Information evening – Experience Frieze week in London (12-16th October 2015)

Each October the international art world descends on London as Frieze London, one of the world’s most respected contemporary art fairs, enables people to see and buy the work of more than 1000 of the world’s most important contemporary artists. At the same time, every gallery and museum in London puts on their most exciting shows, for the international audience.

In 2014 Auckland-based former Londoner, Stephanie Post, designed a five-day programme especially for New Zealand collectors to visit Frieze London, and at the same time, experience the full breadth of the London art world, through a bespoke programme of visits to artists’ studios, private collections galleries and museums. For 2015, she is offering a similar programme, and we are pleased to invite you to come and find out more about last year’s visits and what she is organising for this year. Highlights of 2014 included private collections in Mayfair and Kensington, a private guided tour of the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Royal Academy, a tour of the viewing rooms as well as the exhibition spaces at White Cube and several studio visits.

Over a glass of wine, you will hear, not only about attending Frieze Preview day as a VIP, but also Frieze Masters, which offers a carefully selected presentation of approximately 120 leading galleries exhibiting iconic works of art ranging from the ancient era and old masters through to art of the 20th century. In between Frieze and Frieze Masters, in the beautiful setting of The English Garden in Regents Park, The Frieze Sculpture Park shows a selection of contemporary and historical sculptures, selected from Frieze and Frieze Masters. At the same time, every arts organisation in London, from the smallest artist-run space in the East End, to Tate Modern and the Royal Academy, put on an exciting array of shows and exhibitions for the international visitors to London. As someone who worked in the London art world for more than 10 years, Stephanie will make sure that you get to places you would never find on your own and gain an insight into what it is that makes London a centre of the contemporary art world.

Details for the evening are Tuesday May 19, 7.30-9pm, 18 Taurarua Tce, Parnell.

Please rsvp to  (027 316 0332)


In January 2015 New York-based light artist Leo Villareal visited Auckland, courtesy of The Contemporary Benefactors. Villareal’s work combines LED lights and encoded computer programming to create illuminated displays, which were stunningly illustrated in Cylinder II (2012), and featured in Light Show at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Leo Villareal's Cylinder 11 2012
Leo Villareal’s Cylinder 11 2012

Leo Villareal conducted a series of public and private talks and events during his time in New Zealand. During his talk at the Auckland Art Gallery, Villareal describes the progression of his work from creating artwork out of found objects to working with light, sound and video. He describes his pieces as “being liveable and random, with a sense of mystery to them”.

Leo Villareal at Auckland Art Gallery
Leo Villarreal presenting at the Auckland Art Gallery
Leo Villareal at the Contemporary Benefactor's dinner 2015
Leo Villareal at the Contemporary Benefactor’s dinner 2015

His most ambitious project to date is The Bay Lights, situated on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. After being asked to use the bridge as a canvas, Villareal, and his team undertook the incredible feat of covering the bridge in 20,000 LED lights. He then spent several months programming and tuning the lights, “like a musical instrument” with a sequence of images reflecting on the water and the environment. As Villareal says, the final result was “like watching a digital campfire where people gather around.  It has created a great sense of community”. The people of San Francisco loved it so much that it will remain a permanent piece of art on the bridge for the foreseeable future.

The Bay Lights, Bay Bridge, San Francisco
The Bay Lights, Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Leo Villareal’s full presentation at the Auckland Art Gallery can be viewed through the following link:

Leo Villareal was also interviewed by Radio New Zealand.

A movie about the creation of ‘The Bay Lights’ has been made into a film Impossible Light.


Born in 1967 in Albuquerque, NM, Villareal began experimenting with light, sound, and video while studying set design and sculpture at Yale University, where he received a received a BA in sculpture in 1990. He earned his MPS in the design of new media, computational media, and embedded computing from New York University’s pioneering Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. He also learned the programming skills that enable him to push LED technology far past familiar commercial applications. Recent exhibitions include, a survey show organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, which continues to tour several museums in the United States.

He has completed many site specific works including, Radiant Pathways, Rice University in Houston, Texas; Mulitverse, The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Diagonal Grid, Borusan Center for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey; Stars, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York, and the recently installed Hive, for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at the Bleecker Street subway station in Manhattan.   Villareal is a focal point of the James Corner Field Operations design team that will renew Chicago’s Navy Pier, and commissioned installations at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and The Durst Organization in New York City, will be in visible public spaces.  Villareal’s work is in the permanent collections of many museums including the  Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY;  Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Kagawa, Japan;  Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Multiverse 2010 National Gallery of Art Washington,DC
Multiverse 2010
National Gallery of Art
Bucky Ball 2012 Madison Square Park NY, New York
Bucky Ball 2012
Madison Square Park
NY, New York

Throughout the last four decades a growing number of artists have explored the use of light to frame and create spaces in the built environment. These include Dan Flavin’s space-defining fluorescent light sculptures, James Turrell’s color-saturated voids, Jenny Holzer’s LED-generated texts, and Felix Gonzales-Torres’ strings of lightbulbs. While Villareal’s art acknowledges these forebears, his concepts relate most closely to the instructional wall drawings of Sol LeWitt and the systems-based paintings of Peter Halley.



