Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki reopens 13 June: Nau mai, haere mai!

‘Auckland Art Gallery is all about connecting art with people and we are incredibly excited to be welcoming visitors back from 13 June,’ says Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley. ‘We can’t wait to share our building full of engaging art experiences with everyone – from first-time visitors to repeat visitors – again soon.’

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is reopening its doors to the public from 10am on Saturday 13 June with the launch of a new – and very timely – exhibition, Civilisation, Photography, Now (until 18 October), alongside extended presentations of Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan (until 16 August) and contemporary art show, Honestly Speaking: The Word, the Body and the Internet (until 30 August).

Following its temporary closure in March due COVID-19, and with the wellbeing of all in mind, the Gallery, including Gallery shop and Gallery Mojo café, will reopen with physical distancing measures, capacity limits and increased cleaning procedures that adhere to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 requirements.

Kirsten Paisley says:

We are thrilled to be reopening with the launch of a major new exhibition Civilisation, Photography, Now. Examining the hyperconnected world that we live in today – a complex, interwoven system that we’ve watched shutdown and change immeasurably under COVID-19 – this exhibition is more prescient than ever. In the two months since we were forced to down tools on its installation so much has changed.

‘Now, we bring new eyes to the exhibition’s more than 200 original photographic images from around the world, as we consider how the way we live, travel and connect impacts on us all. Civilisation, Photography, Now is incredibly timely and relevant. It prompts us to think about how, as a global community, we have lived, are living and wish to live in the future.’

‘I’m pleased we are also able to extend those exhibitions that were prematurely closed due to lockdown, meaning that Gallery visitors will also be able to visit the exquisite international exhibition of historic Japanese art, Enchanted Worlds, and Honestly Speaking, our exhibition of New Zealand and international contemporary art’ says Paisley.

Since New Zealand entered nationwide lockdown, Auckland Art Gallery’s building has been in its dormant state: one that was originally designed in preparation for natural disaster. Sealed off from the outside world, the building’s internal climate control system has been maintaining optimal conditions to protect and preserve Auckland’s unique art collection with works covered by conservation material and kept in the dark with the lights off throughout the building.

Alongside the physical Gallery experience, art lovers will be able to continue enjoying the Gallery online via digital media, including the immersive and recently launched virtual tour of Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan.

Civilisation, Photography, Now
Until 18 October

Civilisation, Photography, Now explores our hyper-connected, 21st-century lives through over 200 original photographs by 103 contemporary artists from across Europe, Asia, America, Australia and New Zealand.

Examining contemporary life, from the way we produce and consume to the way we work and play, travel and inhabit, think and create, collaborate and clash, Civilisation, Photography, Now reveals not only the complexities of human existence, but also the possibilities beyond the world we currently encounter.

Civilisation, Photography, Now is curated by renowned international photography curators William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell. The exhibition is co-produced by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis and Lausanne.

This exhibition is supported by Principal Partner AUT, who are launching their new School of Future Environments. Major Partners are Beca, one of Asia Pacific’s largest multidisciplinary engineering consultancies, who this year celebrate 100 years in New Zealand, and Jasmax, a leader in New Zealand’s architecture, innovation and design practices. Media Partners are outdoor media company QMS and radio station Mai.

Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan
Until 16 August

Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan includes more than 70 paintings sourced from private art collections. Including delicate silk paintings, precious scrolls, folding screens and vibrant woodblock prints, this exhibition explores the wonder, mystery and enduring popularity of art from this period.

The exhibition presents a captivating introduction to the characters, places and pastimes of a flourishing era during Japan’s more-than 250 years of self-imposed isolation from the world. See life as it was captured by the most popular artists of the period, including Katsushika Hokusai, Andō Hiroshige, Kitagawa Utamaro and Keisai Eisen.

Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan has been curated by Japanese scholar, Rossella Menegazzo (Università degli Studi di Milano Statale), in collaboration with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki curators, and is organised by MondoMostre, Italy.

The presentation of the exhibition has been supported by QMS and The Breeze.

Honestly Speaking: The Word, the Body and the Internet
Until 23 August

Honestly Speaking: The Word, the Body and the Internet includes artwork by Shahryar Nashat (Switzerland), Sriwhana Spong (New Zealand), Frances Stark (United States) and Martine Syms (United States). In a cultural era dominated by images, these artists emphasise the relationship between objects, bodies and language. They re-engage ideas of gender politics that were first seen in the 1980s, igniting questions about power and personal truth in the digital age. These ideas are especially relevant now, as political truths are called into question and the expansion of technology outpaces our understanding of its effects on our lives.

Honestly Speaking: The Word, the Body and the Internet is curated by Auckland Art Gallery Curator, Contemporary Art, Natasha Conland.

The presentation of the exhibition has been supported by the Contemporary Benefactors and with festival partner, Auckland Arts Festival.

Find out more about admission charges on the Auckland Art Gallery website

Since Level 3, our specialist teams have been gradually reentering the Gallery to complete installation of Civilisation, Photography, Now and to prepare all our spaces for reopening. It has been a fascinating experience to watch the Gallery reawaken post-shutdown, but one that will only be complete when we have our community – our visitors – back in the building too.

Kirsten Paisley, Director, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki