Monday, July 15, 2013

The voice of Domm

Wow that didn’t take long. Auckland Art Gallery’s first Deputy Director Viv Beck (and acting director since Chris Saines’s departure) has resigned after just seven months in the job. Not a good look for the Art Gallery boss and CE of Regional Facilities Auckland Robert Domm. You may recall that Domm’s first foray into the Art Gallery’s business was to try and push AAG director Chris Saines out of his job. That didn’t work and Saines was allowed to stay on during which time he sensibly got himself another posting.

Beck was brought in to zoom up the commercial aspects of the Gallery but clearly met with difficulties. Art galleries are seldom built to serve as commercial spaces and the new AAG building for all the fanfare is no exception. The foyer for all its fancy kauri kit-out, can only squeeze in 180 for dinner and that's not enough to bring in big bucks. Besides, anyone who was at the Walters Prize sit-down last year will know that the space really struggles even at that number.

Of course Domm's Facilities team is also counting on the actual gallery spaces to pull their weight. Their brochure promises that “works by some of the country’s most respected artists provide instant colour and pizzazz for dinners and cocktails.” This offer gives you some idea of how Regional Facilities approaches things cultural. 

So watch closely to see who replaces Beck. Word is, thanks to her art world experience and interest, Beck got on with AAG staff and was seen out and about at art events which always goes down well. It would certainly not be a good sign for the future of the gallery if Domm fills the Beck gap with someone who has no art background or connections.