Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Space cadets

What is it about public art museums in Wellington? With the exception of Pataka in Porirua, they all end up showing exhibitions in mazes you can’t find you way around or long, narrow spaces like pipe cleaners.

New Dowse - Mazes
Adam Art Gallery – Pipe Cleaners
Te Papa – Mazes and the Über Pipe Cleaner of all time, the “Boulevard Gallery”

Now there’s news that the City Gallery is adding two new Pipe Cleaners to the couple it already has. Long and narrow can work (sometimes) but four galleries that shape seems relentless.

One of the two new galleries will be the new Michael Hirschfeld Gallery (aka “Chez Alcove” and another Pipe Cleaner), the other a new gallery “dedicated to the work of Maori and Pacific Island artists.” So why have Pacific and Maori art upstairs and right at the back of the building? One of the reasons for a dedicated Maori/Pacific space was the observation that many Maori and Pacific people were reluctant to come into the City Gallery at all. If that is so, why march them up the stairs, past the project room, through the reading room and past the new Hirschfeld? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to have the Pipe Cleaner on the right as you come in the front door?

Images: Top, the proposed addition to the City Gallery. Bottom, the shape of the two new galleries.
Read the full press release on OTN STUFF here