Monday, May 18, 2009

Nip tuck

The historian Nikolaus Pevsner once described sculptures attached to architectural facades as “junk jewellery for buildings.” In Wellington the classic example remains the Guy Ngan pinned onto the old Reserve Bank Building on the Terrace. Now at the Fryberg Pool on Oriental Bay (no, it wasn’t an April the first gag) we have the body-adornment equivalent with Victor Berezovsky face-paint addition titled Portal. The Wellington Council called the work a “facelift” and followed up the metaphor by announcing it would “adorn” the building’s façade for five years.

Strangely, the Freyberg, designed by Jason Smith in 1963, (he was also responsible for St. Francis de Sales in Island Bay), is not registered or listed by the Historic Places Trust.

So who was behind this decorative facelift to one of Wellington's few elegant modernist buildings? The work was approved by Wellington’s Public Art Panel: Mark Amery, Alison Bartley, Tina Barton, Heather Galbraith, Rob Garrett and Karen Wallace.
Images: Left, jewelry. Right, facelift.