Thursday 11 December 2008

2 days to go.....installing the exhibition

All the months of selecting work and researching and writing wall texts and labels are essential for an exhibition. However, it is only when works start coming into the gallery spaces and the curator puts the puzzle together that he or she knows if the concept has worked, particularly with such a varied show as The Enchanted Garden. Scott Everson, our designer, has been busy with the preparators, painting walls, (demolishing or moving them on occasion), and working out issues to do with lighting and projection.

After crates and travelling frames have been unloaded the works are put on sponge ‘softies’ randomly against any wall space available, and it is at this point that the curator can sometimes have a moment of panic! Then, gradually, as the works get grouped according to their themes, (and occasionally one gets rejected because it just can’t fit on the allocated wall) it starts to come together. The designer, preparators and curator work together as a team, patiently moving works left or right, experimenting with a particular hang until it feels just right. It’s exhausting, both physically and mentally, but extremely satisfying when it all comes together.

With this show, there are also a range of objects from private collectors, artists’ projects and the decorative arts collection at the Auckland Museum. All of these go in last, except for a delicate embroidered quilt, which has to be suspended high on a wall. Only then can the botanical prints that sit either side be laid out. Finally, there’s the knitted tea cosy, Meissen porcelain, the Maria Loboda vase of floral curses, dvds sculptures etc.

Two days to go, but now we know we’ve got a show!

The Enchanted Garden - opens 13 December 2008

image credit:

Peter Siddell
Tombstone Angel
acrylic on hardboard
Auckland Art Gallery, bequest of Miss L D Gilmour 1990

On Photography – Christmas ‘in camera’

Christmas as a thematic subject for artists is in only a few of the works in the Gallery’s collections. 13 works are tagged with Christmas in our catalogue. Two works on paper, by Richard Hamilton and Graham Smith, are fascinating as they reveal another perspective on this festive period.

Richard Hamilton’s 1971 screenprint I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas (above) has become an emblem of the artist’s career. The image is based on a promotional photographic still from the movie Holiday Inn that shows Bing Crosby walking across the hotel’s lobby. Using the brilliant tonal range of dye transfer as his starting point, Hamilton then reverses the original colours of the film still and then adds haphazard colour shifts, while further adding both collage and wash. Such a painterly response to photography is a characteristic of Hamilton’s work. The mood is one of strange humour.

Chris Killip and Graham Smith collaborated on their important documentary project titled Another Country (above). This is not the tourist view of England but a socially conscious insider’s response to poverty. The two artists have been described as ‘documentary mavericks’. Smith stopped making photographs three years after he made this image of a ‘working class family’ feeling the stress of seven days away from Christmas. As with all great social documentary photography, the human feeling is in preponderance.

Enjoy the festivities (hopefully not too black or stressful). I will return in the New Year with more On Photography.

Click here to read my other posts On Photography.

image credits:

Richard Hamilton born 1922 Great Britain
I’m dreaming of a black Christmas 1971
Screenprint on collotype, with collage and wash
750 x 1010mm
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1975

Graham Smith born 1947 Great Britain
One Week Before Christmas 1987
From the series: Another Country
Gelatin silver print
407 x 508mm
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1987

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Putting down roots in the gallery

Part of the upcoming exhibition - The Enchanted Garden, involves an artists project by Monique Redmond.

I was fortunate enough to hear from the curator, Mary Kisler, about Redmond's ambition for this project; to create a Pohutukawa Forest in the gallery. As i like to show some of the more unusual behind-the-scenes happenings at the gallery, the arrival of a forest of trees into the gallery seemed to fit.

Above is Monique Redmond who i like to think is checking out the height of the latest delivery of Pohutakawa trees with in trepidation.

How many preps does it take to make a forest?!

Looks like a rare sighting of the red headed prep lost amongst the forest. Apparently quite tame though.

......that's all I can reveal but if you want more, the exhibition opens on Saturday 13th December, come and see if they have flowered especially for the opening weekend. Fingers crossed!

Thursday 4 December 2008

On Photography - Florence Henri

The acquisition of modernist photographic portraits has never been a strategic focus for our international collection. Nevertheless, the Gallery acquired from a Sothebys auction during 1979 sale a remarkable self portrait photograph by Florence Henri. Although she was born in New York in 1893, Henri trained at the Bauhaus at Dessau as a Swiss citizen. She worked under the direct tuition of her teachers Lazlo Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers. As an artist, Moholy- Nagy was fascinated with still life, distorted perspectives and the employment of multiple reflections. Such approaches to representation encouraged her to experiment with the medium of photography, which later worked set up her freelance career in Paris (1929 to 1963) as a successful portrait, fashion and advertising photographer.

