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Michael Parekowhai: The Promised Land at GOMA

By Art+Object on 17th April 2015

The latest exhibition to open at Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is a tour de force by the extraordinary New Zealand artist, Michael Parekowhai.

In 2011 he represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale with an ambitious exhibition entitled On First Looking into Chapman's Homer, featuring the now infamous bronze bulls atop grand pianos in the garden of a Venetian palazzo.

This latest exhibition is billed as a retrospective, but Parekowhai has not been content to simply gather together and exhibit work made over the past 25 years or so of his highly successful career. Instead, he offers us The Promised Land, a visual and sensory journey through a combination of major new work, familiar friends and pieces that we thought we knew, but that the artist has rewritten. 

In typically New Zealand fashion, we enter the exhibition through the back door of a two storey coral-coloured house, constructed within the gallery, to be greeted by a larger-than-life stainless steel sculpture of Captain James Cook (The English Channel, 2015), pensively sitting upon a tripod table. Cook is surrounded by a wallpaper army of Parekowhai's familiar security guards and businessmen, cast on a smaller scale and in a variety of quirky colours. From here the journey through this delightful 'memory palace' begins as the viewer becomes immersed in the wonderful world of Michael Parekowhai. 

GOMA's huge Fairfax Gallery, which may be daunting to some, is skillfully divided into thirds, with the second part of the exhibition, The Homefront, taking place beyond a giant Cuisenaire-rod wall.  Individual rooms within highlight aspects of the artist's practice and perhaps provide insights into his interests - religion, war, the planets, music, home and places far away to name but a few. Parekowhai is interested in making the ordinary extra-ordinary, highlighting everyday imagery rather than the exotic. One of the lightbulb moments for me in this exhibition was the skill with which Parekowhai gives what we may regard as 'common' items gravitas.  Sparrows, rabbits, golf balls and lemon trees straight from the garden centre are transformed into beautiful sculptural objects via Parekowhai's skill hand.

Queensland Art Gallery holds a collection of Parekowhai's work, with the most significant piece being The Horn of Africa 2006, a piano balanced upon a seal's nose. Spectacular in its appearance, it sits playfully in one of the final rooms, amongst photographs from the series The Consolation of Philosophy: piko nei te maenga 2001. While Parekowhai can be playful, his work is always sincere, and to me this room feels like a true example of the artist's ability to traverse a range of emotions. 

From here you exit into a massive, magical room which holds what was the centrepiece of the Venice exhibition, the red piano, He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river 2011. As the artist says, no object can fill a room like sound can. A little girl danced and other visitors sat quietly in the bronze school chairs dotted around the room as the piano was played. Above it on a wall is a recent neon work which flickers on and off with the word "Closed". At other times it says "Lose".  Perhaps he is reminding us that this art business is really just a game?

GOMA itself is a wonderful destination to visit. I can recommend lunch at the terrace restaurant, where the signature dessert appeared looking very much like an Aboriginal dot painting but is in fact a delicate wattleseed custard. Outside the gallery, beside the river, don't miss Parekowhai's major bronze, The World Turns 2011-12, commissioned in 2011 to mark the 5th anniversary of the opening of GOMA and 20 years of the Asia Pacific Triennal of Contemporary Art.

The exhibition continues until June 21, so if you are able to make it to Brisbane before then, you will be well rewarded. - Leigh Melville





Rare Books: Auction Highlights

By Art+Object on 16th April 2015

A very strong first book sale of the year was held on April 15 2015 with spirited bidding throughout from bidders in the room, absentee and online. The highest price achieved was $163 715 for David Samwell's A Narrative of the Death of Captain Cook (London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson 1786), lot 23. A high price was also achieved for a mezzotint after Benjamin West 'Mr Banks' (1773), lot 26, which sold for $90 950, one of the highest prices achieved for a Cook's voyages related print.  

Other preliminary highlights include:

Lot 29 Edward Lear - Three letters, Christmas card and photographs $11 820

Lot 141 New Zealand Football Team 1905 - Middlesex County v New Zealand $2670

Lot 153 Major Fiennes Colville letter $2790

Lot 175 Sapper H Moore-Jones - Sketches made at Anzac $6185

Lot 195 Major-General Robley - Moko; or Maori Tattooing $1040

Lot 232 Antonio Zatta - La Nuova Zelanda trascorsa nel 1769 e 1770 $1940

Lot 249 Ernest Shackleton - South $3880

Lot 268 Gold mining documents - Licences and Miner's Rights $1695

Lot 302 Janet Frame - Mona Minim and the Smell of the Sun $1455

Lot 348 Nelson postcards $1165

Lot 360 Aurora Tavern Britannia Saloon - Promissory notes $970

Lot 370 Photograph panorama - Wellington 1862 $2060

 *All prices include buyer's premium and GST.  A full list of prices realised will be published online shortly.

Cataloguing has commenced for Art + Object's next Rare Book auction, scheduled for early August 2015, and entries are invited. Please direct all inquiries to Pam Plumbly, Rare Book Consultant:, +64 21 448200 or +64 9 3544646.


By Art+Object on 14th April 2015

Live streaming and online bidding for tomorrow's Rare Book auction will be available via Online bidders will need to register on the Live Auctioneers website. Apps are available for iPhones and android phones.

Alternatively if you are unable to be present in the auction room and would like to place a bid please complete an Absentee/ Phone Bid form, which can be found on our website, and return to Art+Object by the end of day today.

