Friday, March 04, 2016


Writer, curator and film maker Chris Kraus has had a long association with New Zealand kept up by her visits, talks and interviews. Her feature film Gravity and grace was largely made in NZ in 1995 and featured Ani ONeill (as Grace) along with Kirsty Cameron, Cushla Dillon, Denise Kum and Judy Darragh as art department stalwarts. More recently, she wrote the essay Here begins the dark sea for Simon Denny's Secret Power Venice catalogue. Kraus's reputation hinges on her 1997 novel I love Dick (largely on the strength of it Kraus is claimed to be the art world's favourite fiction writer) and it's about to get the full TV treatment (well a pilot at any rate).  Jill Soloway, creator of the TV series Transparent, is in charge so it's looking promising. While I love Dick is infused with NZ, we found an item in our files that directly connects with Kraus's personal history via James K Baxter and Colin McCahon. The cover of the 1973 James K Baxter Festival programme, now a sought after collectable, was designed by McCahon who also designed the sets for the four Baxter plays. The Kraus connection? At the time she was living in Wellington and was in the cast of Baxter's The temptations of Oedipus as Ismene, daughter and half-sister of Oedipus.

Image: Dougall Rolland and Chris Kraus in rehearsal for James K Baxter’s The temptations of Oedipus