Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Post hole

For the next five or six weeks we will be out of the country so those of you who clock in at 8 am can get some rest or go for a run. The chances that we’ll post every day are not high but we will try to put something up as often as we can - there must be something outside New Zealand that's of interest.

The yellow book

Weighing in at, er… quite a bit, the Michael Lett Publishing book on Michael Parekowhai is impressive. We had a quick peek at an advance copy and managed to flick through its 600 full colour pages. With no text and no captions, the big yellow book is apparently to be packaged with a second volume that will include an essay by Justin Paton and full captioning. Still, if we believe in the picture tells a thousand words theory, this yellow doorstop is worth at least 300,000 of them. Curious that Creative New Zealand’s experts decided not to support this book when an application for funds was made – we’d have thought it set an inventive new standard for visual art publications.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

His place

Image: sign from the recently opened Creation Museum in Kentucky

Monday, May 28, 2007

The shock of the new

Tonight Hamish McKay is opening his new gallery space on the first floor of 39 Ghuznee Street in Wellington. The gallery is just round the corner from Peter McLeavey and Enjoy, Mary Newton and Bowen Galleries and are on the same block. The opening exhibition is a two person show by Australians Rose Nolan and Anne-Marie May. McKay’s first exhibition in his Willis Street space was in March 1993. It was a group show with l budd, Derrick Cherrie, Shane Cotton, Barnard McIntyre, Anton Parsons, Peter Peryer, Patrick Pound, Richard Reddaway and Ronnie van Hout. Times change, four of the nine artists will be represented in the new gallery.
Image: Rose Nolan preparing her work Halfhearted for the opening exhibition


First we introduced you to the visual arts panel. They are the people who recommend visual arts grants. Now it's time for you to meet the people they recommend the visual arts grants to: the members of Creative New Zealand’s Arts Board. They're the ones who made the final decisions about the visual arts grants that will probably be announced this week. Here are their interests and career paths.

Alastair Carruthers (Chair) is Chief Executive of the law firm Chapman Tripp. He originally trained as a classical musician.

Kate De Goldi is the author of three young adult novels, a collection of short fiction for adults and three children's picture books.

Judith Fyfe is a Wellington lawyer who lecturers in oral history and is a governor of Radio New Zealand.

Graeme Gorton has performed in more than 40 operas and is administrator of the Christchurch City Choir.

Michael Prentice is a strategist for marketing communications company Ogilvy New Zealand. He established and chaired the Black Grace dance group’s Trust.

Terry Snow is an Auckland journalist who reviewed music, theatre and dance. He is a pianist and trained music teacher.

Pele Walker is a mediator with a particular interest in community dance and theatre.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Advice to artists who collect

"I always thought you should never buy anything that costs more than your own works. I thought it was a good rule, but I broke it a few times, so I changed it. I brought a Bacon* and it became: never buy anything that costs more than your own work unless it is by a dead artist."
Damien Hirst
* Francis Bacon's A study for a figure at the base of a crucifixion 1943-44

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Telling stories

On Monday in Pettersburg, Kentucky the $27 million Creation Museum opens to the public. Owned and operated by the religious group Answers in Genesis, the 60,000 square foot museum has been designed "to bring the pages of the Bible to life". To do this it promises “A fully engaging, sensory experience for guests. Murals and realistic scenery, computer-generated visual effects, and a special-effects theatre complete with misty sea breezes and rumbling seats.” The Museum has already attracted a lot of media coverage focused on dinosaurs being created on the Sixth Day along with Adam and Eve etc, but probably of more interest is how perfectly contemporary museum methods take on the task of telling this version of the story of stories. From our experience, when museums set out to tell stories – whether of science, art, the Bible or of nations – not all the tech bells and whistles in the world are going to make them come true.

