Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The news as it happens

Why are we posting this pic at 8pm on a Wednesday night? It's table tennis, it's art and it's on at Mighty Mighty, just around the corner, for another couple of hours.
Image: The art of ping pong country in action at Mighty Mighty

Fresh air

What better way to congratulate Paramount Pictures on winning two Oscars for An inconvenient truth than showing you this great sculpture called Opening Credits (New York) by Jacob Dyrenforth.

House and garden

The Colin McCahon house in French Bay is worth a visit. The house is tiny and shows starkly the primitive living conditions of an isolated bach of the 1950s. OK for a Summer holiday but life there in winter must have been tough. Tin can toilet and, downstairs crammed into a small three-walled basement area that opened straight onto the bush, Stalag 17 bunk beds for the kids. You can feel a commitment to Spartan simplicity and good health through fresh-air. It’s interesting to remember that at the time the McChons lived in this hardy style, Health Camp fever was at its height in a New Zealand that believed that children should be indoors as little as possible. No one had to tell the McCahon kids to get out of their bedroom to go outside and play, they were already there. As a side bar: maybe we should try and persuade Te Papa to lay the Northland panels out on the deck again (or platform terrace as Charles Brasch grandly called it), just for an afternoon. What a sight that would be!

Looming over the McCahon ‘bach’ is a large, architect-designed house that’s straight from the pages of Urbis magazine. High quality materials, artful views and bush bridges. It’s a purpose-built studio and accommodation for an artist in residence.

The idea of what an artist needs for work and shelter has sure come a long, long way.

The first resident was Judy Millar who will be followed in March by Andrew McLeod for three months. CNZ will no doubt be shocked to hear the selectors for the next resident are happy to be known and are listed on the McCahon House web site. They are Erika Congreve, John Daly-Peoples, Dick Frizzell, Michael Dunn and James Wallace.
Images: Top left, McCahon house. Right, children’s bedroom. Bottom: McCahon Arts residency

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Copy cat VI

Private residence, Wellington (Thanks M)

Set in concrete

It's interesting talking theatre people and hearing their approach to opening nights and, even more important, the day after opening night. In their world, when the audience yawns, speak with their feet or the actors fall over the furniture it means things need to change. The morning after is the traditional time for Notes. This is when the diretcor cuts lines, changes stage directions, amends sets and even rewrites parts of the play that aren’t working. How very different from art exhibitions which perhaps model themselves more after publications than experiences. Whatever the audience reaction, from stunned incomprehension through to a general dissatisfaction, art exhibitions go on… and often, on. You're lucky to get a label adjusted and the only way to get any real action would be to call in OSH. What is it about exhibitions that makes the first presentation the finite version? Here’s a thought. How about some responsiveness – some discussion even. If the consensus is that an exhibition doesn’t work visually, why hide behind curatorial infallibility? How about closing down for a couple of days and trying something else? As John Cage advised, when things aren't working, “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.” With the current rigid process, all audiences can do is grumble to themselves and wait around three months for the next effort. John Cage also said, “I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.”


received at ivan anthony has given up smoking… art + object have signed the lease on a space for a gallery and auctions in abbey road in Auckland …. mikala dwyer has been offered a teaching position at the auckland university art school…the city gallery has agreed to tidy up the multiple display at prospect…rohan wealleans has joined the roller door studio set…john hurrell was paid by the city gallery to attend the prospect opening and britney spears, in a blond wig, purchased an early damien hirst at the armory show.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Being Frank

Frank Lloyd Wright was once called up to give testimony at a trial as an expert witness. When asked to give his name and occupation he told the court he was “Frank Lloyd Wright, and I am the world's greatest living architect." As they were leaving the courthouse, a friend asked him, "How could you say that?" Wright replied, " I had no choice, I was under oath."

Boy am I spoilt, eh?

Over at stimulusresponse is an attempted translation of a promotional text for the exhibition "Spoilt Boy Aesthetic" by Tao Wells at Gambia Castle.

