Saturday, September 29, 2012

By the numbers: Gagosian edition

It's been a Gagosian kind of week so, it being Saturday, why don't you kick back and think of what might have been if you'd only started out your business life selling posters on the street.
1.1       the turnover per year of the Gagosian Gallery in billions of dollars
5.75     the number in millions of dollars that Larry Gagosian paid for his US gallery building
8          the number of cities with a Gagosian Gallery
12        the number of Gagosian spaces around the world
34       the number in years that there has been a Gagosian Gallery
65       the number in millions estimated as the current value of Gagosian’s NY building
67       the age in years of Larry Gagosian
77       the number of artists or artist estates represented by the Gagosian Gallery
150     the number of staff members working for Gagosian Gallery
300     the number of Damien Hirst spot paintings shown in the Gagosian Gallery around the world earlier this year
665     the number of people in thousands who attended the Sydney Biennale this year
1467   the number of people who join the Gagosian Gallery Facebook page per month
14,200     the number of square metres of permanent Gagosian Gallery exhibition space
33,849     the number of Facebook fans of the Gagosian Gallery
103,731    the amount in dollars of the average Gagosian Gallery salary
Image: OTN's Berlin stringer catches Larry Gagosian at the Hamburger Bahnhof

Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo op

“I am painting the one picture all the time. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, I am trying to perfect the one thing I was meant to do, to perfect it to my satisfaction. It is an unattainable thing, but you have it there right in front of you, all the time. And when you get close you don’t turn away, even if it makes your life and your acceptance as an artist harder.”   
Gordon Walters talking to Keith Stewart in the December 1994 issue of Quote Unquote

Image: (JB&MB) taken in Gordon Walters’s Christchurch studio 1979


Auckland Art Gallery has a new Deputy Director thanks to a major restructure earlier this year that was initially going to remove director Chris Saines and then backedoff. She is Viv Beck who comes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade who are also restructuring. 

Beck was Director of Communications there for a couple of years and before that ran a print management agency. She has also been NZ Post’s General Manager of stamps. 

At the AAG one of her key tasks will be to make the Gallery 'more commercially focused.'

And Beck’s involvement in the art biz? For two years she was Director of the WellingtonMuseums Trust that she later went on to chair for two years until 2010.

The appointment of a new Principal Curator is still to be announced.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Art is where you find it

When Ron and Larry got unmarried

The world of art dealers and their clients is not often thrown open as it has been in the recent flurry of suits in the New York Supreme Court, so let's make the most of it. Larry Gagosian and long-time collector and client billionaire Ron Perelman are about to duke it out over a Jeff Koons sculpture that isn’t even finished. The depositions have been filled and contain encouraging phrases like “clouding the title”. 

The pending cases also demonstrate the immense power mega-artists like Koons wield over their market. Essentially Koons had a deal with Gagosian over his yet-to-be-completed $US4 million granite sculpture of Popeye that if it was on-sold at any time in the future he (Koons) would get 70 percent of anything above the original sale price. It’s the artist’s resale fee on steroids. And just in case anyone thought there would be some wriggle room, Koons also insisted on 80 percent of any resale profit should the sculpture come back into Gagosian’s hands before it was completed. That’s a seriously powerful player at work. 

Welcome to the world of dealer/artist/collector relations where collectors not only purchase works from art dealers but also consign them back for resale, exchange them for other works and sell back direct. Tons of room for confusion and misunderstanding there. As one US attorney put it, “There’s a certain level of informality in the art market that is not helpful to any of the parties.” 

The court papers filed by Ron Perelman (you can get them here) claim that as the already paid for Popeye sculpture was running seven months late, it was decided to add it to some other art works as part payment for yet another, grander acquisition. All the pieces went back and forward with Larry Gagosian receiving the returned Perelman’s works and Perelman getting his new painting. 

Then all hell broke loose as Perelman claimed Gagosian “Fraudulantly induced [Perelman] to purchase Popeye a sculpture by Jeff Koons and forced [him] to accept an exchange rate significantly below its fair market value”. Gagosian responded in kind accusing Perelman of engaging in “a series of sham settlements and deceptive maneuvers”. 

