Posts categorized as Art

Thinking on Petrus van der Velden and the Rijksmuseum

Last weekend, on Saturday the 13th April 2013, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam reopened to the public after a decade of renovations. Imagine that, ten years to perfect your vision and build a new experience for the visitor from the ground up. The Rijksmuseum is an iconic art museum that is home to an impressive array… Read more »

Sweden and modernism in New Zealand: identifying connections

  • Webbing provided comfort for the sitter within the bentwood laminated structure
  • The ‘jon jansen’ stamp appears on the inside of the back rail
  • Impressed marks show the signature of Mathsson and the manufacturer DUX
  • Work Chair by Bruno Mathsson

When Te Papa purchased Easy Chair two years ago, we acquired it for its associations with modernism and with the Auckland store jon jansen. But we wanted to verify the designer. Detailed research – surveying design publications, comparing similar chairs, identifying woods – finally led me to the original Swedish designer. Jon jansen made and… Read more »

Digital utopia

I have been thinking about digital and new media art again this week ahead of a panel I am part of tomorrow night (20th) discussing collecting media art (Adam Art Gallery, 6pm). In 2008 I wrote an essay for the Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader, (btw, the essays from the book are now available in PDF form on… Read more »

Ralph Hotere, 1931-2013

Te Papa is deeply saddened by the death yesterday of Ralph Hotere – one of the country’s greatest artists. Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, and the arts community. Ralph once commented that ‘There are few things I can say about my work that are better than saying nothing’. Keeping this in… Read more »

Wild plants in town – a homage

  • I love the way plants grow / all over the place. / Weeds, I read once, / are ‘plants out of place’. / But, who’s to say? / Who’s to say?  Image © to and courtesy of jMj.
  • Epuni Street / Aerial roots / a source of / endless fascination for me. / What am I taking in / from the air / just by / being in it.  Image © to and courtesy of jMj.
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  • Above Strathmore. / 6” Coastal battery / on the Hills above Strathmore / 70th Heavy Battery / Guns. Not much beside remains. / Taupata - / 6” too?  Image © to and courtesy of jMj.

Plants can grow in what appear to be the strangest places.  This can be frustrating for property owners (e.g., grass in the gutter; footpaths cracked by pohutukawa roots). But our view of plants is often from our own animal-centric perspective; unlike our zoological kin, an individual plant doesn’t have the option of moving to a… Read more »

News from Loans – December 2012

Opening at the Dowse Art Museum this month on 15 December 2012, is an exhibition titled Saskia Leek: Desk Collection.  The exhibition provides the first opportunity for audiences to see a broad range of Leek’s work and appreciate Leek as an artist whose works may be physically modest in scale, but whose artistic reach is… Read more »

Our tamariki turned into dragons!

  • Visitor wearing a dragon mask
  • Visitor wearing his dragon mask
  • Discovery Centre hosts and visitors wearing dragon masks
  • Michael Discovery Centre Host wearing dragon mask

On Saturday and Sunday, visitors to the museum were given a shock. Our NatureSpace hosts had turned into dragons! Luckily, they didn’t look too scary. Every weekend between 11am-12noon the Discovery Centres have free craft activities for children and families. Last weekend children made their own dragon masks: scary, silly and surprising. There were some… Read more »

Birds of a feather

  • Page from the British Museum's 1970 guide for collectors on preparing bird skins.
  • DEAD SET POSTER | PUKEKO, offset print on 170gsm
  • DEAD SET | MIROMIRO SCARF, digital print on silk/cotton
  • DEAD SET | KOTARE CUSHION, Digital print on hemp / organic cotton

The Te Papa Store has just taken possession of a range of new stock inspired by the museum’s natural history collection. Dead Set is by textile designer Genevieve Packer, and is based on Te Papa’s haunting and strange collection of bird skins.   For the novice, of which I am in the case of natural history, bird skins are… Read more »