Art news

The latest issue of Art News features feminist art and illustrates one of its articles with a photograph by NZ’s Lisa Reihana. The photograph Mahnika 2001 accompanies Phoebe Hoban’s "We're Finally Infiltrating.” Hoban, a regular writer for New York Magazine, is probably best known for her book Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art. The feminist Art News issue focuses on two exhibitions of feminist art. At MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles is Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution curated by Connie Butler. Now Chief Curator of Drawings at MoMA, Butler also curated Flight Patterns at the Geffen in 2000, which included work by New Zealanders Laurence Aberhart, Gavin Hipkins, Michael Parekowhai and Yuk King Tan, (it's the handshake thing again). And at the newly opened Sackler Center at the Brooklyn Museum is Global Feminisms. Curated by Sakler Center curator Maura Reilly and art historian Linda Nochlin, this exhibition includes Lisa Reihana. Every artist included was born after 1960. The Sackler Center was gifted by Elizabeth Sackler who also gave Judy Chicago's Dinner Table installation. It was also Sackler who paid for 64 of the 67 artists in the exhibition to attend the opening of Global Feminisms.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Copy-cat V

Image: Lone Star bar and grill, Manukau, Auckland

Friday, February 23, 2007

Elbow room

That everyone is only a few of handshakes away from everyone else came to mind when looking through a catalogue of the Victor and Sally Ganz collection. Two New Zealand collectors lived above the Ganzes in New York for a time (there’s your handshake) and became familiar with some of their incredible collection. Le Rêve, the Picasso 1932 portrait of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter pictured to the left, was purchased by the Ganzes in 1941, the year the couple married. They paid $7000 ($US of course) for it and hung in their dining room. After their deaths, the painting was sold by their children at Christie's, New York in 1997 for $48.4 million to Casino King, Steve Wynn. When he accidentally put his elbow through the painting late last year it made headlines around the world (and no that’s not an elbow looming over Marie-Therese’s head).

If you haven’t read the Wynn story, there is a hilarious version of it in The New Yorker, or this eye witness account by Nora Ephron in the Huffington Post. In a behind-the-bikesheds type gesture Wynn had agreed to sell the painting to Steven Cohen for $139. This would have been $4 million more than the world record paid for a painting at auction, the $135 million cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder (an overthenet handshake) paid for Klimt's portrait Adele Bloch-Bauer I. After the elbowing the sale fell through.

“So what would a 5-centimetre elbow-sized hole like that be worth?” we hear you ask. As you can see from Mr Wynn’s insurance claim posted on thesmokinggun, around $59 million dollars. Had enough?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rumour Mill V

No sooner did we post the Suitcase story than three of our readers sent in the same AAG rumour. Apparently the Auckland Art Gallery has asked Saatchi & Saatchi to come up with some television commercials. One concept, we are told, features a homeless Maori male morphing into a Goldie painting while in another a female K-Road professional morphs into some other painting from the collection. Living the dream. Have these ideas been accepted? As usual overthenet table tennis balls for confirmation, additions or believable denials.
Image: Early concept work for an overthenet TVC

Your questions answered II

A press release recently received from the Auckland Art Gallery tells us that they are getting into suitcase art.

What is Art in a suitcase? “It is an outreach programme that will ensure the public has continued access to art after the main gallery on Kitchener St closes for major renovations this year.”

Where will you get the art from? “Artists will be invited to create new works inside suitcases.”

Why would artists agree to make art to put in a suitcase? “The suitcase has a proud tradition in art dating back to Marcel Duchamp’s ‘portable museums’ in 1935.”
Marcel aside, has anyone else ever done this sort of thing? “Packing art into a suitcase and taking it to schools in a unique new education programme.”

For readers fascinated by the Unique Art in a Suitcase programme the following links to these other unique art in a suitcase programmes might be of interest. Yellowstone Art Museum, Ludwig Museum, Binghamton University, Seattle Art Museum, the Dickinson County LibraryRedux Center in Charleston. Private practitioners of the art in a suitcase phenomenon include Mary Tooley of Wisconsin. Other art in a suitcase information can also be found on the site Montessori Mom.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rumour mill IV

The word is that the City Gallery in Wellington has agreed to reduce its dealer’s cut on artists’ multiple sales associated with Prospect. The cut will go from 40 percent to 33 1/3 percent. Better for the artists although it undercuts most commercial dealers who charge 40 percent. We will ask around other public art institutions and find out if this move into commercial art dealing is catching on.
Image: The 33 1/3 Gallery was a dealer gallery run by Lindsay Park in Wellington from 1987 to 1993.

