why do we?

I visited the very lovely Auckland City Art Gallery while in Auk and enjoyed the experience. Why? Because I loved seeing more of the collection – in particular the lovely small image from circa 1832 that shows Rangihoua Pa in Northland. I have not yet found a copy of the image but it’s a small image, painted by an anonymous painter with little houses going straight up a seemingly perpendicular hill. The houses seem to have little red rooves. 🙂

It was a delight to see so many familiar colonial and 1980s/1990s images and some (like this one) new.

I liked the big pink tree thing outside and enjoyed seeing the McCahons (see previous post).

But as I wandered the maze of galleries I felt as if I was in Italy again. I got lost, I couldn’t exit and the rooms are full of paintings.

Why do we look at art?

My generous friend who took me to the airport says that art galleries are designed to educate us about being bourgeois. He mentioned a book that I cannot recall the name of. And in a way it’s true. We look at art so we can feel that we identify. That we belong. That we understand the code. Museums also were begun to demonstrate the wonderous nature of things collected from colonial voyages.

I like seeing the work of some of my friends – J and F who finally met. Its because they are personal, I understand the reasons and they belong in my world.

This is Juliette’s semiotic work about reading and study. She wanted, she said to make the papier mache with the discarded proofs of her dissertation but didn’t have the energy to do it so it’s old Readers Digests. The discarded dissertation would have been more personally meaningful perhaps but this works too. Echoes of my old school desk!!!

So what DO I think of the Auckland City Art Gallery? I think it’s splendid but I think it’s old school. It confirmed my place in the world but it did not challenge me. But I also did really love seeing all those paintings with which I am so familiar and which were the background to parts of my life. And the joined building is beautiful.


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