Friday, February 24, 2012

Natural selection

Te Papa has refreshed its contemporary galleries with some new work purchased over the last couple of years. The major additions are three large 1969 works refabricated by Jim Allen (purchased), what looks like all of Anne Noble’s photo series Ruby’s room (gifted anonymously) and jewellery galore by Karl Fritsch (purchased). 

The Mayor attended the opening and hopefully she noted the strong representation of artists based in the city or with strong Wellington connections. At a rough count we reckon they include Jim Allen (born and educated), Anne Noble (teaches at Massey), Karl Fritsch (resident), Maddie Leach (teaches at Massey), Simon Morris (teaches at Massey) Andrew Ross (resident) and Lisa Walker (resident). At a stretch you could include Bill Culbert who spent his school days in the Hutt Valley. Leaving Culbert aside, however, nearly 30% of the artists shown are either from Wellington or teaching here at Massey. In number of objects Wellington scores 54% and if you look at the space allocation, largely thanks to Noble and Allen, it is probably close to 50%. 

The Wellington City Council is currently playing footsie with Te Papa over whether or not it will continue its $2mil annual funding. If this showing doesn't convince it that the National collection has the region front of mind, nothing will.
Image: Charles Darwin's sketch of how the theory of evolution by natural selection might work