Bird call

Here’s serendipity for you. Last week Nicolas Jasmin sent us an image of a new limited edition vinyl. The same morning the owner of Popup, a Wellington store that sells vinyl toys, told us he had just ordered one for us. As you can see from the image, this new vinyl is worth the attention. For the series Strangekiss has selected endangered species and equipped them with weapons of their own, plus the determination to fight back. Part of the purchase price goes to the WWF. The latest is this yellow-eyed penguin kitted out with a missile. The penguin is called Hinenuitepo and the packaging tells us that “Hinenuitepo is Makutu’s sister. Like her Maori name sake, she is the ‘goddess of death and great lady of the night’. Preferring to attack enemy ships at night when most of the crew is sleeping, she is very effective in her kill ratio and exceptional water borne combat specialist… she has her tribal face tattoo and Terminator Skull emblem proudly displayed on her body as a warning to all that cross her path.”

Hinenuitepo also brings up the perennial questions about the appropriation of moko. We rang a friend deep in one of the Maori departments of Government to test the current temperature. As you can imagine, it’s mixed from absolute opposition to an acceptance that moko has become part of the global image bank and, so long as it is done with understanding, go for it. To see a total lack of understanding (nudity alert – you have been warned – and, let’s face it, encouraged) check out this shameless Italian photographer. Maybe Hinenuitepo needs all the help she can get. Go pengui.

Give me five – Nicolas Jasmin

Five movies you should see but are impossible to find:
1 Skullduggery, 1970 by Gordon Douglas
2 Le Couple Témoin (The Model Couple),1977 by William Klein
3 Génèse d´un repas(Origins of a meal),1978 by Luc Moullet
4 Tapage Nocturne(Nocturnal Uproar),1979 by Catherine Breillat
5 Dr Jekyll and his women, 1981 by Walerian Borowczyk

Nicolas is an artist working in Vienna. His most recent exhibition F(r)ictions is on show at Starkwhite in Auckland.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Lye of the land

Peter Peryer has pointed out an interesting conflict on his blog today. It seems the Len Lye Foundation intends to demolish an historic building and build, what they rather wonderfully call The World Center for Len Lye, on the site. What would Mr. Old Brain think of that? Peter’s problem is not only with the demolition but with the process of consultation. That is, none. Check out Peter’s Len Lye story here. It’s a short scroll down.

You say banana

It’s that time of year again: many people involved in the visual arts are writing references for artists or projects they think deserve public funding. As in the past, Creative NZ grants are decided by peer group panels. Last year’s visual arts members were: Pele Walker (chair),Simon Morris, Denys Watkins, Ann Shelton, Felicity Milburn and Scott Eady. But the panel members change from year to year, so when we emailed CNZ to ask who was on this year’s panel, we were surprised to be told it was not public information before the panels met. This was to help protect “committee members from any potential influence.” Some of you might reasonably think that in an open and transparent process the ability to work with influence was something panellists would be chosen for rather than something they had to be protected from. And isn’t influencing what the whole referee process is about? Well, not everywhere. The trend in arts decision-making seems to be for thicker layers of insulation from real world opinion.

Take Arts Council England. It has dumped peer panels. There, the Arts Council staff make all the decisions. As they say “We have designed our grants in a way that allows us to make fair and unbiased decisions.” Bear this trend in mind as you study CNZ’s Draft Strategic Plan 2007-2010 and read the talk of CNZ taking increased accountability.

Submissions on the Plan have to be in by Wednesday 7 March. We'd suggest avoiding the Cosmo Quiz-style Feedback Sheet. It invites you to describe your response to “International Success for New Zealand Arts” as: strongly support / support/ against and (you got it) strongly against.

