Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Private public partnership

The Auckland Art Gallery has just opened A Puppet, a Pauper, a Pirate, a Poet, a Pawn and a King, a selection of works is from an Australian private collection. While the AAG has a very close relationship with private collecting through the Chartwell Collection which it shows regularly, the showing of other private collections is something it does surprisingly seldom. Some highpoints from the past have been A collection of modern etchings on loan from Auckland collectors, which interestingly was the earliest recorded exhibition at the AAG back in 1927, the 1958 exhibition Thirty-seven New Zealand Paintings from the Collection of Charles Brasch and Rodney Kennedy and 22 years later, work from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.

And yet most of the well known major private collections in Auckland have not been given solo exhibitions so far as we can recall. Maybe there was a clue as to why this might be so in Naomi Milgrom’s (the Australian collector) opening remarks in which she confessed that the AAG had been able to “allay my fears in taking this step into the public world.” Turns out that the outing in Auckland is the first time this private collection has been shown. Usually it is housed in Melbourne and not generally available to the public. But then that’s why they get called private collections.

Image: The entrance and reception area for the Sportsgirl offices in Melbourne where works from the Mildrum collection are made available to the staff. In this image by Brett Boardman is a wall work by Sol Lewitt