In a familiar refrain, Ken Ham, president of the Answers in Genesis ministry, (who incidentally developed his ideas in Australia before moving to the U.S. in 1987) reminded everyone: “Critics need to tour the museum before making judgments.” Sure. But by then, of course, it is too late.
Image: A museum preparator creating a display showing a dinosaur attempting to eat a giant golf ball after stepping off the Ark.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Advice to collectors 6

“The best art is the most expensive, because the market
is so smart.”
Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's Worldwide Head of contemporary art

Pretty as a picture

Sometime last year we had a visit from Orlando Clairmont who is making a film on his father Phil. The project was put to one side while Orlando and his partner went overseas, but now an email tells us he is back and ready to start again. This news sent us scurrying to our files, as we had promised to look up any photos or other information we had. There we found this image of one of Phil’s painting taken in his studio. It is of his daughter Melissa who now lives in Melbourne. We have a special affection for it as we knew Melissa as a child and had borrowed it for a few months back in the late 1970s. Unfortunately Alan Maddox slashed the painting in half. We don’t know what became of it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

T riff

To help celebrate CNZ’s inaugural Trip of a Lifetime Tour overthenet is offering this classy TLTT T. All orders should be sent to Sold at cost with a price still to be finalised, one size will fit all. These classy overthenet shirts are produced in an incredibly soft, smooth, high-quality fabric made exclusively with 100% combed cotton crafted from 30-singles yarn woven on 28-gauge knitting machines and using biodegradable inks in an academic sweatshop-free, ecologically committed workplace by p mule. The Ts are available in the complete Trip of a Lifetime colour range which comes in Marshfield, Conland, Langsford, Reihana and Hipkins. Click on image for the full splender of the unique p mule design.

Just the ear would have be fine

Inflatable art, you can’t get past it or, in this case, over it. Paul McCarthy may well have an exhibition of his inflatables later this year in Antwerp, but for general weirdness we reckon this Vincent van Gogh balloon takes a lot of beating. It appears to be based on the painting Self-portrait with felt hat that is in the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh in Amsterdam. The balloon was made in 2003 for the 150th anniversary of Van Gogh's birth and these photos were taken a year later in Canberra.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Art Fair kicker

For anyone who has always wanted to see a short movie of art dealer Hamish McKay kick a pot of yellow paint over a drum kit, but never had the chance ...

The shape of things to come

Who would have thought that the battle of the auction houses would bring us such variety in catalogues? To us it began with Webb’s standalone photographic auction last year followed by the Jim Fraser collection sale and then Art + Object’s first auction catalogue with the stunning Peter Robinson glass work on the cover. Now in the mail a large format catalogue from Art +Object and a compact new photography offering from Webb’s. We remember years ago talking to Peter Webb and complaining that some of their catalogues were slightly larger or smaller than others (it created problems if you wanted to bind them together). Times change. Now we all expect auction catalogues to surprise and delight us as much as the events themselves.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fair go

Was there another artist with more representation at the Auckland Art Fair than Julian Dashper? If there was, we didn’t pick it up. His drum kit at Hamish McKay’s came at the cost of a jacket as McKay, on instruction from the artist, kicked a can of paint to make a bright yellow spill over the skin, cymbals and stands. Julian also showed new prints with Sue Crockford and a hardboard multiple and a drum skin with Vasili Kaliman.
Images: Dashper times three in his Gus McKay suit

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Going to Helvetica in a hand-basket

Speculate no more. These images in from the folk at Clouds who are designing the Butler edited book for Venice. Quite rightly we were taken to task for our clumsy rendition of their cover and in particular our use of Helvetica (50 years old this year). What is it with Helvetica? Half the designers we know (young ones) use it all the time, the other half hate it.
Images: Top the real front and back cover and two of the artist spreads, middle Peter Robinson, bottom Sriwhana Spong. Click on the image for the full glory.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

