This April, City Gallery Wellington presents an exhibition of work by one of New Zealand’s most celebrated artist, Colin McCahon (1919–87). On Going Out with the Tide explores McCahon’s evolving engagement with Māori subjects and themes in his works from the 1960s and 1970s. These works range from early treatments of koru imagery to later history paintings, referring to Māori prophets and highlighting land-rights issues.

On Going Out with the Tide seeks to understand these works in terms of tectonic shifts in New Zealand culture—emerging biculturalism. It restores a historical context to the work, by understanding it in terms of the times in which it was made, as well as considering the ways it has been read subsequently. McCahon's interest was fed by new resources on Māori culture, friendships with writers and artists, and the births of his Māori grandsons, Matiu and Peter (Tui). While McCahon’s interest in Māori culture sustained and consolidated longstanding features of his work, it also fundamentally changed it.

The exhibition fills the ground floor of the Gallery. There is a room of works from 1969 based on Matire Kereama’s book The Tail of the Fish, which includes The Canoe Tainui—the most expensive work to sell at auction in New Zealand. Other rooms address particular places: Muriwai (where McCahon had his studio), Parihaka, and Te Urewera.

City Gallery Chief Curator Robert Leonard says, “The exhibition is an opportunity to consider how increasing awareness of Māori culture and concerns shaped the work of New Zealand’s most celebrated artist’s most important period. We know there will be divergent views on the work. The show does not presume to offer the last word on the work—its meaning, significance, and politics—but to provide a platform for discussion. As part of the project, City Gallery will be presenting an accompanying programme of lectures, talks, and screenings.”

On Going Out with the Tide features major works from public and private collections in New Zealand and Australia. The exhibition is curated by Wystan Curnow and Robert Leonard.

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Colin McCahon: On Going Out with the Tide
April 8 – 31 July 2017 | Free entry
City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square
Wellington, New Zealand


Colin McCahon Tui Carr celebrates Muriwai Beach 1972. 
Private collection, courtesy Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney.
Courtesy Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

  • Date: 10 April 2017
  • Time: Monday, 6pm
  • Cost: Free

Maurice Clark is recognised for his commitment and contribution to the architectural landscape through his restoration projects of some of Wellington's most notable heritage buildings.

With a history in construction and engineering and a skill in recognising smart and cost-effective ways of strengthening an existing built structure, Clark has enabled a large number of Wellington's structurally vulnerable buildings to be restored and repurposed. His talk will give an insight into the engineering strategies he employs to restore the structural integrity and inhabitability of a building illustrated by projects such as Victoria University of Wellington's Hunter Building (1904), old Government Buildings (1876), Museum of Wellington City and Sea (1892), and most recently and notably the Old Public Trust Building (1908)—a building that others saw as beyond saving after the 2013 earthquake.

Clark describes his work as the necessity to envision what the new life and use for a building will be. He is committed to seeing that our heritage buildings are not just strengthened and left, nor seen as objects to pull down, as we continue to ask what significant values heritage buildings offer to our city.

In partnership with the New Zealand Institute of Architects, Wellington. Refreshments served. 

  • Date: 30 April 2017
  • Time: Sunday, 11am - 4pm
  • Cost: Free

Visit City Gallery for fun art activities the whole whānau can enjoy on the last weekend of the school holidays.

Explore our exhibitions and see major works by Colin Mccahon, Petra Cortright's digital paintings and Martino Gamper's 100 Chairs. Be inspired by the exhibitions and make a chair or a badge, or both. 

Join TimoTimo for interactive storytelling and waiata responding to McCahon's work. 
Catch screenings from Square Eyes Film Foundation in the Auditorium. 

Activities Timetable: 

Ground floor, 12pm / 2pm
Interactive storytelling and waiata in Colin McCahon: On Going Out with the Tide. 

Square Eyes Film Screenings
Auditorium, 11.30am / 12.30pm / 1.30pm / 2.30pm / 3.30pm
Short film screenings inspired by the current exhibitions. 

Make a Chair
Education Studio, 11am -4pm
Experiment with everyday materials to construct your own chair, inspired by Martino Gamper’s works. 

Make a Badge
Reading Room, 11am – 4pm
Inspired by Petra Cortright’s digital paintings, make your own mini-collage-painting in the form of a badge to wear. 

