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Unseen City


Wed 9 Mar 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Thu 10 Mar 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Fri 11 Mar 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Sat 12 Mar 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Sun 13 Mar 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm

Where: City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square, 101 Wakefield St, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

In the 1960s, Auckland was changing. It was becoming the big smoke. New motorways were enabling low-density suburban sprawl (the population had just passed half a million) and a counterculture was emerging. Unseen City offers a slice of 1960s Auckland through the eyes of then-young artists Gary Baigent, Rodney Charters and Robert Ellis. The show borrows its name from Baigent’s audacious photobook, 'The Unseen City: 123 Photographs of Auckland' (1967). Heavily criticised for its bold, gritty aesthetic, the book was an antidote to the saccharine New Zealand picture books then in vogue.

Alongside his photos, we show Rodney Charters’ seminal 'Film Exercise' (1966)—probably the first film ever made at Elam. It features a bravura montage of Queen Street nightlife and a tailor-made soundtrack from the La De Da's, Auckland’s coolest band. The show also includes early Robert Ellis drawings that reveal how much his famous Motorway paintings were grounded in his experience of his newly adopted city.

Special thanks to Nga Taonga Sound and Vision.

Curated by Robert Leonard.

IMAGE: Gary Baigent Clive Wilson’s Renault, Brand New (Bought from Growing Strawberries) but Rolled Twice within a Month, Chancery Street, Auckland 1963

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