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Extraordinary art auction honours Dowse eccentric

Mon, 13 Sep 2004

'Extraordinary' art auction honours Dowse eccentric

Artworks from all over New Zealand are flooding in to The Dowse in Lower Hutt for one of the largest charity art auctions held in recent years. The auction is to raise funds for a special memorial to former director Galvan Macnamara (previously James Mack), as part of a major redevelopment of The Dowse next year. The works will be on show at The Dowse from 9 October in the lead up to the auction on Saturday 30 October at

Dowse Director Tim Walker says: "The response to the auction has been amazing. We have received over 180 contributions from artists and makers. Contributing artists include Gretchen Albrecht, Len Castle, Dick Frizzell, Judy Darragh, Don Binney, Terry Stringer, Ann Robinson, Gary Nash, Gordon Crook, World and John Edgar. The artists had a strong association with James Mack or have benefited from the legacy of his extraordinarily wide-reaching generosity and enthusiasm.

"The works are diverse and interesting. A wide range of established and emerging artists have contributed some major works, many clearly inspired by Galvan himself. As is usual with The Dowse, the range is expansive We have fashion, a painted bedhead, painting, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery.The works reflect the extraordinary vision Galvan had for the future of The Dowse,' says Walker.

"The challenge in presenting the auction has not been in attracting work or interest, it has been in fitting it into the building. A wall will have to be demolished between two galleries to make room for the work. This is a graphic illustration of why The Dowse is in need of redevelopment. The new building will eventually give us 60% more display space and larger areas to comfortably accommodate exactly this type of big event."

The major redevelopment, planned for 2005, will extend the potential for The Dowse to further showcase innovative creative practice. The Dowse Foundation is raising $2.2 million towards the $5million project.

The names of all the artists who contribute to the exhibition will be inscribed on the glass surrounding a courtyard at the heart of new building, to embrace the memory of Galvan Macnamara, a very special person who gave so much to New Zealand's cultural life and The Dowse.

A flamboyant party in true 'James Mack' style is planned for the weekend before the auction. Fantastical event designer and visionary Warwick Broadhead will be working with volunteers at The Dowse for two weeks leading up to the event to transform the surrounding environment.

Catalogues and tickets to the auction can be purchased from The Dowse. Selected works are open for bidding by a silent auction process throughout the exhibition period.


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