Auckland Art Gallery was the only of the city’s museums that we explored while we were in New Zealand’s North Island.
The exhibits were wide ranging. These included a couple galleries of European art from the 16thr through 19th centuries, one of European art from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries that provided a high-level retrospective of movements including Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism and the early phases of modern art, with one wall dedicated to the outsize role that Paris played in reshaping the art scene. It also had a couple temporary exhibits with one a set of videos that explore the intersection between posing and acting and one with photos of NZ photographer Ann Shelton. The other major exhibition honored the extraordinary body of work of Gottfried Lindauer’s Maori Portraits where he pained hundreds of portraits that have helped preserve the memory of many citizen’s ancestors.
We, however, were most interested in the museum’s collection of relatively contemporary works that explore the history and culture of the country through individual artistic expression. Among the many extremely interesting works were a lead sculpture protesting nuclear energy, a set of wooden rubber stamps protesting proposed compensation offer to the Maori, a triptych of resin Gisborne land cross-sections and a wall-mounted collection of items that used to be traded and exchanged between natives and immigrants over the years.