Hotel Edison, New York, Sept. 1974

Gordon Brown, Artist;  Bell's Photo Service, Printer; 

This is one of the photographs in our collection. It was made in New York, New York State in Sep 1974.
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Object Detail

About the Work
In 1974, Gordon H. Brown became the Sarjeant’s first professional director. He introduced a more contemporary and strategic approach to collecting and exhibition programming, similar to the shift to professionalisation that was taking place at other galleries around the country. Brown was a close associate of painter Colin McCahon and is one of the few people of whom McCahon painted a portrait, which is in the Sarjeant’s collection.
Brown is also an artist himself. In 2007, my first year working at the Gus Fisher Gallery, we held an exhibition of photographs from Brown’s Hotel North America series. These were taken during a 1974 trip to study museum practice and display techniques. At the end of each day, back in his hotel room, he would take his camera out and finish off the roll of film, resulting in an alternative travelogue documenting each location, but replacing classic touristic vistas with cheap hotel furniture, mirrors and dim lighting. This may seem banal and offhand, like a viral social media game where everyone posts a random photo from their phone. But it is also reminiscent of the conceptual photo practices emerging at the time, like American photographer Ed Ruscha’s deadpan documentation of every building on the Sunset Strip, an example of which is also in the Sarjeant collection. And we can’t deny how glamorous Brown makes these downbeat settings look, framed and lit like a noir film, or the museum displays he had been observing during the day.
- Andrew Clifford, for the My Choice Exhibition Series, April 2023
Frame 400 x 360 mm
silver gelatin print on paper
Subject Place
Black and white photograph showing the interior of a bathroom, in a hotel in North America. The image shows stark black and white contrasts: the white porcelain of the bathroom sink, the dark of the tiled walls, a square mirror above the sink reflecting the patterns wallpaper above. A power socket is installed on the wallpapered wall slightly crooked. A harsh ceiling light is only just visible and illuminates the scene below.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Gift of Peter Ireland, 2021
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
31 Jan 2022



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