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Exhibitions and Events

Upcoming Talks


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Regular Tours at the Hocken

A rear view: Behind the scenes tours
Every Thursday at 11am (tours are 50 mins).

Join one of our friendly guides and learn about the Hocken. Check out the amazing materials in our archives, ephemera, maps, music/AV, photographs, pictures and published collections. Bookings not required. Limit of 10 people per tour. Tour starts at Hocken reception.

What’s in store? Art! - not currently offered
First Saturday of each month at 11am-12pm.

Did you know that the Hocken has one of this country’s most important collections of modern and historic New Zealand art including works by leading artists such as Rita Angus, Ralph Hotere, Robin White and Colin McCahon? Hocken staff will take you into the pictures store-rooms to see some of these art treasures. Bookings are required: Tel 03 479 8868. Limit of 10 people per tour. Tour starts at Hocken reception

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Current Exhibition

Colin McCahon: A Constant Flow of Light

Saturday 15 August 2020 – Saturday 6 March 2021

Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena holds one of the most important collections of McCahon’s art in New Zealand in addition to significant archives relating to his life and work.

Focusing on the period between the mid-1930s and mid-1970s, ‘A Constant Flow of Light’ will draw from these collections presenting major works of art such as ‘The Virgin and Child compared’, 1948 and ‘The Wake’, 1958 and examining key ideas the artist explored over this forty year period.

The Hocken began collecting New Zealand modernism in the 1950s because enlightened professionals such as former Hocken Librarians H.D. Skinner and Michael Hitchings and professional staff such as Hocken Art Curator Gordon Brown, worked alongside cultural patrons including Charles Brasch, Rodney Kennedy, Patricia France, John Caselberg and the McCahon family to ensure works by McCahon and other New Zealand modernists were represented in the Hocken’s art collection. Aware of the significant role Dunedin had played in shaping the beginnings of New Zealand modernism, they considered the Hocken, as a research collection accessable to all, the best place for important examples of this work to be housed.

Their endeavours, combined with the University of Otago’s support is the reason why the Hocken’s McCahon collection is so outstanding. ‘A Constant Flow of Light’ is timed to coincide with a companion exhibition about the artist at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, as both institutions wish to acknowledge the artist’s significant relationship with Dunedin, and to share, investigate and interpret McCahon’s life and his art for new and current audiences.

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