New Zealand Sculpture OnShore: Popular, Successful and Vitally Important

  • Jessica Agoston University of Auckland
Keywords: Temporary Public art, Place making, Identity, Art as experience, Cultural history, Site specific, Auckland, Outdoor exhibitions


As a result of not being subject to the same rules, regulations and public consultation requirements of permanent public artworks, temporary art occupies a privileged position. If a member of the public does not like what they see, they need not worry. The artwork in question will be gone soon enough. This position presents not only an opportunity for engagement with a large, diverse audience, but also, as will be suggested, the necessity for the temporary to engage meaningfully with the physical, historic, and cultural layers of the site on which it occurs. Taking the Auckland Council Public Art Policy as a point of departure, and using New Zealand Sculpture OnShore (NZ SoS) as a proxy for temporary public art exhibitions that co-opt public spaces, the complex matrix and inherently political nature of public art will be explored and examined. Specific attention is given to site, audience, time and space that combine create place. The theories of Lucy Lippard, Mary Jane Jacob, John Dewey and others inform the critical discussion. Interviews with multiple people who had significant roles in the development and creation of NZ SoS as it exists today offer deeper insights into the historical background, ideology and purpose that underpins the exhibition.


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Dewar, Sally. Phone interview with the author, Auckland, October 12, 2020.

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How to Cite
Agoston, J. (2022). New Zealand Sculpture OnShore: Popular, Successful and Vitally Important. Back Story Journal of New Zealand Art, Media & Design History, (10), 63-77.