LOOk! cards
Art Cart / all galleries, 11am – 4pm
Explore the current exhibitions with our fun LOOk! activity cards 

  • Date: 26 - 28 April 2017
  • Time: 10am-4pm
  • Cost: $50 each day

Craftcamp returns to the Gallery with workshops for creative kids aged 5-14 years. Choose from three workshops, each inspired by one of our current exhibitions. All workshops suit beginners to more experienced learners from 5-14 years.

Meeting place in the foyer of City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square. All workshops are held in the Gallery’s Education Studio, upstairs.

Craftcamp is run by Wellington artist Gabby O'Connor. Bookings are essential.

Snacks and lunch
Light morning/afternoon tea supplied (please email with any food allergies). The lunch hour 12.30-1.30pm is supervised. BYO lunch and water bottle.

Wednesday 26 April, 10am-4pm SORRY THIS SESSION IS FULLY BOOKED 

This session is inspired by the exhibition Colin McCahon: On Going Out with the Tide. Kids will experiment with drawing, collage and painting to create an explosion of colour. 

Thursday 27 April, 10am-4pm BOOK NOW

This session is inspired by the exhibition Martino Gamper: 100 Chairs in 100 Days. Kids will experiment with drawing chairs, make 3D chair works, then create their own sculpture.


This session is inspired by the exhibition Petra Cortright: RUNNING NEO-GEO GAMES UNDER MAME. Kids will experiment with drawing, collage and painting to create an explosion of colour.


  • Date: 18 April 2017
  • Time: Tuesday, 6pm
  • Cost: Free

Canadian curator and writer on photography, William A Ewing draws on several recent photography exhibitions to talk about how the curator moves from a ‘Platonic’ ideal (the ‘perfect’ exhibition) to the messy reality of compromises.

William A Ewing was Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York, and between 1996 and 2010, Director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne. Since 2010, he has worked as a curator for two foundations: the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis and Lausanne; and the Fondation Carène, Switzerland. He is also currently Director of Curatorial Projects for Thames & Hudson, London.

Ewing’s exhibitions have been shown at many major museums in America, Europe and Asia, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Hayward Gallery, the Barbican Art Gallery, Somerset House and the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Kunsthaus Zürich; the Folkwang Museum, Essen; the National Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Art Gallery of Ontario; and the Setagaya Museum, Tokyo.  

Ewing’s books include many monographs and thematic books, including The Body; The Face, and most recently, Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography and Edward Burtynsky: Essential Elements.  Since 2010, Ewing has been an Officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters. In 2016, he was given the Royal Photographic Society Award for Outstanding Service to Photography. He lives in Lausanne, Switzerland, and works between there and London.

  • Date: 26 April 2017
  • Time: Wednesday, 10.30am
  • Cost: Free

Join us for a mid-morning tour of Colin McCahon: On Going Out with the Tide in a baby-friendly environment for engaging with art. Gallery Babes is best suited to babies aged 0–12 months.

Bookings essential.


  • Date: 4 May 2017
  • Time: Thursday, 5-10pm
  • Cost: Koha

Art, music, film, talks, beer, wine, food. This is the first chance to explore our new exhibitions after hours.

5pm New exhibitions open: Colin McCahon: On Going Out with the Tide, Petra Cortright: Running Neo Geo Games Under MAME, Martino Gamper: 100 Chairs in 100 Days | All Galleries

59.30pm Delicious treats from House of Dumplings, and cash bar serving Tuatara beer, Seresin wine, Six Barrel Soda and Mela juice | Downstairs 

510pm DJ B.Lo plays live | Downstairs 

57pm / 910pm Shannon Te Ao: (Untitled) McCahon House Studies | Auditorium 

6pm Exhibition tour of Colin McCahon: On Going Out with the Tide | Downstairs

7.30pm Talk: CHASING THE LOUNGE: Eames, power and padding: Frank Stark | Auditorium
Director of Whanganui Regional Museum Frank Stark shows and discusses excerpts from Charles and Ray Eames’ short films focussing on furniture and chair design, and talks about chairs in popular culture.

  • Date: 12 - 13 August 2017
  • Time: Saturdays and Sundays, 12.15pm
  • Cost: Free

Get more out of your visit to the Gallery with a 20-minute introduction to the exhibition Petra Cortright: RUNNING NEO-GEO GAMES UNDER MAME

Meet in main foyer. 