Put simply, Larry reckoned that Ron hadn’t paid for Popeye so obviously he wasn't going to get the full price back for it but Perelman found out about Jeff's 70 percent so he figured that Larry wasn’t going to offer him very much at all because he wasn’t going to make any profit so Ron decided to sue which really really upset Larry who thought Ron was a friend and anyway he hadn’t ever sued one of his clients before but what the hell you have to make a start somewhere besides so far as Larry was concerned Ron didn’t even own the damn Popeye work because he hadn’t paid for it duh not that Ron was having anything to do with that as an idea because he had copies of his cheques. It’s complicated. 

You can read the whole amazing story here in the Huffington Post and in even more juicy detail here via Bloomberg

Image: Jeff Kons's Granite Popeye (simulation only)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bathing beauty

"They saw it and said 'oh, that's art'." 

Danu Sefton in the Dominion Post describing the police’s reaction and lack of interest when they came to her house to check on whether or not a photo she took of her daughter in the bath depicted child abuse

Insect art: an overview

Out there on the blurred edges of animal art is the little known and rarely discussed field of art created by, but not necessarily for, insects. We are primarily talking here about spiders, flies, butterflies, and of course the master artists of the insect world, cockroaches. 

Having said that, we admit that we have had a bad run with insect art here at OTN. Yes, we did jump the gun on snail art and, as many OTN readers pointed out, our painting fly post left quite a bit to be desired, most particularly that the flies didn’t actually paint anything themselves but were part of a fly-artist combo that mostly relied on the artist for composition etc. 

But with cockroach art we are on much firmer ground. OK someone has to load them up (with paint that is) and set them down on the paper but from there on it is pure cockroach-inspired creativity that you see on the page. So here are a couple of paintings as a taster. You can see more here and read about how one man has dedicated his life to allowing these disliked insects express themselves.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What’s in that crate?

We’re figuring it was probably Jeffrey Harris’s large untitled drawing from 1982 that was in the then National Art Gallery’s exhibition The heart’s key. If so it would probably make this crate one of the last to have the old National Art Gallery stencil on it before it became The Museum of New Zealand and thence to Te Papa. Very humble protection compared to the monster crating public art galleries wrap their treasures in today. 
 Image taken at Art + Object at the day after the Paris Collection sale. 
A+O tell us that for the full 10 points the answer is in fact Neil Dawson's sculpture Framework II made in 1988 giving it even better creds for being one of the last NAG crates.

The curator’s egg

At a time when directors of art museums in  NZ have slid into more strategic and management roles, the job of curating has been largely left to the…er…curators. And it is a job under attack from all sides. 

From the left, the education department is pushing hard on how to develop appropriate experiences for specific audiences and how those experiences should be framed via labels, audio tours and public programmes. Coming from the right, the design department has removed curators from any physical contact with the work they select and has made the presentation of work its own area of professional expertise. And of course from all directions comes the marketing department with opinions about everything and the conviction its audience research ensures it always knows best. The curators have also played a part in their own relegation thanks to the comparatively recent concept of curating a single artist's installation (as in ”I am curating artist X to do a solo installation in Venice.") when in fact on many occasions they are just along for the ride. 

Then there is the elevation of the activity of choosing in the wider culture that has also played its part with people out there ‘curating meals’ in a restaurant, ‘curating the product in a store and ‘curating the news’ on TV. The old museum curatorial triumvirate of choose, present and preserve has been pretty much worn away with the 'choose' part just hanging on by a thread.

But, if you’re still keen to have a go, there are a number of university courses you can buy into here and the University of Auckland even has Ian Wedde, who developed the rationale behind Te Papa’s curatorial style, as a lecturer in its Art History department. 

Monday, September 24, 2012


No bees but right up there with art museum rooftop action is Wellington City Gallery that had a garden installed on its roof earlier this year. It’s supplying fresh organic greens and herbs to resident restaurant Nikau, an idea that comes from long-time Nikau chef Kelda Hains. The produce will be used to supplement the restaurants regular supplies. Thanks for the tip M

Question time

The Auckland Art Gallery has played the decision by the Walters Prize jury to select exhibitions they haven't seen pretty low key. Apparently efforts were made to get the four jury members to front up and explain their rationale, but they all declined. We certainly never got a response from them.

