Christchurch Art Gallery unveils major new commission
Christchurch Art Gallery unveils major new commission by British artist Martin Creed
A spectacular, sell-out gala-dinner event last night has helped Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation raise $82,100 towards a major new work of public art for the city.
The evening is the third of Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation's annual dinners to secure five great works of art for the Gallery to mark this time of its extended closure. In the previous two years, Michael Parekowhai’s Chapman’s Homer and Bill Culbert's Bebop have been purchased.
Renowned English artist Martin Creed's EIGTBA, 2015, was lit up for the first time during the dinner. The 46 metre long, 1468 mm high, neon work is positioned on the Worcester Street Boulevard facade of the gallery building.
The creative inspiration to theme the dinner was drawn from Creed’s works. The atmosphere was full of hope, vision and colour. New Zealand-born chef Peter Gordon developed a menu to fit the theme, in line with Creed's suggestions, and served a five course meal to 220 guests.
Christchurch Art Gallery director Jenny Harper says the Martin Creed neon work is here for the long-term; and remarkably simple and positive.
"EIGTBA is available to all, it's understandable, witty, humorous, surprising; it's egalitarian. From tonight, it will be on 24 hours a day for years," she says.
"It gives us reassurance and hope. It puts smiles on our faces as it will do for all people in Christchurch from tonight."
Jenny Harper also said that the work had been generously funded by a new Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation endowment partner, Neil Graham, who prefers to be known as Grumps.
"His response to the idea of this Martin Creed neon was immediate and positive, he agreed to buy it for us! So, as well as contributing to the endowment fund at level one, Grumps has effectively donated Everything Is Going To Be Alright to this city," she says.
Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation endowment partner Grumps says it is important recognise those who work in the arts and the impact art has on the community.
"The arts and the people who work in them have made a real difference to Christchurch after the earthquakes – they’ve helped the psyche of this city while it recovers," he says.
The $82,100 raised from the auction will cover local manufacture and installation costs of the work.
Christchurch Art Gallery, Singapore Airlines and Michael Lett Gallery are bringing Martin Creed to New Zealand in October to give animated and spontaneous talks about his work and life in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Creed's free Christchurch talk will be held Sunday, 4 October 2015, 2.00pm at Christ's College Assembly Hall. For bookings visit: www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz/calendar/detail/martin-creed-talk/