Some sad news was announced today, with Justin Paton, curator at the Christchurch Art Gallery, author, TV presenter, and the thinking woman’s crumpet, leaving for the bushfire state and a position at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. When Justin came to Christchurch from Dunedin, he did much to break down the boring, old-Christchurch reputation that the Art Gallery seemed to had brought with it from the Robert McDougall to it’s new, exciting building. With “How to look at a painting”, firstly as a book, secondly as a TV series, Justin established himself as one of New Zealand’s most entertaining, accessible arts commentators – and one who represented a new generation of artists and curators. If and when the gallery in Montreal St re-opens – currently scheduled for 2015 (!) – he will be sorely missed. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him on occasion, as well as running into him at various gallery events. He really is a lovely chap, with a beautiful family, and I wish him all the best. With the ongoing closure of the magnificent gallery building, and now Justin going elsewhere, the Christchurch Art Gallery have lost their two best assets.

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