Monday, August 31, 2015

Some grist for the rumour mill

After the selection of Simon Denny for the last Venice Biennale we tried to get a list of the curator/artist teams that had put in proposals to be considered. Two years later the Ombudsman finally told us that as Creative NZ had confidentiality agreements with all concerned, this information could not be released. So there you go. If you want to keep your selection processes secret all you need to do is put a gag on the participants. For now, it’s back to rumours, guesses and stabs in the dark. We’ll come up with a list of who we think has applied (you’re welcome to put in your 10 cents worth) shortly after 16 September when proposals have to be with Creative NZ. By that time Creative NZ will have announced who's on the selection panel. In the meantime, after scanning the proposal form, what will they be looking for?

A new work made specifically for Venice. As in the past, the work shown at Venice will have been made for Venice. “The artist(s) will be responsible for the preparation of new work within the nominated timeframe.” That is “suitable for the Venice Biennale context.” Nothing new there, apart from the work.

Agreement to the et al. clause. Creative NZ never recovered from et al’s refusal to talk to the media in 2005 and since then specifically requires the artist to “participate in publicity and promotion activities, which includes media interviews, media launches”.

Funding opportunities. The last Biennale made it clear that Creative NZ expects significant funding via the artist’s dealers. The last Venice outing saw Denny’s dealers make significant contributions to the production of the work, the publication, administrative support and entertainment in Venice. It's also hard to imagine a successful proposal that did not bring with it (probably via the curator) major institutional backing. The usual suspects include Auckland Art Gallery, City Gallery Wellington, Christchurch Art Gallery, Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Te Papa. Untapped so far but definitely a possibility is the tertiary sector via one the art school universities

Looking at the pool of likely contestants it's interesting to ponder on how these requirements will impact on the panel’s final decision when they are applied to specific artists.

Image: Rumour mill, operating model

Friday, August 28, 2015

A toss up

This is going out on a limb somewhat, but you have to admit this vomiting machine looks a hell of a lot like art. That is all. Thank you for your time and attention.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Getting the hang of things

We’ve put up a lot of studio shots on OTNSTUDIO but we also have many more of artists installing exhibitions. It’s always interesting to look at the dynamics of placing work into a gallery space. As Richard Serra once put it, “different people have different problems and different relations to the exhibition of their work.” So here to kick off an occasional series are some shots taken over the last few days of Campbell Patterson setting up his exhibition at Michael Lett from the new 'outside the studio' section of OTNSTUDIO.
Images: a taste. Campbell Paterson and Andrew Thomas installing Patterson's exhibition at Michael Letts

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The year that was

CE Rick Ellis has been in the Te Papa job for 200 working days now and he’s had a bit of luck. Maybe. Te Papa, possibly as part of its agreement with the Wellington City Council, its biggest cash sponsor, has released the latest annual attendance figures that would normally wait for the Te Papa Annual Report. And they look good. Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family,  Air New Zealand – 75 Years and the early months of Gallipoli – Scale of Our War have contributed nearly half (47 percent) of the last financial year’s total visitation. At 1,556,164 that’s a 17 percent increase on the 2013-14 year. Things haven’t been this good attendance-wise for over five years. The problem for Ellis, of course, is that this surge in numbers is based on programming designed by the previous director. His own accounting comes at the end of June 2016 and even then the numbers will be boosted by the Gallipoli display that has been designed to run until the next world war is declared. If you listen carefully you can almost hear them at the programming meeting calling out for exhibition ideas, "we need cartoons, monsters and don't forget to sort out another corporation willing to stump up for a vanity history project." 

