Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Shock of The New

Returning to our car as we were about to leave Auckland, we came across the SOLD sign on the building that once housed both Auckland Art Gallery's NEW Gallery and Parsons Bookshop. This building was one of the most generous offers ever made to the visual arts in New Zealand (made by Jenny and Alan Gibbs with some cash from Chartwell) and it can't shuffle off with just a whimper.

There was talk at one stage that the building could be used by arts organisations or maybe as another contemporary art space but the energy to match the Gibbs’s generosity never eventuated. And along with the NEW went Parsons Bookshop, the only art bookshop in Auckland. On the weekend we asked at Unity Books on High Street if they stocked art books to be told, ”we don't have the room”.

Well thanks for that Unity.

So here's to some of the great stuff we saw at the NEW. Those incredible Henry Darger Vivian Girls drawings in Robert Leonard's Mixed-up Childhood, Natasha Conland’s stylish Chartwell collection presentation in which every object seemed to glow white, Richard Killeen’s survey The stories we tell ourselves, William McAloon’s Chartwell exhibition Home and away, et al's. Voice of silence installation as well as the installation that won the 2004 Walters Prize, the Urewera Mural in the McCahon Room, Robert Leonard's 2003 Chartwell exhibition Nine lives with its tribute to Giovanni Intra, With Spirit the Don Driver’s retrospective and the survey of Flying Nun Records.

And thanks for that, in a very different way, to Allan and Jenny Gibbs

Images: Left, sold and right the space formally known as Parsons