Finally, the artworld is reawakening, stretching its arms out wide and greeting the world through a slightly new lens.
One of the great things about art galleries (with regards to social distancing), is that they are already reasonably sterile and never usually full. So, although openings and large gatherings may be off the cards for a little while, there is no reason one can’t support their local gallery by popping in to say hello and have a squiz at the brain candy on display.
Most galleries will be up and running again by mid-June. Until then, here are some reflections, past, present and forthcoming, from three of my favourite Auckland art centres.
The Auckland Art Gallery re-opens its doors to the public on Saturday, 13 June. With three shows on display; Honestly Speaking: The Word, the Body and the Internet – on until 23 August; Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan – on until 16 August; and Civilisation, Photography, Now – on until 18 October. For more info visit aucklandartgallery.com
During lockdown Auckland Art Gallery opened a new virtual gallery experience for its Enchanted Worlds exhibition. Viewable via desktop or mobile device, the app lets you choose between three different tour experiences: a family tour with fun facts and art-making activities; a curator’s highlight tour that covers insights and stories on Edo-period poetry, music, theatre, fashion and visual arts; or an in-depth exhibition experience with extended artwork labels. Well worth checking out via virtual.aucklandartgallery.com
Whitespace Gallery has opened its doors to Absolution by Camille Sanson, as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography. Absolution is a solo exhibition, reflecting Sanson’s personal journey into motherhood.
During lockdown Whitespace had some interesting online exhibitions, notably the powerful work of Penny Howard, Te Whakahoki – a sort of homecoming, which combines historic Māori artefacts – taonga tüturu – which were auctioned off for large sums in Britain, with the painted surroundings of Aotearoa – bringing the taonga back home. For more info visit whitespace.co.nz
Tautai Pacific Arts Trust impressively launched its new website within a week of lockdown, then proceeded to activate the creative pacific community with Postcards Unlocked. A total of 40 postcards were created, each offering a snippet of an artists practice. Keeping the digital waves bright and vibrant during an otherwise grey period of recent history. Taking place via Tautai’s social media platforms, the initiative included work from visual artists, musicians, sculptors, dancers, designers, poets, performing artists, filmmakers, fashion designers and other emerging artforms. Well worth checking out at tautai.org/community