Friday, November 30, 2007

bud and mule go adventuring

On June 22, 2001 Bud and Patricia Kenny with their mule Della left Hot Springs, Arkansas to tour the world on foot. Bud and mule fanatics can follow this copy cat couple’s trials and tribulations here.
Image: bud and mule

Jeff Koons’ lighter side

Big rabbits always get a look in on overthenet, and big inflatable rabbits are guaranteed a mention. This year’s Macy’s Parade in New York featured a 16 meter-tall helium balloon version of Koons’s Rabbit filled with 132 cubic meters of helium. So Rabbit has now journeyed from its original inflatable form as a toy, via the stainless steel art version and back to an inflatable again. Here’s another rabbit sighting sent in by a reader. Thanks J.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More on Man

This interesting note from Roger Horrocks, Len Lye’s biographer, on the Man Ray video posted last week. “Not sure if you know Man Ray's account of this film. He says he was shocked to discover that Tzara had announced a Dada evening that would include a film by Ray -- but Ray had only a few film sequences ready. The programme was scheduled for the following evening. How to make a film in a day? He decided to create some rayogram strips to round out the film. Salt and pepper formed the basis of one strip, and pins and thumb tacks another. Ray says he had no idea how such strips would look on the screen until they were projected; but he decided that it would all be over so fast, it didn’t really matter. He combined them with the other sequences and screened them under the title ‘Return to Reason’. Unfortunately Ray had not yet learned how to splice film properly, and the film broke twice, producing howls from hostile members of the audience! All very Dada.”
Image: Man Ray’s model Kiki makes a guest appearance in La retour à la raison

... and on the table

Our first item on 70s artist, David Mealing, was posted at this time one year ago today.

Eat my dust

June 2005 et al. exhibits at the Venice Biennale.
“Is it worth being here? Without a shadow of a doubt.” Peter Biggs, Chairman of Creative NZ reporting from Venice. (read report here)

5 months

November 2005 CNZ commissions an $80,000 evaluation report from Sydney-based company SGS,on New Zealand’s participation in the Venice Biennale. (get report here)

7 months

May 2006 SGS’s Report is released and enthusiastically recommends continued New Zealand presence at Venice.

“This evaluation has provided both qualitative and quantitative evidence highlighting that the Venice investment is a worthwhile one.”

“New Zealand will return to the Venice Art Biennale in 2009 as part of a wider international market development strategy” CNZ Chief Executive Elizabeth Kerr (read full statement here)

5 months

October 2006 CNZ calls for nominations for the Tripofalifetime Tour. Selected representatives of the art world will be paid to visit art event hots spots in Europe and report back.

7 months

June 2007 The tripofalifetime tour visits Venice, Basel, Munster and Kasel.

2 months

August 2007 Tripofaliftimers tour members submit their reports to CNZ marked “Confidential”. “our International Market Development Strategy for the Visual Arts.… is to be finalised and presented to the Council of Creative New Zealand for approval at their December 2007 meeting” (CNZ email 26 July 2007)

4 months

December 2007 A discussion about “a strategy on International participation” including the Venice is “on the agenda” for the December meeting of CNZ’s Arts Council. (CNZ email 27 Nov ember 2007)

“Creative New Zealand is planning to release the “overarching Europe delegation report following the Council's December 2007 meeting” (CNZ email 27 November 2007) plus an “up-date regarding the visual arts international strategy” (CNZ email 28 November 2007)

1 month

January 2008 It is planned for CNZ’s new “International team” to be “up and running”.

However CNZ is “not expecting to present a final strategy to the Arts Council until the new International team is up and running.” (CNZ email 27 November 2007)

10 months

November 2008 Or sometime after the election. Our pick for a final decision.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Missing you already

We have just heard the Roger Williams Gallery has closed. A brave attempt, a terrific space and nice people.

