Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Advice to collectors 11

How the hell did they make that diamond encrusted skull for Damien Hirst? we hear you cry. Here's how.


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at overthenet.blog@gmail.com. noticed in passing – of the 16 photographs of students at work on the elam school of fine arts site, 14 are female. the publication being produced for the wellington sculpture trust was ready to go to go to print until the chairman found he had problems with the text. oh, and with the photos too. the city gallery connection with two rooms in auckland continues to flourish with the presentation of two rooms exhibition of denis o’connor booked for wellington. the two rooms catalogue includes essays by city gallery stalwarts lara strongman and gregory o’brien. after an unsuccessful attempt with art students, u.s. artist meg cranston has enlisted the help of michael parekowhai and his studio to help construct pinatas for her artspace exhibition. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and the one that contains the most verbs - rewarded. thanks to everyone who emailed us things they shouldn’t have.

Monday, July 30, 2007


What a relief. You'll all be relieved to hear that the 500 PhDs per year are for all faculties at Auckland University, and not just the arts sector. We've asked Robyn Hill, Faculty Manager of the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, how many of those will be PhDs-who-make-art. We'll keep you posted.

The 500

The Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland has decided to go for gold in the Art School Graduating-The-Most-PhDs awards. We have already noted its passion for a practice called ‘research,’ and we can now point you to section 4 of the 2007 Annual Plan which quantifies that research in terms of bodies delivered.

The National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (that’s the School of Architecture and Planning, Dance Studies, Elam, School of Music and the Manukau School) aims to “achieve 800 masters and 500 doctoral completions per annum through the development of an international quality graduate programme.” No, amazingly, this is not a typo: 500 doctorates a year.

A couple of comments:

  • For the whole of NZ, the most recent figures we could find stated that 2,574 research degrees were completed in 2005. About 25 percent of them were doctorates.
  • The Institute failed to meet its current postgraduates targets in Architecture and Fine Arts in 2006; the pressure is on.
  • The Institute seems to believe it can reach its extraordinary goal by minor tweaks. It’s talking about improvements to its web site, recruitment events and communications, a couple of new areas of study and better supervision.

Let’s estimate what the Institute’s 500 PhDs a year could mean for Elam. Given that dance comes late to the PhD fever, it seems to us that as its contribution, the Elam School of Fine Arts must be looking to deliver at least 150 PhDs a year! People with maths skills will know that means in 10 years there could be another 1,500 Fine Arts PhDs loose in the country.
CORRECTION: What a relief. You'll be relieved to hear that the Auckland University has informed us that the 500 PhDs per year are for all faculties and not just the arts sector.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lookalike XVII

Images: Left, Born Again by BGL (Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière). Right, Ricky Swallow’s Model for Sunken Monument Click on images to enlarge.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Small print

To save readers from having to wade through boring information they are not in the least bit interested in, we will be using this post space as a parking lot for future references.

Heads up

These telling images of New York dealer gallery reception areas have been around for a while, but here's a selection for those that missed them. For more of the same, click here.
Images: Top left, Andrea Rosen, right Cheim&Reid. Bottom left, Pace Wildenstein, right Metro pictures from the series Sentry by Andy Freeberg

Friday, July 27, 2007

Desolate Dreams

There's a new, art-related comic now on display at stimulusresponse called Desolation Row (Of Panels). The connection to this blog is tenuous, but strangely powerful. The comic features a painting.

And that's about it.


The art galleries talk things up.

Mystic Truths
“… this courageous and enigmatic exhibition.”

Bill Hammond
“The long-awaited spectacular survey exhibition.”

King Kong
“This unique exhibition.”

Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award 2007
“It has put Waikato on the map for refusing to shy away from controversy.”

Laurence Aberhart
“This major exhibition of New Zealand’s most eminent photographer.”

All extravagant claims by art galleries for their exhibitions gratefully received. The best published and, the very best, rewarded.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Look alike XVI

Images: left, Marcel Duchamp L.H.O.O.Q. Right, poster Brussels.

Show time

Today's the day the Trip of a Lifetime Tour travellers have to pay the Piper, and hand in personal reports on their tax payer funded trip to the Venice Biennale, Art Basel, Liste, Volta, Scope, Documenta and Sculpture Projects Muenster 07. We have asked CNZ for copies of the reports so we can share highlights with you. We have also requested the timetable and process for the Reference Group's (three women museum directors: Tina Barton, Rhana Devenport and Jenny Harper, a couple of artists: Gavin Hipkins and Riki Manuel and a curator: Jim Vivieaere) review. CNZ have asked the TOALT team to report to the next meeting of the visual arts reference group in October 2007. Of course this is the second review of Venice requested by CNZ. The first was commissioned from Australian consultants SGS Economics and Planning Pty Ltd. That report strongly recommended a return to Venice but as far as we can see is no longer available on the CNZ web site.
UPDATE: The first report has been found by one of our readers. You can read it here.
Don't forget, if you have the psychic strength, you can read all the Trip of a Lifetime posts by clicking Trip of a Lifetime in the Labels box at the bottom of this post.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Over at stimulusresponse there is, at long last, a post relevant to this blog. It's a comic called Three Wise Men featuring Ronnie Van Hout's Son of Nothing Else as one of the men.