ROY CLARE COMMENTS: Roy Clare Long past time to look beyond 'attendance', as typified by counting feet through a door. Where is proper recognition of the merits of 'participation', which hints at something richer than simply folk rocking up at the door? Ensuring access to collections is a 3D issue - physical, virtual, intellectual. And there ought to be a sense of the generic social outcomes. Presumably, something happens to folk who 'participate' - what? And why don't we care more about those kinds of questions? Anyone can drive feet through a door - try creating a shopping mall for example - a deeper delve is how museums founded on a 19th model can today still make a difference to lives; put simply, for the cost, what's the public value? And what price the collections? Or is it sufficient to be a stage for the collections and creativity of others? There's a whole conference in this. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

After some initial discomfort

Museums are going through another round of the name game. The latest player is the Whitney Museum of American Art now known as plain old Whitney. Along with ‘American’ and ‘Art’ and ‘Museum’ it also dropped that annoying definite article like Tate in London. Trends sweep across art museum naming like everything else. Remember those MoMA-like acronyms beloved in the 1990s: DAG, MAG, SAG and G-BAG (Dowse, Manawatu, Sarjeant and Govett-Brewster)? Driving all this is marketing of course chasing up the laws of differentiation. 

Some museums have it easy, and have something useful to work with, donor's names for instance. The Dowse Art Museum, named after a Mayor’s wife, has been called The Dowse by most of its visitors since it opened in the 1970s. It’s probably now time to take the hint. Te Papa got the message that a single powerful idea would serve them far better than MONZ (the ponderous Museum of New Zealand) in the branding game. Maori names have proved hugely successful for museums in the past 20 years (Pataka, Te Manawa, Te Tuhi, Te Uru). Many smaller institutions must be ripe for one word brands. Sarjeant, Suter, Forrester (it's in Oamaru), Aigantighe. (ok, maybe not that one). Could be time for the location-based stragglers (Auckland Art Gallery, Christchurch Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery) to give their names a rethink.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not fair

As many of you'll know, the Auckland Art Fair has been taken over by the event management company North Port Events. The person who up to now has been the face of the Fair, Jennifer Buckley, is no longer involved which is obviously a loss. 

But strangely Buckley has made a very odd appearance in the publicity material for next year's Fair. At the top of promotional material including a email newsletter is a photo of Buckley in one of the last fair’s less primo moments. A visitor has broken a porcelain sculpture by Australian artist Penny Byrne and you can see Buckley holding the broken work moments after the accident occurred. An unusual way to front a publicity drive and demonstrates a problem with taking over such specialist events, that is, the lack of intimate knowledge needed to…well…not make this sort of mistake. You can guarantee this is not the photo Jennifer Buckley would have selected from the bunch. 

The new owners have also announced the five-member panel to select dealer galleries for inclusion. They are all well known. Hamish Keith (Auckland commentator), Michael Lett (gallerist), Dayle Mace (patron), Justin Paton (Head of International Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales) and Simon Rees (director of the Govett-Brewster). You can see here what you get for your money if you're thinking about a stand (they cost between $8,000 and $12,000).

Image: left, the image heading the Art Fair newsletter and prospectus and right, Jennifer Buckley with the Penny Byrne sculpture. (Thanks A and thanks to you too G)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Branded: Peter Robinson

The moment when artists become brands

Friday, August 21, 2015

By the numbers: links edition

0   the amount of significant change (pdf.) in attendance by 10-14 year olds at visual arts events or locations since 2011

0  the number of flag designs presented in the flag panels current top 40 that are worth pursuing

3   the number of comments generated by John Hurrell’s review of the new Len Lye Centre on eyecontact that included his opinion that “there is a strong sense that the Lye Centre has hijacked the Govett-Brewster, that the Govett is only a mere annex to the Lye project.”

4  the number of lectures on Len Lye you can find on Circuit

5  the number of people (ok men) on the 185 strong 2015 NBR Rich List who chose to be photographed with art in the background

5   the number of prints of the 21 published for Artspace’s twenty-first birthday that have sold out

11    the number of visual art works Te Papa currently has integrated into its non-art exhibitions.

27    the number of artist talks available as Auckland Art Gallery podcasts

704  the number of days that have passed since the Government announced Te Papa North

799  the number of art works registered as ‘by New Zealander’ in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Thursday, August 20, 2015

