Tuesday, November 12, 2013


How interested should we be in the comings and goings of the admin staff at our public art museums? In the case of the Auckland Art Gallery we reckon, very interested. As the job of our art museums changes and they go after broader audiences, the best clues to how things will play out in terms of resources are to be found at the doorstep of the bureaucrats, not the curators.

We’ve already suggested that Regional Facilities Auckland has its eye on the AAG as a money-spinner to match the rest of its group (stadiums and other ticketed venues). “Better focus capital investment, attract new opportunities and gain operating efficiencies,” is the RFA’s catch-cry.  

Of course one of the markers of the relationship between the RFA and the Gallery is always going to be the role of the Deputy Director. The first one (Viv Beck) had an arts background and while that seemed to work for the Gallery, it was a case of not-so-much for the RSA. So now Beck has been ushered out the door in double quick time, has the Deputy Director job been advertised? Not so far as we know and for the last three months the job has been filled by an acting deputy. 

At the same time, in a very bold move for someone who has just put their feet under the desk, Director Rhana Devenport has zoomed off overseas leaving the running of the Gallery to an Acting Director.

So who is serving as the Acting Director while she's away? The senior curator? No. The director of special projects who has been with the gallery for yonks? No. It’s a guy called Craig Goodall who is the current Deputy Director (acting) and now Acting Director (still with us?) as well. Goodall is a facilities guy who comes to the Auckland Art Gallery via the Edge, North Harbour Stadium, the St James Theatre and opera house and the Hastings District Council. He’s also President of the Entertainment and Venues Association of New Zealand. 

We understand Goodall was also an applicant for the Deputy Director’s job when Viv Beck was appointed. Next time lucky?