Wednesday, August 12, 2015

News from the flaming rock

There have always been close links between New Zealand and the Queensland Art Gallery. The current director of the Christchurch Art Gallery, Jenny Harper, was a senior curator there and before her so too was Anne Kirker, once senior curator of NZ's National Art Gallery. And the QAG has sent its people in the other direction. Current Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport, of course, and her predecessor Chris Saines who was exported back again to be the QAG's director.  Saines has now headed up what can only be described as a vision-thing-on-speed at the QAG for three years. During this time he has overseen the mega Michael Parekowhai survey The promised land although for some reason could not get the Auckland Art Gallery he once so tightly controlled to take the exhibition (word is the Auckland Art Gallery is working towards a smaller project exhibition). 

And Saines still has New Zealand in his sights. QAG's Foundation was tasked with finding $A150,000 for Lisa Reihana’s four-channel video In Pursuit of Venus [infected] that is currently on show at the Auckland Art Gallery (and also purchased by that institution). The Foundation did it in two months. There is talk  too of Saines enticing Auckland art patrons to turn their attention and support to Brisbane and become part of what he describes as 'more diversified ways of fundraising'. Saines is also giving shape to his ‘new economic model for the gallery’ as he promised back in 2013 when he took over as director.  'Just as we make considerable revenues from our food and beverage offer and our store, we can also look to touring exhibitions as another way of adding to the gallery’s net receipts.’ A major element of this plan? Touring exhibitions to NZ. Strangely, the first of these proposed cash cows is a Cindy Sherman exhibition that is headed to Wellington rather than Auckland. It will be the second time a large Sherman show has been to the city with the previous outing in 1989 at the National Art Gallery.