Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fair’s fair

What ever happened to New Zealand’s love affair with the Melbourne Art Fair? Past fairs have seen most of the top New Zealand dealers turn up. Crockford, Gow, Langsford, McKay, Lett, McLeavey, were all there. This year it’s down to three participating dealer galleries and it certainly doesn't seem to be attracting much interest from prospective New Zealand visitors. 

And it is not as though New Zealand wasn’t featured at past fairs. In 2006 Michael Parekowhai’s large inflated version of Cosmo dominated centre stage and Ronnie van Hout was commissioned to make R.U.R. for the last one. Perhaps the dealers were using it as trainer-wheels to prepare for bigger fairs further afield, or maybe some of them have lost their taste for international connections altogether.

Creative New Zealand certainly pushed hard for the Melbourne Fair this year and while there’s a geographic sense to that, if the dealers don’t think it is in their best interest to participate, no amount of logic will convince them. Besides, you’d think any viable gallery could afford to get itself to Australia on its own funding if there was enough advantage to it. This year it seems not. 
Image: Maichael Parekowhai's Cosmo at the 2006 Melbourne Art Fair