Monday, January 15, 2007

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Scott Eady

Posie Pony
Customised 1940s Massey-Harris Pony
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Just a quick note to start off 2007 with a bit of a moan. I recently looked forward to having 4 hours to spend in Auckland, (for the first time, i might add), before a flight, and though I would take the opportunity to visit Auckland Art Gallery.
Currently showing there were 3 main exhibits. One called Summer Daze, about "the cosmos, the great outdoors and the joy of recreation." further info
One about Painting - what it is, what it isn't, what it's becoming... and a general mixed bag of contemporary stuff, including a significant amount of work by Colin McCahon.

Anyway, my whole experience was tainted by the atmosphere created by the staff (i should point out that this was one staff member) at the desk when I arrived. No enthusiasm, no descriptions, no map of the 2 buildings and active discouragement to go to the paid exhibition Summer Daze, which is apparently, "really just for kids."

I wonder what the artists think about their work being described in this way, as after all, i am sure their original intention in creating it, was for it to transcend more than one boundary? This is a curated show after all, one person's vision. It's also, not really the description that is given on the website, so I wonder if the gallery know that their staff are so apathetic in their customer service? Needless to say, I didn't go see it, but I will be asking Scott Eady what he thinks about this. Above is an image of a piece of his work that I didn't get to see.

And after that , I couldn't really be bothered, especially when the staff member signalled the end of our conversation by abruptly starting one with someone else passing the front desk.

So I won't be rushing back to the Auckland Art Gallery, with their lack of concern for the public they put their exhibitions on for. It is such a shame that customer service is not at the core of most businesses who operate in this way. Maybe businesses don't appreciate the great work that 'frontline' staff do for them, many of them unpaid volunteers, but maybe I was just unlucky and got someone on a grumpy day.

Next time I will let you know about the great experience I had at City Gallery, Wellington and the excellent Sam Taylor-Wood exhibition.