City of sales

The Auckland Art Fair is a great success. Very well organised, a wide range of exhibitors, good attendances, decent coffee, late nights and, from what we could see, good sales. The major talking point? As more galleries were likely to want to participate in next time, would it mean the terrific current venue being expanded or the Fair having to move? Luxury problem for the organisers.
Images: Clockwise from top left: Peter McLeavey Gallery showing William Dunning; Michael Lett at the back showing an installation by Eve Armstrong with Roger Williams Contemporary showing Jeena Shin and Fiona Lowry in the foreground; Hamish McKay Gallery showing Julian Dashper, Don Driver, Rose Nolan, Milan MrKusich and Billy Apple; Ivan Anthony showing Andrew McLeod, Rohan Wealleans and Francis Upritchard

Friday, May 18, 2007

Can do better

As anyone under 60 knows, there are quite a few art galleries in the virtual world Second Life. One of them has photographs from the series Running the numbers by Seattle based photographer Chris Jordan. As the art world stamps its massive carbon footprint on the world flying from art fair to art fair, readers may find this image discomforting for all sorts of reasons. It is made up of 106,000 aluminium cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds. Jordan’s original photographic print is 1.53 x 2.34 metres (60 x 92”).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Advice to collectors 5

Sell Rothko.


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at there’s a push to elect hamish mckay as the first chairman of the recently formed new zealand art gallery directors association. the k├╝nstlerhaus bethanien, host to cnz’s berlin visual artists' residency, is under siege by artists as an attempt to restrict tenants to ‘serious’ art institutions is coming up against such determined opposition that its ability to continue in its current role is no longer certain. a copy of speculation, the best new zealand artists book for venice has been spotted at artspace. the auckland art fair has alerted participants to wear black tonight so as not to look fat on television. art asia pacific magazine is confused, reporting that "new zealand has opted out of mounting a pavilion at venice this year, and plans instead to send a small delegation of five to distribute a new publication on art from the pacific." any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and the one that makes us laugh out loud the longest - rewarded.

Guess work

Where are the artists when we need them on television? Why is Paul Holmes hoofing it around the floor when it could have been some cool conceptualist? It wasn’t always so. Was a time when big name artists could pop into a TV game show and get the sort of recognition they deserved. For a primo example check out this astonishing serving on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In the hood

The University of Auckland’s National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (NICAI), which includes the Elam School of Fine Arts, invited Stephen Farthing RA to be Hood Fellow for 2007.

Mr Farthing was born in 1950 and was elected RA in 1998 while he was Ruskin Master of Drawing at Oxford. After an extensive teaching career in the UK, Mr Farthing moved to New York in 2000 to become Executive Director of the New York Academy of Art where “The study of the human body and its conceptual and metaphorical aspects are central to the Academy's intensive curriculum.” His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, in a unique gesture, conferred his Patronage on the New York Academy of Art. Mr Farthing now holds the Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Drawing at the University of the Arts London.

Among Mr Farthing’s commissions are: 2004 Cleveland Browns NFL Town Mural for the stadium in Cleveland, Ohio; 1999 Portrait of the historians Eric Hobsbawm, Rodney Hilton, Sir Keith Thomas, Sir John Elliot, Lawrence Stone and Jean Thirsk; 1998 Topographical painting of Dorset for the Dorchester Hospital Trust; 1997 Printed digital scan of oil painting for the fa├žade of the British Embassy in Paris; Carpet design commissioned by the Grosvenor Estate; 1993 Painting of the buildings of the Oxford University Press.

Mr Farthing’s lecture delivered last week on 8 May was titled The bigger picture of drawing. It is the same title as his inaugural lecture in 2005 at the University of the Arts in London. Mr Farthing is keen "to explore why drawing has been dropped as one of the basic elements of communication – and how to get it back into the fundamental curriculum."

The Hood Fellows are awarded to “distinguished academics with outstanding international reputations who are leading their fields in their research work.”
Image: Stephen Farthing's London studio

Eddies and whirlpools and sandstorms oh my!

