Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Memory palace

When Christchurch Art Gallery director Jenny Harper decides to leave a legacy, she doesn’t muck about. She set about delivering five mega purchases to Christchurch, and she’s almost there. She has just announced that the Gallery is to commission work number four: a wall work by the 84-year old British artist Bridget Riley. And there’s a personal Harper link. Her Masters thesis Product and response: the art of Bridget Riley presented at the Courtald Institute in London in 1982. But wait there’s more. The purchases kicked off with Michael Parekowhai’s On first looking into Chapman’s Homer. The link to Harper for this one is Venice. She was Commissioner in 2011, the year Parekowhai exhibited this work as part of his presentation at the Venice Biennale. It’s the same Venetian link to Bill Culbert and the purchase of his installation Bebop. Hard to find a link to UK artist Martin Creed who contributed the neon Everything is going to be alright, apart from Harper’s obviously high regard for UK based artists, but the fifth and final purchase will certainly deliver the goods. Word is that it will be by Ron Mueck another UK based artist who happened to give Christchurch Art Gallery and Harper as its director the largest ever audience for a single exhibition back in 2010.  

Image: Bridget Riley photographed the year Jenny Harper completed her PhD thesis Product and response: the art of Bridget Riley