Friday, April 16, 2010

Book envy

In the late 1980s the National Art Gallery, as it was then, had one of the best art bookshops in the country. The introduction of post-modern theory and the intense debate it sparked in the capital as elsewhere was due in large part to the books selected by Cheryl Brown who ran the small but influential store. Now if you want to look at a wide selection of art books you have to go to the excellent Parsons Bookshop in Auckland or, as we found out recently, the book store at the Christchurch Art Gallery. 

Wellington is another story altogether. Unity has a small range but doesn’t seem to have its heart in it, Te Papa has continued its focus on kids and tourists in its retail operations, so no luck there and the City Gallery has never risen much above a trestle table of catalogues, an effort that feels at odds with its claim to be the most important venue for contemporary art in the country. Amazon on the other hand…
Image: A slice of Christchurch bookshop's stock