Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What goes around…

A while back we wrote about the rehabilitation of contemporary Maori artist Sandy Adsett by Te Papa (same thing has happened to contemporary Maori artists in the new Auckland Art Gallery hang). 

Sandy Adsett certainly would have smiled if he'd visited Simon Denny’s installation Channel Documentary at Basel. Included in the timeline constructed by Denny is an examination of the creative processes developing the new New Zealand passport and it turns out that Adsett was central to this design. Indeed a documentary commissioned by Denny featuring Adsett plays as part of the installation. Adsett and his contemporaries were sidelined in the Walters Koru debate sparked by Robert Leonard. He raised questions about the relationship of art and design (among other issues) and put artists like Adsett and Walters side by side in the exhibition Headlands at Sydney’s MCA. 

That was back in 1991. So when was the last time you saw an act of curatorial provocation? Now 20 years later in the centre of Art Statements there is artist Sandy Adsett discussing Maori design. On Twitter all this would be tagged #deeplyironic. 

Image: Sandy Adsett featuring in Simon Denny's installation Channel Documentary