Take Five: Including We Will Work With You! and NZ Sculpture Onshore

by Guy Somerset / 17 November, 2012
We Will Work With You!; NZ Sculpture Onshore; and Solomon.
We Will Work With You! Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998


You’ve read the book – and if you haven’t read the book why haven’t you read the book? – now you can see the paintings on the wall in a touring exhibition of the same name, ANGELS AND ARISTOCRATS: EARLY EUROPEAN ART IN NEW ZEALAND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS. Curated by the book’s author, Mary Kisler, the exhibition features 52 paintings dating from 1340-1830, as well as, for its leg at Te Papa in Wellington, a dozen extra works from that museum’s collection. Until January 27. Taking the art history story a little further along, with a tighter thematic focus, is LOVE, LIFE & LOSS: EMOTIVE AND EVOCATIVE PAINTINGS FROM THE VICTORIAN AND EDWARDIAN ERAS at Tauranga Art Gallery. Also sourced from around New Zealand, these 23 works certainly live up to the exhibition name, with titles such as The Quarrel and – wonderfully – If No One Ever Marries Me. After the Earthquake will have added emotive resonance post-Christchurch. November 10-January 27. I’m not quite sure where Hairy Maclary fits into the art history continuum, but if nothing else the same gallery’s THE RETURN OF LYNLEY DODD: A RETROSPECTIVE will be a place to park the kids while you view Love, Life & Loss. November 10-January 13.


Chamber choir Viva Voce is augmented by some big guns for its semi-staged performance of Handel’s SOLOMON. Figuratively speaking, that is (lest you get the wrong idea), in the form of New Zealand Opera general director Aidan Lang at the helm and expat Kiwi mezzo-soprano Sarah Castle singing the title role. Auckland Town Hall, November 18.


The Wellington Media Collective was a group of graphic designers, printers, photographers and others who provided a visual voice – did I really just write “a visual voice”? I like the idea of “a visual voice” – to community and political organisations in the form of posters, magazines, catalogues and leaflets. WE WILL WORK WITH YOU! WELLINGTON MEDIA COLLECTIVE 1978-1998 gathers together examples of their work alongside an account of the important role they played. Or in curatorial speak, it “make[s] visible … the interface between the constructions of visual and graphic art and the lived complexities of social life, which is where the politics of style resides”. Try putting that on a poster. Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, until February 10 (closed December 21-January 23).


Traversing three centuries of physics – from the “clockwork universe” of the 19th century to the Large Hadron Collider of the 21st – via a mix of theatre, dance, music and visual effects, INTO THE UNCANNY VALLEY is nothing if not ambitious, but benefits from having on board Joe Bleakley (creator of the opening ceremony for the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games and art director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong) and Footnote Dance’s Deirdre Tarrant. Nonetheless, you’ve got to wonder whether the most mind-boggling feat of physics won’t be fitting it all into Wellington’s tiny Bats Theatre. Until November 17.


Bernie Harfleet’s 14 – 14 pine coffins representing the number of women killed by a family member each year – and Donna Turtle Sarten’s Black and White and Red all over – featuring 1040 kiwis hanging from tree branches, representing the number of children killed by caregivers in the past 100 years, with 1040 more beneath the tree, representing the children still at risk – are two of the more themed pieces among more than 120 works that comprise the biennial outdoor exhibition NZ SCULPTURE ONSHORE in aid of New Zealand Women’s Refuges. If you think any of the sculptures on display in Auckland’s Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve would look just as good in your back garden, you’ll be glad to know they’re all for sale. That 14 might be a bit grim next to the kids’ trampoline, though. Until November 18.


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