Thursday, August 28, 2014


Here's a rule of thumb for assessing a work of art. Does it appeal to cartoonists? Guy Body’s drawing published in the NZ Herald the other day picks out some of the layers of meaning in Michael Parekowhai's Lighthouse for the Auckland waterfront and pulls it right into political commentary. Works that have featured in cartoons make a line-up of populist stars that don't even need the artist's name - Mona Lisa, The scream, Nude descending a staircase, American gothic, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (ok that one probably needs the word 'shark' and Damien Hirst's name attached). Cartoonists are often the first to grab on to powerful images that they can connect with current ideas. 

So here's a prediction. For all the fuss about, Parekowhai’s lighthouse it will become the background of countless selfies, a feature on all Auckland city tourist material and (like Neil Dawson’s Ferns in Wellington) quickly assimilated into the city landscape as a much loved icon of Auckland.