Image: Click on the image to make it full size then cover your right eye and stare at the red circle on the right with your left eye. Next, slowly move away from the screen (or if you're already faraway, move toward the screen). As you move away from/toward the screen (do not look at the blue star), there should be a point where the blue star disappears from sight. This is your blind spot.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Garden party II

Anyone wanting to see more of the art that was shown and more of the people who showed up at the Gang Green garden party, should click here.
Image: Paula does Dashper

Where are they now – Andrew Bogle

It turns out Andrew Bogle now runs an importing business out of Auckland. Tribal & Tribal sells “a wide range of old and new quality items for the collector, the home and for personal adornment …. sourcing items from Africa, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Oceania”. Andrew was a senior curator at the Auckland Art Gallery in the late seventies and eighties. He presciently brought Ed Ruscha to New Zealand for a major exhibition in 1978. Graphic Works by Edward Ruscha, had a preface by Henry Geldzahler (curator at the Metropolitan Museum and then Cultural Affairs Commissioner for New York.) If you need to know where in the world Andrew Bogle is at any particular time, you can email him at

Your tax dollar at play

While we are in a money mood, here is the cost of CNZ’s Trip of a Lifetime Tour. The lucky winners will be flown to Europe where they will tour the art event hotspots in Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Their mission: to see if things like the Venice Biennale, Documenta and the Basel Art Fair are worth other people attending in the future. CNZ has costed the Trip of a Lifetime, including accommodation, meals, tickets to the events and travel at - $65,000.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Look alike VII

Images: Left, Bruce Barber, captured on cell phone, performing outside Artspace last Friday. Right, creature created out of the stitched folds of thousands of discarded newspapers by artist Nick Georgiou.

Give us a sign

We’ve been upset, hurt really, by the flurry of emails questioning whether the overthenet table tennis balls signed by artists of note actually exist. For all of you who have written, here is photo proof that the prizes on overthenet are on the table.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Browning version

This post is dedicated to all New Zealand artists who love to use brown packing tape. You know who you are.
Image: Cleaned object: the truck, tape on truck by Olivier Blanckart.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Into the net

A note from Two Rooms to say that the budget for the Graham Rakena Venice project is in fact $350,000. So much for our maths, and fiscal savvy. Still, this important correction aside, we stand by our statement that the fundamental practice was a complete bargain.


Interesting to see events playing a bigger role in the visual arts. Of course the art fair phenomenon is well known, but a recent invitation from the Ferner Galleries shows that they too get the idea and its opportunities. So, for $185 you can have a 5-course dinner with the director of Te Papa and hear him talk about collecting art. There is also a much more positive feeling in the air about the next Auckland Art Fair, another sign of changing times and shifting hierarchies.


A couple of weeks ago we brought a boxed set graphic novel in three volumes from our local specialist comic store, Graphic. It was Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie – but that’s another story. The price was very high but we figured it would be hard to get anywhere else and the Amazon freight charges would be major. Half an hour later in a general bookstore, we saw the same boxed set 25 percent cheaper. Back we went to Graphic in Cuba Street and worked through the whole sorry story. On the back of an envelope the owner showed the exact breakdown of who was marking up what and where the costs were. We could see they were not making a huge profit and that the other store must have been close to taking a loss. We reached the traditional gentleman’s agreement and split the difference. But the problem remains. We often can save a bucket load getting books from a chain store or via Amazon whether they are art books or comics but the question is: How much are we prepared to pay to keep specialist stores like Parsons and Graphic in business? The photo above of Borders in Auckland shows what happens when the chain stores get into the art book world. Not much. Maybe it is because we don’t have anything like Parsons in Wellington that we stand with the specialists supplemented by online.
Image: Sample of the range of art books at Borders, Auckland

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mate’s rates

The story, ‘Brett Graham bags Venice invite’ on the blog Waatea News Update, tells us that ‘Brett Graham and Rachel Rakena are trying to raise a quarter of a million dollars to get their collaborative work Aniwaniwa to the Venice Biennale.’ When you put that number together with information from Two Rooms that 'They have a beautiful venue already organised and secured, and 75% sponsored by an Italian Fashion house Byblos', and you're talking about a budget of one million dollars. As this is double what Creative New Zealand spent on et al. in 2005, let's finally all agree that the fundamental practice was a complete bargain.

A note from Two Rooms to say that the budget for the Graham Rakena Venice project is in fact $350,000. So much for our maths and fiscal savvy.

Where are they now - Bruce Robinson

It turns out Bruce Robinson is neither lost nor forgotten, but alive and well in Thailand. Bruce was director of the Waikato Art Museum in the early nineties. He left Waikato to work with John McCormack at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and again at the MCA in Sydney. Bruce now owns and operates the Three Gems Project with his partner Mark. Three Gems is a restaurant, lounge bar and spar near Chaweng beach. For details and bookings go here.

