Adam Art Gallery revisits art history in three new shows
Adam Art Gallery will unveil three new exhibitions this week that revisit neglected or overlooked aspects of art history.
Gallery director Christina Barton believes these kinds of shows are an important component of what Victoria University of Wellington’s art gallery has to offer.
“We are so fortunate to be able to work with academics and curators who are deeply invested in their subjects, who have the skills and perception to bring works of art to attention and to make cases for their relevance now.”
Fragments of a World: Artists Working in Film and Photography 1973–1987 re-examines a moment in the history of imagemaking that opens up thinking about the intersection of feminism, new technologies and the societal upheaval that marked this era.
Curated for the Gallery by Auckland-based independent curator Sandy Callister, it
showcases films and photographs by Janet Bayly, Rhondda Bosworth, Jane Campion, Alexis Hunter, Joanna Margaret Paul and Popular Productions, who share a disruptive, experimental and performative approach to their mediums.
Traces of the Wake: The Etching Revival in Britain and Beyond is curated for the Gallery by Victoria University art history lecturer David Maskill and his honours students.
It brings together more than 60 original prints from museums and galleries from around New Zealand by artists from Britain, Australia, France and New Zealand who represent what has come to be known as the Etching Revival (1850 to 1930).
David says the exhibition revives a period when hand-crafted original prints were eagerly sought by collectors. The Etching Revival has been largely neglected by modern critics who disparaged these printmakers for their return to traditional styles and subjects.
David says: “Now, in an era when the idea of originality has been questioned, we can investigate and enjoy how these artists hark back to the early masters of etching: Rembrandt, Charles Meryon and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.”
The exhibition is part of the honours students’ coursework, which also includes collectively producing a catalogue for the show where each student has written an essay on a particular theme. The students will also deliver floor talks at the gallery on their specialist topics.
The third exhibition, Bruce Barber: Performance Scores, showcases the work of New Zealand-born, Canada-based performance and installation artist Bruce Barber.
Curated by Adam Art Gallery curator Stephen Cleland, this is a rare opportunity to see printed materials produced by the artist to support his live works and reassess their status and purpose.
Stephen says Barber made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s post-object scene in the 1970s. “These documents are intriguing artefacts from a vital era when the definition of what art could be was up for grabs. More than this, they live on as vital catalysts within the field of this artist’s practice.”
All three exhibitions will be launched at a free, public opening at 6pm, Friday 2 October at the Adam Art Gallery and will run until 18 December.
Traces of the Wake student floor talks
2pm, Saturday 3 October
2pm, Saturday 10 October
Fragments of a World artists and curator conversation
10am, Sunday 4 October
David Maskill will present a seminar in the Art History in Practice series
5.15pm, Thursday 8 October