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May 16, 2011 | by  | in Visual Arts | [ssba]

The Art of Science

If you were inspired by last week’s exploration of science by the Salient team then the New Zealand Portrait Gallery has an exhibition that will fascinate you, right down to your DNA.

The Art of Science calls upon the stores of the Royal Society of New Zealand to present an exhibition that shows some of New Zealand’s most important scientific figures. The collection is largely made up of leaders of the Royal Society but also includes other portraits of notable scientists. Some of these works are by noted New Zealand artists, such as Bill Sutton, Garth Tapper and Valerie Beere. This is also a great opportunity to widen the profile of the Royal Society to a larger public audience.

My favourite piece in the collection has a strong link with Victoria University. The portrait of Alan MacDiarmid, by Marianne Muggeridge, 2002, is one full of character and life. There is something quite charming about seeing a Nobel prize winner wearing a bright, patterned shirt. Alongside the work are replicas of his Nobel prizes and an actual science schoolbook that the belonged to the young MacDiarmid in 1939.

Above all else, a great reason to see this exhibition is to see the portrayal of Sir Peter Gluckman. Here the idea of a portrait is taken a step further where the viewer is presented with a view of Gluckman’s DNA, reproduced as art. It is one of the first of its kind to be showed in New Zealand and it is certainly a fascinating take on the traditional portrait.
So try to get along to this exhibition at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Shed 11 on the waterfront. Even if you do not normally have a great appreciation for art, the collection is an important part of our history and not to be missed.

The Art of Science
The New Zealand Portrait Gallery
31 March to 22 May


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