Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Te Papa reveals art plans

News from Te Papa last week on what we can expect from it art-wise over the next five years. It comes from the Head of Arts and Visual Culture Jonathan Mane-Wheoki in his “overview of current planning” to the Te Papa Friends.

First up is Te Papa's intention to follow “the model of the hugely successful Rita Angus and Brian Brake projects”. That means solidly researched, large scale exhibitions about important NZ artists accompanied by major publications. But there's a wrinkle. As both Angus and Brake took at least a couple of years to develop and were launched at Te Papa five years ago, there's a timing issue. Te Papa seems to have settled on producing major exhibitions on important NZ artists about once every eight years or so. Measured.

For the rest of New Zealand Mane-Wheoki promises, “More modestly scaled art exhibitions” that will be “toured around the regional centres”. Exciting.

International art (aka Blockbusters)? Te Papa intends to continue with “the development of major international exhibitions in collaboration with partner museums overseas.” One of the examples given is Warhol: Immortal from the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. Did no one mention that it ... er ...wasn't very good? Awkward.

But as with all good presentations the best is kept for last. What are the curatorial staff going to be producing over the next five years? “Some really exciting exhibitions.” Outstanding.

So the very moment you’re thinking the whole thing is just going to be more business as usual, Mane-Wheoki pulls the rabbit out of the hat .... Business as usual.

POSTSCRIPT: Well maybe business a little ahead of what's on view from the visual arts at the moment. Here's a list of everything you can see at Te Papa over the next two weeks.

1 x Michael Parekowhai
3 x Robyn Kahukiwa
1 x Michel Tuffery
2 x Marcus King

.... and a couple of the works commissioned when Te papa opened.

COMMENT: (Peter Alsop13/8/14) I find it hard to believe that the entire level 5 needs to be closed for a chunk of time, incl over Easter. I have never encountered it elsewhere but have 3 or more times in recent memory at Te Papa. I dont just take the kids for carrot cake you know.