Wellington may be the “culture capital” of New Zealand, but Auckland is very much its artistic hub. With so many galleries to be discovered, classic and contemporary art lovers are going to be in for a treat. To make your next visit easier, here are some of the venues that best showcase the city’s artistic masterpieces.
Along with having a fascinating architectural history, The Auckland Art Gallery is home to New Zealand’s largest artwork collection. Historic New Zealand art, Maori and Pacific Island works, and international paintings are some of the gallery’s holdings. The oldest item in its collection is actually a Hindi Apsara statue, dating from as far back as the 11th Century.
Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland | Courtesy of Gow Langsford
Established in 1989 by John Gow and Gary Langsford, this inner-city art gallery is committed to showcasing some of the best contemporary masterpieces from New Zealand and abroad. Gow Langsford is actually comprised of two galleries, in close, but very distinct, locations. Their smaller Kitchener Street venue is situated opposite the Auckland Art Gallery, and regularly hosts an dynamic set of exhibitions. The more spacious Gow Langsford Gallery on Lorne Street is where you’ll find its larger-scale installations.
Auckland’s ‘K Road’ is more than a place of interesting vintage finds – it’s a contemporary art destination in its own right. The Artspace gallery is all about bringing new ideas to the forefront. Exhibitions offer intellectual insight into social commentary, political contexts, identity, worldviews and perceptions. Artspace also holds regular Conversations sessions where people can discuss these prevalent themes and issues.
Compelling contemporary art exhibitions are very much the norm at the Two Rooms Gallery. As its name suggests, this warehouse-turned-arts centre is comprised of two separate venues. Sculptures, paintings, and a myriad of mixed media works have made their mark in this gallery. Two Rooms is also renowned for its residency programme, which facilitates projects and dialogue between New Zealand and international artists.
Right at the heart of Monte Cecilia Park you will find the historic Pah Homestead. Once the largest house in the Auckland region, the Homestead now hosts the TSB Wallace Arts Centre. This gallery is part of the Wallace Arts Trust, which specialises in the promotion of and fostering of local artistry. As such, a fantastic showcase of contemporary New Zealand art is what you can expect from this spacious establishment.
Te Tuhi is one of Auckland’s most prominent contemporary art institutions. The gallery has eight dedicated exhibition spaces, presenting a trove of remarkable displays from New Zealand and abroad. Supporting all facets of the art community is very much a priority at Te Tuhi, which regularly hosts children’s and adult’s art classes, has a 200-seat auditorium for hosting events, and even offers special scholarships for postgraduate fine arts students.