Mirrors, glass and chromium-plated balls surfaced in her photographs during 1928. All of these images started out as pre-visioned still lives. Using her recently purchased Leica I, she prepared miniature tableaux in her studio for the sole purpose of a photographic record. These works contrast scale with complex reflections.

Henri’s Self Portrait of 1928 is rarely found in a period vintage print. The version that the Gallery acquired was printed later, which is obvious from the type of photographic paper she has used that certainly post-dates World War II. This may be the brilliant Agfa Brovira paper, which became available in France after 1946. This particular print has sustained chemical blemishes from what appear to be the artist’s own fingerprints which she has attempted to cover with a stippled spotting technique.

This famous Self Portrait has a stunning composition. The contrast of vertical and horizontal planes, the oddly sized mirror, the playful metallic reflections and the artist’s own tight pose - imitating a sculptural bust’s format - are all controlled by a tense and surprising design.

Click here to read more On Photography by Ron Brownson

Image credits (top to bottom):

Florence Henri (1893-1982) Switzerland
Self Portrait 1928 (printed later)
Gelatin silver print
279 x 190mm
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 1979

Detail: Self Portrait 1928

The Enchanted Garden - Pulling it all together

While in many contemporary exhibitions, it is not usual practice to write extended labels for individual art works, for a large scale summer show that ranges across a wide theme they are an integral part of the experience.

I am an inveterate hoarder of magazine articles, second hand books, extracts off the web, etc so when I started to plan The Enchanted Garden exhibition I already had a lot of material to hand. However, without the assistance of the Gallery’s librarians, who are always happy to source material, it would not have been possible to cover the range of themes that I have. Even after writing 130 extended labels (some loans don’t have them) there is still so much more that could be said.

It is when you write the wall texts that the exhibition really comes together. Sometimes wall texts are really obvious and simple, but on other occasions narrowing down what you need to say, and tying different aspects of a show together, can get very challenging. Then everything has to be edited carefully for any errors or oversights – a daunting task that requires the assistance of willing readers.

While it is the registrar’s job to assist by liaising with artists and dealers when bringing works into the gallery, our designer has also been busy working out how to best display the range of works. Spaces change between exhibitions and for this show we have opened up the atrium, so the centre of the gallery is flooded with light.

Luckily most of the walls have remained in the positions created for the previous show (2008 Walters Prize), but the spaces are starting to look very different as new colours go on the walls. In this way we can tie particular works and themes together.

One of the preparators has constructed a circular table that is also an interactive for children, and a Temple of Vesta has been constructed as one of the four activities that we are offering to booked tours for people with visual impairment, to give added meaning to two prints which show the Temple in its natural surroundings. Much to do…

Click here to read more posts on The Enchanted Garden
Click here to visit The Enchanted Garden on the Auckland Art Gallery website

Monday 1 December 2008

December on the gallery development site

Well, it's the 2nd of December and the pace of 'deconstruction' has not slowed down! Now that all of the 'non-heritage' parts of the building have been removed - the middle section and the 'wedge' (as the gallery staff call it!) to the rear of the building - you can get a very clear understanding of how the buildings must have looked back in the late 1800's and early 1900's!

The Wellesley and Kitchener wings soar along Wellesley and Kitchener Street. Built at a time when the Park and trees were not as well-established as today - this building, which housed the council's municipal offices, a library and art gallery - must have dramatically changed the city landscape.

The now temporarily free-standing building adjacent to the park - the East Gallery - was built in 1916 to address the need for more gallery space. It is one of only two day lit galleries of its kind in New Zealand - where the light is admitted through a roof-based monitor and diffused through a lay-light. It's exciting to think we are going to be able to enjoy the gallery in a way that our forebears did when we re-open in 2011. Then, though we will enter at a slighter higher level than before, so that visitors do not need to negotiate stairs to get into this gallery.

By removing the 'wedge' which used to contain the goods lift and various back of house necessities, you can glimpse the outside of the original Wellesley wing on its northern side. It is easy to see the outlines of windows on this wall if you look at the images on the gallery's webcam. The intention is to make reference to this in the new building - in the south atrium which replaces the wedge at the south eastern end of the building.

