Art collector laments ‘boring’ Len Lye Center

John Matthews said that while they delivered in a magnificent building, visitors were short of exhibits inside.

ANDY JACKSON / STUFF

John Matthews said that while they delivered in a magnificent building, visitors were short of exhibits inside.

Renowned New Plymouth art collector and businessman John Matthews called the Len Lye Center gallery that he helped bring to life “boring.”

In a submission to the New Plymouth District Council’s long-range plan, Matthews said that while he and his wife Lynda were proud to help deliver the “beautiful building” for the 11’s Len Lye Center (LLC), 5 million dollars, the same could not be said. inside.

“We’re running out of visitor services by having pretty boring exhibits,” he said.

John Matthews told New Plymouth District Council that the exhibits at the Len Lye Center are boring.

ANDY JACKSON / STUFF

John Matthews told New Plymouth District Council that the exhibits at the Len Lye Center are boring.

It was a common feeling in the region, he said.

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Earlier in the week, longtime LLC presenter and critic Morris West said the center had “more staff than exhibits” as part of its tariff responsibility submission. But hearing similar sentiments from Matthews, the engineer who is arguably most responsible for bringing Lye’s ideas to fruition, is unexpected.

Matthews wrote in his submission that the proposed entry fee to the Len Lye Center of $ 15 for non-residents has turned out to be a “kiss of death” in other parts of the country.

“However, as long as it is considered an experience, it can be easily reversed.”

He said his concern was with the annual number of visitors, which the gallery should surely aim to increase.

“If he doesn’t, he is failing in his goals.”

Matthews also felt it was “healthy” that gallery director Simon Rees moved on, as it allowed a new director to bring in new ideas.

“It’s part of the fundamentals of art galleries to have changing directors so that you have new experiences all the time. “

Rees suddenly stepped down as art director last week.

As part of his broad bid, Matthews also offered to move State Highway 3 through the village of Omata further east to reduce traffic density in the small town.

Norma D. Ross