William McAloon

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Thursday 12 April 2012
Ron Brownson

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With William’s passing I am struggling to find words which can express the grief we feel. To his partner Courtney and to his family and friends we extend our aroha at this time of bereavement.

William was an exceptional curator, and he was also an admired and dear friend. I would need to write many paragraphs to explain why William was such a uniquely gifted advocate for New Zealand’s visual arts. We understand Gordon Walters, Milan Mrkusich and Colin McCahon more comprehensively because of William’s dedication to their work. We realise why Rita Angus is one of the ‘greats’ because of the commitment that William, and his close colleague Jill Trevelyan, applied to their superb exhibition and publication project.

The Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa are indebted to the incisive and innovative curatorial work of William McAloon. His contribution to these museums is immense, and enduring. I have followed William’s career since he graduated from the University of Canterbury. His superb exhibitions, research, acquisitions, publications and lectures bore witness to his thorough knowledge of art history. William’s contribution to New Zealand’s art and artists has been impressive and of outstanding merit.

Dear William, I remember your faith. I know your respect for prayer. I recall the 8th-century honouring of Saint Patrick of Ireland and know that you would like these words:

Christ be with me
Christ within me
Christ behind me
Christ before me
Christ to win me
Christ to comfort and restore me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ in quiet
Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger

Image credit: William McAloon at the opening event for Rita Angus - Life & Vision at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Photograph: John McIver.