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Good Work - The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection

Press release:

Good Work - the Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection

3 November 2001- 27 January 2002

It takes a bold collector to buy artworks that have no permanent existence as physical objects. But Wellington couple Jim Barr and Mary Barr have never shied away from challenging or contentious works. Visitors to Good Work, opening this weekend at City Gallery Wellington, will experience many surprising pieces, including Kerrie Poliness's eye-boggling Black O wall drawings, which must be drawn by Gallery staff (by following instruction books supplied) at each new venue.

From its origins in the early 1970s, the Barrs' collection has grown into one of the country's significant collections of Australian and New Zealand contemporary art. It showcases work from 1971 to 2001, and features artists such as Michael Parekowhai, Warwick Freeman, Jeffrey Harris, Colin McCahon, Ricky Swallow, Mikala Dywer, Shane Cotton, Ronnie Van Hout, Lillian Budd and Peter Robinson.

"This collection is noted for its lively, bold and contentious approach to what's current in art on both sides of the Tasman," says curator Justin Paton. "It's a crucial graph of the life of New Zealand art in the last three decades and a provocative account of where the 'good work' is right now." The Barrs consider their collection a work in progress, says Paton, and it reflects their belief that collections should be passionate, playful and provocative.

Most of the works in Good Work come from the Barr's Wellington collection, with the rest from the loan collections of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. In 1997, Jim Barr and Mary Barr offered more than 120 of their works to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on long-term loan. This body of work now forms a significant part of the DPAG's contemporary holdings.

The collection continues to grow in Wellington. Recently, for instance, the Barrs have begun to collect video - a medium which, despite its influence in contemporary art, has not been collected in earnest by any New Zealand public gallery. Good Work is the loan collection's first substantial airing
since Shared Pleasures at the Waikato Museum of Art and History in 1993 and Open Hang at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 1997.

A Dunedin Public Art Gallery Touring exhibition.

City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding from the Wellington City Council. For more information, images, interviews contact: Anne Irving, Publicist. T: 04 801 3959 / F: 04 801 3096 / anne.irving@wcc.govt.nz

Anne Irving Publicist T: 04 801 3959


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