Lifestyle section

The Breakfast opening
Signs are that Saturday morning openings are on the up, with breakfast starting to push wine and cheese off the menu, as the savvy art opening offering. A recent breakfast opening at Wellington’s Adam Art Gallery offered juice, croissants, fruit and coffee, and now a breakfast opening is promised for the Julian Dashper exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery on Saturday morning 11 August. We welcome any thoughts on art lifestyle trends for this new overthenet feature. Insights into topics such as curator shoes, gallerist restaurant preferences, wall colour tones and invitation design styles will be rewarded.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Simple pimple

Why the hell didn't we think of that?

Getting an earful

News that the Christchurch Art Gallery has just introduced a new audio tour with Sam Neil talking to the art works via iPod didn’t cause a ripple, and why would it? Like corporate sponsorship, cafes and souvenir shops, the audio tour is now accepted as part of what a good art museum should offer its public. Indeed, it’s hard to remember now what it was about audio tours that offended the art profession in the first place. Some we concerned about the overly didactic nature of this sort of material, but computer lettering on the wall has put an end to that sensitivity. Others worried that visitors would not look at the work, just listen to the tape and move on. Guess what, people were smart enough to do both things at once. Checking out audio tours in action recently , the only conclusion we could draw (apart from the fact that they are ubiquitous), is that the people with the headphones study the specified works longer and more intently than virtually all other visitors. There’s a lot of controversy behind that phrase ‘specified works,’ but moving on, the iPod and easy uploading has also opened the opportunity for anyone to create their own tours. Do a tape, put it up on the web and anyone can download your perspective on an exhibition. Even better, tours can include commentaries by artists, conversations and a mix of voices and sounds. Don’t like the museum’s selection of work? Make your own. Check out the tour of the most overrated and underrated paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Modern Art Gallery by Slate critic Lee Siegel and Art Mobs unofficial guides as podcasts for inspiration.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Wow indeed

Sculptor, Neil Dawson, will be one of the judges for the 2007 World of Wearable Art (WOW) awards.


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at overthenet.blog@gmail.com: tony preston, former director of the christchurch art gallery, is planning to stand for the christchurch city council in the october 2007 elections. although the 2007 annual plan for the university of auckland (national institute of creative arts and industries) elam school of fine arts is 18 pages long, it doesn’t include the words, sculpture, painting, photography or installation. on the other hand, the word research is used 85 times. at least one major request for cnz arts funding in the last round that was approved by the specialist visual arts panel was rejected by the arts board, none of whom have any specialist visual arts knowledge. the next scape in Christchurch will be curated by the “unique curatorial pairing” of “the hugely influential” danae mossman and the “internationally renowned” fulya erdemci. scape’s press release tells us the two intend to “reinvent democracy, equality and “publicness”. the art newspaper reports that the university of auckland’s hood fellow for 2007, stephen farthing RA is the subject of a$35 million law suit accusing him and the board of the new york academy of art of ‘conspiring to conceal the illegal spending of more than $1 million of the school’s endowment’. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and the one that makes us laugh out loud the longest - rewarded. thanks to everyone involved and anyone responsible.

Friday, July 20, 2007



Thursday, July 19, 2007

Advice to collectors 10

As former stripper, painter, and Saatchi Collection favourite, Melissa Vine, noted in this week’s Independent. “The art world is exactly the same as the sex industry: you have to be completely on your guard or you will get shafted; fucked over left, right and centre.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Look alike XV

Not for the faint hearted, on the left Paul McCarthy Black plug and on the right a chocolate fountain in Brussels.
Note: this is the last post until next Monday, so we can get back home again.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The writings on the wall

One obvious difference between dealer art galleries and public art galleries is the lack of explanatory wall texts attached to the art works. While it is often interesting to have lots of information about the works you are looking at, wall labels can be just as easily a diversion, as well as a design challenge. Where did these explanatory labels come from? You can find the answer in Riches, Rivals, and Radicals: 100 Years of Museums in America by Marjorie Schwarzer. This volume includes an essay on wall texts by Ingrid Schaffner. As this American Association of Museums book has more than you, or we, could possibly want to know about wall labels, a few highlights.