At the moment work is focusing on ensuring that the heritage buildings are secure. Obviously in a project of this kind, you don't just pull down the bits of the building you don't want! The six buildings that comprised the art gallery as we knew it, were so closely packed, that enormous care has been taken when removing the more recent additions.

Once everything is satisfactorily secured, attention will turn to the next stage of the building project - which will be excavation to create a lower basement and a basement in the middle area between the two historic buildings. It reminds me a little of the Auckland Museum project. I remember being invited to a tour to look at the enormous hole that had been excavated! I can also remember the excavations for the Sky Tower - I was working in a building that overlooked the site. Our digging will probably seem insignificant in comparison! Still exciting though!

image credits (top to bottom):

Henry Winklemann
Date: 1903
Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

Detail of webcam image

Friday 21 November 2008

On Photography - snapshot photography

The term ‘snapshot’ usually refers to an unrehearsed amateur black and white photograph made sometime between 1900 and 1980. Frequently, these images are a spontaneous and casual record of social interaction - a party, an outing, a pet, a holiday or a gathering of family and friends. Snapshots can actually become the visual memory of some memorable event or encounter. Early on, they were exposed outdoors because of the roll film's inability to cope with low light conditions. By 1965, indoor images started occuring simply people wanted to try making some of their snapshots indoors.

I attach some interesting vernacular snapshots, sourced from Flickr at

The publisher of these images, Redbricktudor, has noted that the group portrait of Catholic priests was purchased in the town of Magnolia, Texas, during November 2004. These four men are recorded during their seminarian period and all wear black cassocks (also called the soutane). They are probably aged in their early twenties and none appear to be Catholic Jesuits, who always wore a cassock secured by hook fastenings rather than buttons.

Judging from the dimensions of the snapshot a date between 1920 and 1925 seems likely. The use of pomade to slick their hair into a closely parted coiffure is also accurate to that period. All four priests are posing for an informal portrait, although the man holding the prayer book seems the most relaxed. It is interesting to note that his cassock is made using silk.

Redbricktudor purchased another portrait of one of the priest’s from a dealer at Hardwick, Vermont, during August 2004. It is fascinating to see that it is of the same priest who is second from the left in the earlier group image. This snapshot must date from about a decade later. This man is no longer a seminarian but a fully-fledged priest. He is taking his photo-moment seriously and he looks much older and more care-worn, by about 10 years, than in the earlier group picture.

One feature common to early snapshots is the fact that the frame edges are almost always casually composed, as it was difficult to ascertain where the edges of the final photo would be. Often, snapshots are taken from a low camera angle in pre-1940 images, as the photographer had to look down into the camera’s viewfinder. Frequently, people gathered for the occasion of the photograph for some minutes and their facial expression frequently becomes ‘set’ by the waiting.

Snapshots came into being at the same time people began to own cameras, during the first two decades of the 20th century. Kodak first led the way with their Pocket Folding bellows camera (from about 1896), followed by the Box Brownie (from 1900) and their Kodak Instamatic (from 1965). These cameras were all cheap and portable. Their ease of use encouraged a regular usage of film and easy access to the commercially produced contact prints.

Click here to read more On Photography by Ron Brownson

Thursday 20 November 2008

Development project through the eyes of others

This youtube video (since this post this video has been removed from youtube) was sent to me this week. It certainly gives an idea of some of the more dramatic times in the development project so far.

The creator does not allow embedding the video so here is the link instead:

Check out the webcam here for more up to date and detailed images of the project.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

The Enchanted Garden - Stepping up the pace.

While paper conservators beaver away in the lab treating any prints that might be foxed, and painting conservators clean and treat any works that need attention before being put on display, the curator steps up the pace, finalising any public loans.

For The Enchanted Garden we are borrowing from several dealer galleries, so loan letters have to go out, contracts drawn up and any requirements on the part of the artist or dealer recorded carefully prior to the works being delivered.
We’re also borrowing decorative art objects from Auckland Museum, and our conservators have photographed the works and written condition reports. This happens with every loan work, both into and out of the Gallery, as it is important to have a record of any blemishes, damages etc especially when dealing with fragile porcelain or historic paintings.

