Monday 15 March 2021

New Zealand’s contemporary art prize, a survey of work by a much-loved light artist, two thought-provoking exhibitions from the Gallery’s collection, an expansive installation by an internationally celebrated artist, a spectacular new sculpture for Matariki and much more is confirmed for Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki’s May to September programme.

Director Kirsten Lacy says Auckland Art Gallery’s autumn and winter programme has been two years in the making with new research informing art experiences presented across the building.

‘Our programme includes significant presentations of the Gallery’s New Zealand and International collections, it will showcase some of the greatest contemporary artists of our era and include the unveiling of a major sculptural commission on the Gallery’s forecourt as well as the presentation of artworks shortlisted for New Zealand’s art award, The Walters Prize.’

‘I’m immensely proud of the Auckland Art Gallery team, and we are so thankful to all our supporters who continue to give generously and enable us to present exceptional free experiences to our communities,’ she says.

Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive Nick Hill says the breadth and quality in the upcoming programme will contribute to the cultural vibrancy of a city ‘hungry for more in the post-lockdown era’.

‘While our borders remain closed to international travel, we have a unique opportunity to experience incredible work by New Zealand and international artists here in Auckland.

‘The stunning Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art exhibition is a must-see for all New Zealanders. When the exhibition ends in May, we can look forward to presentations of a wealth of skilfully curated artworks from the Gallery’s collection, the thought-provoking contemporary works from The Walters Prize finalists and much more.’

Coming up at Auckland Art Gallery from May are:

The Walters Prize: Opening Saturday 15 May

This year marks the 10th iteration of New Zealand’s national art prize. The Walters Prize showcases the most outstanding of the country’s contemporary art from the years preceding the prize. The finalists in this year’s prize are Fiona Amundsen, Sonya Lacey, Mata Aho Collective and Sriwhana Spong. The exhibition – and the announcement of the winner of this renowned award – means The Walters Prize provides an opportunity for all New Zealanders to discover the pulse of contemporary art in the country today. Project Curator: Curator of Contemporary Art Natasha Conland.

All That Was Solid Melts: Opening Saturday 5 June

All That Was Solid Melts is the creation of Senior Curator Global Contemporary Art Juliana Engberg who, in this major exhibition, takes the viewer on a journey of emotional and philosophical encounters as we contemplate isolation, stoicism, fear, anxiety and dread. Through the exhibition journey we are all the time accompanied by the consolations of art, aesthetics and beauty as imagined through the minds of artists. This exhibition is a travel through time, ruins and fragmentations in which life and humanity are once again reasserted, emerging as resilient, rejuvenated and set free from worry. The exhibition offers a strong emphasis on international contemporary art joined by historical works of significance.

Reuben Paterson: Opening Saturday 19 June

Contemporary artist Reuben Paterson has been commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery and the Edmiston Trust to create a spectacular new work for the Gallery’s forecourt pool.

Slow Wonder | Bill Culbert: Opening Saturday 3 July

Slow Wonder | Bill Culbert reveals this New Zealand artist’s quiet study of light’s different characteristics, from the way it behaves in space to the way it transforms our experience of everyday things. Culbert’s practice has been described as a consistent search for paradox, and exhibition visitors will experience the jolt felt when the obvious dissolves into wonder. As a focused survey developed by Curator New Zealand Art Julia Waite, Slow Wonder | Bill Culbert is an invitation to consider the artist’s enduring curiosity and experiments with light. Supported by The Chartwell Trust.

Romancing the Collection: Opening Saturday 14 August

In the 19th century, when Auckland Art Gallery’s collection was first established, a hierarchy of styles and subjects was considered important. Following the dictates of the French and British art academies, emphasis was given to the acquisition of History, Portrait, Landscape, Genre and Still-life painting. Romancing the Collection presents a large selection of these works, from Romantic-inspired vistas and personalities to works that show the freedoms acquired in a more modern and contemporary approach. Love is encountered, styles and sensibilities shift, frivolities give way to formalisms, and visions. Spirited, playful and intermixed in its trans-historical approach, this exhibition will invite you to fall a little in love with Auckland Art Gallery’s collection.

Vocabulary of Solitude Atrium Commission by Ugo Rondinone: Opening Saturday 28 August

Acclaimed international artist, Ugo Rondinone, brings his colourful clown ensemble, Vocabulary of Solitude, to Auckland Art Gallery. Known for his spectacular, yet deeply philosophical, installation works, Rondinone’s art is characterised by the sweet melancholy produced when combining the happiness of rainbow colours with a stillness, sadness and atmosphere of ennui. Rondinone’s ungendered, performatively costumed and made-up clowns stand in as those figures who remain outside society’s mainstream. In a time in which we’ve spent hours contemplating solitariness and singularity, Rondinone offers the opportunity to explore notions of being though his community of jesters. Curated by Juliana Engberg and supported by the Auckland Contemporary Art Trust.

Manpower: Myths of Masculinity: Opening Saturday 4 September

Manpower: Myths of Masculinity brings into focus the many images of eroticised male bodies that have underpinned the rich holdings of Auckland’s public art gallery since its foundation in 1888. Manpower has been researched by Senior Curator International Art Sophie Matthiesson and Assistant Curator, International Art Emma Jameson. The exhibition charts changing attitudes to sexuality around the time of the artworks’ acquisitions and in the decades that followed, beginning with the appeal and meaning of such frankly sensual images for their Victorian-era collectors.

For more information, contact: 

Olivia Boswell
Auckland Art Gallery Communications Officer (interim)
M +64 21 952 759
Email Olivia