Thursday, December 05, 2013

In which Claudia goes to the Academy

What’s going on at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts? Now that's not a question you'd ask very often and even if you did you may not hang around for the answer. Back in the seventies though the Academy's gallery was the place you went to see some of the best art exhibitions available in Wellington. There were at least a couple of reasons for that - Brian Carmody and Constance Kirkcaldie. Constance was director from 1975 to 1977 but was really running the place from the beginning of the seventies. She got up a programme that featured things like the Ten big paintings show from the Auckland Art Gallery, as well as a slate of exhibitions that included Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Pat Hanly, Jim Allen, Tony Fomison and Terry Powell. 

Since then the Academy slowly reverted to being…er…an Academy again but now it has appointed Claudia Arozqueta as its new director and believe us this is no prints and pots curator. LOL was invented for how you would respond if anyone told you that this would happen even a couple of years ago. Claudia has been director of Enjoy (another Academy? .... just kidding) and before that a highly regarded and very well connected curator in Mexico and Russia. She is also a regular reviewer for Artforum so the NZAFA’s is waving rather a large contemporary art flag here. Go Claudia.

Image:The Selection Committee for the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, voting in 1956. (Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1956/2170-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.