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CoCA Toasts the 50th Anniversary of its Iconic Building

CoCA Toasts the 50th Anniversary of its Iconic Mid Century Building

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of CoCA’s iconic Modernist building and in celebration, the Centre of Contemporary Art presents a suite of exciting events focused around mid century architecture and design, to be held both in the gallery and across the city of Christchurch.

Located at 66 Gloucester Street in Christchurch’s Westend cultural precinct, CoCA is housed in a purpose-built gallery considered to be one of the premier exhibition spaces in New Zealand. Designed by Minson, Henning Hansen and Dines in 1968, the building is a major work of the modernist 'Christchurch Style', championed by a generation of architects led by Sir Miles Warren and Peter Beaven, and influenced by the British movement, The New Brutalism.

The celebrations kick off on Sunday August 12th with a behind-the-scenes tour through a collection of significant mid-century homes and modernist buildings. “If you’ve ever wished for a peek inside some of the privately-owned modernist gems around Christchurch, this tour will be a real treat,” said CoCA Interim Chair and retired architectural designer, Annabel Holland.

To honour this anniversary in true style, CoCA has designed a spectacular benefit dinner, with the menu curated by chef Giulio Sturla of award-winning Roots Restaurant, and each dish complimented by an Amisfield wine. Ambiance will be orchestrated by Madame and the Bastard (aka. nationally regarded artists Julia Morison ONZM and Heather Straka) assisted by their minions - some of Christchurch’s most talented contemporary artists. To be held in the gallery on Saturday August 18th, the evening culminates in a highly unique auction performance to raise funds for the next 50 years of Christchurch’s own Centre of Contemporary Art.

CoCA’s expansive Mair gallery will feature Mid Century Modern: The Morrison Collection, an exhibition presenting significant pieces of modernist design from the personal collection of Christchurch furniture dealer, Ross Morrison and his family. To open the show on Saturday August 25th, Australian comedian and modernist aficionado, Tim Ross, will perform his internationally acclaimed design comedy show How much for the Green Chair with the Wooden Legs? CoCA Director, Romy Willing says “for such a universally fascinating subject, talks on design can be mind-numbingly dry. Tim has reinvented the design lecture, bringing back the thrill through his passionate and hilarious take on all things design.”

Joining the incredible line up of events for the 2018 NZIA Festival of Architecture, will be a panel discussion around Christchurch’s own style of mid century modern, with some of our city’s leading architects reminiscing on architectural practice long past, the lessons for a new generation of architects in a globalised world, and the importance of preserving our local design heritage.

CoCA will add more stimulating events to the anniversary programme throughout August to mid November. Additional highlights from CoCA's August exhibition programme include Nicola Jackson's The Bloggs, an anatomy museum of the artist's own vision, featuring vitrines and cabinets filled with a range of curious objects accompanied by paintings of inquisitive characters, opening in our Northern galleries alongside Mid Century Modern: The Morrison Collection.

Dynamo Hum, an exhibition featuring a selection of key paintings by Denys Watkins - one of New Zealand’s outstanding visual artists - opens in our Ground Floor Gallery on August 3rd. Opening the same day in the Lux gallery, The Corner Store presents the ChCh Zine Library, a collection of zine's lovingly produced by the artists and designers of this dynamic collective.

For a detailed programme schedule, head to the CoCA website at - full event and booking information will be available shortly.


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