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Double Preview: Gordon Walters – New Vision & The New Photography – Life in the 60s and 70s

Thursday 13 June 2019, 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Gordon Walters, Tamatea 1969, Acrylic on canvas, Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Photographer Bryan James, Courtesy of the Gordon Walters Estate

Preview these 2 new exhibitions for free before they open to the public on Saturday 15 June. Enjoy time to wander through the classic work of the influential Gordon Walters and take a new perspective of New Zealand in the 60s and 70s with a group who worked in new styles of documentary photography for the time. 


5:30pm Julia Waite: Julia will speak to the Gordon Walters exhibition. She is Curator of New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. In 2017 she co-curated ‘Gordon Walters: New Vision’ and in 2015 she curated ‘Freedom and Structure: Cubism and New Zealand art 1930-1960’, both touring exhibitions with associated publications. Waite’s research interests are focused on the development of modern art in New Zealand, global modernisms and documentary photography.

6pm Athol McCredie: Athol will speak to The New Photography Life in the 60s and 70s exhibition. He is Curator of Photography at Te Papa. Athol’s expertise is in New Zealand photography, particularly 1940 to the present. Current research includes the history of the museum’s photography collection, the photographs of Māori and their treatment by the museum, and the personal documentary photography of the 1960s and 1970s.


Gordon Walters: New Vision

Te Papa presents Gordon Walters: New Vision, an exhibition of more than 110 artworks by Gordon Walters (1919–1995).

Walters is best known for his rhythmical black and white koru paintings in which he explored the dynamics of positive and negative space. Resolutely abstract, these works remain as powerful today as when they were first presented. Over 110 works will be displayed, offering a unique opportunity to examine the breadth of more than fifty years of Walters’ practice.

The title New Vision references a breakthrough moment in Walters’ career in 1966 when he presented 12 radically abstract geometric paintings, inspired by his study of Māori art, at the New Vision Gallery in Auckland.  Developed and toured in partnership by the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

The New Photography – Life in the 60s and 70s

Eight photographers represent this new photographic development: Gary Baigent, Richard Collins, John Daley, John Fields, Max Oettli, John B Turner, Len Wesney and Ans Westra.

Contemporary NZ photography as we know it today was founded by a group of young photographers working in the mid-1960s and into the 1970s. Their photography was social documentary but also highly personal, both in their choice of subject (usually the environment to hand) and in their often informal, spontaneous approach. It was documentary in the sense that it was not staged, but a record of life unposed. The New Photography examines this particular photographic moment in history.

Such work had never been seen in New Zealand before and was viewed with disdain by older photographers who saw it as indulgently subjective and focusing on things too ordinary to be considered worth a photograph. It did not fit any of the established genres – portraiture, landscape, still life, photojournalism, and advertising. With only a few exceptions the 64 photographs are vintage prints from Te Papa’s collection.


Please note that for free events we do not offer free parking.

Banner Image Credit: Max Oettli, Department store, Auckland, 1972, Gelatin silver print, Purchased 2006, Te Papa (O.030450)


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Thursday 13 June 2019
4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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Toi Art, Level 4, Te Papa
Te Papa, 55 Cable Street
Wellington, 6011 New Zealand
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Friends of Te Papa
(04) 381 7051