The creation of an exhibition is a huge team effort, and at the end of the process it all comes down to the team of preparators and technicians who physically install the artworks in the galleries. Each exhibition comes with its own challenges - whether it's moving very large, heavy or fragile objects, installing 7,081 tiny objects in the right configuration, or abseiling down a wall to hang a work in a tricky spot. The photos below show the Gallery’s install teams in action - from 1954 to today.
1954: The Museum Microcosm: Items from the Auckland War Memorial Museum
1971: Morris Louis (In 1971, not only was it okay to handle artworks without wearing gloves – it was okay to handle artworks while smoking your pipe!)
1981: Artichoke. The legendary exhibition where every painting in the collection was put on display.
1995: Transformers. Installing the 5000 polystyrene balls of Nike Savvas’ installation Simple Division.
2001: Bambury: Works 1975-1999. The installation of this exhibition of Stephen Bambury’s work required a steady hand and a head for heights.
2001: 1st Auckland Triennial: Bright Paradise: Exotic History and Sublime Artifice; Ashley Bickerton, Them [detail], 1998
2002: Love and Death: Art in the Age of Queen Victoria.Before the development project, large works like Frederic Leighton’s The Syracusan Bride, 1865-6 had to enter the building via crane over the café balcony …
… and then be shuffled past the muffins and paninis in the café …
… before finally arriving in the gallery for installation. Of course, large works would also have to exit the building using the same circuitous route. Hooray for our new, spacious loading bay and goods lift!
2005: Mixed-Up Childhood. Assembling the fragile glass structure of Louise Bourgeois’ Cell 1990-3.
2005: Mixed-Up Childhood. Unpacking a fragment of Jake and Dinos Chapman’s The Return of the Repressed 1997.
2005: Framing the Past
2008: The collection was packed up and moved into offsite storage before the building development project was begun.
2008: The Enchanted Garden
2008: The Walters Prize. Installing the 7081 tiny canvases of John Reynold’s Cloud, 2006.
2009: Yinka Shonibare
2009: The Julian and Josie Robertson Promised Gift: An Exclusive Preview. With only nine hours to install, this exhibition went up in double-quick time. (Artwork shown: Pablo Picasso, Mère aux enfants a l'orange (Mother and children with an orange), 1951, promised gift of Julian and Josie Robertson)
2010: Call Waiting: A Celebration of the New Gallery 1995-2011 (See our previous blog about the installation of this artwork here.)
2011: Toi Aotearoa: New Zealand Art 1965-1900. The first work to be hung in the developed Gallery was Colin McCahon’s 1952 painting On Building Bridges.
2011: Installing Choi Jeong Hwa’s Flower Chandelier, 2011 in the North Atrium.
2011: Whizz Bang Pop. Installing the Boyle Family’s The Gisborne Triptych, 1990 in the Parkview Gallery.
2011: Whizz Bang Pop. Installing Luc Piere’s Tower, 1973 in the Parkview Gallery.