Important Paintings and Contemporary Art: Preliminary Highlights

By Art+Object on 1st April 2015

Last night's auction was headlined by the unprecedented result achieved for Michael Parekowhai's Tu Tama Ra, which was the top selling lot on the night at $164 150.  Some of the other preliminary highlights included: 

2. Judy Millar $11 430

3. Michael Parekowhai $9850

8. Liz Maw $18 760

9. Richard Killeen $26 965 (illustrated)

10. Richard Killeen $25 795

14. Stephen Bambury $25 795

15. Bill Henson $39 865

17. Ann Shelton $7915

19. Peter Peryer $7035

21. Richard Orjis $6450

27. Michael Parekowhai $164 150 * a new record price for the artist at auction.

30. Stephen Bambury $64 487 * a new record price for the artist at auction.

39. Gordon Walters $9965

43. Peter Siddell $28 140

46. Tony Fomison $26 965  

 All prices realised include buyer's premium and GST totalling 17.25%.  A full list of prices realised will be published online shortly.  

The Ron Sang Collection: Preliminary Highlights

By Art+Object on 5th March 2015

Over three hundred collectors packed ART+OBJECT to witness one of the most successful art and collectable auctions in New Zealand history.  Over 98% sold under the hammer with lots regularly making two to three times their estimates.  Unsurprisingly, Don Binney's Katoomba Fatbird (1982), led the evening results bringing $304 850 against its $200 000 - $300 000 estimate.  The sales total stands at just over $1 900 000, over double pre-sale expectations. 

Some of the preliminary highlights included:

 Lot 2. Robin White $9965

Lot 4. Gordon Walters $14 770

Lot 9. Guy Ngan $22 980

Lot 10. Guy Ngan $37 520

Lot 14. Toss Woollaston $178 805 * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 16. Gretchen Albrecht $60 970

Lot 20. Allen Maddox $37 520

Lot 21. Pat Hanly $234 500 * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 22. Don Binney $304 850

Lot 23. Don Binney $158 285

Lot 25. Michael Smither $146 560

Lot 26. Michael Hight $42 210  * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 27. Robert Ellis $36 345    * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 28. Karl Maughan $49 245 * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 38. Ann Robinson $23 450

Lot 40. Michael Smither $4805 * A new record price for a print or multiple by the artist.

Lot 46. Pat Hanly $10 845 * A new record price for a print or multiple by the artist.


Lot 62. Sigurd Ressel $4320

Lot 68. Poul Kjaerholm $7200

Lot 75. Len Castle $8790

Lot 78. Len Castle Sulphurous Bowl $13 505 * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 88. Len Castle Blossom Vase $6300

Lot 93. Nicholas Brandon $2520 * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 97. Graeme Storm $1920

Lot 114. Len Castle $10 800

Lot 129. Len Castle $9360

Lot 141. Ray Rogers $5640 * A new record price for the artist.

Lot 161. Roy Cowan $10 800

Lot 162. Roy Cowan $12 605 * A new record price for the artist.


All prices listed include buyer's premium and GST.  A full list of prices realised will be available online shortly.

New Collectors Art, February 17: Preliminary Highlights

By Art+Object on 18th February 2015

ART+OBJECT's first auction for 2015 was held last night before a healthy audience of 100 - 150 collectors.  The top selling lot of the evening went to Dick Frizzell's The Fisher Man (1985) which realised $21 620.  Further preliminary highlights included:

 1. Richard Killeen $3000

5. Simon McIntyre $6605

8. Peter Stichbury $4080

15. Andy Warhol $4680 (illustrated)

21. Jae Hoon Lee $6005

35. Patricia France (Memories) $6485

37. Patricia France (Giving and Receiving) $5045

41. Max Gimblett $9010

62. Bill Hammond $5045

65. Guy Ngan $10 800

77. Philip Trusttum $6245

78. Star Gossage $6005

90. Ralph Hotere $4320

97. Gordon Walters $1920

109. Trevor Moffitt $6965  

110. Dick Frizzell $21 620

114. Nigel Brown $7205

128. Terry Stringer $6005

132. Jeff Thomson $7205

135. Jean Baudrillard $1500

142. Robin White $10 810

162. Gretchen Albrecht $2640

173. Ralph Hotere $3000

179. Chris Heaphy$1620

192. Max Gimblett $3120 

All prices realised include buyer's premium and GST.  A full list of prices realised will be published shortly.  

Art+Object on Instagram

By Art+Object on 21st January 2015

Art+Object is now on Instagram! Follow @artandobject for the latest news and behind the scenes access to Art+Object auctions.


A+O Christmas 2014 Greetings

By Art+Object on 22nd December 2014

The directors and staff of A+O would like to thank all of our clients, industry colleagues and friends for their support in 2014. We have been privileged to offer many collections and individual artworks and items of national cultural significance this year. We deeply appreciate those who come to our viewings and auctions as participants and observers, many of whom share their knowledge and appreciation with us as part of an ongoing dialogue about New Zealand visual and applied arts culture. We very much enjoy these interactions and take great pride that these conversations are also valued by our clients and visitors. We look forward to more of the same in 2015 which will be our 9th year of operation. 2015 will see a number of fascinating catalogues, not the least of which will be the Ron Sang Collection in early March of next year. The A+O office will be closed from today until Monday January 19th. In this period Hamish, Ben and Leigh can be contacted via email.

We wish you all a very happy, safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year period.

Illustrated: Pat Hanly
Suburban Innocents
oil and enamel on board, 1983
1200 x 1200mm
$200 000 - $300 000
A feature work from the Ron Sang Collection to be offered on 5 March, 2015