Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Denny uses silver fern to strike gold

Simon Denny and Michael Lett have hit the jackpot at the Basel Art Fair’s Art Statements exhibition. Not only was the Denny show a sell-out on day one but the Berlin-based New Zealand artist has also won the $NZ40,000 Baloise Art Prize. 

The Prize includes the purchase and donation of a substantial work to a public art museum and in Denny’s case the Modern Art Ludwig Foundation in Vienna is to be the recipient. The work in Denny’s exhibition is based on the most recent redesign of the New Zealand passport. 

Simon Denny follows in the footsteps of some very well known artists who also had shows in Art Statements including William Kentridge, Takashi Murakami, Ernesto Neto, Jorge Pardo, Elisabeth Peyton, Gregor Schneider and Kara Walker. So right up there. 

It is also very good news for Creative New Zealand. In the face of some criticism it has supported galleries like Michael Lett and Starkwhite (et al. in Art Unlimited and Dane Mitchell in Art Statements) to participate at Basel. This year Hopkinson Cundy is also at Basel as part of Liste. This is the around the fifth outing for Lett at Basel. Last year he presented Walters Prize finalist Sriwhana Spong at Art Statements.