My ART | Collector: Harry Cundy

What do you do?

I work as a lawyer downtown.

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

At the risk of really dating myself, the first time I remember artworks having an impact on me was when a friend (in his early days at art school) showed me an image of Ushering in Banality in a Jeff Koons book and took me to see some works from Michael Parekōwhai’s All There Is series. And then, I suppose, reading TJ Clark on Manet’s Bar aux Folies-Bergerè a little while after that.

What is the most enigmatic work of art in your collection?

Probably a couple of sculptures by Prairie Hatchard-McGill; two large-ish plastic wine glasses with fake ice cubes and orange slices in resin, and straws and scrunched-up lip-stick stained napkins. We have them lying around the apartment so it always looks like we’ve just been drinking Aperol spritz.
Those, or a small Hany Armanious sculpture that looks like a piece of blu-tac on the wall, but is actually bronze cast of a piece of blu-tac (also coloured blue).

Tell us about the one that got away?

Regrets? I’ve had a few. When I think of some of those early shows by Kate Newby, Milli Jannides, Emma McIntyre, and so on, I want to kick myself for being such a coward. Last year I went to see Nick Austin’s mini-retrospective at Whāngarei Art Museum. A great success for the artist…. but each work I could have bought, but didn’t, felt like a personal failure.

Tell us about a recent discovery?

Maybe not really a “recent discovery”, but I am a very big fan of Ammon Ngakuru’s paintings and sculptures. I have also just bought a work by Shiraz Sadikeen that I have wanted for a very long time.

Why collect?

I feel like I get a lot from the art world, but as I am not an artist and don’t work in the business, I don’t really contribute much to the scene myself… Spending some money on things feels like the least I can do.
I also really like living with the things. But, importantly, I will never let the fact that I don’t have room for something stop me from buying it.

Gift any work of art to your local museum–what would it be?

My partner gave me one of Peter Robinson’s Blind Date works, produced on and describing my 37th birthday. If it was hanging in the Auckland Art Gallery maybe more people would know and wish me a happy birthday.