As part of this process, the logistics of transporting and displaying individual items are carefully worked through. Two of the paintings in our collection are also getting new frames, so the curator’s job is to select the mouldings and liase with the framer. Meanwhile, research into selected works is taking place, and regular meetings with the designer, education and public programmers all have to fit into the mix.

To read more posts on The Enchanted Garden click here.

Image Credits (top to bottom):

Alberta Pulicino
View of Floriana from La Madonna del Tocha
Post 1749
oil on canvas
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Conservators at work
Photo by John McIver

Thursday 30 October 2008

On Photography - Paul Hewson’s Polaroid portraits of Robert Muldoon

In light of New Zealand’s current election campaign, I profile some political art in this week's post.

The Gallery only holds a few portraits of local politicians. Two of the most powerful are also amongst our smallest works – both measure 79 mm square and both have the same title: Muldoon T.V. 2

During 1975, I believe Paul Hewson attended the National Party’s election meeting in Auckland’s Town Hall where he photographed Robert Muldoon. Mr Muldoon was then the leader of the National Party and would soon become New Zealand’s Prime Minister, a position he held until 1984. I cannot find any records of Hewson’s photographs taken at this party political meeting being held in any public collection.

Mr Muldoon (1921 – 1992) brilliantly understood the ability of television to deliver political messages and he was renowned for his forceful political presence during television interviews.
An infamous example of his media style occurred when Simon Walker for TV1 interviewing him during 1976. Here is a link to archival footage of the interview.

Mr Muldoon tells Walker:

‘You are not going to set the rules my friend, this is an important matter and we are going to get to the truth of it’.

During 1976, Paul Hewson used his Polaroid SX70 camera to record these colour photographs from his television set’s black and white monitor while Mr Muldoon appeared in TV2’s live studio interview. The resulting images are digital portraits and result from Hewson's documentation of the television broadcast. The instantaneous results are two miniature portraits that have a visual wallop. Muldoon’s eyes look as if they are closed, an effect due to the camera’s slow exposure time. The Prime Minister seems utterly determined. These are portraits of a politician certain of his opinions, which is unsurprising, as the Prime Minister was known for his incisive thinking.

We see a similarly potent confidence in Tony Fomison’s political paintings from the 1970s, such as Jack in the Box 1978, where a Muldoon-like face intimidates a tiny person. This small work (419 x 333mm) came to the Gallery from the late Denis Cohn’s personal art collection.

Paul Hewson’s Muldoon T.V.2 reveals a Prime Minister who is assertive, powerful and authoritative. Fomison similarly understood that the physical scale of a portrait does not limit an artwork’s expressive potential.

Click here to read more On Photography by Ron Brownson

Credits (top to bottom)

Paul Hewson
Muldoon T.V.2 1977
colour SX70 polaroid print
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Paul Hewson
Muldoon T.V.2 1977
colour SX70 polaroid print
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Tony Fomison
Jack in the Box 1978
oil on linen
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Wednesday 15 October 2008

On Photography - Sports photography in Canterbury

Edward Wheeler (active 1877 – 1912)
Trout in New Zealand Rivers, the Upper Selwyn. A good days sport 38 fish with the fly, two rods
circa 1890
gelatin silver print

Wheeler & Son maintained a major photographic studio in central Christchurch from about 1864 until 1912. Edmund Wheeler (1800 – 1877) and his son Edward (active 1877 – 1912) managed the family business. As well as being well-known studio portraitists, they produced many memorable landscape images. I have always thought that their sports photography was memorable as it shows their commitment to pre-planning and to recording significant events in Canterbury's sports calendar.

Edward Wheeler’s photograph of 38 trout dates from the early 1890s and must be one of the earliest angling records of a large catch. The trout are all young, as the species had only been in the Upper Selwyn River for less than two decades. It is likely that the bait used was live cockabully (freshwater Eleotris gobiodes), a major food for introduced trout. Perhaps the photograph marks one of the regular Canterbury Angler’s Associations competition days where the weight of the catch was often commented upon rather than the size of the trout. Apparently, night was a good time to fish in the Selwyn River.

Edward Wheeler (active 1877 – 1912)
Canterbury Rowing Club on the Avon
circa 1890
gelatin silver print

Photographs of the opening day of the Canterbury Rowing Club’s annual rowing season were relatively common during the period 1890 to 1910, according to photography historian William Main. This image is one of the earliest known images of the annual rowing event and was later issued as a printed postcard. The rowers are all members of the CRC and wear their ‘all whites’ which rowing historian Evan McCalman has kindly informed me are the correct club colours.

