So many artists racking up massive student debt, but where can you go to see what they’ve made of it? Here are the best galleries to cool down in over the dog days of summer.
Marilynn Webb, Ngauruhoe Snow 1982
DUNEDIN PUBLIC ART GALLERY
The vast collection of New Zealand’s first public art gallery — opened 1884! — includes Ralph Hotere, Claude Monet and Robin White. One highlight of the gallery’s 2024 slate is Marilynn Webb: Folded in the hills, a monumental retrospective surveying the five-decade practice of this influential feminist, environmentalist, activist, painter and printmaker (closes 7 April). dunedin.art.museum
WAIRAU MĀORI ART GALLERY
The first dedicated Māori public art gallery hosts quarterly exhibitions with a broad remit, refusing to confine the versatility of Māori arts practice. Currently on exhibition, Lisa Reihana’s installation He Wai Ngunguru weaves history and storytelling to delve into the challenges of cultural leadership, spiritual traditions and gender values in 19th-century New Zealand (closes 31 March). wairaumaoriartgallery.co.nz
Following Paludal is like whale-watching: the gallery might not appear above water very often, but the impact is quite something when it does. Founded in 2020 to show works by artists “whose work isn’t often seen in Christchurch”, this artist- run gallery only put on two (excellent) shows in 2023 — August Ward’s Recovery and Patrick Lundberg’s Trilogy. Here’s to more whale sightings in 2024! paludal.org
THE DOWSE ART MUSEUM
Variety is the spice of life, and Lower Hutt’s Dowse Art Museum is always spicy. A must-see in 2024 is Michele Beevors’ Good Bones, a vibrant vivarium of life-size animal skeletons cosseted in skin-toned yarn (closes 28 April). Beevors’ elaborate creations are arranged amidst Louise Nevelson-esque furniture assemblages and some truly creepy taxidermy. dowse.org.nz
Susan and Jim Wakefield long intended to gift their house and art collection — funded partly by Jim’s success with Avis Car Rental — to the city of Christchurch. After the 2011 earthquake destroyed their home, this museum in the Christchurch CBD opened like a phoenix rising from the ashes, an architectural wonder holding exquisite examples of glasswork, furniture and painting. ravenscarhouse.com
LAREE PAYNE GALLERY
Snuggled within the Riverbank shopping precinct — Hamilton’s boutique medina — Laree Payne’s sharp showroom is the place to be for relevant, experimental artists working with painterly sculpture or sculptural painting: Emelia French, Hannah Ireland, Jack Hadley and Laura Williams, to name a few. See what’s on at the gallery, then pop around the corner to check out the quality secondhand art monographs at Browsers books.
SATCHI & SATCHI
Seven-odd years in, this artist-run gallery/ studio has become Auckland’s most dependable port of call for spontaneous, offbeat, contemporary painting. Satchi & Satchi & Satchi exhibit a mulligan stew of the country’s foremost emerging painters. Recent highlights include shows with Nicholas Pound, Tarika Sabherwal and Lily McRae. satchiandsatchiandsatchi.com
This story appeared in the February 2024 issue of North & South.