I went to the Auckland Art Gallery yesterday because it was a Sunday and I wasn’t working. (Oh, I’ve been working lately, baby. I’m been working.)

The main art gallery building was restricted to a few ground-floor galleries because the rest is shut off in preparation for the coming expansion – they’re going to pull down the cool 1970s part and replace it with a giagantor extension. Yeah, architecture from the ’70s isn’t quite heritagey enough to be kept.

Unloved, unwanted

The art on display there was mainly a sort of greatest hits selection, including plenty of Goldies and Lindauers for the tourists. It was all a bit boring, but the Love Chief exhibition (brilliant name) tickled me greatly, which I think was its intention.

Over the road at the New Gallery, there was Likeness & Character, a selection of portraits, including Tony Fomison’s The Ponsonby Madonna, right there, in my face. Lovely.

It all got me thinking about the art of self-portraiture. There’s a lot of it going on these days what the craft of the digital camera self-portrait – hold the camera at arm’s length, look seductively down the lens, and snap. But I’ve seen self-portraits done this way that are more than just a quickie taken for a Facebook profile. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops. (A Flickr search sez: “We found 6,091 groups about self and portrait.”

Upstairs at the New Gallery was Making Worlds, which seemed to be primarily geared towards a “Hey kidz! Art is kewl!!!” audience, but managed to be rather interesting for senior citizens such as myself.

There was a collection of Eugene Carchesio’s decorated matchboxes, with an activity table where visitors could decorate their own one. A gallery attendant told me that they had to keep putting aside matchboxes that were too rude for the family-friendly theme. Cocks in the boxes were a particular problem. Well, there’s a whole exhibition theme right there. I made a family-friendly cockless box.

Red Hot 2

My favourites from Making Worlds were Callum Morten’s International Style 1999 – a miniature replica of Mies van der Rohes’ Farnsworth House – showing the spooky side of Modernism, and curtains.

And I also liked Chiho Aoshima‘s City Glow animation. A five-screen-wide journey through a lush city where snake-like buildings squirm amongst the flowers. And it had an awesome gothic graveyard scene.

I walk past the Art Gallery all the time, but I hardly ever go in. I shall have to do this more often, because there is so much good stuff there.

Also, oh, it’s New Year’s Eve. How’d that get here so fast?

3 thoughts on “Matchboxes”

  1. Believe it or not, I used to hang out with Tony Fomison when I was a kid, his house was just down my street. He was a nice guy with a lot of stories, but he was really frail.

  2. Hi Robyn
    Just saw this blog- i’m ‘Outraged of Ak CBD’!! They can’t pull down the cool front bit….. I’m not one to get behind causes- but THIS IS THE ONE!!!!!

  3. I’m so conflicted with it all! The new design is quite cool, and the gallery does need more space. If the old-new part didn’t exist, I’d be all for building the new-new bit. But as it is, I think the old-new part (and the courtyard and fountain area) has merit and should be given a chance.

    Can’t they just chop into Albert Park or something? (Oh, wait. No, they can’t.)

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