Over at stimulusresponse is a response to Turbulence, the 3rd Annual Auckland Triennial.


They say what goes around comes around and never was it so true than with Op Art as this month’s Artforum demonstrates. Bridget Riley, top of the ops in the sixties, has already been showcased at the DIA Foundation in New York and now others are being pulled in by some revisionist curating. This site sent to us by one of our readers even sweeps New Zealander Ray Thorburn into its focus on Perceptual Art (site declares it “hates the term Op Art”). Ray Thorburn is the subject of a survey exhibition at Te Manawa in Palmerston North until 15 July. The exhibition was curated by Alice Hutchison who you may recall from our Brett-Graham-in-Venice postings.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cold comfort

This small image of the cover of the book slated for Venice has arrived at overthenet. The accompanying email explains that the image is a rough approximation of the cover – sounds like an identikit picture. If anyone has an original we’d be happy to share it with you all. The book’s title Speculation (def. Taking large risks, especially with respect to trying to predict the future) may refer to the absence from the book of most of the artists previously representing New Zealand at Venice. We're understand Peter Robinson's (2001) there, but et al. (2005), Jacqueline Fraser (2001) and Mike Stevenson (2003) are not.

Good deal

Noticed among the guests. Where: After match function dinner at Chow hosted by the Wellington City Art Gallery. When: Saturday 13 May. Why: Opening of new exhibitions. Who: Sue Crockford (art dealer), Darren Knight (art dealer), Michael Lett (art dealer), Brett McDowell (art dealer), Hamish McKay (art dealer), Hillary McLeavey (art dealer), Peter McLeavey (art dealer), Paul McNamara (art dealer), Ryan Moore (art dealer), Amanda Rowell (art dealer), Isha Welsh (art dealer). The Wellington City Art Gallery is funded by the Wellington City Council through the Arts Museum Trust. It has no art collection.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Not a crock

This image from Hany Armanious’ floor talk at the City Gallery. It's great to see a gallery space that is often quite awkward become so dramatic and rich when an artist is in charge. The possibility of making a mess and tramping through clay seasoned with truffle oil has got to be a huge drawcard as well. Day One certainly attracted lots of attentive viewers - including this young Croc lover.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Art is where you find it 6

The Bronze Warrior, Auckland Civic Centre

Friday, May 11, 2007

CNZ Trip of a lifetime panel slashed

News in that John McCormack is bailing on the CNZ Trip of a Lifetime Tour to Venice, Basel, Muenster and Kassel. McCormack had already told CNZ he would travel on his own dime but is now also withdrawing from the reporting functions and will no longer travel with the delegation. That leaves Natasha Conland, Gavin Hipkins, Gary Langsford, Lisa Reihana and Undine Marshfield left to report on what the Venice Biennale, Documenta, Sculpture projects at Muenster and Art Basel, the Basel Art Fair, could possibly have to offer New Zealand.

Carry me back

We were going to do a post on artist painted coffins but got waylaid by this project of Olaf Breuning. It was done in association with Grizedale Arts in the UK which funded Breuning to have the coffins made in Ghana. He ordered three: a snowman, a chocolate bar and an ice-cream. To look at other coffins made in Ghana try here. And for an interaction challenge check out his website. He’s serious. The links are not clickable. You really have to type. Breuning visited New Zealand in 2001 and made Group with students from Elam. It was shown at Artspace.
Images: Olaf Breuning in Ghana (click to enlarge)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Art is where you find it 5

This time it’s metaphors made by men in Wellington prompted by a recent addition by Leon van den Eijkel. Pictured above the Wellington Sculpture Trust toys with wind and signifiers in the pointy sculpture Capital.

Images: Leon van den Eijkel Urban forest (height yet to be announced – detail), Brett Graham Kaiwhakatere (6.3 meters - detail), Phil Price Zephyrometer (33 meters), Andrew Drummond Tower of light (9 meters), Chris Booth Peacemaker (2.8 meters) and Bill Culbert SkyBlues (11 meters and appropriately funded by the Tower Group).