You can see the difficulty for the Gallery when the jurors wouldn't play ball but as they were paid for their services it's hard to understand how the Gallery could just roll over on it. Who's betting the jury contract is being revised right now?

Given all this, what do you think could have been going through the Auckland Art Gallery’s head when it decided to incorporate the jury’s odd behaviour into its marketing plan? We kid you not. The tagline for the Walters Prize poster campaign is: “Can you judge it without seeing it?” It feels defensive but is probably meant to be provocative and street-smart.

Thanks to the Walters Prize jury’s no-go-no-see policy we all know how they’d answer the question.

But now with the AAG’s marketing department forcing the issue so publically it’s probably time for the Auckland Art Gallery to come clean and let everyone know where they stand on it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Putting the mouse on the mat

The Disney organisation has always been expert at conning kids into believing all sorts of crazy stuff is possible.  Anyone who has been to a Disneyland knows that most sub-five year olds are pretty convinced that the giant Mickey Mouse is just that - mouse meat all the way through – and that’s why most of them cringe in fear at the first encounter. It’s only when they figure out that there is a human being inside the cossie acting as The Mouse that they go in for the leg hug.
It’s the same with Disney’s Magic Artist program (you can buy a copy here). If you were young you might be forgiven for thinking that from the packaging it was going to be more Jackson Pollock than Andrew Wyeth. After all, there’s the mouse letting loose on the canvas without a drop cloth in sight. Get into the program and it’s a different story. Magic Artist is just another drawing program that doesn’t even try to teach you to draw, just to make bad copies of black outlined cartoons. Sigh.

Friday, September 21, 2012

On the road

It's the Ministry of Transport and Local Bodies paying homage to our artists in the only way they know how

Googling on: this week, bees

We spotted the two rocks that are part of Kate Newby’s Walters Prize installation sitting up there on the Auckland Art Gallery roof, but what happening up on the roofs of other galleries, that’s the question you’ve gotta ask. Like on the roof of the City Gallery for instance or up top at the DPAG. One thing we can tell you is that on the roofs of Tate (Britain and Modern) in London it’s bees, thousands of them, in and out of hives and swarming around the building. In fact if you head into any Tate you can buy Tate Honey by the jar. It comes via Urban Beekeeper Steve Benbow and is rather blandly branded Honey (order here).

Following up on the bee/art trail reminded us that in 1977 David Mealing (subject of OTN’s very first post back in November 2006) installed three hives at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Complete with live bees that could fly in and out of the gallery via a special tube the installation was titled Sting/stung
And of course all this Anthophila talk brings us to the grand master of bee-art Joseph Beuys. For Documenta  1977 his work Honey Pump For The Workplace pumped two tons of honey through plastic tubing throughout the 100 days of the exhibition.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In Auckland

Thinking about Julian Dashper

Leaving Paris

The auction business has always been aware that celebrity collection auctions can bring in big results. The collections of Jackie O, Andy Warhol and YSL all did big business and set auction records. So smart of Art + Object to foreground the life and world of Les and Milly Paris in preparation for last night’s auction. 

There has been a terrific publicity campaign and the rewards came in on the night. Around 250 people packed Art + Object’s rooms and they weren’t shy about putting their paddles in the air. Bids came in too by phone and in one case off the internet, a first according to auctioneer Ben Plumbly. We reckon the total dollars turned over at around $3.7 million - not bad for the first night of a two-day auction.

Milly Paris wasn’t on the floor but watched proceedings from nearby via the internet. She will be well pleased with the results and to know that some at least of the works are off to the national collection at Te Papa. 

