Len Lye: The New Yorker
1 December 2012–27 January 2013
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Cnr Queen and King Sts
New Plymouth 4342
Aotearoa, New Zealand
Curated by Paul Brobbel, Assistant Curator Len Lye.
Len Lye: The New Yorker explores Lye’s early years in New York—between his arrival from Britain in 1944 and the emergence of his kinetic sculpture, or ‘tangibles,’ in the early 1960s.
With an extensive look into the Len Lye Foundation collection and archives, this exhibition considers the breadth of Lye’s activity in this important but often overlooked period, charting Lye’s progress from experimental filmmaking to becoming a leading figure of the 1960s Kinetic art movement.
A selection of both well-known and seldom-screened films illustrate Lye’s ongoing engagement with abstract cinema, his relentless technical innovation and a devotion to the kinaesthetic that triumphed in his 1958 ‘scratch-film,’ Free Radicals. Lye’s subsequent early steps as a kinetic sculptor are explored through works representative of Tangible Motion Sculpture, Lye’s 1961 kinetic performance at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Between these two familiar poles, Len Lye: The New Yorker highlights Lye’s proximity and, at times, affinity with artistic idiom of post-war New York; a personal image of 1940s New York captured by photogram portraits of friends, associates and colleagues such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Hans Richter, a return to his quasi-surrealistic mode of painting suggestive of Lawrence Alloway’s ‘Biomorphic Forties’ and the development of Lye’s theories of self-realisation and individuality alongside the emergence of Abstract-Expressionism.
Len Lye: The New Yorker is supported by the Len Lye Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive.
Singular Companions: Sculpture from the Collection
1 December 2012–27 January 2013
Sculptural form is paramount in this exhibition from the Govett-Brewster Collection. Grouped as new companions in five gallery spaces, the works explore the containment of memory, measure, the mapping of terrestrial journeys, the body and abstraction, alongside interplays with domestic ciphers, social customs, illusion and weightlessness. Works are cast, assembled, recycled, woven, thrown, carved, welded, hand-formed or illuminated.
Artists include Mary-Louise Browne, Bill Culbert, Neil Dawson, Don Driver, Andrew Drummond, Karl Fritsch and Gavin Hipkins, Paul Hartigan, Christine Hellyar, John Ward Knox, Laurelle Pookamelya, Lisa Reihana, Peter Robinson, Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, Lauren Winstone and Yin Xiuzhen.
The Len Lye Centre
From early 2013 a new phase in the Govett-Brewster’s history begins with the construction of the Len Lye Centre, which will operate as a new combined facility with the Govett-Brewster. Designed by internationally recognised architectural firm Patterson Associates, the Len Lye Centre is set to become a landmark building, offering a dedicated space and permanent access to Len Lye’s art and ideas. Planned to open in early 2015, the combined facility of the Govett-Brewster and Len Lye Centre will offer a unique programme of exhibitions and public engagement. Earthquake strengthening work for the Govett-Brewster and construction of the Len Lye Centre means throughout 2013 and 2014, the Govett-Brewster may be closed at times. From February 2013, please check www.govettbrewster.com for updates before visiting.