Research at CAS

The University of Auckland Centre for Art Studies (CAS) provides a platform to showcase and connect research taking place around the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries and in the wider University community. Based in Shortland Street at the Gus Fisher Gallery, between the City Campus and the central business district in Auckland, CAS is a public interface for the University, providing exhibitions, publishing and events covering an eclectic variety of topics in architecture, art, design, music and performance.  

Exhibition projects


Sean Kerr: Bruce danced if Victoria sang, and Victoria sang; so Bruce danced

Elam Senior Lecturer and new media artist Sean Kerr was the subject of a major exhibition project, which then Centre Curator Andrew Clifford presented in collaboration with Artspace. The exhibition toured to The Dowse Art Museum and was the basis of a substantial new publication on Kerr’s work, published by Clouds.

Playing With Fire: Peter Hawkesby, Denis O’Connor and Graeme Storm

Celebrating 50 years of the Auckland Studio Potters, a suite of three exhibitions combined to put clay back on the map for the 21st century. The exhibitions were accompanied by the publication of a new Creative New Zealand-funded book to mark ASP’s 50th birthday, published by the Centre for Art Research. The foyer of Gus Fisher Gallery showcased the work of Graeme Storm, who has been a working member since ASP’s inception, and was part of a group of potters who graduated from and taught at the Faculty of Education, along with Len Castle, Patricia Perrin, Barry Brickell, Chester Nealie and John Parker. Gallery One is devoted to Denis O'Connor's past in pottery (1973-1983), while Gallery Two features the work of fellow "clay poet" Peter Hawkesby, in an exhibition curated by ceramics enthusiast and collector, Richard Fahey.

Collateral: Printmaking as social commentary

Curated by Professor Elizabeth Rankin, Department of Art History, who also authored the accompanying publication. The four artists in Collateral show that printmaking's long history of social and political critique is still alive and well. From the United States, New Zealand and South Africa, printmakers Daniel Heyman, Michael Reed, Sandra Thomson and Diane Victor use the versatility of print processes in diverse ways, offering the traditional pleasures of fine prints along with more unexpected forms. As part of the exhibition’s public programmes, a multidisciplinary panel of researchers from across the University of Auckland responded to issues raised by Collateral, including themes of political violence and human rights. Speakers included Treasa Dunworth (Law), Dr Tracey McIntosh (Sociology) and Dr Susanna Trnka (Anthropology).
Podcast (download):

From Prague to Auckland: the photographs of Frank Hofmann (1916-89)

This exhibition, and its accompanying publication, continue Art History Associate Professor Leonard Bell’s ongoing research into the role of émigré artists in New Zealand. Frank Hofmann arrived in New Zealand in 1940 as a refugee from Nazism. As well as a day job with prominent commercial portrait company Christopher Bede Studios, he also pursued art photography intensely, exploring the aesthetic and poetic potentialities of the medium in various genres: portraiture, experimental and abstract, architectural, and landscape. Besides being an outstanding photographer, Hofmann is particularly important historically for introducing inter-war European modernist ideas and practices into New Zealand. With his wife, the writer Helen Shaw (Hella Hofmann), he was a central figure in a lively, multi-disciplinary cultural scene, closely involved with the visual arts, modernist architecture, music and literature – and he photographed most of the leading figures of this milieu.

Reuben Paterson: Bottled Lightning

The first public gallery solo exhibition from Reuben Paterson, an alumnus of both Elam School of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Education. Andrew Clifford, the Centre Curator at the time, surveyed his career so far to explore issues of memory, history, temporality and tradition.

Douglas Wright: Body of work

An exhibition surveying the career of New Zealand’s foremost choreographer, Douglas Wright, held in late 2012. The exhibition examines dance’s interdisciplinary relationships with photograpy, film, writing and drawing. Curated by curator, writer and Fulbright Scholar Georgina White.

Research and writing projects


  • The story of the University of Auckland Art Collection in a beautifully designed book, illustrated with reproductions of and commentary on the most important works.
  • Digital documentation of the Art Collection, to be accessible via a searchable website.
  • The influence of Crown Lynn head designer David Jenkin, and the relationship between Crown Lynn and Māori.
  • A study of the botanical illustration of artist and scientist John Buchanan (1819-1898), by Centre for Art Studies Director Linda Tyler.
  •  Book chapters on sound sculpture and invented instruments, and the significance of the colour black in popular New Zealand music by Andrew Clifford.

For more information on research projects at CAS, contact:
Linda Tyler
Phone: +64 9 923 7309
Email: gusfishergallery@auckland.ac.nz

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