Some highlights. Both the Gordon Walters paintings went above low estimate, as did works by Ralph Hotere. Peter Robinson’s I am scarred went to the top of estimate at $120,000. This must be a record as would be Brent Wong’s Mean time exposure that went $5,000 over the top estimate of $85,500. Bargain of the evening must have been Les’s favourite painting a brown corner painting by Milan Mrkusich titled Painting 1971 which went for a modest $75,000 (the same price as a similar-sized Maddox). Then there was the epic battle over the classic Gordon Walters koru work on paper Karaka (second version) that crept up, often in $1,000 bites, to $66,000, $11,000 over the top estimate. (You can check out all the hammer prices here on our Twitter stream)

In a totally New Zealand touch as we left we saw one of the A+O staff on their knees packing up a painting by Milan Mrkusich in bubble wrap with a very pleased owner standing by. Tomorrow the smaller lots. We’ll tweet (a little less manically this time) the highlights as they happen. 
Image: Jeffrey Harris's 1980 painting Untitled coming up for sale. It was sold for $20,000

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The old cash or stash problem

“What’s the greater community benefit, keeping [Cindy Sherman's photograph] Orange Sweater and showing it once every five years, or having a few more million buy works of art?"

The Director of Cleveland's Akron Art Museum re the auctioning of a Sherman work from their collection

Vanishing Wellington sub station

If you were ever lucky enough to sit down for a meal with Les and Milly Paris, chances are you would have been seated with your back to a big Don Peebles canvas and board work with a Don Driver framed sack next to it. Over the table on the opposite wall next to a painting by Colin McCahon with a fat cream cloud hovering above a green hill would have been Don Binney’s Vanishing Wellington bird

The vanishing bird was the Stitchbird and the small building below it a sub station on the road that winds up from Aro Street. It’s not a road we take very often so when we saw the A+O video of Hamish Coney talking about the painting we went up to get a photo of the sub station. Gone. Probably vanished years back but there you go. 

It’s the same story as the other painting by Binney that was also hung in the Paris’s dining room for many years. That one was Old Wellington synagogue and was commissioned by the Parises to commemorate the old Beth El Synagogue on 222 the Terrace that was pulled down to make way fro the Wellington motorway. 

You can See Hamish Coney and Ben Plumbly talking about the Les and Milly Paris collection and Vanishing Wellington bird here. OTN will be at the auction tonight to tweet the action from around 6.30 on. The coverage will appear on the right hand side of the blog. 

Image: Top, out with the old and (on the right of the picture) in with the new sub station. Bottom, Hamish Coney with Don Binney’s Vanishing Wellington bird

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thinking people

OTN staffers in Malta have been on the road thinking about Colin McCahon (Thanks as always P)

Going, going, gone global

A comparison the media often uses is that the Venice Biennale is like the Olympics of Art. While it doesn't make much sense - after all athletes are celebrated for the number of Olympics they have competed in whereas you tend to only get one go at Venice. However, the media could certainly reach for the elite sport comparison when you consider what NZ art high achievers have been up to around the world over the past few months. 

Fiona Connor has been commissioned to present a project at the inaugural Expo Chicago this month while Simon Denny has just been nominated by a bunch on European art museum directors and curators for the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst 2013 and is just off a solo show at the Aspen Art Museum. 
Then there's Francis Upritchard who has accompanied her solo exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary with her first US solo exhibition A long wait at Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati. And of course Michael Stevenson who has a major project running at the reopening of the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City is also opening at Portikus in Frankfurt with his solo installation A life of crudity, vulgarity, and blindness
Rohan Wealleans is working the top shelf too with a collaborative exhibition at Sadie Coles in London with YBA star Sara Lucas. Not forgetting Alex Monteith's video installation at one of Germany’s most prestigious contemporary venues the MMK in Berlin as well as Sriwhana Spong's participation in the Artists Film International at the Whitechapel in London and solo exhibition at the Neuer Kunstverein in Vienna. 
Even five years ago a list like this would have been unimaginable and it only represents a small part of what's happening off shore. But don’t hold your breathe waiting for the media to feature all or even any of all this - you’ll just find yourself face down on the floor going a funny colour.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A bridge too far

“You can't make a sculpture there. It is such a beautiful bridge. I didn't want to vandalise it or touch it.” 
Scottish artist Callum Innes on being commissioned to produce a sculpture for the Edinburgh Arts Festival

