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Len Lye on show this summer at the Govett-Brewster

Media Release

Wednesday 22 November 2005

Len Lye on show this summer at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

The work of Len Lye makes a welcome return to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery this summer with the exhibition Len Lye: Individual Happiness Now! Showing at the Gallery from 3 December to the 13 March 2006, this is the first exhibition by the Curator of the Len Lye collection, Tyler Cann.

“The three words that make up Individual Happiness Now! represent positive, interconnected values that Len Lye believed could form the basis of a humane society transcending nationalism, political ideology and religious difference. This exhibition weaves four decades of Lye’s work around this theory of art, life, and happiness,” says Cann.

He continues, “Individual Happiness Now! features the full range of Lye’s writings, drawings, painting, photography, film and kinetic sculpture. Coming in the midst of a major project to re-house and catalogue the collection, the show gives visitors a window into the latest research, and forms new connections between works which may already be familiar.”

For most visitors this exhibition is an opportunity to see Lye’s Universe, Blade and Large Grass in a new light. Lye’s kinetic sculptures will be shown under coloured lights, as they were in their 1961 debut at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the seminal retrospective at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 1977. Previously unseen works include a series of fluid abstract sketches done by Lye on a single day in 1938. The gallery is also pleased to show Lye’s 1942 Newspaper Train, a film made for the British Ministry of Information about the perils of delivering the news in wartime.

Acting Director Kate Roberts comments: “Individual Happiness Now! comes to the Gallery at a time when the New Plymouth community is considering a Len Lye Centre. This major project could see New Plymouth District become the world centre for the care, display, research and development of the works and ideas of Len Lye, an extraordinary thinker and visionary artist.”

Also showing at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery from 10 December to 5 March are the exhibitions; From mini-FM to hacktivism: a guide to art and activism, curated by Mercedes Vicente and Linked: connectivity and exchange curated by Charlotte Huddleston.


Notes to editor:

Opening weekend special event:

Sunday 11 December at 2.00: Exhibition tour
Join Len Lye Curator Tyler Cann for a tour of the Len Lye exhibition Individual Happiness Now!

About Len Lye
The Len Lye collection is widely recognised as the most significant collection of a single artist’s work in New Zealand. Born in Christchurch in 1901, Len Lye was a pioneering filmmaker and kinetic sculptor. His works can be found in the collections of major international museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1977 Lye held his first retrospective exhibition at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. So impressed with the region and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, he later gifted his life’s work to “the people of New Zealand, to be housed at the Gallery or at a purpose designed building in New Plymouth.

The Len Lye Centre proposal will go through a rigorous public consultation phase in April 2006. If the centre goes ahead it would be New Zealand’s first museum dedicated to a single artist.

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