Contemporary Art Museum


FEB 01

Govett-Brewster hits 40

01 February 2010   

Govett-Brewster ‘40’ branding by John Reynolds Enlarge Image

Govett-Brewster ‘40’ branding by John Reynolds

2010 marks the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s fortieth year of sustained and dynamic contribution to the cultural life of Aotearoa New Zealand.

To celebrate the milestone, a vigorous year-long programme of events has been organised commencing with a spectacular, artist-led multimedia and performance event in New Plymouth on 27 March – echoing the spirit of the street party that officially opened the Gallery in 1970.

Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport sees the event as the perfect way to mark the occasion and the Gallery’s achievements during its forty years of life.

“Although geographically provincial, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has positioned itself at the epicentre of contemporary art in New Zealand for the past four decades,” says Devenport. “The street party is also a fitting commemoration for the Gallery’s achievements to date and a great opportunity to thank the community of New Plymouth for its support and faith over the years.”

On the night, a large-scale projection and accompanying soundscape will be projected onto the new crisp white exterior of the Gallery by visual and installation artist Tim Gruchy, transforming the building into a screen. There will also be musical performances by The Trons – a self-playing robot band created by musician and mechanical engineer Greg Locke – and veteran visual and aural electronic dance duo, Pitch Black. The event is free to the public.

Renowned New Zealand artist John Reynolds has been working closely with the Govett-Brewster in preparation for the event and will exhibit NOMADOLOGY [Loitering With Intent] (27 March – 13 June 2010), featuring major new works produced especially for the anniversary and the unique spaces of the Gallery.

John Reynolds says, “I am thrilled and honoured to be involved with this auspicious event for the Govett-Brewster, a space that’s been a beacon for myself and the entire arts community in New Zealand for so many years.” 

In this new accumulation of work, Reynolds explores his fondness of words, signs and practical lists. Trawled from sources as far afield as philosophy text indexes, Iggy Pop song lyrics and the New Plymouth street directory, these lists are recast as symbols that hint toward what Umberto Eco has coined, “the poetics of the ‘etcetera’”.

While NOMADOLOGY [Loitering with Intent] illuminates a sense of mundane descriptive order, it inevitably creates a silhouette of chaos, the unknown or the unfathomable. This exhibition will be curated by Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport.

The other exhibitions opening in the autumn suite of shows include a very limited season of Len Lye: Trilogy (20 March – 11 April 2010), curated by Tyler Cann, followed by Songbirds and Elephants for Sale: Two works from the Collection (24 April – 7 June 2010), curated also by Rhana Devenport.

Len Lye: Trilogy will show a number of Lye’s newly reconstructed kinetic sculptures, including the ferociously beautiful Trilogy (A Flip and Two Twisters) 1977 – the largest and most dynamic of Lye’s tangible motion sculptures owned by the Gallery, home of the Len Lye Collection and Archive.

Songbirds and Elephants for Sale: Two works from the Collection presents two treasures from the Govett-Brewster’s contemporary art holdings – Songbirds (2001) by Pae White, and celebrated Taranaki artist Don Driver’s Elephants for Sale (1986), which is being reconstructed especially for the Gallery’s fortieth year.

Other events planned for the Govett-Brewster’s fortieth year:

• A History of the Gallery Publication will be released offering fresh, informative and unexpected material to trace and discuss the unique story of Govett-Brewster’s 40 years of influence, impact and activity to date.
• Hosting of the Futuring the Imagination: Art + Ideas Summit, a forum for discussion, exchange and access to international and local perspectives by leading thinkers and practitioners from a wide sweep of today’s cultural community.
• The Govett-Brewster Collection Online project will see significant works from the Gallery’s collection made available on the web for artists, researchers, students and the wider public.
• Launch of Govett-Brewster Editions, limited edition collectable art works by contemporary artists, commissioned by the Gallery.
• A series of important new 40th Acquisitions is planned to expand and strengthen the Govett-Brewster Collection.

The autumn suite of exhibitions and fortieth anniversary event are supported by TSB Community Trust, Radio Network Taranaki , Te Kairanga Wines and the Friends of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.


For more information, high resolution images, bios, or to arrange interviews with New Zealand artist John Reynolds; Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport; Govett-Brewster’s Len Lye Curator, Tyler Cann; inaugural Govett-Brewster Director and film producer, John Maynard; creator of The Trons, Greg Locke; visual and sound installation artist, Tim Gruchy; or Mike Hodgson and Paddy Free from Pitch Black, please contact:

Rhana Devenport
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery  

Nic Maw
Communications Co-ordinator
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

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