Lifestyle section

What’s to say? You can order this black essential from Renova

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Like a pig in muck

Hany Armanious, who showed recently at Michael Lett and the City Gallery has been reviewed by Roberta Smith in the New York Times. You can read the review here. Smith thought the show Year of the Pig Sty at Foxy Production in New York’s Chelsea “conveys an impressive sculptural ease and an appealing, provocative bit of let-it-rip madness.”
Image: Year of the Pig Sty on show at Michael Lett in Auckland

Look alike

Andy Warhol and Julia Warhola Untitled screen c. 1956-59

Not a light touch

There was a time when theatrical lighting in museums was left to ethnic objects. The idea was to imbue the objects with some sort of museumised spirituality - a “smell of the jungle” as critic Thomas McEvilley once put it. A few museums have clung to this style, Te Papa is one example, but most have left it behind them and display different cultural objects in the same even light. So it was a surprise to visit Bill Hammond’s exhibition Jingle Jangle Morning in Christchurch and see many of the painting displayed in a darkened gallery glowing against black painted walls. Dramatic? Certainly, but it does raise the question of why. The dark room approach is not created for conservation or for optimal viewing of individual works. Its aim is to give a very specific and loaded experience that reaches for high contrast and the dissolution of detail. For some reason Hammond work appears particularly susceptible to this dramatizing. Lighting exhibitions is not as easy as it looks. We remember watching the expert from the Guggenheim Museum lighting the exhibition Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Museum at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. His objective was to show the paintings without drawing attention to the lighting in any way. His horror, he told us, was to see photographs of exhibition hangings where the works were displayed in halos of light. While he worked he constantly took test photographs to ensure he was getting even light across walls and paintings. The City Gallery in Wellington is now showing Jingle Jangle Morning and they have ratcheted the drama up another notch. Their innovation has been to cut the shape of the light to the shape of the canvas. This has the odd effect of making many of the paintings look
like light boxes. It also makes them hard to see, your irises constantly opening and closing as they are forced to switch back and forth between brightness and gloom. Basic optics warn you that this is no way to light things you want to study at any length. The gloom also badly effects the readability of the labels which, except for the one pictured above (almost comically lit like a painting itself) are tough to read. The other galleries showing work in Jingle Jangle Morning, have been lit more conventionally so there is the opportunity to see the work under more traditional conditions. How the paintings given the grand opera treatment were selected is anyone’s guess.

Image: Hammond (detail) with specially lit label

Monday, November 26, 2007

Saving face

While don’t want to be seen obsessing over the Guggenheim in New York, one of our readers sent this very interesting link to the Design Observer discussing the type face on the Museum’s façade. Besides which it lets us show you these two beautiful photographs by Chris Kasabach of the type, and at least one false start, revealed when the paint was stripped back. Thanks DF

Any colour as long as it’s grey

Way back in April we posted a beautiful drawing showing the cracks that had been located in the surface of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Since then the building has been repaired, repatched and is now ready to paint. But what colour? For months now colour swatches have been hanging on one of the Museum’s walls for the public to look at. Lloyd-Wright’s original buff yellow was painted over in 1992. It's looking like the pale grey-white that was used then, will be used again.
Images: OTN options

Saturday, November 24, 2007

War paint

About a year ago we pointed readers to the book Disruptive Pattern Material. Since then it has been on almost full-time loan (popular book) so not sure if these stunningly painted First World War German helmets were in it or not. Anyway here they are, some Head Art for a Saturday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Copy cat (Bear Division)

Ad for Art Garage, a drop-the-kids-off-for-a-couple-of-hours- to-be-creative business in Toronto Canada.

Lifestyle section

It’s not often that our OTN style reporters can get a really good look inside the lifestyles of gallerists. This week, however, we are able to offer a unique insight, thanks to the garage sale list supplied to us by the Anna Bibby Gallery as part of her exhibition opening annoucements. Last year it seems, the shelving of choice was Lundia stacked with Panini Press books and a few ceramics. A simple trestle table with juice extractor and food processor, perfect for indoor/outdoor entertaining. The furniture? Office chic: filing cabinets, chairs and … but read for yourself.

