Tuesday, February 02, 2016


At OTN we’ve always been great fans of reading the entrails. Back a ways a haruspex used to interpret the divine will by inspecting the entrails of a sacrificial animal. So here for you all to interpret are some Te Papa's entrails as revealed in the media recently. 

•   Te Papa will take no international touring art exhibitions in 2016. This will be the first year without such an exhibition since the museum opened.

•   There will be no temporary exhibitions for the next five years unless they are from the permanent collection.

•   Te Papa is to collaborate with Weta Workshop to create experience based touring exhibitions to hire out to the global ‘museum’ market. Chief executive Rick Ellis has said that these touring plans will ‘help shape the museum for another stellar year in 2016’.

•   Rick Ellis also believes that the 1.56 million visitors this year were ‘driven to the museum by the "destination exhibitions" Tyrannosaurs, Air New Zealand and Gallipoli’

•   Te Papa has made it clear that it recognises ‘the importance of the Chinese market.’

•   To build links with Australia, Ellis had assigned ‘senior leaders to each state’ (‘Art, I’m giving you Western Australia…the bottom bit’).

What can it all mean for art at Te Papa? Prize for the best answer.

LATER: Meanwhile back in the rest of the world. 'Whatever the motivation, modern and, especially, contemporary art has become so big a draw that few museums can afford to do without it.' – Calvin Tomkins in the New Yorker

Image: bronze instructional liver from Etruria (You can find instructions on how to interpret your own entrails (sic) here)