Monday, July 09, 2012

Fur real

A while back we picked up a tiny blue felt jacket for a taxidermied rabbit. The original jacket had faded and the question arose of whom you get to replicate something like that. In case you are ever stuck with the same problem, the answer is someone like Flo Foxworthy who designs burlesque costumes for circus and show people around the world.

Fact is The Barefoot Potter Boys Brigade by Michael Parekowhai has spent a good deal of its time in traveling exhibitions and over the years the lighting has faded the fugitive blue of the felt on one jacket (the brown jacket on the other rabbit still looks like new). Mark Amery suggested when reviewing the Dowse Art Museum's show Critical mass a few months ago that “without the attentions of public conservators how many of these works would have survived?”

He went on to say, “Left to private collection could we quickly bring together celebrations of the work of the recently deceased?” Well, yes of course you could. And in the case of loans the private collectors we have met are a good deal (and we mean a good deal) more obliging and fast to respond than the average art museum.

When it comes to a work's survival getting a new jacket made is part of the price of owning an artwork that wears one. After all, the boys need to look good when they’re out there on loan to public institutions.

Images: Top left, the workshop where the coat was made. Bottom left the new pattern, middle the new and old coats and right Michael Parekowhai’s Barefoot Potter Boys in their original regalia.