October 22, 2012

Three new exhibitions

Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington
Dave Kent, Poster opposing the 1981 Springbok Tour of New Zealand. Photo: Wellington Media Collective.

The Adam Art Gallery proudly presentsthree new exhibitions:

We Will Work With You! Wellington Media Collective 1978–1998
Curated by the Wellington Media Collective with the Adam Art Gallery

The Wellington Media Collective was established in 1978 as a confederation of graphic designers, printers, photographers, and associates. Underpinned by a belief in the power of media arts to intervene in social space, their activities over two decades have involved the production of posters, magazines, catalogues, and leaflets for community and political groups, ranging from trade unions to arts and activist organisations. This retrospective exhibition examines the politics of style implicit in the Collective’s substantial body of graphic work, and through this lens, surveys a history of public culture in Wellington and New Zealand. The Collective’s graphic archives interweave a story of political activism with a cultural history of performance and art, both located against a changing economic environment, new networks of distribution and communication, and the technological shift from page to screen. Comprising original prints, posters, publications, and ephemeral material, as well as oral histories provided by members of the Collective, the exhibition draws on an archival project undertaken in collaboration with the Alexander Turnbull Library and the Museum and Heritage Studies Programme, Victoria University of Wellington. A major book project documenting the Collective’s history will be launched at exhibition’s close. Coordinated and edited by Ian Wedde with Mark Derby and Jenny Rouse, and designed by the Wellington Media Collective, this extensively illustrated monograph is co-published with Victoria University Press.
Martha Rosler, The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems 1974–75
The Adam Art Gallery is proud to present a one work exhibition of Martha Rosler’s The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems (1974–75). A seminal piece of photo-conceptual art and a reference point in traditions of socially-oriented creative practice, The Bowery offers a portrait of what was once New York City’s most archetypical skid-row. Pairing images of derelict storefronts and empty street corners with a descriptive poetics of drunkenness and vagrancy, Rosler’s photo-text installation refuses the direct representation of an implied human subject in favour of a layered interrogation of the adequacy of both visual and literary modes to the experience of social marginalisation. Nonetheless, the work insists upon the political resonance of the material settings of urban blight. Images and text are interspersed with occasional blank panels in the space of a photographic image, and it is this dialectic between concreteness and the incommensurable which lends The Bowery its enduring critical charge. Martha Rosler works in video, photography, text, installation, and performance, and as an essayist and social commentator. Her preoccupations center on everyday life and the politics of the public sphere, often with an attention to women’s experience. The Adam Art Gallery will host a series of public events to support this exhibition, including two fora on documentary practice co-sponsored by the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Martha Rosler will participate in the inaugural Adam Art Gallery Skype Conversation series in early 2013, to discuss politics, activism, and the digital commons in the context of her recent projects.

The Consumers of the Future
, a commissioned project by White Fungus
Ron and Mark Hanson, the editors of Wellington and Taipei based White Fungus magazine, have been invited to prepare a series of posters to accompany the Wellington Media Collective and Martha Rosler exhibitions. Utilising the Adam’s Window Gallery, they will present a poster sequence and an associated free newsprint publication that take “Our children are important… They are the consumers of the future”—a remark by John Key, current Prime Minister of New Zealand—as a point of departure. Reflecting upon the concrete impact of neo-liberal thinking on Wellington’s urban and architectural fabric over recent decades, White Fungus talks back at local brandings of the city as New Zealand’s ‘Creative Capital’. An emphasis on print publication ties the magazine’s zine aesthetic to a legacy informed by the Wellington Media Collective, and the project proposes the protest poster as at once a mode of still-contemporary activism and the formal expression of a local style. The Adam Art Gallery will run a poster competition to accompany this commission, judged by Wellington Media Collective, White Fungus, artist John Lake, and Kate Daellenbach, School of Marketing and International Business, Victoria University of Wellington.

The exhibitions are accompanied by an extensive public programme intended to contextualize and draw out a range of themes inherent to the topic of art, politics, and the visual histories of activism. For a list of events see the calendar.
If you require further information, please contact Michelle Menzies
[email protected] / T +64 4 463 5229

The Adam Art Gallery is the university art gallery of Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. It is a forum for critical thinking about art and its histories as well as the professional structure within which the Victoria University Art Collection is managed. The gallery has a considerable reputation for its programmes that explore the full range of media available to artists and which aim to test and expand art form and disciplinary boundaries. The gallery is a remarkable architectural statement designed by Ian Athfield, one of New Zealand’s foremost architects.


Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.