SATURDAY 1 DECEMBER | Anna Bibby Gallery 2 Morgan St Newmarket
7.30 am - 3 pm
lundia shelving / filing cabinets / trestle tables / chairs washing machine / dryer / juice extractor / food processor / panini press books / electric lawn mower / ceramics / children's and baby accessories / office and household goods.
Also available are paintings by Heather Straka and Simon Kaan.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at dane mitchell has been accepted for the “statements” exhibition at the next basel art fair in 2008. sigourney weaver, in town to film at peter jackson’s studio was splashed across the dominion post’s front page today. also in wellington but not noticed by the media, french artist super star, daniel buren. he has been in auckland checking out the laboriously hand painted fence posts that make up his work on alan gibbs sculpture park. there is now talk that the whole park will be buren-fenced. whispers of a younger, funkier adjunct to the melbourne art fair are being greeted stonily by the mother ship. the mccahon house trust was faced with a big clean-up to get the artist studio just vacated by james robinson ready for the next resident gavin hipkins and his family. after his current new york residency robinson is slated to muss up the tylee cottage’s hair when he is resident in 2008. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and the one with the most outlandish embellishment- rewarded.

Home alone

Yesterday’s Dominion Post gave over most of a page to discuss how Bill Hammond’s painting Living Large 6 was damaged and what happened next. Somewhere in there (and also on a RNZ interview), Celia Dunlop, the owner of the painting, said that she is still willing to lend art works to public institutions. This is important. Many institutions are dependent on loans from private collections and it seems to us that the relationships between museums and collectors are starting to change. The Celia Dunlop controversy highlights some of what’s sharpening the relationships: the increased value of work, tougher scrutiny of what’s appropriate professional practice, dealing with a crisis, avoiding confrontation and maintaining dialogue. We see a new group of collectors getting involved with art museums. They have great work, more money and, we’re picking, higher expectations. They also are more confident about articulating what they will and will not do whether that fits with art world conventions or not. Public art museums in New Zealand professionalised in the eighties and have had an easy run so far, but look out for the effects of the professionalisation of collectors, dealers and artists. It’s bound to bring a shift in power between institutions and lenders that will have a big impact on the curation, publication and promotion of exhibitions.

NEWS: Merilyn Wiseman, Michael Houstoun, Moana Maniapoto, Colin McColl and Sarah-Jayne Howard announced last night as Arts Foundation of NZ Arts Laureates.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Balancing act

It’s Laureate night for the New Zealand Arts Foundation. The visual arts Laureates are very heavy on guys (5:2), so tonight in Wellington is another chance to get a better balance. Mind you, women have even less show in the Foundation’s Icon Awards where men dominate 15:3.

Line of credit

Talking to some Australian art people the other day, we heard a few names of Australian artists selected for the next Sydney Biennale. We have already posted the rumour that Len Lye has been selected from New Zealand, although there is no official confirmation. The 2008 Biennale is being "Artistically Directed" by Carolyn Christov-Bakargeiv, an Art Provera specialist. Her theme? “The impulse to revolt. Revolving, rotating, mirroring, repeating, reversing, turning upside down or inside out, changing perspectives." That being the case, and hearing from the Aussies that Bruce Nauman is central to the show, we’re picking that Simon Denny is a contender. While checking the Biennale web site, we came across the pic above of Christov-Bakargeiv standing in front of sculptures by Francis Upritchard. The photo would have been taken when she was in Auckland selecting the Walters Prize winner. As the Biennale web site doesn’t bother to credit Upritchard’s work, we're figuring she probably won’t be selected.
Image: Sydney Biennale web page featuring Balata Figure sculptures by Francis Upritchard

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mail order

Two auction houses landed catalogue material on our desk today. Glossy printed catalogues? Not a bit of it. From Art+Auction, an email that includes access to a short video with Hamish Coney introducing the lots displayed ready for their next auction. You can see it here. The other was a CD from Webb’s with a pdf of the upcoming catalogue. Both catalogues are also online here for Webb's and here for A+O. The obvious question is whether paper-based catalogues will continue to be produced. Apart for something to carry with you to the auction, it's becoming harder to imagine a long-term purpose for them.