Shaffner notes: “In 1857 the British House of Commons passed a rule ‘that in national museums objects would be accompanied by a brief Description thereof, with the view of conveying useful Information to the Public, and of sparing them the expense of a Catalogue.’

And then: 'By 1890, labels were printed for general distribution. They regularly ran to 300 words and threatened to turn exhibition displays into textbooks.'

Wall labels were brought to contemporary art museums by Alfred Barr at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Pre-Barr labels were attached to the frames of the paintings. Barr (no relation) moved them onto the wall and added extra details about the work. Now you know.

Image: Reading labels in Brussels

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Advice to collectors 9

Avoid social realist sculpture. (storage problems)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Inflation theory

Anyone who saw Michael Parekowhai’s inflatable rabbit Jim McMurtry in the foyer of the Christchurch Art Gallery knows the dominating scale inflatable sculptures can bring to even large architectural spaces. Take sculpture outdoors and achieving scale is a very different proposition. For a start, nature is really good at it. At the Middelheimmuseum in Antwerp, Paul McCarthy is exhibiting nine gigantic inflatables and a gallery full of the models and drawings that were part of their production. McCarthy maximised the scale of the already immense works by placing them in discrete areas of a large sculpture park. Framed by trees, many of which the sculptures match in height, McCarthy used the cultivated nature of the sculpture park to frame and highlight the work. And of course coming across a 30 metre high butt plug around the corner from a Henry Moore had its own special surprise value.

Images: Top, left to right, Black plug, Piggies, Daddies tomato ketchup. Bottom, White head

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don’t mention the war

... in Frankfurt
The Museum fur Moderne Kunst’s collaboration with the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan on a so far undetermined number of installations to build to a major exhibition. One of these installations, Ave Maria, is at the back of the Museum in its own exhibition space. Three upraised arms push out of the wall in the Nazi salute. When we saw it a school group of teenagers arrived around the same time. They were both embarrassed and shocked. Most of them immediately backed out of the space and then after some laughing and talking they edged back in for a second look.

... in Amsterdam
The German artist Jonathan Meese’s installation Jonathan Rockford (don’t call me back, please) at de Appel Centre for Contemporary Art in Amsterdam, fills three large rooms with his signature overload of historical images and icons. In the first space Meese has historicised himself in relation to a number of the figures who have populated his work like Stalin, Wagner, Napoleon, Nietzsche, Nero, Ezra Pound, Dorian Gray and de Sade. The exhibition launches a counter attack against the weight of history as Meese attempts to neutralise the overwhelming presence of the past. He presents so many different ideas of history and from history that they become too complex or too arbitrary to unravel. This history does not make sense. Included are many photographs of Meese with his arm outstretched in the Nazi salute and photographs of Hitler with Meese’s trademark long black hair.

There is a, possibly apocryphal, story about Marcel Duchamp being approached by a visitor to his 1963 survey show at the Pasadena Art Museum. The woman had purchased a postcard of the Mona Lisa and asked Duchamp to sign it for her and "maybe even put a moustache on her?” Duchamp did just that. The next day artist Richard Hamilton, who would a few years later, with Duchamp’s permission make a replica of the Large Glass, saw the artist sitting at a desk at the front of the exhibition. Beside him was a large pile of Mona Lisa postcards which Duchamp was ‘moustaching’, signing and giving away. When Hamilton asked him what he was doing, Duchamp is said to have replied, “Devaluing the currency.”

Images: Top, Students confronting Maurizio Cattelan’s Ave Maria 2007. Bottom, details from Jonathan Rockford (don’t call me back, please) 2007 by Jonathan Meese

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Think alikes

In Amsterdam, thinking about Indiana in New Zealand.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

There goes the neighbourhood

You can always tell when you’re at the start of something – it’s hard to find. And that was true of the Spielhaus Morrison Gallery in Berlin. After a couple of attempts we found the gallery at the back of an industrial building, tucked next to another gallery specialising in drawings. The two partners who run the gallery Georg Speilhaus and Hamish Morrison (a New Zealander) have pitched their tent close by the Hamburger Bahnhof, the main public museum for contemporary art in Berlin. They must have felt rather lonely to start with among the motor bike repair shops and rental businesses, but we noticed that The Haunch of Venison has its sign up just down the road, another couple of galleries are about to open nearby and architectural practice Graft (the ones who work with Brad Pitt) are upstairs next door. It’s a familiar pattern. Soho and Chelsea in New York are only the most famous examples. In another year Spielhaus Morrison will be in the centre of a gallery zone, and it will be the mechanics looking over their shoulders.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Spot the difference

Some more sample comments (these from the current front page) from artbash, the “online community of New Zealanders who love art and love to talk about art".