When public sculpture fights back

The State has always known how to use bronze sculpture to forward its case and build the brands of its leaders so it's little wonder that's it's bronze that's pulled down to street level when the music stops. Using bronze public sculptures to critique the State, now that’s a little different and is what’s happened recently in both New York and Berlin. The US version involved a series of sculpture raids as a fibre based rendition of Edward Snowden was raised on various public sites before being whisked away at the sound of sirens. More recently a bronze bust of Snowden was glued to a spare plinth in Brooklyn Park. The local authorities were soon onto it and by midday it was in a police van. Meanwhile in Berlin's Alexanderplatz, statues of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden standing on chairs were installed. Anything to Say? by Davide Dormino left a fourth chair empty for anyone who wants to get up and speak their mind.
Images: left to right, top to bottom, temporary Snowden in New York, Snowden bust in Brooklyn, Snowden leaving Brooklyn, commentary and Berlin's threesome

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sweet 16

How much would it cost to have the Christchurch Art Gallery move half a meter to the left or to the right and back again without damaging itself or the art inside? The answer is about $20 million and involves something that sounds like Foucault on speed: the installation of 138 pendulums under the ground to counteract the movement and hopefully muffle it. All that has taken time but the Gallery announced it would finally open before Christmas with work already being put into the galleries. A few days ago (in what must feel like the tenth or so re-run of a bad joke for Director Jenny Harper and her staff) the opening looks like it has been delayed again. Everything is on track for the main project apparently but tasks that have been left over from normal maintenance are still to be completed. So now it looks as though the opening will happen sometime within ‘the first three months of next year.’ 

In the meantime Harper has been dropping hints. ‘We’re looking to present an important Martin Creed at our Foundation dinner in September!’ You’ll remember Auckland Art Gallery had a brief flutter with Creed trying for one of his large revolving MOTHER works in the foyer. Based on its experience over the past few years ChCh might find SONOFABITCH more appropriate. Although there's no news on the specific ChCh work yet maybe CAG will go with the idea of their previous curator Justin Paton who suggested a couple of years ago on the gallery blog ‘Everything is going to be alright’.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The curator’s egg

Laurie Anderson famously sang, 'it’s not the bullet that kills you, it’s the hole'. The panel which will soon select the artist to represent NZ at the Venice Biennale in 2017 faces a similar problem in the form of a shortage of experienced curators. To front up as a Biennale curator Creative NZ requires you to have 'significant exhibition experience in New Zealand and some experience internationally'. That cuts out quite a few contenders for a start. On top of that it’s reported that Robert Leonard, who has done two Biennales (Stevenson and Denny) is not available and neither is Justin Paton (Culbert). In an odd way this shortage of eligible curators could do as much to decide the eventual choice of artist as the composition of the selection panel. Oh, and here’s the NZ at Venice Biennale curators so far by the numbers.

78  percent male
67  percent NZ citizens
56  percent employed at the time by an NZ art museum

Monday, August 17, 2015

The way things Lye in New Plymouth

First, the good stuff. The entrance hall and sweeping lead-up to the galleries in the new Len Lye Centre are impressive. The sloping floor was a surprise but the height, the modulated walls reflecting the exterior forms and the tall narrow windows that reveal themselves as you ascend give the sense that you have entered a large and important building. But you quickly realise this splendid entrance over-promises given the limited additional spaces and how much of the building's space is taken up with transiting from one area to another. An ongoing problem with the Govett-Brewster was always the way every space made you feel you were always on the way to somewhere else. Strange then to find the Len Lye addition repeating this pattern. You also have to wonder how the long sloped ramp will impact on installation practices. It's like the Guggenheim on speed, and the complexity of that famous ramp as a working environment is very well known.

Then, for all the millions that have been spent, there is really only one classic four-walled gallery in the new building, and while it's somewhat larger, it's a similar square box to the one that used to adjoin the G-B. The other new gallery space used for the suite of Lye's Fountain works merges with the ramp and is only three sided. And while on the Fountain works you do have to wonder why the new large Fountain was even allowed to go on display. It clearly does not work. The rods do move, thanks to an electric motor but, unlike the smaller Fountains on display for comparison, there is no quivering response through the rods the feature that makes the original so lively and iconic. The over-sized scale is also a problem ironically making the new Fountain look rather stunted. It’s a major issue for the long-term members of the Len Lye Foundation as clearly no one associated with these projects feels they are in a position to stand up and make the call for art and aesthetics over engineering and pragmatism. 