Images: Top Hamish Coney on Art+Object’s video. Bottom, CD from Webb’s

Cut it out

Visited the City Gallery to have a look at Tracey Moffatt’s two recent short video works Doomed and Love. Both are collages of clips from movies themed around disaster movies and male female relationships. At the Govett-Brewster a few years back we saw her video Artist, made in 2000. She had constructed a simple narrative out of clips from movies as varied as The Agony and the Ecstasy, Batman (The Joker sequence) and Surviving Picasso. It was funny and touching. Seven years later, the idea of theming clips from movies feels like it has been overtaken by YouTube and iMovie. You can see YouTube variations on the disaster theme here and here. Curiously Moffat doesn’t seem to credit any of the movies she cribs. Not sure what the rationale for this is – even some of the YouTube look-alikes do. Having said all that, the images of women being continuously assaulted and repeatedly shooting men is unsettlingly and powerful. The disaster sequences, not so much

If you want to see a very smart version of this genre watch His Girl Friday – Between the Lines. It’s a true labour of love constructed from the gabby film His Good Friday. Someone has edited a version that only includes bits when no one is talking. That cuts down Howard Hawks’ movie from 92 minutes to a mere 8.25 minutes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

On the road

The second in our artist street sign series, was sent by a regular reader. Thanks PG

The Man

We were looking at Len Lye’s Free Radicals (1958) and Colour Box (1935) on YouTube the other day (yes, you can see them both here) and came across La retour à la raison. It was Man Ray’s first film and first shown in 1923. You can see how Man Ray achieved very similar results to Len Lye using his rayograph technique. Instead of scratching or painting directly onto the film’s surface, Man Ray put objects like pins and salt on the film and exposed it to light. Later in the film Man Ray adds live images including his famous model Kiki.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Big picture

The Big Picture, Hamish Keith’s 6 part series on New Zealand art and culture, starts 10.25pm this Sunday. You can read more about individual episodes here and listen to Hamish being interviewed about the series here.

Episode 1: The World Intrudes
The encounter between Able Tasman and Ngati Tumatakokiri in Golden Bay in 1642: the beginning of our history and the beginning of our art history.
Episode 2: Engaging with Difference
How Maori art responded positively to European impact and flourished with new technologies and new challenges.
Episode 3: Civilising
Maori art vanishes into museums and disappears behind a sea of red paint. Three European imports - none of them English - transform New Zealand art.
Episode 4: Reinventing Distance
After a promising start New Zealand culture takes a wrong turn. Pakeha New Zealand seizes on Maori imagery to define its identity and at the same time Maori are persuaded to give up their identity and become brown Pakeha.
Episode 5: In Search of the New
Colin McCahon's trip to the USA in 1958 produces a major work of art, The Northland Panels, which would change New Zealand art forever.
Episode 6: The Braided River
Art begins to break free from the empty stereotypes of "National Identity", "Bi-culturalism" and "Telling Our Stories".

Image: Murderer's Bay in 1642, from Abel Tasman's journal

Friday, November 16, 2007

Comparing Apples with Apples

This week we saw Billy Apple’s 1965 sculpture Rainbow with waterfall reproduced in two very different places. The first example was as lot 11 in the latest Art+Object catalogue where it was presented as the original 1965 work exhibited in his 1965 solo show Neon Rainbows, at Paul Bianchini and Ben Birillo’s Bianchini Gallery. Apple had famously shown there a couple of years before in the gallery’s exhibition The American Supermarket where he was in the company of artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The second illustration was being displayed on the home page of Acryform a company who, along with a wide range of other work, fabricate acrylic sculptures for artists. The two objects looked to be the same, as indeed they are. In fact Rainbow with waterfall is either fully, or in part, a reconstruction of the original that has been fabricated by Acryform.

In the context of Billy Apple’s conceptual practice this is no big deal. If Billy Apple considers the reconstructed work to be another iteration of the idea, in conceptual terms it is probably no more or less important than the first example. This is the same thinking that led Duchamp to sign and date the 1964 copies of his lost 1917 sculpture Fountain with the inscription ‘R Mutt 1917’. The art market, however, is usually more conventional and, for the most part, considers works at auction, unless clearly stated otherwise, to be the original object created and exhibited by the artist. And that is why, when displaying the Apple work, Art+Auction are now accompanying it with a note pointing out that the catalogue entry has been amended to indicate that the work being described as the same as the one shown in 1965, is open to interpretation.