Die hard

We nearly missed one of David Walsh’s King Hits at MONA in Hobart. The standalone gallery featuring the French artist ChristianBoltanski is next to the wharf where the ferry ties up and most people (well everyone really) heads past it and straight up the 90 stairs to the museum entrance. Then as they queue up at the top of those stairs to leave, everyone tends to hustle past again so as to get a good seat for the ride back to the city.
If you do stop and go inside you see a bank of monitors that screen video of Boltanski’s studio in real-time as well as highlights from previous days. As his studio is in Europe we don't reckon many MONA visitors catch Boltanski in real time but the feed is part of a bet-cum-purchase he has with Walsh. Walsh is a committed gambler (that’s where the money for the museum and its collection has come from) and in his purchase of The life of C.B he is making another call. 
In Boltanski’s words, “We decided to work on the basis of this old tradition of a lifetime annuity. To buy en viager in France is a transaction by which you pay someone fixed instalments until their death, at which time the payments stop and you inherit the property. David gives me a bit of money each month. In eight years time he will have paid me the agreed amount. If I die in five years time, he gets a good deal.” 
So, the longer Boltanski lives, the more Walsh will have to pay. Boltanski is 68 and has refused to sell Walsh his ashes.
Image: DVD records of the days already videoed with slots good for another nine years worth of recordings line the ‘Boltanski room’.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Don Binney 1940-2012

Don Binney died on Friday. His paintings of the mid-sixties with large native birds dominating New Zealand landscapes developed a great pictorial concept and rightly made him famous. Along with Robin White he helped establish a fresh way of looking at the New Zealand landscape that had for so long been dominated by Colin McCahon and Toss Woollaston. 

By the time we interviewed him for Contemporary New Zealand painters in the late 1970s, Binney was still trying to reconcile the public’s unwillingness to see him as anything other than the bird painter and this reluctance hurt. Don Binney was highly intelligent and strongly opinionated as well as articulate. It was a powerful mix that could be both stimulating and at times a challenge. The fact is he could just as easily have talked those birds down out of the trees. 
Image: Binney country, Bethell's Beach

Friday, September 14, 2012

Getting to the point

If you ever thought art curators should get out a bit more here’s something to nail that prejudice home. Tate curator Carol Jacobi has discovered a phallic symbol in John Everett Millais’s painting Isabella. So far so good. It’s the shadow cast on the table by the guy extending his leg. Jacobi goes on to say that the shadow-shaft “dramatically changes the way we see the work.” Um… ok. Then, starting to drift a bit, she goes on “It gives us a different view of the Victorians”. Maybe. Unfortunately things go all to hell as she winds up, “We can assume it’s deliberate, so then that raises the question: what’s it there for?”
Image: Isabella by John Everett Millais


Last night there was a panel discussion we were part of on Marcel Duchamp in New Zealand at the Adam Art Gallery. A lot of the talk was around the Duchamp exhibition that came to New Zealand in 1967. It famously got some older members of the art museum (the director of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery at the time was a tortoise inspiring 74 years old) profession extremely agitated. The fuss ended up with two of Duchamp’s works - Please touch, a false breast made by Duchamp to stick on the cover of a book and Fountain his famous readymade urinal, being removed from the exhibition at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in Christchurch. The director allowed 'artists' and arts students to view them in his office and queues formed in protest with students returning to the back of the queue after they had had a look in an attempt to keep the director fully occupied showing Fountain and Please touch to 'artists' every waking minute of his day.

In memory of all this Duchamp history action here are some latter day tributes to Fountain. They range from a sticker you can use to convert your own toilet into a Duchampian gesture to a remote-controlled urinal signed R (the R was for Richard) Mutt.
Images: Top to bottom, left to right. Sherrie Levine’s Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp), Michael Parekowhai’s Mimi, R Mutt sticker from Thwart Design, Fountain parade float, cake by Hannah Hull, R Mutt figures and Raphael Rogenmoser’s remote-controlled Fountain (you can see it in action here)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dollars and sense

