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Major new work brings international artist Michael Stevenson back to New Zealand

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presents an exhibition by one of New Zealand’s most internationally renowned artists, Michael Stevenson, from Sunday 12 November 2017 to Sunday 4 February 2018


Thiel's Chair, in Serene Velocity in Practise: MC510 & CS183

Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510 & CS183 will be Stevenson’s first solo exhibition at a New Zealand public gallery in more than 15 years. 

For the occasion, Stevenson has developed a significant new large-scale installation which has been commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery with partners the Biennale of Sydney 2018 and Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) and supported by the Chartwell Trust.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says Michael Stevenson has earned an exemplary reputation as a rigorous and exploratory artist working on the international stage, yet the artist’s work is rarely seen in his home country. 
‘Stevenson has exhibited around the world to critical acclaim, but New Zealanders seldom get the opportunity to see his new work,’ she says.

Michael Stevenson (born 1964, New Zealand) has lived in Berlin fo
r over 15 years. He is known for adopting an anthropological approach that often results in moments of irrationality. His ambitious sculptural practice over many years has mapped historical narratives from certainty to ruin, mathematics to miracles, and secrets and exchange.

Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510 & CS183 is based on two seemingly unrelated academic courses, MC510 and CS183, which were modules taught for a short time in Californian higher-learning institutions. 
The installation takes the form of an imagined tertiary institution of two classrooms, each of which represents one of these courses.

Mission Class 510 or MC510 was the code used by the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena for a course taught for four years from 1982. John Wimber, then leader of an evangelical Christian movement, t
he Vineyard Ministries, became synonymous with this programme, using it as a testing ground for his radical ideas in the experiential realm of miraculous healing and exorcism.

CS183 was the course code for ‘Startup’ at Stanford University’s Computer Science faculty, which Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel taught in 2012. CS183 provided a platform for Thiel’s new intellectual framework in which he analysed case studies of failure in the tech industry and modelled a future of exponential progress where technological miracles take place.

While previously unrelated, Stevenson brings these two courses together in 
Serene Velocity in Practice as an installation of two conjoined structures.

One structure is constructed from airline blankets and elevated on large aircraft tyres; the other is built from radiating black anodised aluminium heat sink. A walkway based on the passageways of post-war educational institutions unites the two rooms and simultaneously disorientates the viewer.

The exhibit is commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki with commissioning partners the Biennale of Sydney 2018 and Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA). Supported by the Contemporary Benefactors of Auckland Art Gallery; the International Ambassadors; Michael Lett, Auckland; and the Chartwell Trust.

Entry to the exhibit is free

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