And then there is the entrance to the old Govett-Brewster. Given the repeated assurances by the previous director and architect during the planning and build that the G-B would share its entrance with the LLC - 'Left to the Len Lye Centre, right to the Govett-Brewster' - the virtually hidden entrance to the G-B is inexcusable.  There's no reason it couldn't have been bigger apart from it taking attention away from the 'Temple' like entrance to the Lye sector. The G-B has also lost space in its ground floor galleries and functional requirements have further fragmented its overall flow. The staircase to the first level may have been amended into an art work by Billy Apple but it now looks comically truncated and painting the old spaces black has only served to make the old G-B spaces feel pinched and gloomy. 

Then, given the architectural effort put into building the Len Lye Centre, it makes no sense at all that the massive Trilogy can still only be shown in the G-B. Indeed Trilogy was slated to be in place for the opening but OTN understands Len Lye’s ghost, embarrassed by the thought of also dominating the G-B at the opening, made Trilogy go haywire so it had to be replaced with three very impressive works by et al. (Thanks Len). 

OK, it's early days, of course; the G-B will no doubt revert to white again, director Simon Rees will have more realistic installation schedules and the current Lye exhibits will be refreshed, but at the moment in New Plymouth’s visual arts culture, the Govett-Brewster is definitely no longer at the centre.
Image: standing in for Len Lye. et al. on borrowed time at the Govett-Brewster

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Images; top, Dick Frizzell and bottom, Rohan Wealleans

Friday, August 14, 2015

Art of darkness

Walking along the New Plymouth foreshore it’s impossible not to think of Michael Smither and his well-known series of rock paintings. Michael once told us that the paintings started with an appalling toothache that wouldn’t go away. Concentrating on painting the hundreds (maybe even thousands) of rocks helped him cope with the pain. The rock pools also stepped in for his ongoing struggle with the iconography and metaphors of the Roman Catholic church. The blue of the water was Mary’s blue and the invading waves Smither’s own way of representing the doubt that assailed him in those years. Those rock paintings would have found a good home in the Govett-Brewster’s current exhibition Heart of darkness as would, of course, Smither’s merciless paintings of his children.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Greedy artists make it tough for dealers to earn a buck

In the 1980s Wellington had a dealer gallery called 
-->331/3. The name was painted in blue right across the entire front of the bright yellow building. Why would you call a dealer gallery that? It was simply the rate of commission that art dealers took off artists in order to sell their work back then. Later it jumped to 40 percent and more recently 50 percent. What’s an artist to do? Run might be a good idea as a new threat looms on the horizon - German academic Magnus Resch. He's looked at data from 8,000 galleries based in Germany, London and the U.S and he is not impressed. In fact Resch discovered that 30 percent of the galleries weren’t making a profit at all. Change your business model says Magnus in his new book Management of art galleries, and change it fast. Apparently the problem is fourfold:
•  Rents are too high
•  Unique product is increasingly hard to find
•  Gallery staff are paid too little and..oh, oh…
•  Artists make too much money.

The solution, from this German anyway, is to raise the commission to a 70/30 split and we’ve got to tell you that 70 percent is not going to the artists. Impossible you say? You'd think so, but had you suggested to Gallery 331/3 that one day it would have to change its sign to a 50 they'd have laughed in your face.

Image: Adam Parker Smith’s 2013 painting I’m Looking for a Gallery Better Then This One

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

News from the flaming rock

There have always been close links between New Zealand and the Queensland Art Gallery. The current director of the Christchurch Art Gallery, Jenny Harper, was a senior curator there and before her so too was Anne Kirker, once senior curator of NZ's National Art Gallery. And the QAG has sent its people in the other direction. Current Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport, of course, and her predecessor Chris Saines who was exported back again to be the QAG's director.  Saines has now headed up what can only be described as a vision-thing-on-speed at the QAG for three years. During this time he has overseen the mega Michael Parekowhai survey The promised land although for some reason could not get the Auckland Art Gallery he once so tightly controlled to take the exhibition (word is the Auckland Art Gallery is working towards a smaller project exhibition). 

