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New Zealand Opens Its First Contemporary Art Museum

55b6a2780121edec25708395_Len-Lye-Centre

July 27, 2015

Courtesy Len Lye Centre

The Govett-Brewster Gallery opened in New Zealand last weekend.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery opened in the coastal town of New Plymouth over the weekend.

On July 25, New Zealand welcomed its first contemporary art museum, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. The new space opened in New Plymouth, which is about 224 miles southwest of Auckland, and it’s notable for more than being first: The striking mirrored, stainless-steel building, designed by Auckland architecture firm Pattersons, was intended to be a “temple to art.”55b6a2780121edec2570838e_Simon-Rees-with-Len-Lye-Four-Fountains-in-Large-Works-gallery

The space also hosts the Len Lye Centre, which is the first gallery in the country dedicated to the work of a single artist. Lye, who died in 1980, was a Christchurch-born filmmaker and artist known for his “kinetic sculptures.” He’s also credited as helping to highlight and popularize work by Maori and Australian Aboriginal artists. In addition to housing some of Lye’s most famous paintings, sculptures, and drawings, there’s also a 62-seat theater where visitors can watch selections from some of his films.

A cafe called Monica’s Eatery is also open for business; it is, like the gallery itself, named after Monica Brewster, an art lover and patron who willed much of her estate toward the founding of a contemporary art museum in New Plymouth.

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