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Behind Closed Doors: NZ Art from Private Collections


Wed 14 Dec 2011, 11:00am–5:00pm
Thu 15 Dec 2011, 11:00am–5:00pm
Fri 16 Dec 2011, 11:00am–5:00pm
Sat 17 Dec 2011, 11:00am–5:00pm
Sun 18 Dec 2011, 11:00am–5:00pm

Where: Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University, Kelburn Parade, Gate 3, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free


Listed by: AdamArtGallery

From June to December the Adam Art Gallery presents Behind Closed Doors: New Zealand Art from Private Collections in Wellington, a major exhibition that sets out to canvass selective ‘moments’ in a history of New Zealand art from 1946 to the present, drawn exclusively from private collections in Wellington.

This revealing exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see works that complement and extend the holdings of New Zealand’s public and corporate collections. The paintings, sculptures, and works on paper are simultaneously significant works by major figures and tributes to the often close relationships that accrue between artists and their patrons.

Many of the selected works are physically and psychologically ambitious, supporting the claim that it is possible to stage a ‘museum-quality’ show drawn exclusively from private sources. There are also works that are modest and delicate, testament to the intimate and personal relationships developed by living with art.

The exhibition includes paintings by renowned artists Toss Wollaston and Colin McCahon, seldom-seen works by Michael Smither and Rita Angus, along with provocative multimedia art works by Peter Robinson and Ronnie van Hout.

Behind Closed Doors has also become a portrait of Wellington city. Working like a sleuth, curator of the exhibition and Gallery Director, Christina Barton has uncovered a surprising number of committed art lovers in the city, whose collecting endeavours discreetly nourish Wellington’s cultural life.

The exhibition will be complemented by a book documenting a selection of the works as they appear at home, with photographs by leading New Zealand photographer Neil Pardington and texts by writer Lara Strongman. This is designed to offer an intimate alternative to the ‘institutional’ framing of works at the Adam Art Gallery. This publication will be launched in August.

Alongside Behind Closed Doors the Adam Art Gallery is staging a changing programme of projects titled: in camera: a project series around and about collecting. Located in one room of the Adam Art Gallery, the Kirk Gallery, this series illuminates other personal acts of collecting.

The project series will be launched with g. bridle’s The Inimical: A Selection from the Retreat which is an iteration of an ongoing process of collection and presentation undertaken by a mysterious individual whose status as artist, curator or collector is open to conjecture.

Opening and artist talk:
Marcus Moore on g. bridle
The Inimical: A Selection from the Retreat
Friday 3 June 2011, 6pm
All welcome

A public programme of floor talks, panel discussions and film screenings has been designed to provide a platform for critical discussion on the issues raised by these exhibitions. For more details please check

in camera: a project series around and about collecting:
4 June – 10 July: g. bridle, The Inimical: A Selection from the Retreat
16 July – 21 August: Richard Frater, Chris Prosser, Anna Sanderson, (A Film Called) Ellipsis. Curated by Laura Preston
27 August – 2 October: Leonid Tishkov, Private Moon
8 October – 13 November: The Victorian Album, the Feminine and the Personal. Curated by Sandy Callister
19 November – 18 December: Shadowgraphs: Photographic portraits by Len Lye. Curated by Professor Geoffrey Batchen and his Art History Honours students

Please note that Behind Closed Doors opens to the public Saturday 4 June 2011, 11am.

Behind Closed Doors: New Zealand Art from Private Collections in Wellington is supported by Creative New Zealand.

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