City Gallery Wellington presents the first New Zealand exhibition from Los Angeles-based artist Petra Cortright. Opening 8 April, RUNNING NEO-GEO GAMES UNDER MAME features a suite of digital paintings on linen and paper, screen-based video paintings, YouTube-hosted webcam videos and a series of Flash animations which apply the aesthetics of the desktop screensaver to the gallery wall.

Cortright rose to prominence in the mid-2000s with a series of webcam videos she posted to YouTube, layering the webcam software’s filters and default live effects. These videos have been hailed as key early proponents of ‘post-internet art’ and have evolved into an ongoing collaboration with fashion designer Stella McCartney.

In her new digital paintings, Cortright uses Adobe Photoshop to manipulate internet-sourced forms and imagery lifted from sites like Pinterest and Google Images. This material is transformed into layered painterly compositions that revisit traditional forms like landscape, still life or abstraction. This process has even seen Cortright called ‘the Monet of the 21st century.’

Curator Aaron Lister says, “Cortright’s painting is of and for the contemporary moment. This exhibition will shake or reaffirm people’s perception of what painting is or can be—her practice is redefining the role and possibilities for art in the digital age.”

“While challenging the idea of what painting can be, Cortright doesn’t have an antagonistic response to what’s gone before—she loves the language and romance of painting, she believes in beauty, but approaches it all through internet-based processes of making and presentation. She gives painting and the nature of aesthetic experience a system upgrade,” says Lister. 

Petra Cortright: RUNNING NEO-GEO GAMES UNDER MAME is a partnership with Tristian Koenig Gallery, Melbourne.

About the artist: Petra Cortright’s core practice is the creation and distribution of digital files, whether they be videos, GIFs, or JPEGs, using consumer or corporate software and platforms. Cortright lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York, NY (2008) and the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004). Selected exhibitions include: "Electronic Superhighway,” Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2016); The Metabolic Age, MALBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina; "On YouTube. Kunst und Playlists aus 10 Jahren,“ Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland; "Im Inneren der Stadt," Künstlerhaus Bremen, Germany; 1301PE, Los Angeles (solo, 2017); Carl Kostyál, London, UK (solo, 2016); Depart Foundation, Los Angeles, CA (solo); Foxy Production, New York, NY (solo) (both 2015); Société, Berlin, Germany (solo); (2014 and 2016); Frieze Film, Frieze London, UK; 12th Bienniale de Lyon, France (both 2013); and Preteen Gallery, Mexico DF (solo) (2011).


8 April – 13 August 2017, Free entry

For all media enquiries, please contact Olivia Lacey, olivial@experiencewellington.org.nz, 021 022 40312

Image: Petra Cortright nude drawing model in Eisenhower bibliography spine 2016. Courtesy Tristian Koenig, Melbourne. 

  • Date: 18 March 2017
  • Time: 6.00pm - 7.00pm (doors open 5.30pm)
  • Cost: $8

Start your Saturday evening off with performances from Wellington bands The Photogenics and Fantasing.

The Photogenics—Chrissie Butler (drums, vocals), Caroline McQuarrie (drums, vocals) and Bryce Galloway (keys, vocals)—are band #7 in a project called 'Four Songs, Played Twice' in which Galloway set out to start a new band every month, for a year. This will be their first and last performance. Don't miss it. 

Fantasing is an Aotearoa New Zealand-based art collaboration. Combining the cosmic fantasies of Bek Coogan, Claire Harris, Sarah Jane Parton and Gemma Syme, Fantasing is an 'internet potato' cultivated from the history of feminist artist collectives, and their practice spans music, video works, sculpture, writing and Instagram. 

These performances are the closing acts in City Gallery and Massey University's Cindy Sherman Symposium.  Join us for these evening performances from 5.30pm ($8), or come for the whole day from 10.30am and hear artists, curators, academics, and cultural commentators look at Cindy Sherman's enduring effect on photography and art ($40/$20). 

Cash bar. 

BOOK NOW for The Photogenics and Fantasing (or pay at the door)  $8

BOOK NOW for Cindy Sherman: A Symposium (includes entry to performances) $40/$20