Being Modern

29 Mar 2013 -

Level 5, Te Papa

Reopens 22 August 2014


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From the 1930s, fresh ideas began shaking up the local arts scene, causing ‘gentle shudders to those of the Victorian school of thought’. The ‘new art’, later known as modernism, had sweeping effects. An integrated approach to art and design was a key feature, as this space reveals.

European immigrants, having fled their home countries because of World War II, brought many of the new ideas. Among those arriving were avant-garde architects, designers, photographers, painters, and potters.
But they weren’t alone in introducing or embracing modernism. New Zealanders, too, emerged from the war with a more worldly perspective. Modernism spoke to their hopes for new ways of living, working – and being.

Read more about this work in 'Pig islanders painting like Picasso' by Linda Tyler in Off the Wall

Selected Works

Architectural composite

Frank Hofmann

circa 1946

Instrument

Frank Hofmann

circa 1948

Wire mesh

Frank Hofmann

circa 1945

Clothesline

Frank Hofmann

1949

Chairs

Garth Chester

1947

Painting no. 2

Gordon Walters

1953

Buildings

Milan Mrkusich

1955

Easy Chair

Ernst A. Plischke

about 1948

Ceiling light

Ernst A. Plischke

1953-1956

February 2 1947 (painting J.L.M.)

Ben Nicholson

1947

Vase

Peter Stichbury

1949

Footed bowl

Len Castle

circa 1950

"Bohemia ware" vase

Mirek Smisek

1951-1952

"Bohemia Ware" vase.

Mirek Smisek

1951-1952

"Bohemia Ware" vase.

Mirek Smisek

1951-1952

"Bohemia Ware" vase.

Mirek Smisek

1951-1952

Reversal design

Frank Hofmann

1952

Design for bookplate

Frank Hofmann

circa 1945

Lili Kraus II

Frank Hofmann

1946

Kampa Steps, Prague

Frank Hofmann

1938

Lili Kraus

Frank Hofmann

1947

Diving tower, Prague

Frank Hofmann

circa 1936

Formal composition

Frank Hofmann

circa 1950

Projection image: scissors

Frank Hofmann

circa 1946

Chairs [pair]

Garth Chester

circa 1955

Easy chair

Ostrom, inspired by Gustaf A. Berg

1951-1952