Art and Stage
Well known for his role as a curator at Te Papa, William McAloon began his career in Christchurch, where he was well regarded as a curator and art critic.
He was a great colleague and a curator whose exhibitions were always extremely well received. For me, a highlight was the exhibition Gordon Walters: Print + Design, which he curated for the University of Victoria's Adam Art Gallery in 2004.
Insightful and illustrative, it was one of those exhibitions that I lingered in, absorbing every object and written description with delight and learning much about an, until then, obscure aspect of Walters's oeuvre.
The last time I heard from William was a few weeks back regarding the auction of a selection of Leo Bensemann's paintings then on offer in Christchurch from which he was considering a purchase for Te Papa's collection.
I always admired the ease with which he could shift between contemporary and historical art; he was one of the few curators with whom I could have in- depth discussions, usually over the telephone, about historic New Zealand artists from memory - van der Velden, Chevalier, Fomison, Shurrock, Lovell-Smith, Angus and Bensemann to name but a few.
His insightful, informed comments and helpful nature were deeply appreciated: answers to questions about artists and art always seemed to be right at the top of his head.
Rita Angus: Life & Vision, which he co-curated with Jill Trevelyan in 2008, was one of the most popular exhibitions to be staged at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Our audiences loved it and many made return visits. I am sure it was an exhibition that Rita herself would have been proud of, and for me it stands as a testament to the skill and craft William brought to curatorial practice in New Zealand.
William McAloon born 1969; died 2012.
Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery
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