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Look alike XII

Secrettechnology, the computer game where Colin McCahon’s Necessary protection meets et al.’s O studies.


Let’s push the multiple theme up a notch inspired by Paula Morris’s novel Hibiscus Coast. This story of a young woman of Maori and Chinese descent blessed with incredible painting skills reveals a scheme to copy two Goldie portraits in the Auckland Museum. This drama creates a natural link to these fantastic images of Chinese copy painters by photographer Michael Wolf. Don’t miss this site. The images above are our favourites but there are many more just as good. In a world that offers fake Ed Ruscha, Gerhard Richter and On Kawara works for sale, nothing is safe. Forget Karl Feodor Sim and his clumsy Goldies. It’s time to keep an eye out for wonky Bamburys and one too many Billy Apples.
Images: Michael Wolf

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jumping the shark

Since our last story on Damien Hirst’s shark there have been developments you should know about. ARTnews reports that a new shark has been purchased from Australia’s “Shark Man”, Vic Hislop, provisioner of shark one. Hislop, when told one of his small tiger sharks had been sold as part of a Hirst work The Wrath of God to the Samsung Museum in Korea, said, "It blows my mind. It's out of my league. I just catch sharks." The shark put aside to replace the rotting one in Hirst’s The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living, has been subjected to a much more rigorous pickling process than the first. A couple of years ago we met one of the preparators of the first shark who was in New Zealand to install the Henry Moore show at Te Papa. He had riotous tales about how the shark originally floated belly up until they filled its stomach with lead weights. Pushing lead bars into a shark’s mouth, he recalled, was one of the most unusual art events of his life. ARTnews tells us that the replacement shark was placed in its refurbished tank in September 2006. Overseeing the operation was Oliver Crimmen, a scientist and Marine curator at London’s Natural History Museum. This is the same Dr Crimmen who helped the Aussie togs company Speedo develop its Fastskin FS II swimsuits that mimic sharkskin.
Image: Vic Hislop, the Shark Man

Monday, May 07, 2007

Art is where you find it 4

As so many of our readers were bullish over our publishing the rendering of an Escher in Lego, we assume you’ll appreciate this heads up on recent developments in Escher tattooing styles.

Cottage industry

Last week the Rita Angus Cottage in Thorndon, Wellington was base camp for a documentary on painter Rita Angus being directed by Gaylene Preston. The crew included Alun Bollinger who was also cinematographer for Gaylene’s Perfect stranger , War stories, and Bread and roses and camera operator on her first feature Mr Wrong. Put up any list of films shot in New Zealand since the late 1970s and Bollinger’s name will probably appear somewhere on the credits including: Goodbye pork pie, Heavenly creatures, The end of the golden weather ,Vigil, and camerawork for The piano.
Images: Left: Alun Bollinger adjusting lighting. Right: Bollinger’s camera in the room that was once Rita Angus’s studio.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Imagine our surprise when Googling our recent Venetian obsessions Brett Graham and the Trip of a Life Time Tour when we were directed to Brett Graham of Paris, Texas. And what has Brett been up to? “I have enjoyed fishing from Florida to Texas and down both coasts of Mexico, and have recently been enjoying the awesome fishing of Venice, L.A. of late. Venice offers a spectacular fishery, both inshore and offshore.”


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at julian dashper has another show at new york’s esso gallery this month; te papa’s seddon bennington is on the short list for the bishop museum directorship in hawaii; at the auckland art gallery the art in a suitcase project has been abandoned; on the other hand, in wellington, a couple of art guys are starting art in a truck to take art to the people; both the aniwaniwa project and brian’s book managed to knock kevin roberts up for venice funding, but still need more; oh, and ivan anthony has a new sign. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and the one with the most vowels - rewarded.

