retail, office and exhibition spaces Irving is also interested in the mechanics of the way in which we inhabit urban spaces and the way materials lend themselves to this. “I want to make desirable objects out of everyday objects”, says Irving, “pieces that you would want in your home, not just in a gallery.”

Andy Irving will discuss his installation and give a talk on the influences in his work on Thursday 13 February at 6pm, in the City Cinema, City Gallery Wellington.

31 January - 2 March 2003

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery

City Gallery Wellington

Andy Irving – Nothing Less is presented within the 360 programme – a full perspective on Wellington Art, which is generously sponsored by Designworks. Generously supported by Montana Wines Ltd. 

Media Release: December, 2002. 

MAJOR McCAHON SHOW RETURNS HOME FROM EUROPE

8 December 2002 – 9 March 2003

Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith, the major survey exhibition which has seen our leading artist described controversially as the ‘Van Gogh of Australasia’, opens at City Gallery Wellington on Sunday 8 December. Wellingtonians and visitors to the capital will be the first to see this exhibition, which is the largest touring exhibition ever of McCahon’s work.

A Question of Faith arrives in Wellington direct from the prestigious Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, where large audiences experienced the New Zealand artist’s work, often for the first time. “We are very proud that City Gallery Wellington is the first venue on the exhibition’s Australasian tour,” says Paula Savage, Director of the Gallery. “The Stedelijk Museum presented Colin McCahon as a major 20th century painter on the international scene. He was compared in Europe to visionary artists such as Jackson Pollock and Edvard Munch.” The principal sponsor of the New Zealand presentation of Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith is Ernst & Young.

Ms Savage describes the exhibition as the most important visual arts event of the summer, and a drawcard for visitors from throughout New Zealand. “There will only be one other chance to see A Question of Faith in New Zealand at Auckland Art Gallery from 29 March to 15 June 2003 before it is toured to Australia. Colin McCahon was born in Timaru, and visitors from the South Island will see the influence of the land and colours of this region in his work.”

“Although most New Zealanders have heard of Colin McCahon, many are not really familiar with his work,” she says. “This exhibition, which spans four decades of his work, is therefore an ideal opportunity to understand why he is now considered such an important artist, not just in New Zealand but internationally.”

The exhibition, which is free to the public, features 77 works from throughout Colin McCahon’s (1919-1987) career. It was curated and organised by the Stedelijk Museum with the organisational support of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Set out chronologically, it enables visitors to follow McCahon’s development from the early figurative styles of the 1940s to the later abstract works. Works have been drawn from public and private collections in Europe and Australasia. A number have particular resonance for New Zealand audiences, for example, the imposing Victory over Death 2 (1970), which was gifted to the Australian government, and Storm Warning (1980-1981), which was originally part of Victoria University of Wellington’s collection. Other major works include Here I give thanks to Mondrian (1961); Numerals (1965); The Lark’s Song (a poem by Matire Kereama) (1969); Necessary Protection (1972); and significant series such as Elias, Gate and Scared.

Curated by Marja Bloem, Senior Curator at the Stedelijk Museum, the exhibition focuses on a central aspect of McCahon’s practice, the artist's spiritual quest, demonstrating how he explored questions of faith, doubt, hope and eventually despair. In this way Ms Bloem has brought a fresh new dimension to the understanding of the artist’s work.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 270 page publication of the same name, the first major book about McCahon published for many years. Described by Parson’s Bookshop in Auckland as “the most important New Zealand art book for over 12 years”, it contains essays by writers and experts on McCahon, including his son William. Also featured are colour plates of all the paintings in the exhibition, along with many other photographs and paintings of his life and career, some never before published.

Writing in Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith, Stedelijk Museum Director Rudi Fuchs says: “McCahon was the artist who gave New Zealand a powerful visual identity and for that he is revered in his homeland. That he went further, to explore and communicate through the medium of painting the universal questions and concerns of humanity, is why we, in other parts of the world, must recognise him as a great modern master.”

Touring dates: Auckland Art Gallery (29 March – 15 June 2003); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (June/July – August 2003) and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (15 November 2003 – 16 January 2004).

Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith is curated and organised by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (SMA) with the organisational support of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, New Zealand (AAG). The principal sponsor in New Zealand is Ernst & Young. The exhibition is generously supported by Creative New Zealand and private patrons in New Zealand and Australia. Indemnified by the New Zealand Government. Its presentation in Wellington is generously supported by Totally Wellington.

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