Face saving art

An interesting New Zealand connection to a strange and marvellous art form is described in the Smithsonian Magazine. New Zealander Sir Harold Gillies pioneered the art of facial reconstruction and plastic surgery during and after World War I. Helping Gillies was Kathleen Scott, sculptor and (another NZ connection) the widow of Scott of Antarctica. She declared that "men without noses are very beautiful, like antique marbles."

Working alongside Gillies were two artists Francis Derwent Wood and Anna Coleman Ladd. They created paper-thin metallic masks for those men who even Gillies’s skills could not transform. "My work begins where the work of the surgeon is completed," said Wood. Some of the extraordinary masks Wood and Ladd created can be seen on the Smithsonian site.

Images: Top, preparing masks. Bottom left one of Ladd’s assistants helping attach a mask. Bottom right A masked soldier.

Early bird special

“His contemporaneity lay in his practice of pushing his gestural brushstrokes to the very limit of legibility and many of his works, if viewed upside-down, read as works of 1950s Abstract Expressionism.” Ferner Galleries Newsletter
Images: Left, M T Woollaston Landscape with fire . Right, 1950s Abstract Expressionism

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Room with a view

One space we can always count on being open in Auckland is Window, the elegant space just inside the doors of the University of Auckland’s library. With the latest exhibition we can also visit from the comfort of Wellington. Xin Cheng is slowly creating her work inside the space and her efforts are being broadcast on web cam. To monitor progress visit here.
Images: Xin Chang's Window work in the making

Water world

When we put Two Rooms fund raising together with Te Manawa’s audacious Venice Biennale project, we got it right. A note from Jenny Todd at Two Rooms confirms that they are fully behind Te Manawa’s efforts to secure funding for the Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena installation. Remember that Creative New Zealand has decided not to fund any Venice art projects, apart from the Trip of a Life Time Tour. We’re told Te Manawa has “a beautiful venue already organised and secured, and 75% sponsored by an Italian Fashion house Byblos. The venue is on the canal facing the Guidecca (Zattere) – one stop from St Mark’s.” Through the Curator Alice Hutchinson and two Italian curators, Jenny tells us, the Graham/ Rakena installation was “proposed for the Venice Biennale and accepted by Robert Storr as a Collateral Event. The Collateral events are side events to the participating countries and last time this program included the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Pavilions as well as curated shows from China, India and others.” On Thursday 15 February Two Rooms are holding an event from 5.30 to 7.00 pm to announce the project to potential art sponsors and patrons in Auckland and to push on with raising the rest of the funding.
Images: The venue secured for the Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena installation

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


One of our readers has pointed us to a great idea for an exhibition. Organised by Alanna Heiss, at PS1 in New York, Not for Sale is only showing work that, for a variety of reasons, artists have decided not sell at any price. Artists include: Janine Antoni, John Baldessari, Cecily Brown, Chris Burden, Christo, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Louise Lawler, Dennis Oppenheim, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel, Richard Tuttle, John Wesley, and Jackie Winsor. Alanna Heiss notes, “Not everyone I called is in the show. Some artists simply could not find works that they would not sell.” For details and dates go here.

Where are they now - Tim Garrity

Tim Garrity, who represented New Zealand at the 1963 Paris Biennale, edited the Auckland Art Gallery Bulletin from 1975 to 1978, and was art curator at the Hocken Library for eighteen years, has been found. He continues to live in Dunedin and is still painting. His most recent exhibition was with the Marshall Seifert Gallery in 2006.
CORRECTION: In fact, it was the Auckland Art Gallery Quarterly, not Bulletin, that Tim Garrity edited.
Image: Tim Garrity at his Marshall Seifert show

Monday, February 12, 2007

The rumour mill III

Word on the street is that the staff of Two Rooms, the dealer gallery directed by Jenny Todd in Auckland, are involved in a very large fund raising project. As Two Rooms is also the gallery that exhibits Brett Graham, it makes you think that this might be an effort to help fund the New Zealand splash at Venice in association with Alice Hutchison. The usual table tennis balls await.

