The unruly art and design of New Zealand’s maverick record label Flying Nun will be on display exclusively at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū later this month.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of Flying Nun Records in Ōtautahi Christchurch, the Hellzapoppin’! The Art of Flying Nun exhibition will bring together original artwork and design, film, record covers, posters and photography from some of New Zealand’s favourite bands.
“This exhibition is colourful and a lot of fun – and closer to the pop art end of the scale,” says Christchurch Art Gallery Director Blair Jackson.
“One could argue that Flying Nun defined this era of Kiwi music, and there’s a particularly underground flavour to the world that surrounded it. Seeing it today gives you that same buzz – there’s lots of creativity and weirdness to lose yourself in, and we’re expecting music fans from all over New Zealand to make the pilgrimage to see this vivid slice of Kiwi music history all under one roof.”
From rare collectible records and vintage posters to original artworks and paste-up designs, the exhibition explores the art and artists behind the music.
Bands represented include Straitjacket Fits, Scorched Earth Policy, the Chills, Tall Dwarfs, the Bats, Pin Group, the 3Ds, the Verlaines, the Dead C, Look Blue Go Purple, the Gordons, Sneaky Feelings and others.
The artists who brought their music to visual life include Chris Knox, Lesley McLean, Ronnie van Hout, Robert Scott, Alec Bathgate, John Halvorsen, John Collie, Jane Dodd, Martin Phillipps and more.
“On a purely logistical level, Hellzapoppin’! is also one of the bigger exhibitions we’ve had in a while – there’s so many pieces that the majority of the ground floor of the gallery will be taken up with it, with music videos playing on the walls, and that’s before you factor in the stage we have set up for live gigs,” Mr Jackson says.
Hellzapoppin’! launches with a free opening party from 7pm on Friday 20 August, with performances from some of Aotearoa's best musical acts. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, local acts – from seasoned professionals to enthusiastic amateurs of all ages – will be invited to perform special one-of-a-kind free gigs onstage.
Visitors can also enjoy a programme of talks, demonstrations, performances, screen-printing and more.
Hellzapoppin’! The Art of Flying Nun is on at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 21 August to 28 November 2021.
The exhibition is also accompanied by a publication titled Hellzapoppin’! The Art of Flying Nun, showcasing original artwork and design, film, record covers, posters and photography. It is on sale at the Gallery’s Design Store.
Pictured above: The Chills Kaleidoscope World 1986 LP cover. Designed by Martin Phillipps.