Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It figures

Reports on the two-for-one Polynesian exhibition Oceania (shared by Te Papa and the City Gallery) are not encouraging. The two times we went we were all but alone in the City Gallery, although there was an ok audience at Te Papa. While there are some outstanding objects on display, it was always an odd choice for a crowd pleaser, and a bit of a push thinking it would be a must-see for RWCers.

The City Gallery show in particular mostly includes work that is very familiar (although it would be fresh to RWC tourists) and verges on the comically inclusive; if the word Pacific is in the title, welcome. There was also an opportunity lost with the exhibition design which simply follows the typical City Gallery Modernist format.

Last week, to boost figures one assumes, admission to the show was on offer for half price if you got the password right. Now you can be seen for free (which is as good a way as any to really irritate everyone who has already paid – you know, the faithful). The other reason for this largesse is more slippery - free entry muddies attendance figures. Nothing tells the tale of an exhibition's success, or lack of it, more accurately than ticket sales.