Just the job

In an article in Queensland’s Courier Mail, art critic and writer Susan McCulloch comments on the search for a replacement for Doug Hall, the current Queensland Art Gallery director:

"It's a bit like musical chairs in the gallery world," she said. "Lynne Seear (QAG assistant director) would be an obvious one to think of. But the odd thing is that deputy directors rarely get to inherit the main job. (Expatriate Australian) Christopher Saines has been mentioned in relation to the job, he's in New Zealand (at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki), but I don't know if he would be interested in it.” Anyone out there, who does?
Send us an email. overthenet able tennis balls signed by notable artists etc etc.

Garden party

There were a lot of artists in Wellington this weekend and they all seemed to turn up to Gang Green presented in a garden by Clubfoot. From the front gate right to the back of the property there was work installed in unlikely places, including: a delicately reflective piece in the goldfish pond (Sriwhana Spong) that was nudged across the water by a goldfish as we looked at it – “Animatronic goldfish’ we heard someone mutter; some sharp punctuation on weight hanging from that icon the rotary clothesline (Kate Newby); at least one excellent painting by Simon Denny lurking in the bushes (there may have been more); snaps of Monterey balanced on a shrub vibrated as people brushed past. (Nick Austin); a blank canvas waiting to become purple when it was rained on later in the evening (Julian Dashper). In Wellington at least, it is unusual to see work shown with such smooth and studied casualness. No labels, no interpretation. Some of the works we couldn't attached names to, like the green spray-painted nook; the geometric black painting on the weather-boards of the house and the little ladder leaning against a tree.
Images: Top. Left Kate Newby, right Simon Denny. Bottom Daniel du Bern with artists we will get identified during the day. Later - here you go: the vinyl piece on the window behind Daniel is by Ry Haskings and on the wall to his right Paintings on the Subject of Green by Bryan Spier. The ladder was made by Anton Berndt, the geometric black vinyl piece on the weatherboards by Ben Buchanan and the green spray painted hole by Daniel du Bern.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Merry Christmas

New comic over at stimulusresponse. Tenuously relevant to "New Zealand Art" because the stimulus occured around the corner from the Auckland Art Gallery.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

What a pickle*

When Creative New Zealand decided not to support Robert Storr’s Venice Biennale they must have expected that others would slip into the gap they left behind. We have already reported on the artists chosen for Brian’s Book and now hear there is another assault on Venice from the heartland. Rumour is that Alice Hutchison, Team Leader Art at Te Manawa (The Palmerston North Museum that includes the old Manawatu Art Gallery) has agreement from Robert Storr to include a Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena installation Aniwaniwa previously shown at Te Manawa. We assume, as there is no official National presence this year, that the Graham/ Rakena project will be part of the collateral events section, although it is not listed there as yet.

We love private initiatives but this one does raise a few questions, given the Government’s refusal to participate officially.

1 Is there any public funding involved?
2 Will the exhibition represent New Zealand in any official way?
3 Will the exhibition be included in the Venice Biennale catalogue as a New Zealand exhibition?
4 What is CNZ’s official position to this late entry?

All help on answers these questions will be gratefully received with overthenet table tennis balls signed by artists of note awarded for the best stuff.
*Previously known as the heading The Rumour mill II

Good deal

After yesterday’s story about Wellington’s City Gallery entering the art retail market, artists can take heart from this news from the UK.

“Prajit Dutta, a partner in the New York ArtsIndia group, which is opening a new gallery, Aicon, in London next month, says: ‘The most successful artists are also costing galleries more. “You have to court the artists assiduously,’ says Mr Dutta. ‘It’s no longer the case that works are on consignment, now the presumption is that any unsold works will be bought by the gallery,’ he says. ‘Artists may expect to be paid up front, which can put pressure on cash flow. And the cut isn’t the same as it used to be: forget 50/50, it can be 80/20 in the artist’s favour for those most in demand.’

“Also gone are the days when all the gallery needed was a hammer and nails to hang a show. Now the gallery underwrites the often substantial costs of gigantic installations.

