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City Gallery celebrates 21 years in Civic Square

MEDIA RELEASE: Immediate release, 29 July 2014

City Gallery celebrates 21 years in Civic Square
Wellington invited to join the party at August Tuatara Open Late

City Gallery Wellington’s monthly ‘open late’ is set to be a very special one. On Thursday 7th August the gallery will be celebrating 21 years in its beautiful building, the former Wellington Public Library. The evening has all the ingredients for a great party - live music from Orchestra of Spheres, DJ B.lo, balloons from artist Seung Yul Oh and of course a birthday cake cut by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. There’ll also be an opportunity to record your memories of City Gallery on a board at the gallery or online. Enjoy a cash bar and tasty treats for sale from the gallery café, Nikau.

Festivities kick off at 5pm with all galleries open until 10pm. New Zealand/Korean artist Seung Yul Oh’s exhibition MOAMOA, A Decade has been a hit with visitors of all ages - August’s Open Late will be the last chance to experience the show after dark - and visitors can once again take part in his interactive video work The Ability to Blow Themselves Up. Those who participated at the June Open Late can see if they made the cut in a new edit of the work, screening on the night. There’ll also be storytelling for children including readings of The Witch at the Wellington Library by Maxine Rose Schur, who tells us, “I am honoured that decades later, a new generation of children are discovering that the old library has emerged phoenix-like as the magnificent City Gallery. I so wish I were there to be with you! As I cannot attend, I wish you all a most Boo!-tiful time.”

City Gallery Director Elizabeth Caldwell says, “City Gallery has an outstanding track record of presenting high quality exhibitions and working with artists to develop innovative projects. I’m excited to be building on that tradition.”

In 1993, Wellington’s old public library was converted into stunning gallery spaces by local architect Stuart Gardyne. The building opened in May that year with the inaugural exhibition programme launched by Director Paula Savage on 1 August 1993: Rosemarie Trockel showcased a selection of works from this internationally significant German artist as well as a site specific installation; Te Whare Puanga was curated by the late Erenora Puketapu-Hetet and celebrated recent work by Wellington female artists working in traditional Māori and Pacific Island cultures but extending into contemporary forms; Alter/Image assessed recent New Zealand art in relation to contemporary feminism including performance, film and video; and He Tohu was the first major installation by Jacqueline Fraser following her return from France as 1992 Moët et Chandon Fellow. It honoured the past use and history of the gallery's new building, in particular the New Zealand Room which housed the New Zealand collection and was symbolic of a post-war focus on national identity.

Savage said at the time, “I love the Gallery’s sophisticated elegance, which contrasts with the raw honesty of the building. The library was used by Wellingtonians for 50 years, people are delighted when they see that its history has been retained. The refurbished interior has created an ideal environment to display contemporary art…. and I’m very proud of it.”

Check the website for the full timetable and record your favourite City Gallery memory at #CGW21.

Tuatara Open Late: 21st, Orchestra of Spheres, Seung Yul Oh | Thu 7 August, 5-10pm, FREE Entry

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