Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Govett-Brewster director slams Len Lye Centre

Frustrated by a lack of progress after a number of meetings, founding director of the Govett-Brewster John Maynard (and the person responsible for setting it on its course as a leader in contemporary art over the last 42 years) has publically called for a halt to building of the Len Lye Centre. 

In a letter to today's Council meeting addressed to the Mayor and Councillors of the New Plymouth District Council, John Maynard claims the current building project of  “over exaggerated cultural benefits and underestimated costs”. The letter calls for the Council “to apply common sense to the problem … send the Len Lye Centre back to the drawing board… incorporate the Gallery extension and insist that the design complies with the architectural brief and the budget.”

Maynard gives five reasons for this Hail Mary pass to stop the plan.
·      The failure of the proposed design to provide the museum standards outlined in the brief.
·      The ongoing costs of maintaining a stainless steel fa├žade (Maynard points to the stained base of Lye’s Wind Wand as an example of the problem)
·      The waste (Maynard estimates around $4million) involved in demolishing the Award-winning 1998 extension as part of the project
·      The risk to TSB and the New Plymouth Council of further commitments if the project runs over budget
·      Under-estimation of the budget

Maynard describes the Patterson-designed Centre as “dull, pompous and self important” and “an empty metaphor for a great artist who was known for playfulness, wit and humour.”

You can read the Council papers here and watch today's 4.30pm meeting on the future of the Len Lye Centre live streamed here