Govett-Brewster Hits 40 — 15.02.10

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

Photo:  Govett-Brewster Art Gallery featuring Paul Hartigan's permanent neon installation Pathfinder, 1997

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery  was the 2009 recipient of the Arts Foundation's Governors' Award.  

To celebrate the milestone of its fortieth year, the Govett-Brewster has organised, a vigorous year-long programme of events commencing with an 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 fort he Gallery's achievements to date and a great opportunity to thank the community of New Plymouth for its support and faith over the years."

Arts Foundation Laureate and Bro'Town creator, Oscar Kightley , will MC the event. 

On the night, a large-scale projection and accompanying soundscape will beprojected 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.

John Reynolds  (Laureate) 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 thisauspicious 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).

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'stangible motion sculptures owned by the Gallery, home of the Len Lye Collectionand Archive.

Songbirds and Elephants for Sale: Two works from the Collectionpresents 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 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. October 2010
  • 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 supportedby TSB Community Trust, Radio Network Taranaki and Te Kairanga Wines.