The Auckland Art Gallery does not have many sports photographs but this pair by Edward Wheeler are outstanding early examples in this genre of our photographic history.

Click here to read more On Photography by Ron Brownson

Monday 13 October 2008

Opening of the Walters Prize 2008

Here are a few images of the opening of the 2008 Walters Prize. Oscar Keightly gave a brilliant and funny opening speach, welcoming everyone to the exhibition and there was certainly a buzz in the air that night.
Opening speaker Oscar Keightly

Edith Amituanai with Oscar Keightly

Lisa Reihana with Steven Ball

John Reynolds with Clare McLintoc

Peter Robinson with Ava Seymour

Witi Ihamaera, Jenny Gibbs
(one of the Founding benefactor and donors of the Walters Prize)
and Hart Reynolds

Everyone enjoyed a night to celebrate the opening of fourth Walters Prize. now we just have to see who judge Catherine David will choose as the winner of the 2008 Walters Prize. The winner is announced at a gala dinner on 31 October 2008.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Gallery Development - work begins

The development project seems to be moving along really quickly at the moment. Odd to see the staff room and below that the office that I occupied for six years being removed

Experienced Hawkins staff tell me that this part of a project - setting up for construction, clearing the site, putting up the hoardings and generally getting established is part of the busiest time from the public's point of view. So much seems to be changing each day. Looking at today's photos it seems hard to believe that it was only last week that we attended the plaque unveiling ceremony to mark the commencement of the project!

Rt Hon, Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand and His Worship, John Banks QSO Mayor of Auckland City at the plaque unveiling ceremony on 2 October 2008

It is good to see that some trees have already been planted along the boundary of the site on the Albert Park side. Watching trees be removed from the site by crane was one of the more dramatic sights to date!

Once the Edmiston wing, that is currently being demolished has been cleared, we will all be able to understand much more clearly the layout of the heritage buildings along Wellesley and Kitchener Street, and exactly where the new building will be constructed.

Thursday 2 October 2008

Packing up and moving on

The exhibition Turuki Turuki! Paneke Paneke! closed at the Auckland Art Gallery on the 24th August 2008. But that's not the end of it.

TTPP as it was affectionately know by staff here, is going on tour to Whangarei Art Museum.

I'll be following the exhibition's progress, from the de-installation at the Auckland Art Gallery, through its travels up the country and eventual opening in Whangarei.

To start with, here are some images of the registrars and preparators taking down the exhibition and packing it up safe and sound.

Registrar Penny Hacking with preparators Rod MacLeod and Dareen Sheehan packing artwork.

Sculptures in their specially made crates (thanks to the preparators).

Preparator Shane Norrie carefully putting an artwork in it's crate.

Photos by Jennifer French

Tuesday 30 September 2008

On Photography - up on the roof

In contrast to my last post, the most recent photography acquisition of the Auckland Art Gallery is Richard Collins’ photograph Auckland Roofs of 1973. Richard was born in Wellington and educated at Christ's College, Christchurch before he trained as an architect at the University of Auckland. He began his photography during the early 1960s and learnt to make prints from Gary Baigent. Using a 35mm camera, he travelled throughout New Zealand making lyrical photographs of young adults and the ways in which they were then living.

Auckland Roofs is an impressive image because it is wonderfully subtle. As a large-scale vintage exhibition print, it is also a tremendous discovery for the Gallery. Two men (as seen in the detail above) survey Auckland from the top of the roof on a Freeman's Bay villa, in Franklin Road. The image was produced at the time when Ponsonby was still regarded as being an area of low cost housing dating from the Victorian era. Students, senior citizens and immigrant Pacific Islanders where the predominant residents of this inner city suburb.

Richard has obviously had to climb onto the roof of the house to get the image. The surreal notion of there being another rooftop ‘world’ is typical of the artist’s discerning humour, when an unexpected moment quickly marks the occasion of the image’s gathering. The tone of the print expresses the summer’s day with limpid heat. Looking back, we can sense the small town quality which Auckland still had the vestiges of in the early 1970s.


Richard Collins
Auckland Roofs
Gelatin silver print
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 2008

Thursday 25 September 2008

What's going on?

