Art Gallery Renewal Project
Whare Toi - He mahi whakarite

UPDATED 17 SEPTEMBER 2018:

Art Gallery to reopen on 29 September.

One of the most common requests made to Te Manawa is a desire to see more of the public art collection on display, and with an earlier reopening on the calendar, the Art Gallery building is being prepared with exactly that in mind.

The renewal project, which saw Te Manawa unveil plans to make some significant upgrades, has now been scaled back in response to public feedback wanting the Gallery building open sooner. While this means much of the improvements Te Manawa wanted to make have had to be cut, the break in the schedule of exhibitions has allowed the team to devise an exhibition that showcases the art collection like never before.

Works displayed in Gallery Two will share an interesting property: they will be displayed in exactly the manner in which they are stored. The simple democracy of available storage space will determine what is on display and tear the curtain dividing front and back of house. In addition, because the works will be displayed on the very style of racks on which they are stored, they can be easily swapped, allowing the exhibition to “cover more ground” by changing the objects displayed in it every month or two. Te Manawa will keep the public appraised of when this is done so visitors can see the process in action. After around two years of rotation, visitors will have had the chance to see every artwork in the collection on display.

Gallery Four has been partially walled off and is accessible only by a single doorway. In this more intimate space a digital audio-visual installation is being prepared that showcases detail and juxtaposition of artworks recently photographed for the Collections digitisation project by photographer David Lupton. In Gallery One, the largest gallery, the collection’s biggest works will be on show. Meanwhile, upstairs in Gallery Five, an emphasis is being placed on photography, with the first exhibition to coincide with this year’s 125th women’s suffrage anniversary. It will feature works by women photographers.

The changes are subtle but significant. The refreshed Te Manawa Art Gallery will be open to all visitors on Saturday 29 September from 10am. Admission is free.

Q+A

Are all the original repairs still happening?

No not any more. We are disappointed not to be undertaking the full work we believe the building deserves. Essential works are being carried out, however any non-essential works will be carried out as part of the TM2025 redevelopment

Was the change made in response to public concern about the length of closure?

Yes. We understand the public concern to having a much-loved facility closed for a significant period. Working with PNCC, we established a small team to quickly reassess and re-scope the work with a focus on having all essential work carried out at the same time rather than staggered.

Is the asbestos being removed? If not why?

No. Enhancements to the ventilation and CCTV were identified as part the non-essential scope of works and required fixings into the asbestos ceiling.  As this work is no longer being carried out, and is not accessible, in line with WorkSafe Asbestos Guidelines, the asbestos removal is deferred and will be carried out as part of the TM2025 redevelopment.

PNCC assessors have indicated the risk of asbestos exposure is negligible. The asbestos is inaccessible and fully contained, stable and unlikely to be damaged.

What has happened to make the length of closure shorter?

The work has been re-scoped with a pragmatic approach looking at the essential work that is necessary to be carried out.

Why did the whole gallery need to be closed?

Storage and preservation of artworks is very important. The Art Gallery building is a temperature-controlled environment, and works have to be protected from dust, damage and the elements. It is not possible to undertake a renewal project of this size and scope while exhibitions are on display. Nor would it be safe for the public.

How committed is Te Manawa to the ongoing display of art?

Very. In fact our ability to engage entire communities in conversations around art and artistic practice is a role we take very seriously. Not only do we want to have more of the public collection on display, we want to showcase it in the very best, most professional setting possible. In addition, arrangements had been made to display artworks from the Te Manawa collection in the Museum for the duration of the Art Gallery renewal.

Was the Art Gallery being closed in preparation for demolition in the 2025 project?

Absolutely not. The closure was to allow necessary works to be undertaken.