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Warren Tippett art exhibition

Wed 7 Dec 2005 In: Events

Warren Tippett I've been to a marvellous opening! I'm still buzzing! (translation: I'm still pissed!) Anyway, it was at Objectspace, the old ASB building at the top of Auckland's Ponsonby Rd. Built in 1884, for Auckland - for New Zealand! - this is indeed an old and rather fabulous space. Airy, light and unpretentitious, Objectspace is indeed an open space. Peter Wells was there (he wrote the catalogue essay), and Michael Morrissey (anyone remember Gloss?), and Gil Hanly was taking photos. And Les and Sonia were there! Les is on a walking stick now but not Sonia, no way! Her earrings were almost the envy of the wahine on Ask Your Auntie! The artist in question was Warren Tippett and Sonia not only interviewed him on TV (lovely pic in the catalogue essay) but she also taught him in Invercargill as a schoolboy! Sooooo New Zealand!!! (We all know one another, don't we, or at least we've all slept with one another... or refused to ...or wished we had...) Anyhow, Warren was a potter. But opinion at the opening was divided about his sexuality. The curator seemed to think that he was gay; despite the wife (she was present) and the two sons (they were present), while the gallery manager felt the epithet 'bisexual' was too limiting, too 'labelling'. Oh, girlfriend, haven't we all been there?! The curator, amusingly, pointed out how the pots were divided into the 'straight' (the early monochromatic, traditional work) and the 'gay' - the colourful, Sydney, Polynesian-influenced pieces. Yes, Warren went all the way from the Coromandel to Sydney! Most interesting, for us, was the one piece, a goblet, with the wording "Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras". As a poster in a glass case informed us, Tippet made thirty goblets in 1990 to celebrate the Sydney Mardi Gras, to help raise funds for a Gay Pride home. Four years later, at the age of 54, he would be dead. Anyway, his work runs the gamut from the traditional to the outrageous, and the overwhelming impact is - he was a worker! Didn't he produce the goods! These are all pieces that people have bought and have loaned to the gallery for this exhibition. You couldn't ask for more support and respect than that. As a bonus, take a peak in what the Objectspace folk call 'the vault'. Here, a private collector, John Perry, has loaned some of his voluminous collection of Robinson Crusoe pieces. Ring a bell, does it, Robinson Crusoe? I mean, where did he go with Friday on a Saturday night?! This is a small but delicious offering with some closeted delights for anyone who remembers the not so distant past. And, by the way, John Perry has a wonderful museum of kiwiana at Helensville, well worth a Saturday car ride. Afterward we drifted off to the Thai restaurant on the corner of Dominion Road and Valley Rd - a fabbo view of that always busy area, and what's more, our Helen and Doug Howlett get their takeaways there! Warren Tippett Objectspace Ponsonby Road Auckland John Curry - 7th December 2005    

Credit: John Curry

First published: Wednesday, 7th December 2005 - 12:00pm

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