Public Programme: Te Mata / The Subject Now

On Te Mata: The Ethnological Portrait and The Subject Now
Roger Blackley, curator of Te Mata: The Ethnological Portrait and Christina Barton, curator of The Subject Now introduced their exhibitions.

Adam Art Gallery
Saturday 26 July

Roger Blackley discussed Te Mata: The Ethnological Portrait an exhibition of photography, painting and sculpture which focused on the distinctive tradition of Māori portraiture that flourished at the turn of the twentieth century. Blackley expanded on how these works marry an ethnological idealism with the realities of individual depiction, arguing that they transcend their original museological purpose as ethnic ‘types’. He focused in particular on the work of Charles Goldie and Nelson Illingworth to discuss their changing status within the larger framework of New Zealand art history.

Christina Barton gave a guided tour of The Subject Now which brought together nine artists working in various locations who pose new and compelling questions about the nature of the human subject under present conditions. Barton expanded on the project, to offer her thoughts about how these artists, working mainly with photography and video, present a timely set of responses that map the terrain of contemporary experience for viewers to negotiate.

Māori and the Museum
Conal McCarthy, author of Exhibiting Maori and Elizabeth Pishief, expert on ethnologist and museum director,
Augustus Hamilton, in conversation

Adam Art Gallery
Saturday 6 September

Drawing on their knowledge of the history of the National Museum and its treatment of and relationship with Māori and their cultural heritage, Elizabeth Pishief and Conal McCarthy offered insights into the museological context within which Te Mata: The Ethnological Portrait fits, to draw out the complex relationships between visual culture, ethnography, the museum and Māori.

Elizabeth Pishief is a heritage consultant currently working full-time on her PhD on archaeological site management in New Zealand. Her MA thesis in Museum Studies focused on the ethnologist and scientist Augustus Hamilton, the second Director of the Colonial Museum (1903-1913), who was employed by the government specifically to make ‘a national collection of Māori Art’ for New Zealand.

Dr Conal McCarthy is director of the Museum & Heritage Studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests include museum history and theory, visitor research, Māori art, and contemporary heritage issues. In 2007 he published Exhibiting Māori, the first major study of the history of exhibitions of Māori material in New Zealand. He is currently conducting research for his next book which will deal with museums and biculturalism.

Shareware – The Online Subject
A discussion chaired by Geoff Stahl, Lecturer in Media Studies that canvasses the new terrain of online subjectivity and questions the role of creativity within this space, where clear distinctions between public and private self are reconfigured and identity is potentially reconstructed.

Adam Art Gallery
Saturday 16 August

State of Terror
A discussion chaired by Danny Keenan, Associate Professor of Māori Studies that considered the legal implications, cultural repercussions and political consequences of events in New Zealand, where the state and the media have targeted individuals who they argue pose a threat to national or personal security.

Adam Art Gallery
Saturday 20 September

Follow the Leader
Brad Jackson, Professor of Leadership at The University of Auckland Business School, chaired a discussion about the dynamics of leadership in the increasingly media-driven, success-oriented environment that we have come to know as the democratic nation state.

Adam Art Gallery
Saturday 4 October

Critical Writing Workshop
With Mark Amery, Christina Barton, Paula Booker, Rebecca Rice and Thomasin Sleigh

Adam Art Gallery
Friday 5 September

In the lead-up to the Chartwell Trust Student Art Writing Prize, the Adam Art Gallery presented a workshop in which art writers, reviewers and critics discussed their approach to art criticism and critical writing in the context of the current Adam Art Gallery exhibitions. The discussion offered invaluable insights into the methods and techniques of critical writing and provide transferable skills and practical advice to aid submissions to the Chartwell Trust Student Art Writing Prize.

Mark Amery has a long history as a New Zealand art writer and critic writing for publications nationally and internationally. For the last five years he has written a weekly column on the visual arts for the Dominion Post.

Christina Barton is Director of the Adam Art Gallery and curator of The Subject Now. She is well-known as a writer on the visual arts who has published widely in exhibition catalogues and art journals.

Paula Booker is an art writer, curator and artist. She was the Publications Manager and Writer at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington. She also is a reviewer for the New Zealand Listener and co-editor of the Enjoy journal Public Good.

Rebecca Rice is a part-time lecturer and PhD candidate in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington. She writes on historical and contemporary New Zealand art and has been the columnist covering the Wellington art scene for Art New Zealand since 2004.

Thomasin Sleigh is an art writer who has written for a variety of publications and galleries around New Zealand. She is currently the Visual Arts Editor and occasional film reviewer for The Lumiere Reader.