So what happens in cases like this? Usually the artist will either redate the work to cover the span of its reconstruction, in this case as say 1965-2006 or, as is usual with Fountain, supply a certificate that makes clear to new owners that the work is from the 1964 Arturo Schwartz edition.

The challenge for a work like Rainbow with waterfall is that for the marketplace, as soon as the idea takes form as an object, the issue of authenticity tends to crowd other ideas out of the room.
Images: Left, Rainbow with waterfall as it appears on the Acryform website, right Rainbow with waterfall illustrated in the Art+Object catalogue.

Let them eat art

Tobias Meyer again, this time just after last night's auction at Sothby's.

“There was high-quality hunger from a global community.”

Advice to collectors

As a footnote to our posting on the tyranny of reproduction, as it affects artists like Toss Woollaston, this from our favourite quote source, Sotheby’s Tobias Meyer.
“I think the spectacular painting which already sells itself on the printed page is what you will see being most successful in the market… The physical presence of the work is not the primary stimulant – they (collectors) will want to see it already make a lot of impact on the printed page.” - A Fool For Art by Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker 12 November 2007.
Image: Tobias Meyer selling a legible image.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


“I once owned a painting that came to be worth a lot and sold it too soon…. Whoever paid millions for it can’t point, as I can, to where some drunk flung red wine at the canvas – I cleaned it with a damp face cloth.”
Rosemary McLeod, in 15 November’s Dominion Post, coyly describing the large McCahon banner painting A Question of Faith, that she once owned.

Big ears

“One million dollars is the new 10 grand”
Andrew Fabricant a Manhattan dealer, as he left last night's Christies' sale in New York.

Copy cat

Pimp my ad. A Guinness commercial shot in an Argentinian mountain village and served up straight from Fischli and Weiss, with a side order of Cadillac Ranch. Hey, maybe we can start calling this a series.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The new green

More Christmas shopping advice from overthenet. This time it’s the 'dramatic' black Christmas tree from Farmers. And no, you don’t have to be seen in-store, the tree can be ordered online. Then, when Christmas is done, give the fully washable tree a good clean in the bath with OTN’s other highly recommended product for people who like black, Reflect.

Look alike

Images: Top, Muskusrat by the Dutch artist group Mothership. Bottom: Jim McMurtry by Michael Parekowhai

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Late night viewing

TVNZ once again shows where it rates local programmes, the Television New Zealand Chart-ha-ha-ha and the arts. Hamish Keith’s The Big Picture starts screening at 10.35 pm this Sunday on TV1

“I didn’t want to do a television series about art and artists.”
“Here (Abel Tasman’s Journal) was the beginning of my art history.”
“The art made here is the only art that speaks to our experience.”
“The New Zealand story is one of impact and adaptation. It is not one of oppression and defeat.”
“I had to struggle to find Maori art, as I had to struggle to find New Zealand art, because it was hidden from me by museums.”
“Yes, I think that’s crap.” (referring to et al’s APU installation)
“At the age of seventy I have been given the opportunity to make sense of my culture.”
Hamish Keith quoted in the article "I’m sorry you’re wrong" The Listener, 10 November

Images: Big picture guys Sir Kenneth Clark Civilzation 1969, Robert Hughes The shock of the new 1980 and Hamish Keith

Glory days

If ever anything told the story of the dominance of Auckland in the art market, it is the preview of the recent fine art sale at Dunbar Sloane. These auctions have never been chic, but the down-home approach has proved very successful in the past. Even a year ago a preview of a Dunbar Sloane auction would have a swarm of people looking, comparing and discussing the merits of Michael Eaton or perhaps Joan Fanning. This weekend there was a trickle. Apart from one stunning, but badly framed, Truth from the King Country: Load bearing structures by McCahon, there was little to look at. A million years ago Dunbar senior’s father Dunbar would have a packed room rolling on the floor, or rolling their eyes, with his extravagant commentaries on how cows were the measure of a good landscape and its value on the block, and the more cows the better. It’s hard to imagine there’ll be many laughs, or gasps, in the room when this lot goes under the hammer.
Image: Preview of the most recent Dunbar Sloane art auction