And Saines still has New Zealand in his sights. QAG's Foundation was tasked with finding $A150,000 for Lisa Reihana’s four-channel video In Pursuit of Venus [infected] that is currently on show at the Auckland Art Gallery (and also purchased by that institution). The Foundation did it in two months. There is talk  too of Saines enticing Auckland art patrons to turn their attention and support to Brisbane and become part of what he describes as 'more diversified ways of fundraising'. Saines is also giving shape to his ‘new economic model for the gallery’ as he promised back in 2013 when he took over as director.  'Just as we make considerable revenues from our food and beverage offer and our store, we can also look to touring exhibitions as another way of adding to the gallery’s net receipts.’ A major element of this plan? Touring exhibitions to NZ. Strangely, the first of these proposed cash cows is a Cindy Sherman exhibition that is headed to Wellington rather than Auckland. It will be the second time a large Sherman show has been to the city with the previous outing in 1989 at the National Art Gallery.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What’s in store for what’s in store?

It’s well known that art museums can only show a fraction of what they have in their collections. In the nineties there was a rush of institutions eager to show more. Most of them chose to do it with what's still called an academy hang after the densely packed exhibition style of the Academies from the late eighteenth century. Here the volume of work on display trumped anything to do with quality, coherence or even format. When Te Papa was in its planning stage (and for some years after that) there was the promise that the stored collections would be made accessible to the public. The details were never revealed about how this would happen exactly but the general idea of access always meets with polite approval so it made political sense. Public access though seems to have been corralled into the digital realm and as in the past the vast majority of the national collections can only be accessed via images in the collection database. Apart from backroom tours at the odd open day, that's it. There are other possibilities though. The Schaulager in Basel is founded on the idea of an open warehouse and now in Los Angeles the soon to be opened Broad Museum is making the storage areas and what goes on there viewable to the public. This 'peek behind the institutional curtain' isn't just selective storage - that's been tried often enough - but an attempt to expand the museum experience beyond curatorial packages. You can read more about the Broad idea here in the LA Times.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Male call

 David Kiehl, the Whitney’s curator for prints, has described them as 'art world royalty' and added their 88 posters to the museum's collection. The Guerrilla Girls have just celebrated their 30 year anniversary, 30 years of getting up the art world’s nose (the male section of it anyway) using statistics and humour to highlight the massive disparity between representation of female and male artists in institutions and dealer galleries. At its height the Guerrilla Girls had around 30 members but numbers have slowly dwindled as members got older and people's priorities shifted. One told the NY Times,  'Some of us wanted a piece of the pie, and some of us wanted to blow the whole pie up.'

To honour the Guerrilla Girls' work a new group called Pussy Galore has checked out the male/female ratios for the current dealer gallery rosters in NY. You can see it here. Pussy Galore uses the GG’s 1986 list as its baseline. We've done a similar count in the past for NZ (2012 and 2015) and now six months later in the spirit of the GGs, let's see how it looks (a bit better you have to say).

You can enlarge the chart by clicking on the image. See individual gallery percentages here.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

In the lunchroom... the Dowse Art Museum, thinking about Kate Newby

Friday, August 07, 2015

Now See Here!

In the City Gallery’s current exhibition Demented Architecture there's a felt tip pen rough of an advertising campaign Saatchi & Saatchi developed for the Brodsky and Utkin exhibition. Nice to see it has survived as stuff like this is very rare as we discovered when we were researching exhibition files a while back. When art museums get advertising agencies to create their campaigns, anything can happen. 

We posted some years ago about a hilarious campaign offered to the National Art Gallery using Edvard Munch’s poignant image of a child at her mother’s deathbed. The empathetic catchline? 'Lighten up Edvard'. While that didn’t fly the City Gallery did once trick up a fake McCahon as an opening billboard. And then there was Te Papa’s needy ‘Get in the picture’ campaign and the Auckland Art Gallery's Monet TV ad. All the 1980s paraphernalia of choppers and security vans, ostensibly bringing the super valuable paintings to the gallery, certainly has a different tone today. 

The latest in these agency brainwaves is the Govett-Brewster’s current launch campaign. It reaches back for inspiration to a decade or so to, say late 80s/90s when ad agencies were full of confidence and bluster. Social media was still to been invented and believe it or not hectoring your audience was considered cool. In 2015 this tone jars. The G-B campaign barks 'Art punches and screams and kicks'. And as the poster next to it taunts, 'If you don’t feel something, maybe you should.' On the other hand why not step out of the way and let it kick somebody else.

