Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pimp my gallery

As we've heard via a leak to the NZH Super City announces it is going to make the Auckland Art Gallery 'more commercial' (with or without its current director) and apart from a few tweets (we counted 10 and two of them were ours) no one seems to be very exercised by the prospect. You'd think a large bear had padded into the cave to eat someone, growled and when nobody noticed just slunk away. No harm, no foul. 

That doesn’t sound right, and when things don’t sound right, they probably aren’t. The big question here is what the Super City reckons 'more commercial' means. And, when you look at the way the AAG operates, it's hard to fathom where it could go next. There’s a definite sense that management have already jumped the commercial shark. 

Take for example their A red carpet venue hire brochure (you can download it here). Forget the good old days when you couldn’t drink in the galleries, let alone scoff down a canapĂ© or get stuck into a side of dressed lamb. The curators and conservators lost that battle long ago. Now event-seeking punters are invited to “Entertain between walls hung with work by some of our country’s most respected artists. Perfectly proportioned for dinners and receptions…” or to “raise a toast beneath the barrel-vaulted ceiling… in the Mackelvie Gallery.” 

How can the new commercialisers top that? Are we talking sleep-overs? Pokies? Pick-your-favourite-painting-to-hang-in-the-bridal-chamber? Fact is, wont be until someone publicly articulates what ‘more commercial’ means that we will know what the future brings for the Auckland Art Gallery. Whoever they get to run it. 

Images: Left, 'the acoustics of the Lower Grey Gallery mean that live music – whether classical or modern - adds the ideal finishing touch to your event' and right, 'Whether a family or business occasion, experience the striking character and lavish opulence of this Victorian picture gallery'