Monday, March 29, 2010

40 years on

When John Maynard arrived in New Plymouth in 1967 to kick-start the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery he was 24. Maynard remembers the date he landed in Taranaki because it was the day after his twenty-fourth birthday. Impossible to think that any city would now allow a 24-year-old to direct (let alone establish) a public art gallery. We’ve posted before about the aging of museum directors. Nowadays it would be hard to find anyone doing the job in their thirties let alone twenties. 

Maynard was in New Plymouth last weekend to join the Govett-Brewster fortieth birthday celebrations. A big contingency had turned up from out of town and by the evening the locals had come to the party too. In his congratulations Maynard told a great story commenting on how much art depends on context. In the late 1960s he and his friends were obsessed by contemporary art, and the obsession provedy contagious. A young child travelling with them pointed to a statue in a park and said, “Look! There’s a man standing on a sculpture.” If you know of a better plinth story, you need to tell us.

Image: OTN paparazzi shot of Maynard telling the statue story