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Auckland Art Gallery Has Announced a Jam-Packed Exhibition Lineup for Autumn and Winter

Running from May to September, it will showcase some of the greatest contemporary artists of our era.
By Stephen Heard
March 15, 2021
By Stephen Heard
March 15, 2021

Artworks shortlisted for New Zealand's contemporary art prize, a survey of work by a light artist, a colourful installation by an international artist and a new sculpture for Matariki have all been confirmed for Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki's autumn and winter program.

Auckland Art Gallery director Kirsten Lacy says the program, which has been two years in the making, will showcase some of the greatest contemporary artists of our era. As the Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art exhibition ends in May, artworks in line for The Walters Prize will hit the Gallery floor. Opening Saturday, May 15, the exhibition will showcase outstanding contemporary art from the years preceding the national prize, including works from Fiona Amundsen, Sonya Lacey, Mata Aho Collective and Sriwhana Spong.

From Saturday, June 5, focus will turn to major exhibition, All That Was Solid Melts, offering a strong emphasis on international contemporary art and historical works of significance. The exhibition is said to take the viewer on a journey of emotional and philosophical encounters as they contemplate isolation, stoicism, fear, anxiety and dread.

Marcus Stone, Her First Love Letter 1889, oil on canvas. Auckland Art Gallery, gift of Moss Davis, 1930 (cropped)

Also on the cards is a major sculptural commission for the Gallery's forecourt pool from contemporary artist Reuben Paterson — the new work will be unveiled on Saturday, June 19. Bill Culbert's Slow Wonder opens on Saturday, July 3, revealing the New Zealand artist's quiet study of light's different characteristics, from the way it behaves in space to the way it transforms our experience of everyday things. Opening Saturday, August 14 is Romancing the Collection, a large selection the Gallery's history, portrait, landscape, genre and still-life paintings.

From Saturday, August 28, acclaimed international artist Ugo Rondinone brings his colourful clown ensemble, Vocabulary of Solitude, to Auckland Art Gallery. Rondinone is known for his spectacular, yet deeply philosophical, installation works combining the happiness of rainbow colours with a stillness, sadness and atmosphere of ennui. In Vocabulary of Solitude, Rondinone's clowns stand in as figures who remain outside society's mainstream.

Manpower: Myths of Masculinity is the final piece of the autumn and winter program. Opening Saturday, September 4, it spotlights images of eroticised male bodies that have underpinned the rich holdings of the public gallery since 1888. The exhibition charts changing attitudes to sexuality around the time of the artworks' acquisitions and in the decades that followed.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki's autumn and winter program runs from May to September. For more information, visit

Top image: Ugo Rondinone, Vocabulary of Solitude (installation view), Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, 2018.

Published on March 15, 2021 by Stephen Heard
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