City Gallery Reopening

22 September 2009

Get down to Civic Square this Sunday, 12noon - 5.00pm, to celebrate the much-anticipated reopening of
City Gallery Wellington.

City Gallery art exhibition.

City Gallery art exhibition.

The gallery has been closed since October last year for earthquake-strengthening work and the development of a new tower - now home to the Roderick and Gillian Deane Gallery and the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. The gallery is reopening with a major international exhibition by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, entitled Mirrored Years - if you head along on Sunday, you'll get free entry.

While plenty will be going on indoors that afternoon, there'll be a party atmosphere in Civic Square. The afternoon's festivities include gigs by Wellington bands Rosy Tin Teacaddy (12.30 -1.30pm), Little Bushman (2.00 - 3.30pm) and The Hardy Ha Ha's (4.00pm - 4.40pm). There will be fun activities for children, where they can take part in free Kusama-inspired badge making (inside Capital E if raining). There will also be food stalls dotted around the square on the day.

City Gallery Director, Paula Savage, says it's a major coup for the gallery to get a Yayoi Kusama exhibition. "She is in hot demand all over the world and we are so lucky to have the work of this extraordinary artist in town," says Paula. "Kusama is one of the most respected and influential contemporary artists living today - her work is highly sought after by international galleries.

"Mirrored Years broke all attendance records at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art this year. Now it's Wellington's turn to discover the strange and dizzying world of Yayoi Kusama!"

Sunday also provides a chance to see another two opening exhibitions. Exquisite poi works by Parihaka artist Ngaahina Hohaia will hang upstairs in the Roderick and Gillian Deane Gallery - a dedicated exhibition space for Maori and Pacific arts. Next door in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, visitors will be confronted by Regan Gentry's huge highway flyover, Make Way, constructed entirely of cane basketware. Downstairs in the tower block is the Denis and Verna Adam Auditorium, which will soon be buzzing with a fabulous Yayoi Kusama documentary as well as special events and public programmes.

Stuart Gardyne of Architecture+, who initially worked on converting the former Wellington Public Library into City Gallery, designed the gallery's additions.

The open day on Sunday will also be a big 'welcome back' to Nikau Café, which has also been closed while the work was taking place. As we are anticipating large crowds, entry to the gallery will be controlled via the Civic Square entrance - please be prepared for queues. Open day admission is free and City Gallery will also have free admission every second Wednesday. Admission charges of $10/$8 will apply for the Kusama season (until February 2010), as well as family passes for $25 (two adults and three children). For more information phone the gallery on (04) 801 3021, email citygallery@wmt.org.nz, or visit the City Gallery website.