Monday, June 15, 2015

Smoke and mirrors

The mainstream media has never had such a positive relationship with art, and contemporary art in particular, but last week the Waikato Times made a grab for the golden ring. 'Another slow news day, let's ramp up that Parekowhai thing again. 

And so the headline ‘Calls for city council to rethink Parekowhai sculpture’. But it turns out it was not 'calls' so much as a couple of private conversations, an ex Mayor chatting to some old mates on council. Even she admitted that she'd only 'raised these concerns behind the scenes …' and, backing down somewhat, was 'simply passing on comments that had been made…' Turns out that she’s not even opposed to the sculpture personally ('I think it's quite jolly'), just to where it's to be sited ('It’s such a huge big thing').

Then the Waikato Times promises 'A stoush is brewing among the city arty types' but again they're just blowing smoke. A stoush, for all of you who love dictionary definitions, is a fight or a brawl. So you have to ask, as the Parekowhai sculpture has passed through all the Council processes, who is the Waikato Times suggesting is going to line up on the other side of their ‘stoush’?  Of course the ex Mayor also has some skin in the where-do-you-put-public-sculptures game. She's a member of a group that has just commissioned its own public sculpture a large (one-and-half times life size and sit on a two-metre high base) realist bronze statue of a war artist.  And what-do-you-know, it’s real close to where the larger, brighter, more commanding Parekowhai will be located.

So please, could you all move away, there’s nothing to see here, just 300 words trying to rekindle a fight probably in the faint hope it might give the Waikato Times a real story to report.