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Larence Shustak: Air gun? Christchurch Art Gallery

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The vivid portrait and street photography of Larence Shustak - gritty images depicting New York City in the 1960s and a Christchurch that no longer exists but will be familiar to many - is coming to Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from Saturday 20 February.

The new exhibition air gun? showcases more than 40 of Shustak’s works from a career that spanned the late 1950s to the 1990s. Shustak moved from the United States to Christchurch in the 1970s and brought with him his eye for the urban landscape, as well as his portraits of famous jazz musicians.

Air gun? is a mixture of black and white and colour photographs. Portaits on show include Thelonious Monk and John Lee Hooker for the Riverside Records label.

"Air gun? features significant portraits of major musical figures, and a street-level view of the New York they inhabited at that time, and it’s a unique experience to be able to see them alongside snapshots of Christchurch in the 1990s - two very different worlds captured by the same eye and giving them the same flavour," says Christchurch Art Gallery curator Peter Vangioni.

"Shustak made Christchurch his home. The images he captured here include street scenes from the central city and the suburbs, with close-up details of graffiti and advertising, and shots of the city’s inhabitants going about their daily lives.

"Shustak had tried to get a job in Hawaii, but ended up getting one in a different kind of South Pacific. When he arrived in Christchurch in 1973 he found a city full of eccentrics, and for that reason, he felt quite at home here, and established the photography department at University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts," Mr Vangioni says.

Air gun? has been co-curated with Stuart Page, one of Shustak’s students and producer/director of the award-winning 2009 documentary Shustak. The documentary is screening at the Gallery at 3pm on Saturday 20 March.

Air gun? is one of several exhibitions in the Gallery’s All Art All Summer season, designed to make everyone feel welcome this summer - with more Kiwi families exploring their own back yard, Christchurch Art Gallery is opening its doors to visitors of all ages and tastes.

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