Civilisation, Photography, Now


Civilisation, Photography, Now


Civilisation, Photography, Now


Civilisation, Photography, Now looks at our built environments and our hyper-connected, 21stcentury lives through the eyes of the skilful photographers who have so vividly pictured them. Humans engineer vast systems and structures, producing dazzling spectacles and generating complex conflicts. These ceaseless activities are captured in Civilisation, Photography, Now which features the work of 100 of the world’s finest photographers.

The exhibition illustrates our increasingly global, connected society, and encourages viewers to consider where we live, how we consume, and how we travel, learn, explore and control. Art and documentary photography, photojournalism and commercial image-making by artists including Richard Misrach, Candida Höfer, Pieter Hugo, Taryn Simon and An-My Lê focus attention on our habitation of the planet.

Civilisation, Photography, Now is curated by renowned international photography curators William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell. The exhibition is co-produced by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis and Lausanne. Ron Brownson is the coordinating curator for Auckland Art Gallery.

Click here to read an article by William Ewing and Holly Roussell on Civilisation, Photography, Now in a Covid-19 World.

Get involved in our My Civilisation Now creative photography competition. Click here to find out how to enter. 

Civilisation, Photography, Now is supported by Principal Partner AUT with Major Partners Beca and Jasmax, and Media Partners QMS and Mai FM.

Image above: Mike Kelley Flughafen Zürich 28 and 16 (Visual Separation), from the series Airportraits, 2015 © Mike Kelley

Civilisation, Photography, Now is conceived as a journey through eight key aspects of contemporary civilisation:

  • HIVE explores the urban networks that form modern cities with images depicting the intricate ebb and flow of human activity in ever-changing built environments
  • ALONE TOGETHER presents people and their relationships and considers how an increasingly digitised world influences our social relations.
  • FLOW reveals both the invisible and visible movement of people, goods and ideas around the world and the effect these systems have on our understanding of contemporary life.
  • PERSUASION investigates the mechanisms we use to persuade others to follow our desires, from advertising and business to religion and politics.
  • CONTROL highlights the impact of authority, as well as our increasing desire to dictate order and structure our future development.
  • RUPTURE examines social breakdown, revealing conflicts between individuals and forcing us to confront civilisation’s failures.
  • ESCAPE examines leisure and recreation, including cruise ships and amusement parks, as well as revealing the paradoxical stress within holiday industries.
  • NEXT surveys the world taking shape in the 21st century, where rapid technological advancement is global.

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Single exhibition entry (valid on any single day between Sat 13 Jun – Sun 18 Oct 2020): Civilisation, Photography, Now.

Adults $19

Concessions $16
(Community Services Card holders, Seniors, Students with ID.)

How to book

In advance
We're partnering with Eventfinda to offer online ticket sales for Civilisation, Photography, Now.

buy tickets

On the day
You can also buy tickets on any day of the exhibition (Sat 13 Jun – Sun 18 Oct 2020) from the Gallery's information desk on Ground level. and

More information

Prices include GST. Booking and delivery fees, where charged, are additional to the admission price.

There is no entry charge for children aged 12 or under. (All children 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult.)

Auckland Art Gallery Members go FREE:

  • Present your membership card at the information desk on the day of your visit and you will be issued with a ticket to the exhibition.
  • Members with a guest pass may also bring their guest for FREE.

Buy membership


Related Events

Click here to view a recording of the panel discussion, AKL, Now Next. 




Get involved in our My Civilisation Now creative photography competition. Share your view of how you see your world in this time of Covid 19, whether it was captured before or during lockdown, or now.

We’re calling on all amateur, first-time, student and emerging photographers to post your best shots to Instagram, responding to one of the Civilisation, Photography, Now exhibition’s eight themes:

Hive | Alone Together | Flow | Persuasion | Control Rupture | Escape | Next



Simply post your photograph to Instagram using the correct hashtag below, include your first name, photograph title, the one theme you have selected and (if over 12) a 10-20 word description of your artwork. Don’t forget to tag us @AucklandArtGallery

All age groups are welcome to enter in one of the three categories opposite. Be in to win great prizes, including exclusive curator tours of the exhibition, merchandise from the Gallery shop, and free exhibition tickets.

Free to enter and open to all New Zealand residents. Check out some recent entries below! 

For more information, including terms and conditions, click here. The competition has been extended and now closes at 5.00pm on Friday 2 October, 2020.



Civilisation, Photography, Now opens at Auckland Art Gallery on Sat 13 Jun and continues until Sun 18 Oct 2020. The exhibition will be open during normal Gallery hours, daily 10am–5pm. Fri, 10am–9pm. 

Civilisation, Photography, Now is located on Level 1 of the Gallery.

In advance

We're partnering with Eventfinda to provide advance online ticket sales for Civilisation, Photography, Now

buy tickets

On the day

You can also buy tickets on any day of the exhibition from the Gallery's information desks.  

Children aged 12 and under are FREE. Please note that children aged under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Any-day tickets provide you with exhibition admission on a single day only, but you may visit the exhibition more than once during that day.

Auckland Art Gallery Members and Members Guests receive FREE unlimited entry to Civilisation, Photography, Now.


Gallery Members receive free unlimited entry to Civilisation, Photography, Now and all ticketed exhibitions at Auckland Art Gallery.


For online tickets, Eventfinda's standard terms and conditions apply.

Your ticket price contributes to the costs involved in mounting an exhibition of this scale and calibre and of bringing international works on loan to New Zealand.

We recommend allowing 60–90 minutes to view Civilisation, Photography, Now. Last entry is usually at 4pm daily.

Yes, the exhibition is accompanied by a special visitor programme. See What’s on for more details. You can also subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter to receive the latest information on upcoming events straight to your email inbox – sign up at the bottom of any page on our website.

Yes, photography without flash for personal use is permitted in the exhibition. View the Gallery's full photography policy.

Families with children of all ages are very welcome, and children aged 12 and under go FREE to Civilisation, Photography, Now.

Please note we don't allow food or drink in the exhibition and ask that you don't touch the artworks.


We recommend Auckland Transport's Victoria Street carpark which is located a few hundred metres up the road from the Gallery.

Yes. Bookings for groups (including adult education groups) of 10 or more people should be made by emailing with the details of your group, group size, and preferred date(s) and time(s) of visit.

Booked groups will be prioritised.