“Flake, your article struck a chord with me. I am keeping an eye on the Australian governments dealings in the Pacific Agreements on Closer Economic Relations(PACER).” vivedane

“Yes, there is a particularly long philosophical tradition behind nihilism, not only from buddhist philosophy but also from the gnostic tradition (and others).” David Cauchi

“Well, apparently: 'Edinburgh University admits it is "reviewing" [Robert Mugabe's] 1984 doctorate for "services to education in Africa".’ Creon Upton

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Not quite a hat trick

Just in case anyone is concerned that we might have abandoned rabbits as a theme on overthenet. On the left, a detail of Piero di Cosimo’s Venus, Mars and Amor and on the right, noticed in the Berlin dealer gallery invaliden1, a painting by Santiago Ydanez.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Art is where you find it 9

… if you can find it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


An update email from CNZ the other day, on the Trip of a Lifetime Tour. Apparently, in the Tour’s discussions with the Director of Documenta, members were able to determine the number of New Zealand art publications held in the Documenta archive. Of the three, two were the catalogues Toi Toi Toi and et al. the fundamental practice (both donated by Rene Block, Toi Toi Toi curator and et al. supporter). The third, a book, was Contemporary Painting in New Zealand by Michael Dunn. CNZ’s email noted that the Tour lodged a copy of Speculation in the archive increasing New Zealand’s holdings by 25 per cent. CNZ is now calling for anyone with publications on New Zealand art they regard as significant, to send them to the archive.
Image: Trip of a Lifetime Tour members meet with Documenta director (Reconstruction)

Hammer horror

This nail-studded knight is the result of an early 20th century fund raising effort in Vienna. Each nail was hammered home at the cost of a donation. An easily transported idea, a wooden sculpture of an art world figure of note could easily be used raise funds for purchases, new gallery wings or artist residencies. Get the right person to serve as subject for the figure, and your fund-rising’s nailed.
Image: Studded knight outside the Museum of the City of Vienna

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Look alike XIV

Left: Martin Kippenberger Untitled (Lamp) 1992. Right, street scene in Vienna.

Copy cat 20

On the left, a still from Peter Fischli and David Weiss's film The right way and, on the right a poster for a bank in Vienna.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


The Secession, a Viennese institution established in 1897, started on the back of a walk-out by 19 artist members of the Association of Austrian Artists. It was itself subjected to its own walk-out in 1905 by one of its most famous sons, Gustav Klimt, and others. With a board of 13 artists, including our friend Nicolas Jasmin (the man who brought you Reflect, the incredible washing liquid that keeps your blacks blacker than black), the Secession has retained the turbulent atmosphere one expects of an artist run space. The programme is shaped by the differing tastes of board members but, if you look over the exhibitions for the last ten years, it includes one person shows of most of the important artists of the decade. Oddly, to our eyes, the Secession is closest in scale and architectural feel to the Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sammlung Ozymandias

In the global art world the rise and rise of the private collection is a simple fact. Every day it seems there is another private collection going public in an old bunker, a new glass penthouse or an abandoned warehouse. Public museums appear helpless in the face of this juggernaut with private collection shows a standard programming element and gifts a requirement. In our short time in Vienna we have seen four major presentations of private collections – selections from the Generali Foundation, the Sammlung (collection) Verbund, the Sammlung Essl (in its own building) and the collection of the Greek tycoon Dakis Joannou at the Kunsthalle Wien and the Museum Modernerkunst. While there is an argument for the public museums that the explosion of art prices has hugely limited their ability to purchase contemporary art, this does not address the other side of the equation. Why are private collectors (whether corporations, foundations or individuals) creating their own institutions with all the major on-going costs involved? At one level it seems to be a canny mix of philanthropy, ego and tax advantage (as well as a quick finger to the public institutions that have used their collections as a quick fix resource for so many years), but it is not happening in isolation. Art has become more interesting to more people. The concept of the public museum is under strain as it struggles to deal with so many trends, ideas, artists, and vested interests. Power is on the move – will the public institutions keep up?
Later: Having just written this post, we went to lunch and on the way passed a shop window full of art. The day before, in this window, we had seen a signed Manzoni tin of artist shit sitting on a pedestal quietly fading in the sun. Today we notice the space we had assumed belonged to a dealer gallery is in fact yet another private collection. The Sammlung Klewan
Image: Top, the Essl collection. Bottom left and right, Sammlung Klewan