If you ever wondered how much it cost to put up a public sculpture in the middle of nowhere in Queensland here are some figures to help you out. These are the commissioning and construction costs for Andy Goldsworthy’s sculpture Strangler cairn a 3.7 meter high granite sculpture funded through the art+place Queensland Public Art Fund.
Total cost $874,000 of which $421,500 went to the artist, $64,000 to helicopter the stone to the site and $388,500 for production costs.
You can view a clip of Andy Goldsworthy talk about the sculpture here.
Image: Andy Goldsworthy's sculpture Strangler cairn 

… and change

Those of you who were as surprised as we were by Te Papa’s intention to monetise the curatorial functions of the museum and use the collection’s artefacts to turn a bob can rest easy. The job description for the new Associate Director Enterprise has been severely modified to dial back these commercial expectations. 

Some time between our post on Wednesday morning and that afternoon the editors were hard at work cutting and pasting. The most startling bits in the job description (the stuff about having Te Papa operate "commercially when curating exhibitions” and having responsibility for "commercialising artefacts”) are gone. They've been replaced by more conventional expectations to "ensure commercial opportunities are generated around our collections…”

There's nothing to indicate these changes have been made but any marketing thrusters who were looking forward to cash in on curation will be disappointed. For the rest of us it's a matter of remembering that somewhere in that building someone pretty senior thought it was a good idea.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Having a cow

“It’s ridiculous—they have a great product, and they’re pushing it out into the market like cattle.”
Alberto Mugrabi, a New York dealer and owner of the largest collection of Warhol's work commenting on the Warhol Foundation putting the remainder of its holdings of  20,000 Warhol paintings, prints and photographs to auction.

Image: Warhol Cow wallpaper (detail)

Hearts and minds

Te Papa is now set to implement its “bold new vision” Changing hearts, changing minds, changing lives. This week four new senior management jobs are being advertised after yet another restructuring since Te Papa opened in 1998.

This time Te Papa is looking for an Associate Director: Te Papa Museum of Living Cultures, Associate Director: Museum Operations and Services, Associate Director: Te Papa Museum for the Future and Associate Director: Te Papa Enterprises. The job that most clearly demonstrates Te Papa's new focus is the last one. The Enterprise guy (it’s going to be a guy trust us) is to be charged with “generating revenue for Te Papa through the development of new products, processes and services, and new partnerships and sponsorships.”

Nothing much new there. But for anyone interested in art there's a stinger at the bottom of this job description as the Enterprise department "will also ensure Te Papa operates commercially when curating exhibitions” and will be responsible for "commercialising artefacts" You have until 24 September to apply.

OK. Hands up anyone who wants to be a curator at Te Papa. No one? Fair enough.

You can read the four job descriptions Enterprises: here, Living culture: here, Operations: here and Future here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A sign from Paris

The stringer reporters attached to our Paris office have been thinking about Michael Parekowhi. (Thanks J)

September 11

One of those who did not survive the United Airlines Boeing 767 crashing into the Twin Towers 11 years ago was the 37 year old African American artist Michael Richards. He was working in his studio on the 92nd floor of the Trade Center’s Tower One when the planes hit. 
One of Richards’ last sculptures proved strangely prophetic as it shows a figure based on a cast from his own body attacked by toy planes. The bronze sculpture Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian was in fact a homage to the black air servicemen of the Second World War.
You can read more about Michael Richards here
Image: Michael Richards Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian

Monday, September 10, 2012

art at work

Art pitching in to help fashion students at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

