Glorious Galleries: How to Add Art to Your Next Vacation


If you love art more than antiques, Jessica wynne lockhart found some of New Zealand’s best galleries to visit on your next regional getaway

According to Museums Aotearoa, New Zealand has more than 470 public museums and art galleries, which equates to 10 museums or galleries per 100,000 inhabitants. And that doesn’t even mention the thousands of painters, sculptors, sculptors, and makers who showcase their work in studios across the country. Translation? We are a particularly cultured group.

But with dozens of galleries all over the place, from the biggest towns to the smallest hamlets, it would be impossible to reach them all. That’s why we’ve handpicked some of the country’s must-see galleries, with a focus on the work of some of New Zealand’s most talented designers.

Whanganui: Quartz, workshop ceramics museum

Whanganui may be known for its well-preserved heritage buildings, but don’t judge the Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics for its less exciting location in a 1960s office building. Of course, the setting isn’t that inspiring, but allows ceramics to take center stage. This gallery will convince you that pottery is not just for snacks, it can also be positively provocative.

Showcasing objects from the early 20th century to the present day, the collection is chaired by Rick Rudd, a potter working at Te Papa. Known for his large collection of unusual abstract teapots, Rudd can often be seen at work in the gallery. But these are not the only creations on display; in 2019, well-known Wellington collector Simon Manchester passed away and bequeathed his entire collection to the Rick Rudd Foundation. Today, more than 500 works from this collection are permanently exhibited on site.

To visit also in the region:

Sarjeant Gallery on the Quai.
Espace Studio Gallery.
Te Whare TÅ«hua or Te Ao.

West coast: Left bank art gallery

The West Coast has become world famous for its pounamu sculptors, with most tourists flocking to Hokitika to watch them in action and buy a piece for their loved ones. However, you will have to head south all the way to Greymouth to the Left Bank Art Gallery to really appreciate this art form. This is where you’ll find a large national collection of green stone, including award-winning jade works, and two large boulders that have been worked by New Zealand’s greatest sculptors. You’ll also want to mark your calendar for the end of November, when Left Bank will showcase the work of the Tai Poutini Polytechnic Jade Carving Exhibition.

The work on display is not limited to green stone. Housed in the historic Bank of New Zealand building from 1924, the Old Vault and Main Gallery also display paintings, photographs and natural fiber textiles. The focus here is on the work of local artists and artisans, such as the series of relief prints of ravens by Kate Buckley of Hokitika created during the lockdown.

To visit also in the region:
Andris Aspe Gallery in Ōkārito.
Petr Hlavacek in Whataroa.

The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson.  Photo / Supplied
The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson. Photo / Supplied

Nelson: Suter Art Gallery

With the number of artists and designers choosing to settle in the Nelson / Tasman area, it’s no surprise that the area has the most galleries and art studios per capita. Perhaps the most popular is the Suter Art Gallery.

One of New Zealand’s oldest cultural centers, it showcases national and international art from the past two centuries. His bragging rights include New Zealand’s largest collection of watercolors by landscape artist John Gully (1819-1888) and works by Sir Mountford Tosswill Woollaston (1919-1998), one of the founders of the modern art in New Zealand.

Current exhibits include the stimulating inverted landscapes by Wellington artist Natchez Hudson and the new City ArtWalk, which showcases the work of Nelson’s artists outdoors.

To visit also in the region:

Parker Gallery.
Red art gallery.
Michael Macmillan Sculptor.
Bartlett & Or Gallery.

Northland: Burning Problems Gallery

We are still looking forward to the opening of the Hundertwasser Art Center and the Wairau Māori Art Gallery. When they open later this year, it will become the country’s first gallery dedicated to nationally and internationally recognized contemporary Maori art. But until then, there are plenty of galleries in the Whangārei City Basin to whet our appetites.

One of our favorites is Burning Issues, which has showcased the work of Kiwi ceramic and glass artists for 25 years. It’s not just a place to buy a piece to take home, it’s also the place where you can see glassblowers Keith Grinter and Rebecca Heap at work, turning molten glass into de superb works of art. It can get very hot in the summer months, but it’s handy in many places to have a cool drink afterwards.

To visit also in the region:
Reyburn Art Gallery.
Career Arts Center.
Kohukohu Arts Village in Hokianga.

Blair Somerville and Sandra van der Sommen in front of the Lost Gypsy gallery.  Photo / Hayden Campbell
Blair Somerville and Sandra van der Sommen in front of the Lost Gypsy gallery. Photo / Hayden Campbell

Southland: the gallery of lost gypsies

If you associate “galleries” with places of calm and contemplation, the Lost Gypsy might just be the antidote to your preconceptions. A visit to Craftsman Blair Somerville’s Gallery is guaranteed to experience the kind of wonder and delight usually reserved for kids (but know that it’s actually best for kids 13 and up). This Catlins house truck is chock full of whimsical automatons made from found objects, including a literal “train” of thoughts circling around space.

