Posted on Thursday August 1, 2013
Tena koutou katoa
Our winter season began on a flamboyant note with the launch of the Warhol: Immortal exhibition which has proved very popular. Well over 300 Friends took the opportunity of our exclusive exhibition preview. Sales of Warhol merchandise has proved popular and ran at such a high level restocking (including for skateboards!) was necessary within days. Following closely on has been the opening of the new gallery space Te Ihomatua on Level Four with its magnificent exhibition Colour & Light: Impressionism from France & America both from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Friends exclusive viewing of both exhibitions on 26 July combined with more of Executive Chef Bernd Lippmann’s fine food offerings was, as promised, a social and artistic highlight of the season.
For many Friends the additional space created for the display of visual art on Level Five, and now on Level Four, has been eagerly awaited and we have welcomed the priority accorded this by the Te Papa Board and Director. Your Committee decided we should mark the occasion by following up on an earlier suggestion from a member about gallery seating. We are therefore buying forty elegant folding stools, specially designed for museums, along with mobile storage racks, to facilitate gallery floor talks. Viewing for visitors will be enhanced by the opportunity to listen to a floor talk in comfort.
Some changes in the Te Papa Board were recently announced by the Minister of Culture and Heritage with Sir Wira Gardiner being succeeded as Chair by Mr Evan Williams. Your Committee has enjoyed a constructive relationship with Sir Wira and we wish him well as he steps down from this particular role. Mr Williams has been Deputy Chair since 2011 and has been heavily involved in establishing Te Papa’s new vision and its restructuring. We know from discussion with him that he values the role of the Friends of Te Papa and in congratulating him on his appointment we have said we look forward to continued close collaboration with the Board under his leadership.
Members will know that the Friends have been keen to take up opportunities to establish cooperative links with counterpart organisations in Christchurch and Auckland and with regional galleries and museums. I’m glad to say that these efforts are bearing fruit in coming weeks. A group of Friends of the Auckland Art Gallery visited Wellington in July as well as viewing other exhibitions in Wellington, joined our exclusive viewing of Warhol: Immortal and Colour & Light: Impressionism from France & America. In August and September, Art Lover Tours are being organised by the Friends’ Office (with Regional Council funding) to the Dowse Lower Hutt, Expressions Upper Hutt, to Pataka in Porirua, to Aratoi in Masterton.
We hope to see many of you participating in this stimulating programme of events.