“Galleries are also expected to underwrite museums shows. The London dealer Stuart Shave, owner of Modern Art, says: ‘One of the things that is much more expensive today is that museums expect galleries to contribute to catalogues, transport and other costs when they show a gallery’s artist. In the next few weeks we have eight museum shows and we are paying for some costs at each of them. Shipping and storage is £20,000 to £30,000 a year alone,’ he says.”
Georgina Adam and Brook Mason in The Art Newspaper

Friday, February 09, 2007


Looks like the City Gallery in Wellington are loosening their public art museum girdles, getting into the rough and tumble of the art selling business, and taking on the dealers via the object du jour - multiples. In the eleven page brief to Prospect artists, is a call to supply multiples for sale in the gallery foyer. Apparently the goal is to help the gallery “profile an expanded range of practice and foster new collectors with limited budgets (ie. under $1,000).”

I’ve been selected as a Prospect artist. Will my multiple automatically be accepted? “On reception of a description and, if possible, a photograph we will confirm whether we are able to offer the works for sale.”

Where will my multiples be displayed? In the foyer in “cocktail and china cabinets from the 1950s-70s”.

What’s the gallery’s cut? “The multiples/editions will be accepted on a sale or return basis. City Gallery will sell them on the artists’ behalf and will take 40% (excluding GST) of the sale price.”

Excluding GST? The “CGW will be adding 40% + GST” on to the amount nominated by the artist “to get the retail price.”

Any small print? “The artists’ 60% of the sale price is inclusive of any artist/dealer share.”

Don’t public art museums have an agreement not to sell art works? (sound drops out on tape)

Who pays for packing and freight? “The multiple needs to be delivered to us packed effectively and safely in packing that can be re-used once it is sold, or if it is to be returned at the end of the exhibition. Packing and incoming delivery is the responsibility of the artist.”

How quickly can I expect payment from the Gallery who is acting as my agent? “Payment to the artist will be made once the sale is completed and on receipt of an invoice.”

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The rumour mill I

Two completely unsubstantiated rumors that have the ring of truth about them.

1 Australian artist Stephen Bram has been asked to do the next Jar Space work in Auckland, replacing the current Stephen Bambury project.
2 Stephen Bambury will partner with art dealer Andrew Jensen when he moves to a new space in Newmarket.

Guide to collectors I

5 things you should know about Manzoni’s shit

1. Merda d’artista was created by Piero Manzoni’s in May 1961.
2. To create the work, Manzoni deposited 30 grams of his own faeces into each of ninety cans.
3. The canned shit was sold to match the then-current price of gold at around $US37 per can.
4. Today the value of 30 grams of Manzoni shit at the price of gold is $US764.15.
5. At auction in 2005 Merda d’artista by Piero Manzoni sold for $US142,592.54.
Images: Left Merda d’artista. Right: Piero Manzoni

...and on the table

We don’t play favourites on overthenet. At least we didn’t until we saw this work by Marseille based French artist, Laurent Perbos. His table tennis mania marks our 100th posting on overthenet.
Images: Laurent Perbos, M.J.C.(module de jeux compact), J.O., Console and Ping-pong pipe from the ping-pong table series.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We are not alone

The Victoria and Albert Museum has opened an exhibition featuring Kylie Minogue called – and this is clever – Kylie: the exhibition. It features 200 items of memorabilia: album covers, costumes, awards, videos and photographs from the Kylie life.

The V&A, in response to criticism that this might be off brand said “To be a celebrity like Kylie you need to have a team of highly talented designers around you creating your look. We hope this exhibition will attract students of fashion and stage costume design.”

Lisa Jardine, a V&A trustee added, on behalf of the other trustees, 'It is certainly not our job to be elitist'.

Word on the street is that Kathy Temin has already booked her ticket but (based on the cultural habits of other members of the museum world committed to not being elitist) Lisa Jardine is more likely to be found at Bayreuth.

The Doctor is out

The Sherman Galleries’ web site is unchanged, but this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald has announced that the director of Sherman Galleries, Dr Gene Sherman, is leaving. The staff of nine are to be reduced to six and the gallery will close its current operation at the end of this year. In 2008 the present space will become exhibition galleries for the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation. Sherman artists include Gordon Bennett, Shaun Gladwell, Mike Parr, Tim Storrier and Shane Cotton.

