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“Left a poor impression”

Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Ranked #23 of 110 things to do in Dunedin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: The Dunedin Public Art Gallery is one of New Zealand's four major metropolitan art galleries. Established in 1884, the Gallery was New Zealand’s first Art Gallery and is renowned today for the richness of its historic collection and its close working relationship with major New Zealand artists. The Gallery houses a signifcant collection of New Zealand artworks covering the period from 1860 to the present. The collection also contains major holdings of historical European art, Japanese prints and the decorative arts. Historical works by renowned artists such as Turner, Gainsborough, Claude, and Machiavelli feature alongside the only Monet in a New Zealand collection and master works by Derain, Tissot, Burne-Jones and internationally acclaimed Dunedin artist Frances Hodgkins. The collection is fundamental to the Gallery’s exhibition programme, but many works of art are also sourced from other public and private collections in New Zealand and internationally. The Gallery presents a wide-ranging events programme of interesting lectures, floor talks, film and video screenings, performances and workshops. There are regular guided tours for key exhibitions or by arrangement. Located right in the heart of Dunedin, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is within easy walking distance from a large number of hotels and on all major public transport routes. There are disabled facilities, the award-winning Nova cafe, a wonderful shop and free wi-fi in the Gallery foyer.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Biggar, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
771 reviews
299 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 823 helpful votes
“Left a poor impression”
Reviewed May 9, 2014

Our guide book had described this gallery as having one of the best collections of European art in New Zealand and perhaps it does. Unfortunately on our visit there was none of the work on display. As luck would have it (bad luck) we found this in quite a few galleries we visited during our trip to the country - everyone seemed to be in the midst of changing exhibitions and one section in Dunedin was closed off entirely.

Those exhibits on display here were mostly modern art including some “installations“. The entrance foyer for example had Paua shells and fluorescent tubes running the length of the room and the tubes featured in other parts of the gallery. It must have been symbolism for something - perhaps highlighting a world of wasted energy?

I sometimes steady myself in these circumstances, thinking of how the Impressionists were mocked and caused outrage when they first exhibited their works of art and how their paintings now change hands for millions. I also sometimes think of the story of the Emperor’s Clothes and imagine that a child will come along and say something obvious…

They have a beautiful building here but despite the space on several levels there wasn’t much to see.

There is no entry fee, the staff we met were very proactive and friendly and there is a small selection of items to purchase (card, books, etc) near the reception desk. There is also a café but we didn’t try it.

Based on our experience it’s one for contemporary art lovers. We visited in November 2013 and the exhibition has been similar for some time judging by the review on 8 February 2014 by Beardy2014 entitled “I was Furious!” which provided a good description of the exhibits we saw too…and made me “lol” (laugh out loud). I can only sympathise.

Visited November 2013
Thank Rantin rover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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200 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Level 6 Contributor
196 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Good exhibitions”
Reviewed May 6, 2014

We loved the work of Seung Yul Oh and also to see the guided tour from the museum with a class of young children was fun. Art that you can touch so children will be back to a museum. The wonderwall was also beautiful. We've no regrets to see this gallery.

Visited February 2014
Thank georgebilthoven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Installation art”
Reviewed April 25, 2014

Unless you really like modern art this is a waste of time. There was an exhibition of lino-cut art from the early 1900s which we found fascinating but of course it was relatively small. The gallery asks for a donation, which stupidly we gave prior to entry. It wasn't worth it. The gift shop was disappointing, too, with no prints/cards/literature on the lino-cuts.

Visited February 2014
Thank kingsley8890
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
288 reviews
97 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“I left with a smile”
Reviewed April 17, 2014

We walked in thinking this would be a typical small town museum. The receptionist was cheerful and helpful. The temporary art display was by a young, hip artist that encouraged everyone to interact. I left with a smile!

Visited April 2014
Thank TheGoBird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
45 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A Nice Modern Gallery”
Reviewed April 13, 2014

Don't be fooled by the outside facade of the building as it opens up to 3 level Gallery, whilst we were visiting, the Emerging iD Fashion Show had some of the Designers Mannequins exhibiting their designs which took place the night before. Also the gallery has many rooms exhibiting different artists works. This Art Gallery is on the Octagon, the center of the city.

Visited April 2014
Thank pauljkiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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