Friday, May 04, 2007

By the numbers

Forbes Traveller has just come out with its first 50 Most Visited Tourist Attractions in order of audience numbers. Times Square, with 35 million, leads the list and then, after wading through the Magic Kingdoms, Waterworlds and Universal Studios, the first art museum comes in at number 15 and is, as you might expect, the Louvre. More Magic Kingdoms and then at number 25 attracting 5.1 million, the Centre Pompidou. Numbers 26, 29 and 30 are all art institutions: The Tate, the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan in New York. You’ll be pleased to know they are ahead of the Grand Canyon, Versailles and the Pyramids.
Image: Checking out art at the Metropolitan Museum

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Object lesson

The Art+Object auction pulled new buyers out and got good prices. Michael Parekowhai’s guitar Tua Iwa sold for $35,000, one of his sparrow photographs Portrait of Ed Brown at $15,000 and a light box from the Bosom of Abraham series for nearly $2000 above the top estimate at $6300. A small Ronnie van Hout model work of Colin McCahon sold at its top estimate of $9000 and a stitch picture Guitarist looking for.. at $45000*. Top of estimate prices were recorded for Judy Millar, Seung Yui Oh, John Reynolds, Heather Straka and Stephen Bambury, Other high prices: an et al. at $4000 almost four times its selling price in 2005 and a Len Castle/Theo Schoon collaboration at $6700. Also getting very respectable prices near top estimates were Rohan Wealleans, Seraphine Pick and Ricky Swallow. Surprise of the night Sam Mitchell’s Hey arsehole at $4000.
*A reader has disputed the figure of $45,000 being paid for the stitch picture Guitarist looking for.. by Ronie van Hout. He has a point and here it is put into the right place $4,500.00. Sorry for any hopes raised.

Look alike XI

Two Butlers this time. Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in the movie 300 and Samuel Butler in his self portrait held by the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How strange

So now the Auckland Art Gallery is in the literary agency business. Their first recommendation has been offered via a recent email to at least one publisher who reads overthenet. In it, the services of Winsome Wilde are recommended to those who need “a New Zealand-based freelance writer.” Winsome was the Curatorial Intern on Turbulence, wrote an article on the exhibition and is currently a registrar and gallery assistant at Gow Langsford Gallery. If you want to hire Winsome you can email

You have been warned

Some of our readers might remember the first shock-horror when big-time sponsorship hit New Zealand Art Galleries. It was another one of those it’s-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it moments. Now, many years later the institutions love sponsors, and the embrace of those sponsors might be tightened up a notch or two. It could be time for institutional curators to turn pale as a commercialized model gets its stride.

Sebastien Agneessens runs a company called Formavision The Curating House” based in New York. He believes that, "Speaking about what you have to sell is necessary, but not enough. Brands need to state who they are, share their values and build their culture so they can be understood in qualitative terms." And how does he do this? By curating art exhibitions for companies to use as a context for selling their brands. As you can see from this Lexus example, we’re not talking Sunday painters here. Miranda Lichtenstein, for instance, has had shows at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Whitney in New York. And we’re not talking tacky trade shows either.

Last year The Curating House created the Starbucks Salon, a music lounge and gallery in New York and they have Diesel, Converse, Sharp and Coca-Cola as clients. In fact Formavision’s next project is a collaboration with a group of artists to create permanent installations for the New World of Coca-Cola, set to open next month in Atlanta.

Be afraid.

Image: A work by Miranda Lichtenstein, one of the artists in the curated Lexus exhibition

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The sharp suits that you see at openings these days may well have been made by Gus McKay, tailor to the stars. Julian Dashper’s gives a nod to his love of the American Mid-West and Peter Peryer has one as stylish as the man himself. Other artists sporting Gus McKays are Rohan Wealleans who had one run up for his first trip overseas and we’re told Tony de Lautour has one in the pipeline. Even et al. has been known to wear Gus McKay. You should get one yourself.