Thursday, November 01, 2007

Edited by Jenny Harper & Aaron Lister
Photography by Bruce Connew
Victoria University Press $50

I guess Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast carries out many official engagements in the course of a week but my guess is that not many will give her as much pleasure as tomorrow (Friday 2 November) afternoon’s task, that of launching this most attractive and inspiring book.

Guaranteed to send citizens of other NZ cities green with envy, (it certainly had that impact on this Auckland citizen), the book provides clear evidence that Wellington has a major commitment to art in public places. The present mayor and her council, earlier mayors and councils, and many public spirited and generous citizens and organizations, past and present, in particular the Wellington Sculpture Trust, can all take credit for and gain satisfaction from the very desirable situation Wellington finds itself in as the leader in New Zealand of art wonderfully displayed in public places. I salute you all.

Editors Jenny Harper , (former Wellingtonian, now Director Christchurch Art Gallery), and Aaron Lister, (Exhibitions Curator, National Library), along with excellent contributions from Christina Barton, Roger Blackley, Heather Galbraith, Aaron Kreisler, Debbie Martin, Damian Skinner, and Lara Strongman, have produced a thoughtful and detailed text which combined with Bruce Connew’s superb photographs, (taken at all hours of the day and in all seasons), makes for a book of which all concerned can be very proud. And a word of deserved acknowledgement too for book designer Sarah Maxey.
Around 70 Connew photographs are supplemented by three maps showing sculpture locations and archival photos showing works that have been lost.

The editors make the point that it has not been possible to represent the full range of public art in Wellington and even as they were finalising the text new works were being installed. That may be so but the book does give a terrific cross section of the city’s art in public places, it is very special and I have no doubt it will be treasured by many. And be assured it will make many an ex-pat Wellingtonian yearn to return home.
My apologies to the photographer, artist & publisher for the poor quality colour reproduction of the cover above which features Tower of Light 2005 by Andrew Drummond.

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