Entrance to The Lost Gypsy is free, but it’s worth the extra $ 8 to enter the “theater” from the back. This is where Somerville’s larger-scale kinetic sculptures are housed and there are over 120 buttons for pushing, winding and playing. The Lost Gypsy is only open during the summer months, so plan your visit now.

To visit also in the region:

Eastern Southland Gallery, Gore.
The right studio, Riverton.

Marlborough: the gallery in Havelock

Representing the work of 24 Marlborough artists, the Havelock Gallery is unique in that it is run entirely by volunteers. Artists who pay affordable rent to showcase their work on location and the benefits of modest commissions return to the community. The result? Since 2014, he has been able to give back $ 50,000 to the community.

Highlights include lifelike portraits by self-taught painter Rebekah Codlin, who grew up on the shores of Marlborough Sounds, accessible only by boat, and pakohe (agrillite stone) sculptures by local Maori sculptor Clem Mellish, some of which are affordable enough to take home.

To visit also in the region:
Millennium Public Art Gallery.
The Diversion Gallery.
Artifact gallery.

Manawatū Zimmerman Art Gallery.  Photo / Supplied
Manawatū Zimmerman Art Gallery. Photo / Supplied

Manawatū: Zimmerman Art Gallery

Making art both free and fun was curator Bronwyn Zimmerman’s philosophy when she opened her eponymous Palmerston North art gallery in 2010. Showcasing the work of emerging and established New Zealand contemporary artists – including local creative couple Fran and Paul Dibble, known for their bronze sculptures — Zimmerman is dedicated to providing greater public access to works of art.

This philosophy goes hand in hand with Te Manawa’s latest initiative. Located right across from Zimmerman, the area’s public art gallery is currently working on a project called “Democracy of the Rack,” which aims to move the 2,500 objects acquired over the past 50 years out of storage and out of storage. expose them.;

To visit also in the region:
Square edge.
Joe McMenamin.

Auckland: Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery

If you have already passed through Titirangi in the direction of Piha, there is a good chance that this gallery has caught your interest. If you’ve never stopped, plan to do so as soon as Auckland hits level 2.

Its name, Te Uru, refers to a wind blowing from the west, which also hints at what you will find inside. Te Uru showcases contemporary visual art with a distinctive focus on West Auckland in its award-winning, state-of-the-art building.

When the gallery reopens after the lockdown, you’ll be able to see exhibits such as The Moon Was Talking, showcasing West Auckland photographer Edith Amituanai’s portraits taken with 11th grade students at Kelston Girls College (through November 21), alongside Mercury in Retrograde, with works of ceramic and clay. (until December 5).

To visit also in the region:
The Wallace Arts Trust.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
Te Tuhi, Pakuranga.

Garage gallery in Mackenzie.  Photo / Rachel Gillespie
Garage gallery in Mackenzie. Photo / Rachel Gillespie

Mackenzie: Garage Gallery

It would be pretty easy to walk past the Kimbell Garage Gallery, not having a clue what you just went through. Housed in a former auto repair building with a red roof, Garage Gallery brings a whole new meaning to the idea of ​​“accessible works of art”.

Inside, professional art curators Chris and Lulu Taylor showcase fine artists, with a focus on promoting investment in works of art and bringing collectors and artists together. Most of the works on display are landscapes in oil on canvas, including works by Nathanael Provis, known for his dramatic scenes of Canterbury and Milford Sound. This is where you will find an investment for your home, but smaller boats are also for sale.

To visit also in the region:
77 Art + Living

Wellington: Pataka Art + Museum

You don’t have to drive far from downtown Wellington to immerse yourself in the world of Maori, Pacific, and Aotearoa New Zealand artwork. Located in the heart of Porirua, Pātaka Art + Museum is a world-renowned contemporary art gallery that has been in existence since 1998.

Today, he continues to showcase the work of some of the country’s most established and emerging artists. Currently on display is Toi Koru, an exhibition that traces the trajectory of Sandy Adsett’s pictorial practice from the late 1960s to today. Although Adsett has gained international recognition, this is only the third solo exhibition by the Maori artist and educator.

To visit also:
Dowse Art Gallery.
The New Zealand Portrait Gallery.
Te Papa Tongarewa.

Check alert level restrictions and advice from the Department of Health before traveling.


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