The share market

Artspace’s exhibition Moment making includes three single channel videos by Bruce Nauman. As the earliest works in the show they kick off the story, but they are not given special treatment – they’re just part of the show. The works are on loan from the National Gallery of Australia and they raise a question. Why aren’t more loans like this made more often? After all, international video doesn’t flood into New Zealand, the Australians have a good collection and are happy to lend (The curator Laura Preston told us the process was not at all demanding). A quick flick through the video in the ANG’s online catalogue reveals nine by Dennis Oppeheim, two by Tony Oursler, seven by Bruce Nauman, two by Jonathan Borofsky, ten by Gary Hill, two by Nam June Paik, one by Chris Burden and many more. It is hard to understand why a special relationship hasn’t been developed between the Australian National Gallery and our own art museums. If it had we might have been closer to the development of contemporary work over the last 20 or so years.

And today partnerships are being taken a long way from straightforward lending and borrowing to making joint acquisitions. Shared purchases of contemporary works were being made as early as 2002. That was the year the Whitney purchased Bill Viola’s Five Angels for the Millennium in a landmark deal with the Tate and the Pompidou. This year the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo have jointly acquired Rachel Whiteread’s staircase sculpture Untitled (Domestic), 2002. These sorts of museum partnerships seem a smart way to keep art museums in the game, show commitment and, with a bit of luck, convince our art institutions to be better about sharing exhibitions.
Images are from the Artspace exhibition Moment making curated by Laura Preston. Left: Bruce Nauman Manipulating a fluorescent tube 1969. Right: The Nauman in situ with Pretty mortar 2007 by Simon Denny

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Risky business

“So you pay a grand for a painting from an unknown artist’s studio. If you are a serious collector, taking a risk, you increase the value of the work by just buying it… If you are a cheap serious collector, you try to get a discount on account of this… If you wait until she has a good reviews, you are going to pay more still… If you wait until… MOCA notices her work, you are going to pay even more… And, if you wait until everybody wants one, then of course, you are going to pay a whole hell of a lot more, since as demand approaches ‘one’ and supply approaches ‘zero’, prices approach infinity. But you are not paying for art… You are paying to be sure, and assurance (or insurance if you will) is very expensive, because risk is everything, for everybody in the domain of art.”
Dale Hickey quoted in Owning Art: The contemporary art collector’s handbook, Louisa Buck and Judith Greer.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Copy cat V

Left Richard Killeen Rise and fall, 1969. Right: Construction billboard Khartoum Place, Auckland 2007


When he was editor of Art & Text, Paul Foss always gave New Zealand art good space. This had a huge impact in the 1980s. French theory was taking off and keeping up with the latest translations of writers like Jean Baudrillard and Felix Guttari really mattered. Paul headed off to Los Angeles at the end of the 1990s with Art & Text which subsequently morphed into artUS. As the name implies its focus is contemporary work made in the USA or at least created in the global spotlight shining from the US. The latest issue, however, features two stories with NZ connections. The first is a review of Michael Parekowhai’s exhibition with Roslyn Oxley by Reuben Keehan, and the second a review of the Simon Reece (ex Govett-Brewster) exhibition High Tide out of the Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, Lithuania where Simon now works. This review is written by Raimundas Malasauskas.
ArtUS issue 16 January.Feburary 2007. For subscription details email

Friday, February 02, 2007

4000 words

Top: Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s permanent collection, installation from the left of Ellsworth Kelly Blue on blue 1963, Joel Shapiro Dancing man 1981 and Ellsworth Kelly Blue curve III 1981. Bottom: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’s permanent collection installation Toi Te Papa Art of the Nation, left installation of sink unit painted by Colin McCahon in 1969, middle installation of Rata Lovell Smith Arbutus Berries 1936 and right installation of Carl Sydow Construction II 1979.

Vivian Bishop and her circle

Here is the other photograph from the 1968 NZ Vogue, this time South Islanders. As far as we know there was no picture of the Wellington art scene which was described as “a disaster area in the visual arts.”
Pictured members of Christchurch’s 20/20 Vision. Left to right, at top: Michael Eaton (with beard), David Graham, Don Peebles, Carl Sydow (with beard), Derek Mitchell (with beard), Michael Kitson. Next row from extreme left: Trevor Moffit, Gavin Bishop, Ted Francis, Alan Olliver, Quentin MacFarlane, Tom Taylor. Clockwise from bottom left, inner circle: Clive Luscombe, Vivian Bishop, John Coley (with beard), Bill Sutton (with beard) and Maurice Askew. Remember a simple email to overthenet is enough to put any of them on the lost list.