Born in Khagual, Bihar in 1964, Subodh Gupta has quickly risen to prominence as one of India’s leading contemporary artists. Despite formal training as a painter, the New Delhi-based artist experiments with a variety of media, including sculpture, installation, photography, performance and video.

Gupta’s current exhibition at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery demonstrates the great breadth of his practice, presenting works that encompass all of these mediums. The golden thread between them is that for which Gupta is best known – the “Duchampian” incorporation of everyday items and found objects into his art as a tool to emphasize the effects of cultural dislocation in the era of shifting powers; in particular, the impact of globalisation on the traditional values of everyday life in India.

Seven Billion Light Years, Subodh Gupta

Entitled Seven Billion Light Years—in reference to mankind’s current population and the incomprehensible distance between our mortal lives and the infinite cosmos—the exhibition continues the artist’s investigation into the mysterious intricacies of our daily lives.

These ideas are best culminated in Gupta’s large-scale installation in the main gallery space. Comprised of hundreds of tarnished aluminium and copper kitchen utensils—pots, pans, buckets and vessels—This is not a fountain (2011-2013) stretches twelve feet across the gallery floor. Multiple faucets are placed throughout the installation, releasing a constant flow of water over the utensils. The installation references the prevalence of class inequality in India, despite the country’s continued growth and modernization.

On view through April 25, the exhibition runs concurrently with After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997, a highly anticipated exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art that features a major work by Gupta.

Photo 4 Photo 5

Works from the exhibition Seven Billion Light Years.

—Sophie Wallace, February 2015

Feature artist: David Hockney

“When I’m working I feel like Picasso, I feel I’m 30.” –David Hockney

It would be inaccurate to say that David Hockney has made a recent comeback. Still prolific at age seventy-seven, he has managed the unlikely task of staying relevant throughout his entire career – which now spans more than five decades. It would, however, be accurate to say that he is having a “moment.”

Hockney created a ripple through New York’s art world this October with an exhibition of his iPad prints; a pioneering mode of art that he conceived of in its entirety. The Arrival of Spring–which also featured charcoal drawings and a nine-screen video installation–drew large crowds to Pace Gallery and topped multiple “must-see” exhibition lists from prestigious publications.

David Hockney Exhibition Installation

The exhibition was directly followed by Some New Painting (and Photography), also at Pace, this time featuring twenty-two of Hockney’s most recent figurative works; seated portraits of individuals, a series of paintings that recall Matisse’s masterpiece Dance, and a selection of photographic drawings displayed on high definition screens. Playing with perspective, time, space, movement and–most notably–technology, Hockney demonstrated his longstanding commitment to depicting the human figure and to exploring the intersection of art and technology.

In addition, a new documentary directed by Randall Wright, which provides an intimate account of Hockney’s life in art, was released in December. This monumental event was preceded by the release of Christopher Simon Sykes’ second biography of Hockney just weeks prior.

Hockney’s prodigious and varied output continues to delight admirers of his art, who eagerly wait to see what he will produce next.

Sophie Wallace, December 2015


Discussing Mo‘ui Tukuhausia
Over a two-week period, from 19 March to 1 April 2012, artist Kalisolaite ‘Uhila lived homeless around Te Tuhi’s building and surrounding parkland. ‘Uhila experienced and received numerous responses, from overwhelming generosity, in the form of food donations and friendship, to venomous discrimination such as verbal abuse and being spat on. The following conversation between curator Bruce E. Phillips and ‘Uhila took place on the day after the performance ended. Continue reading WALTERS PRIZE FINALIST: KALISOLAITE ‘UHILA

Engaging with our neighbours in South America

What do we generally know about South America? In April I was able to spend a month researching art in three countries in South America in preparation for an exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery. This was a long awaited trip as my last visit to the continent was in 2006 when I co-managed the project TRANS VERSA, artists from Australia and New Zealand, with Danae Mossman, which resulted in the presentation of artworks at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Galería Metropolitana and Centro Cultural Matucana in Santiago, Chile. Continue reading Engaging with our neighbours in South America

Ron Brownson In Conversation With Dame Jenny Gibbs

Ron Brownson, Dame Jenny Gibbs, Charlotte Swasbrook
Ron Brownson, Dame Jenny Gibbs, Charlotte Swasbrook

In February the Contemporary Benefactors were welcomed to the home of Dame Jenny Gibbs for an informal ‘in conversation’ with Senior Curator Ron Brownson.  As well as generously opening her home to us, Dame Jenny shared insights into the continuing evolution of her exceptional collection, and described how much fun she finds her ongoing involvement with contemporary art and philanthropy. Continue reading Ron Brownson In Conversation With Dame Jenny Gibbs

Benefactor Offer: Visit Frieze London

Visit Frieze London, 15-19 October 2014


You are invited to join a specially curated programme for New Zealand collectors to visit Frieze London, one of the world’s most respected international contemporary art fairs and at the same time, experience the art world of London, through a programme of visits to galleries, museums, studios and private collections. Continue reading Benefactor Offer: Visit Frieze London

of the Auckland Art Gallery