If any of you are wondering how work is progressing on the main gallery during the development, you can get a birds-eye-view of the construction progress through the development webcam. Just click here to take a peak.

In time i'm hoping to add a timelapse of the construction to replace the current slideshow.

Monday 22 September 2008

Exchange ahoy!

Every year the Research Library sends out the Auckland Art Gallery's latest publications on exchange to around 70 public art gallery's at home and abroad, including the Tate, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou to name a few. Caroline McBride (pictured) cheerfully packages up the exhibition catalogues Mystic Truths, Turuki Turuki! Paneke Paneke! and the Walters Prize 2008, and the second issue of the "Reading Room" journal. The publications exchange programme is a long-standing tradition between art libraries around the world. It is a very successful collegial activity, providing access to a wide range of current exhibition catalogues and a form of targeted distribution.

Thursday 18 September 2008

On Photography - Truganini

The first photograph added to the Auckland Art Gallery’s collection
was this remarkable and disturbing Australian photograph titled The Last of the Native Race of Tasmania. It was acquired in 1893 (1893/2) and was a gift from Sir George Grey. Taken by Henry Frith about 1866 it includes, from left, Mary-Ann, William Lanne, Bessie Clark and Truganini.

Truganini was born about 1812 on Bruny Island, south of Hobart. Her name means the grey saltbush (Atriplex cinerea). Truganini’s mother was murdered by whalers, as were most of her family.

In 1873, Truganini was thought to be the sole surviving Tasmanian Aborigine, as her husband William Lanne died in 1869. When Truganini died in 1876, she was given a government funeral but her coffin was deliberately left empty and her body interred in the Hobart Penitentiary’s vault. Truganini’s body was exhumed two years later, her bones cleaned of their flesh, and her skeleton articulated and placed on public display at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Her skeleton remained on exhibit until 1947. Only on the centenary of her death in 1976, did Truganini gain her dying wish that her ashes be scattered in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Knowing this, the hand-coloured sepia photograph becomes a testament of cruelty. All the figures are attired in their missionary ‘Sunday best’ and come across as sentinels who actually mark the passing of Tasmania’s indigenous people. The photograph’s title reinforces such a reading. The Corinthian columns further accentuate the image’s colonial reality as a visual document of genocide.

Read more On Photography here

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Selecting works for The Enchanted Garden

Perhaps the hardest thing when commencing preparation for an exhibition is selecting works for the show. After building up a possible list off the database, the curator spends a number of days in the Gallery’s art stores. That is when the fun starts, as far as I am concerned, because while any work that has been exhibited is mounted in a cardboard matt with a backing board, there are often loose prints or drawings or watercolours, each housed in folded acid free tissue to protect the work.

These have never been matted, or therefore exhibited, and simply lie quietly in their box hoping their turn will come. Some, of course, may never see the light of day – perhaps they were acquired long in the past – we have lots of prints and drawings of sheep, for example, because early donors were homesick for the Scottish Highlands– or because over time the work has degraded and cannot be treated, so that it become unexhibitable.

For every one of those, however, there will be a hundred or so works which catch the eye, and what should be a short task stretches because it is impossible to resist the temptation to go through each box in its entirety. In this way, curators really get to know their collection.

When I first started working at the gallery in 1998, I used the contents of the boxes to get ideas for possible exhibitions, building lists of themes, such as Politics, Death, Theatre, etc. We didn’t have the great database and website we have now, but I still go back to these lists just to check that there isn’t some work that has slipped off the radar. These are added to my exhibition list, which I then print out with small images and locations.

Then the hard work really starts, because each one has to be examined, the vertically challenged often requiring helpers who can pull out heavy painting racks, and assist with carrying some of the heavier solander boxes. Sculptures are trickier, because they are usually packed in crates, but as we have fewer they tend to be familiar.

The works have to fit the brief, and all be approved by the Gallery Conservators before final approval, and inevitably certain works get eliminated during the process.

This is the second of my series of posts on the planning process for my upcoming exhibition The Enchanted Garden. To read the first post, click here.

image credits from the top:

The old print room

Conservator at work

Joseph Moran Granny Smith gouache
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki gift of Mrs K M Marsh, 1976

Harold Knight White Clematis oil on canvas
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki purchased 1912

Johann Ladenspelder, after Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve after 1504 engraving
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, gift of Wallace Alexander, 1940