Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From the Collection

On a recent visit to Auckland, I had plenty of time to discover more of the sometimes hard-to-find public art that no body seems to promote in any real, cohesive way - say in a small booklet the way Wellington does - but every so often, I came upon things unexpectedly. The works shown here are not actually public works, they're from the Price Waterhouse Coopers Collection and are displayed in the $171,000,000, 33-storey tower block designed by Stephenson & Turner Architects at 188 Quay Street.
The building has the largest floor plates of any in New Zealand and was opened in 2002 by Prime Minister, Helen Clark. The blue work above is 'OKO' by Gregor Kregar, whose works, strangely, I kept encountering right throughout New Zealand on my recent road trip. The yellow sculpture is 'Yellow Construction 2002' (no surprises there), by Graham Snowden. The works was commissioned in fulfilment of the Works of Art Floor Area Bonus granted by Auckland City Council.
Revised Text: Thanks to a knowledgable reader, I can now expand upon the below uninformed waffle and state that the neon work above is by one of New Zealand's most celebrated artists, Bill Culbert (b.1935), who left New Zealand in 1957 to study at the Royal College of Art in London. Culbert, who lives in the South of France and London, returns to New Zealand regularly. Light has been a constant theme in his sculptural installations.
[This neon work however, remains a mystery. I'm thinking Paul Hartigan but perhaps I assume too much; he surely can't be the only artist using neon as a medium. Regardless, I like the way it circles whimsically through the solid entrance to the Price Waterhouse Coopers building. And naturally it looks much better at night when its form is more strongly outlined].

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