Images: top Brodsky and Utkin ad layout and bottom Govett-Brewster campaign

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The video circuit

One of the best art museums in town is on line. Circuit has been going for a while now and has built up an impressive array of video works that are there whenever you want them. You can see the full artist list here and there are some treats in among them. Start with one of our favourite pieces of NZ art the heart breaking Popular Productions’ video The story of from 1973 and keep going. Some of the other artists represented are Steve Carr with 28 videos including Burn out, Julian Dashper with a terrific range of work available, we watched Untitled (after Thomas Hart Benton) made in 2006 last night, and Marie Shannon’s typographic work from 2011 What I’m looking at is there too. Alex Monteith has one of the channels from her Red Session, Stent Rd, Taranaki, Aotearoa NZ, 29 Jan 2009 and lots of other stuff.  And yes, there’s more. For instance, we should have mentioned Joanna Paul’s Napkins and another favourite Campbell Patterson who has many works up including his 2009 video Chip Mountain. It's hilarious especially when you are in the middle of a high-end international Film Festival. Get on the Circuit, that's our advice.

Image: from Popular Productions' video The story of

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Drumming up visitor numbers

If you were there it's hard to believe that the first outing of the two-man band The Woollastons was over 22 years ago. Robert Leonard gives a good account. “It started as a prank. The National Art Gallery, Wellington, invited Dashper and John Reynolds to give a lecture on the work of senior New Zealand painter, Toss Woollaston, on the last day of his 1991–2 show, Toss Woollaston: A Retrospective.” You can read the rest here in Re-reading Julian Dashper’s The Big Bang Theory on Leonard's website. The site now includes a substantial selection of his writing back to 1989 with the exhibition Nobodies. Looping back to The Woollastons, we were there and photographed the event with these pics now up on OTNSTUDIO. Along with Dashper/Reynolds as The Woollastons we have also added photos taken in et al’s studio back in 2004, Shane Cotton’s in 2007 and Peter Robinson's the same year.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Art in the movies

Ex Machina breaks movie conventions by using a replica Pollock instead of the familiar Rothko-like products we've been seeing as modern art stand-ins recently. The Pollock plays a central role in the film helping the lead character launch into a strange and, given Pollock's highly developed technique, meaningless monologue on what Pollock would have done had he known where his dripped paint would land. The theory being, nothing. The Ex Machina painting looks as though it’s based on Pollock's Number 5. That painting was first purchased from the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1948 by the artist Alfonso Ossorio and famously painted again, over the original, when Ossorio told Pollock it had been damaged in transit. Later, Number 5 went to publisher Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr and then to Dreamworks' David Geffen who in turn sold it on to an anonymous buyer in 2006 reputedly for around $NZ200 million. Number 5 was one of Pollock’s rare portrait format drip paintings but that didn’t worry Ex Machina's art director who tipped it over into landscape so it would fit on the wall.

Images: Top, the replica of Pollock’s Number 5 landscaped in Ex Machina and bottom, Number 5 hanging in Alfonso Ossorio’s home (left of picture)

Monday, August 03, 2015

Your tax dollar at work

Some big grants from Creative NZ were announced late last week. These are the ones that support artists and organisations for one to three years so they give a good idea of CNZ's priorities. The total grants weigh in at just over $6 million so how did the Visual Arts feature? Not at all really with just $186,000 (Scape and the McCahon House) allocated. That's 3 percent of the total. SCAPE rather hilariously received $99,999.00 so some philanthropist out there might like to send them a buck to top it up. 

Who got all the money? It’s always been an insider joke that CNZ is run by dancers and this time Dance was certainly the winner on the night. This category fetched just under $3 million or near enough to half as it's known in the funding trade. One other thing, of the 22 grants awarded, 12 went to Trusts. You can make of that what you will.

Image: gratuitous dance funding joke

Saturday, August 01, 2015


Looking at the wall paper in Jasmina Cibic's installation and film A Double Game in the City Gallery's exhibition Demented architecture and thinking about Richard Killeen