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JH

‘Deconsecrating’ City Gallery so it reverts to being a library?

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Staffed by one of the most refined curatorial teams in Australasia and purveyors of a sophisticated exhibition programmed much envied by other cities, City Gallery seems now to be unappreciated by the people's elected representatives. It is surely more responsible to find blocks of rental space around the capital where different sections of the library collection can be housed in isolation, and where location (pick up) information can be effortlessly disseminated for users online.

EyeContact (mini) Essay #29

According to the local papers, the Councillors in Wellington are taking the above notion seriously, and are thinking of chucking out the City Gallery art specialists and replacing them with librarians—reverting to that (since modified) building’s original function.

The art community has a long history of infatuation with books (part of its traditional obsession with critical text’s argument and reproduced image’s allure) but to take away the exhibiting spaces of one of the very best municipal art institutions in the country—in order to find shelf space, while earthquake repairs are done next door—is a cruel (and unusual) punishment for being a success. It is idiotically backward.

Staffed by one of the most refined curatorial teams in Australasia and purveyors of a sophisticated (yet accessible) exhibition programme much envied by other cities, City Gallery seems now to be unappreciated by the people’s elected representatives. It is surely more responsible to find blocks of rental space around the capital where different sections of the library collection can be temporarily housed in isolation, and where location (pick up) information can be effortlessly disseminated for users online.

Maybe the word ‘deconsecrating,’ as used above, is a little excessive because after all, libraries are holy places too. Both need to be defended, as the appalling recent actions of Auckland University testify.

If you agree with the above sentiments, please be vocal in your opposition. The architectural nuances of City Gallery make visiting this building for art experiences a treat, and need to be continued, not thoughtlessly abandoned.

*Email: mayor@wcc.govt.nz; councillors@wcc.govt.nz

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John Hurrell

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This Discussion has 2 comments.

Comment

John Hurrell, 12:48 a.m. 9 May, 2019

Yesterday the mayor stated on Radio Active that this idea was not being discussed at all. The problem is that city councils have a reputation for secrecy and the Wellington (and national) art community is deeply anxious. There needs to be a more public guarantee that the gallery is secure.

Reply to this thread

John Hurrell, 2:43 p.m. 9 May, 2019

Good news – the council have agreed not to use the gallery for library spaces. They are going to focus on the Manners St site and two others in different parts of the CBD. Big hugs and thanks for all those folk who sent in messages expressing their concern. Their efforts are hugely appreciated.

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