Behind Closed Doors: New Zealand Art from Private Collections in Wellington. Accompanied by in camera: a project series around and about collecting
4 June - 18 December 2011
From June to December 2011 the Adam Art Gallery presented, Behind Closed Doors: New Zealand Art from Private Collections in Wellington, a major exhibition that set out to canvass selective ‘moments’ in a history of New Zealand art from 1946 to the present, drawn exclusively from private collections in Wellington.
This revealing exhibition provided a rare opportunity to see works that complement and extend the holdings of New Zealand’s public and corporate collections. The paintings, sculptures, and works on paper are simultaneously significant works by major figures and tributes to the often close relationships that accrue between artists and their patrons.
Many of the selected works are physically and psychologically ambitious, supporting the claim that it is possible to stage a ‘museum-quality’ show drawn exclusively from private sources. There are also works that are modest and delicate, testament to the intimate and personal relationships developed by living with art.
The exhibition includes paintings by renowned artists Toss Woollaston and Colin McCahon, seldom-seen works by Michael Smither and Rita Angus, along with provocative multimedia art works by Peter Robinson and Ronnie van Hout.
Behind Closed Doors also became a portrait of Wellington city. Working like a sleuth, curator of the exhibition and Gallery Director, Christina Barton uncovered a surprising number of committed art lovers in the city, whose collecting endeavours discreetly nourish Wellington’s cultural life.
The exhibition is complemented by a book documenting a selection of the works as they appear at home, with photographs by leading New Zealand photographer Neil Pardington and texts by writer Lara Strongman. This is designed to offer an intimate alternative to the ‘institutional’ framing of works at the Adam Art Gallery.
A public programme of floor talks, panel discussions and film screenings provided a platform for critical discussion on the issues raised by the exhibition. For more details please check here
Behind Closed Doors: New Zealand Art from Private Collections in Wellington is supported by Creative New Zealand.
Courtney Johnston reviews Behind Closed Doors on Radio National Nine to Noon June 2011 [mp3]
Curator Christina Barton tours Behind Closed Doors Arts on Sunday Radio New Zealand 31 July 2011 [mp3]