When we started OTN we decided that if we ever heard important art news that was being selectively shared by 20 or so people around a Wellington or Auckland dinner table, we'd share it with you. That’s how you've got to hear advance word about events like the Walters Prize and the artists selected for Venice. For a couple of weeks now we have been waiting for CNZ to share Venice news with you, but as of Monday they're still marshaling their thoughts, so here you go.
First up, Michael Parekowhai’s Venice installation has been requested by the Quai Branly Museum in Paris for a standalone exhibition later this year after the Biennale closes. This will be the second time Parekowhai has been exhibited in this award-winning museum; a large photographic mural was installed for the opening. Most of the credit for this outing of On first looking into Chapman’s Homer in Europe can be laid at the door of Venice Commissioner Jenny Harper, no shrinking violet when it comes to fronting for NZ abroad.
Next up, the word on the street is that Te Papa has purchased the carved piano Story of a New Zealand river that was the centrepiece of the Venice installation. The museum apparently initiated the purchase process when the piano was black and took in its stride the transformation into red. The consensus rumour is that Te Papa are to pay over $NZ one million for the work.
Also on the boil is yet another ‘expose’ by Metro magazine feeding its obsession (and yes, we do get the irony) with Creative New Zealand's bureaucracy. While their current issue questions CNZ paying over the odds for a PR flack, freelancer Josie McNaught has been wearing out the phones cobbling together a story of new revelations. Apparently she is material that may reveal that dealer galleries make arrangements with public museums, negotiations over purchases can often take months and Michael Lett is too big for his boots rofl.
As to where the Parekowhai Venice work will be shown on its return to New Zealand, we’d put our money on Christchurch. Auckland has never offered our Venice Biennale artists space and with Harper as Commissioner along with Christchurch’s tough year, it's hard to imagine the only other contender, Te Papa, not allowing them the pleasure.