Hellzapoppin’! in Otautahi


The unruly art and design of New Zealand’s maverick record label Flying Nun is on display exclusively at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from August 21 to November 28. Metropol looks back on the label’s last four decades.

The Bats The Law of Things 1988 LP cover. Designed by Robert Scott.


The Chills The Lost EP 1985 EP cover. Designed by Martin Phillipps.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of Flying Nun Records in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Hellzapoppin’! The Art of Flying Nun brings together original artwork and design, film, record covers, posters and photography from some of New Zealand’s favourite bands.

Christchurch Art Gallery Director Blair Jackson describes the exhibition as “colourful and a lot of fun – and closer to the pop art end of the scale”.

“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,” he says.

From rare collectable records and vintage posters to original artworks and paste-up designs, this 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,” Jackson says.

Hellzapoppin’! launches with a free opening party from 7pm on Friday August 20, with performances from some of Aotearoa’s favourite 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 talks, demonstrations, performances, screen-printing and more.

Tall Dwarfs That’s The Short and Long Of It 1985 LP cover. Design by Alec Bathgate.
DoubleHappys Cut It Out 1985 EP cover. Designed by John Collie.



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