18 Feb 2015
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand’s museum of contemporary art, will re-open its doors with the new Len Lye Centre on Saturday 25 July.
The Len Lye Centre is New Zealand’s first art museum dedicated to a single artist, and with its curved exterior walls of mirror-like stainless steel, it will also be the country’s first example of destination architecture linked to contemporary art.
Govett-Brewster Director Simon Rees says staff are planning a community-spirited weekend celebration and preparing opening exhibitions which include Len Lye works, the Govett-Brewster Collection, and a moving-image programme in the new 62-seat cinema.
The opening weekend will celebrate the culmination of more than three decades’ commitment to realising a permanent home for Len Lye’s work in New Plymouth.
In 1980, Len Lye gifted his collection and archive to be housed at the Govett-Brewster, coining it the ‘swingiest art gallery in the antipodes’.
“We will at last be able to show the breadth and depth of Lye’s vision on a permanent basis, and also continue to inspire Govett-Brewster’s audiences with contemporary art from New Zealand and around the Pacific Rim,” says Mr Rees.
“We have some great plans in place for the opening exhibitions around Len Lye’s large works and key Taranaki and New Zealand artworks.”
Installation of the stainless steel facade of the Len Lye Centre continues this week, along with installation of acoustic linings in the cinema and lighting in the large works and main galleries, and framing for the cinema projection screen.
Govett-Brewster staff will be able to move from their temporary office space into the building in April. Before the art work is installed the building must reach international museum climate standards.
Construction work on the ground-breaking Len Lye Centre began in June 2013.
New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd: “The Govett-Brewster is a cornerstone of contemporary art globally and with the Len Lye Centre as well, New Plymouth will be a key destination in the arts landscape”.
“When the Government committed $4 million to the project, the previous Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson said the Len Lye Collection was of international significance and New Plymouth was positioning itself to become the culture capital of New Zealand.”
“This will be a valuable community asset. A project of this status has eyes on it nationally and internationally, eagerly awaiting its opening for both its provocative architecture and art, ” says Mayor Andrew Judd.
About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, which opened in 1970, is Aotearoa New Zealand’s first and only contemporary art museum. Since 1980 the gallery has been home to the Collection and Archive of pioneering New Zealand filmmaker and kinetic artist Len Lye (1901-1980). The Len Lye Centre is currently under construction adjacent to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and is due to open on 25 July this year as a combined art museum.