Tēnā koutou katoa
As Head of Arts and Visual Culture, I welcome the opportunity to extend greetings to The Friends, and provide an overview of current planning and curatorial portfolios. The principle of individual portfolios has been retained since they were first established in 2004 when I was Director of Art and Collection Services. Building on the knowledge and significant contributions of former curatorial colleagues who have since moved on from Te Papa, members of the current team are: Sarah Farrar (Acting Senior Curator and Curator Contemporary Art), Athol McCredie (Curator Photography), Justine Olsen (Curator Decorative Arts and Design) and Megan Tamati-Quennell (Curator Modern and Contemporary Māori and Indigenous Art). New appointments made during the past year include: Lissa Mitchell (Curator Historical Documentary Photography), Dr Chelsea Nichols (Curator Modern Art), Dr Rebecca Rice (Curator Historical New Zealand Art) and Dr Mark Stocker (Curator Historical International Art). Mark was formerly Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Otago, while Chelsea has just successfully defended her PhD thesis at the University of Oxford. I was appointed part time Head of Arts and Visual Culture in April 2013 and I still retain my Professorship in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.
With the team’s research capability enabling an increased focus on collection development, exhibitions, publications and public presentations, planning is under way to develop, approve and assign projects for the next five years or so. The curators will generate new knowledge around Te Papa grown monographic touring exhibitions on New Zealand art and artists. Selected exhibitions will be accompanied with a publication following the model of the hugely successful Rita Angus and Brian Brake projects, and the Auckland Art Gallery’s Angels & Aristocrats. In collaboration with our fellow institutions, future exhibitions will showcase relevant New Zealand scholarship and draw as much as possible on the concept of ‘the distributed national collection’. More modestly scaled art exhibitions will continue to be toured around the regional centres. Many of these will continue to originate from Te Papa’s highly successful and ever-changing Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa on level 5. Black Rainbow, featuring five black paintings by Hotere alongside Parekowhai’s distinctive Venice Biennale work, He kōrero pūrākau mo te awanui o te motu: story of a New Zealand river, is being well received on its national tour which includes its current venue at the Tauranga Art Gallery.
The curators will also contribute to the development of major international exhibitions in collaboration with partner museums overseas, following the precedent of Constable: Impressions of Land, Sea & Sky (with the National Gallery of Australia), Monet & The Impressionists (with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Warhol: Immortal (Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh), Throne of Emperors and Shi Lu (National Museum of China, Beijing). Some really exciting exhibitions are being lined up for Te Papa, across all of the curatorial portfolios, right through to 2019 and we are looking forward to announcing these in the near future.
Head of Arts and Visual Culture