Govett-Brewster Art Gallery + Len Lye Centre

Galleries and museum key icon.
Galleries and museum key icon.

Monday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Tuesday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Wednesday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Thursday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Friday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Saturday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Sunday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

42 Queen Street, New Plymouth Central, New Plymouth

06 759 6060

We can thank Monica Brewster’s (nee Govett) vision for enriching New Plymouth with a world-class gallery at the top of town. A huge advocate for arts and culture, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is Monica’s enduring gift to the community. 

The gallery is split into two distinct parts; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the Len Lye Centre. Although adjoining, these two buildings couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in architectural style. The Len Lye Centre has an enormous curved stainless steel wall that undulates around part of the building’s exterior, cutting a wholly futuristic shape. The Govett-Brewster, in contrast, boasts a beautifully restored Victorian facade in a muted off-white colour. The unlikely pairing should pique curiosity before you even step in the door.

Inside, the clear definitions continue. The Len Lye is expansive and dramatic, demonstrating what an impressive feat of engineering this gallery is. Huge concrete walls swirl along one side mimicking the chrome exterior. You’ll find unconventionally shaped timber benches nestled along the outer perimeter inviting guests to take a seat and appreciate the aesthetic. A state-of-the-art cinema and educational suite are discreetly tucked away in this part of the building too. 

 Len Lye was a pioneer of kinetic art; a visionary before his time. The artist’s intriguing and large-scale creations have been brought to life right here in New Plymouth. A collection of his detailed and elaborate sketches were bequeathed to The Len Lye Foundation to allow the production of his kinetic sculptures to continue posthumously. A sloping corridor up to level 1 is adorned with photographs and multimedia chronicling the history of Len Lye’s life, including a short documentary about the man from the 1950s. Upstairs, you will be introduced to changing exhibitions of Len Lye’s other artworks, his pioneering films, paintings, drawings and photography.  

Transitioning over to the Govett-Brewster gallery is simple (in the form of a bridge walkway) and will take you into the wide world of contemporary art. With large white walls and generous spaces for contemplation, the gallery exhibits an exciting roster of both New Zealand and international artists. Knowledgeable and friendly staff are on hand to answer any questions, and a well-curated gift shop greets you upon arrival/departure. 

Dynamic, courageous and quite simply, unmissable.

Words by Kelly Tapper & Photography by Anna Briggs

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42 Queen Street, New Plymouth Central, New Plymouth

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