Q and A, Kate Woods

Q & A – Kate Woods, City Gallery Wellington

Kate Woods joined the City Gallery Wellington in 2003 and her current role is Assistant Registrar/Preparator. She works in the exhibitions team, which has three other members, but also works closely with other gallery staff.

What gets you up in the morning?

Getting to have a private viewing of the exhibitions on display during morning checks, and finding out about exciting exhibitions coming up. Having the opportunity to talk about art and participate in art-related activities all day.

Tell us about an inspiring museum or gallery experience?

Seeing the gallery transform again and again for each new show. It is always inspiring to meet artists at the beginning of the exhibition process, and later see visitor reactions to an exhibition after it goes up.

What is your career highlight?

Being part of the team installing Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years. It was an incredible experience working with people, including two of Kusama’s studio assistants, installing the exhibition, and then seeing visitor’s surprise and delight on viewing. During the exhibition, I made many visits to the wonderful infinity mirror room Fireflies on the water. However, since then I have stopped wearing anything spotted.

Tell us your pet museum or gallery hate?

Bad lighting.

What is something about you not many people know?

I am a big fan of the writing of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I love that kind of dry humour which has a slight surreal twist to it. On occasion my job has enjoyably surreal elements to it – experiences such as blowing up giant hanging ‘clouds’, changing lightbulbs within an igloo-like structure, and watching over a community of live stick insects.

What did you like about Bar Camp 2011?

I thought BarCamp was really successful. It was a great chance to talk to colleagues about relevant topics and hear everyone’s advice and experience first-hand, as well as being able to add to the discussion.

What do you see at City Gallery Wellington’s strengths?

I enjoy working at City Gallery Wellington as I feel it is innovative in its programming. I also believe all of my colleagues at the gallery are a huge strength. I have been there for quite awhile now so have worked with many amazing people along the way.

You are also an artist, how does this inform your Gallery work, and vice-versa?

Working in an art-related environment, as well as meeting and seeing the work of artists I admire, all help me to be in the right frame of mind to make my own artwork. Vice-versa, my interest in making things and experimenting with materials feeds into my interest in hands-on, behind-the-scenes work at the gallery. Through making art, I have a strong interest in contemporary New Zealand art which often crosses over into my role at City Gallery Wellington.