The waiting game

The Walters Prize certainly continues to bring up a lot of issues around how national our contemporary visual arts culture is. For instance, the commentary from Christchurch that the Prize is Auckland-based and Auckland-centric is mirrored by the fact that none of the four finalists (Simon Denny, Alicia Frankovich, Kate Newby, Sriwhana Spong) have a dealer gallery in the South Island or in Wellington and only one of them is in the collection of a South Island public art museum as a gift to the Christchurch Art Gallery (as listed in the online catalogues at any rate.)
Geographically speaking, people tend to keep to their own (in the beginning stages of careers at least) which has resulted in the move-North-or-vanish effect for Southern artists.
The patterns of public institutional collecting of the four Walters Prize finalists are also interesting and also Auckland-centric. The Auckland Art Gallery has relied on Rob and Sue Gardiner to select most of their collection of the four via the Chartwell Trust. It has an impressive 19 works but only three (all by Spong) were purchased by the Auckland Art Gallery itself. The rest are on loan from Chartwell. Te Papa has two works by Spong, none by Frankovich or Newby and two by Denny (rather optimistically registered as four with one work having each component part recorded as a separate work). By the time you get down to the Christchurch Art Gallery it is just one work by Simon Denny (a gift).
Auckland is relying heavily on the Chartwell Collection to tell its story of contemporary New Zealand art but the others will probably have to pay a premium for waiting.

12 September: The Auckland Art Gallery has corrected our post on their collection of Walters Prize artists. In fact not all of the 13 Simon Denny's registered on their online catalogue were purchased by the Chartwell Collection. One of them, a photograph, was purchased by the gallery. Sorry about that.

Saturday, September 08, 2012


In a post we’d only get away with on Saturday here’s the inside story on Barbie. “I think it may be time” says Jason Freeny as he starts off on a Visible Barbie jag. The building of the Damien Hirst lookalike is shown in a step-by-step process on Frenny’s Facebook page which you can reach it via his website here.

Friday, September 07, 2012

The good old faker spirit

"I looked upon my activities as a contest of wits with world experts, it was intoxicating and I enjoyed every moment of it."
American art forger, Ken Perenyi


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have landed in overthenet’s email: the new building for an art gallery next to te papa has been given the green light with a retiring te papa board member to be actively engaged in the project • tony de latour has had his name pegged to one of the glittering arts prizes • simon denny has been dropped from the exhibition showcasing the 'best of aotearoa’s young, mid-career and senior artists' funded by the nz ministry of culture as part of the frankfurt book fair • the labour weekend walters prize dinner is creating engagement conflicts for some of its patrons • another auckland dealer gallery is about to join the move west. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and any that makes us laugh out loud will be rewarded with a rare limited edition otn painting horse badge.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Butler did it (again)

We don’t want to go on about this (so why are you?) but down in the bowels of MONA we looked up and, kid you not, there was Brian Butler again. What are the chances?

Uni Verse

A major shift in arts funding over the last few years has been the entry of the universities. They have put up funding for many of the largest exhibitions by NZ artists and more than a few of the art publications and now the University of Auckland is taking Len Lye to the opera.
With words by Lye’s biographer Emeritus Professor Roger Horrocks, music by Eve de Castro-Robinson a teacher in the Music Department and produced by the University of Auckland's National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, LEN LYE the opera had its first outing at the University's Maidment Theatre in Auckland last night. In the cast are University of Auckland staff members including Te Oti Rakena, a key player in the presentation of Michael Parekowhai’s On first looking into Chapman’s Homer.
As Te Oti Rakena singing in his role as an art dealer has it:
“To survive in art
You have to be smart.”
You can catch rehearsal action here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Yayoi Kusama for Louis Vuitton in Sydney's George Street

Pay as you urn

Most art museums have Friends groups to help with functions, put up funding for purchases into the collection and bulk up numbers at openings. The benefits to the Friends themselves vary but mostly there are discounts, previews and a newsletter. For such packages Friends are prepared to pay from $15 for a student membership to $30 for a family at the Govett-Brewster, from $20 for a student membership up to $4,000 for a platinum one at the Auckland Art Gallery and up to $40 for individual memberships and from $60 for a family at Te Papa. 
But at MONA, the Museum of New and Old Art in Hobart, a new world of Friend memberships is on offer by the dare-you-to owner David Walsh. For $75,000 you can have an Eternity Membership including all the usual MONA membership trimmings plus a guarantee of perpetual rest. Stump up the cash and your ashes will be stored forever at MONA in a handmade urn (Walsh disarmingly calls it a ‘fancy jar’) created by New Zealander Julia deVille. Putting his family where his mouth is Walsh’s father is already up on the shelf. Contact the museum at or call on 1800REMEMBER.
Image: a funerary urn by Julia deVille