Feb 23 2011

gibbs farm – new zealand

our good friend, noel lane, invited us to this farm near auckland years ago. the vast and expansive 1000 acre property is dotted with incredible art installations, natural & modified landscapes and some impressive architecture. it’s a really magical place where noel took us around with our then 1 year old, roman, on a buggy from one installation to another. some of the highlights included a 300 meter long richard serra arc – dotted with local new zealand sheep. some of the pieces you can inhabit and climb upon – some are used by the local livestock as well. at the end of our day – we were brought to ‘grief’ – a full-scale western town on the edge of a cliff. it was surreal to be caught in the heart of the north island of new zealand but inside another time and a very different place. there is a church, graveyard, hotel and tequila bar. one other devious and impressive gem is an operable military tank that is parked within the red wooden church…

some highlights include Andy Goldsworthy’s Arches, Anish Kapoor’s Untitled and Richard Serra’s Te Tuhirangi Contour

nice article here by Rob Garret, excerpt below…

‘….Gibbs’ passion, will and audacity are key. As Richard Serra said: “The first thing he said to me was ‘I’ve just been to Storm King [where Serra has the “fairly consequential” Schunnemunk Fork 1990-91] and I want a more significant piece than that. I don’t want any wimpy piece in the landscape.’ Alan was throwing down the gauntlet and he said ‘If you’re going to do something here I want your best effort.’” Gibbs adds that “the challenge for the artists is the scale of the landscape; it scares them initially” and demands something more from them.

Each project requires several site visits before a concept is agreed upon and developed. The artists live on The Farm with Gibbs and his family. Daughter Amanda and architect and son-in-law Noel Lane run the place now that Gibbs is in London for most of each year. Gibbs says the family has evolved their taste on the land and the collection together. Noel Lane especially had a lot to do with dealing with Anish Kapoor and his work at all levels; and with the engineers in relation to the detail of the design and construction of most of the works. With the artists staying for a week or ten days at a time, being away from most of their usual routines and distractions seems to be a boon. Gibbs recalls during Serra’s visits the two would enjoy arguing politics into the small hours. Kapoor brought his family with him for his three visits. During Goldsworthy’s four visits he would work all morning, making his ephemeral temporary works. The visits also involved building full-scale mock-ups of various concepts for a permanent work, before artist and collector settled on Arches (2005), an elegant series of Roman arches made from Scottish quarry stone. The work loops across the harbour shallows and forms perfect shimmering circles when reflected in the wet sand of low tide.

Perceptions of the works shift with the changeable light that slides and folds across the rolling landscape; and with the varied perspectives afforded by walking or driving across the land. Gibbs’ care with the collection means that the landscape and the sculptures act in a graceful and dramatic counterpoint to each other…’

guide of art and animals here


Jan 14 2011

wellington, new zealand

some random shots from a quick day trip I made down to wellington. I remember is being a treacherous landing due to the wind tunnel effect of the terrain and sea. when you take a taxi from the airport – there is a beer billboard that reads – ‘have a drink – you just survived another landing in wellington!’
that summed it up pretty well…


Dec 30 2010

private estate – new zealand

this is one of my favorite house in the world. it was designed by a good friend and architect, noel lane, on a property north of auckland. the estate is almost a peninsula, atop a high hill that overlooks the sea and the rolling green hills of vineyards and sheep below. the owner had initially built the fireplace and chimney – while they planned and saved enough to build the house. I like that notion of enjoying the property you own and having an initial element – as important and significant – as a fireplace hearth as a solemn core to the the rest of the house which later followed. the house feels authentically of new zealand through it’s materials, colors and openness to the surrounding expanses of the property. some highlights include numerous art installations, interactive musical towers, and a full survival course in the woods below with a very long zip line.

some information about brickbay:
“…Brick Bay Farm takes its name from the small bay on the eastern boundary of the property, a pretty beach accessible via Sandspit, fringed by pohutukawas with stunning views out to Kawau Island. We purchased the land in 1986 and have undertaken an extensive tree planting programme, with hundreds of trees, both native and exotic, planted annually. Vineyard plantings commenced in 1995, with 1998 seeing our first vintage. The Sculpture Trail and Glass House were conceived and built from 2004-6, opening in January 2007.” read more…