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Panel Talk: New Zealand’s Mid-Century Public Art

In 1950s New Zealand, architects made a habit of commissioning artists to make site-specific works for new buildings. Panellists discuss why – and what happened afterwards.

  • When | Āhea Sat 24 Apr 2021, 2.00pm–3.00pm
  • Where | Ki hea
    Te Marae, Level 4
  • Cost | Te utu Free event

Step outside the 1950s New Zealand home and into a public space with this conversation facilitated by Dr Bronwyn Holloway-Smith – artist, co-director of Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, and author of Wanted: The Search for the Modernist Murals of E. Mervyn Taylor.

Dr Holloway-Smith will introduce the era, before being joined by Gregory J. Smith (curator, researcher, historiographer) and Dr Duncan Joiner (former Assistant Government Architect (Design). Together, they will collectively consider the role public art played in the modernist rethinking of everyday life in Aotearoa, and discuss how lessons from this era might be applied today.

This event is part of the public programme for Modern Living: Design in 1950s New Zealand. Before this talk, join the exhibition’s curators on a special tour of the show – a last chance to view during its final weekend. 

This event will be recorded and made available on Te Papa’s website after the talk.

A photo of a blue and white mural on an outside wall


Drone image of Guy Ngan’s Bledisloe House penthouse frieze (1956) captured by Aerialsmiths, commissioned by Auckland Council, 2019