Monday, November 12, 2007

School report

“Since 2001 the museum has received $3 million annually for acquisitions across all collections….Te Papa did comment, however, that the proportion of art acquisitions against total budget has been decreasing in the last few years as other collection area acquisitions have been increasing. In 2003/04 art acquisitions accounted for 86% of the funding, and in 2005/06 50%.”
Mark Amery in the Dominion Evening Post 7 November


Auckland has the opportunity to hear more Tripofalifetimers than Wellington where only one of the promised two made an appearance. Up North, three TOAL speakers are slated to give their “views, insights and perspectives” at the St Paul’s Gallery on 16 November from 11am to 5pm. The six hour schedule probably reflects the fact that the event has a total of 11 speakers. One possible hitch. All the TOALTers agreed to mark the report of their Trip confidential. As CNZ noted when we repeatedly requested them, “The delegates were contracted on the basis that their reports would be held in confidence and they have been submitted to us marked 'in confidence'.” Loose lips sink ships.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Seventh day

Just a reminder that we no longer post on Sunday.
Image: diagram for the construction of a post hole

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Warning to collectors

Jill Miller, a San Francisco artist, trained to be a private investigator and then spied for six months on art collectors in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a team of two artist assistants, Miller maintained surveillance on ten houses, concentrating on six. She will be showing the results at San Francisco’s 2nd Floor Project Gallery later this month.
Images: Top left Bob through fence. Bottom left Sushi, others untitled.

When good sculpture turns bad 1

Watch below as a large ice sculpture attempts to kill the guy who chainsaws its legs off.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Going once, going twice, going 27 million times

"Mr. Giraud was glued to his cellphone, steadily raising his hand as Christopher Burge, the evening’s auctioneer, took bids in $500,000 increments. It seemed as though neither bidder would give in.

When the price hit $27 million ($7 million over the high estimate) with no end in sight, Mr. Burge jokingly said, “At some point I’m going to have to sell it.”

Mr. Bennett won out at $30 million ($33.6 million, including Christie’s buyer’s premium), a record price at auction for Matisse. The salesroom burst into applause." From reports on the recent Christie's auction in the New York Times

Loving the camera

This image of Julian Dashper’s Untitled, a work has appeared on overthenet before. This time it is on the cover of Burley Katon Halliday a book just published by Thames and Hudson about the Sydney based design practice. The cover shows Dashper’s work in somebody’s home. The fact that no one asked Dashper’s permission or paid him for the image is odd given the heavy duty copyright protection claimed on Burley Katon Halliday’s own site, but that’s another story. What interested us is the way this work reproduces so well and what this implies. The reproducibility is partly owing to the highly skilled graphic and smart colour sense that Dashper brings to his work; the camera loves simple, clear images. That reality got us thinking about how some artists get left out of many publications simply because their work does not have, in photographic terms, what the auction houses call “wall power”. Woollaston is a good example. It’s hard to think of iconic images, and the one that does come to mind is Sunset at Greymouth, one of his most graphic works. Woollaston’s paintings do not reproduce well, this affects the number of times you see his work reproduced, and its longevity. We checked this theory out using the simple test of putting contemporaries Walters, McCahon, Angus and Woollaston through Google Image searches. On the first ten screens it came out:
McCahon 78
Walters 35
Angus 33
Woollaston 14
Rule of thumb of course, but it makes you think.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Look alike

Images: Top, Tracey Emin I've got it all

A Plinth? Charming!

As you can see from the lower left hand image, Wellington has added another set of barriers to stand between the public and the harbour near Te Papa. Only this time, it’s for art. The four Carl Andre-like blocks are the promised empty plinths that will be completed with (as you’ll know from previous posts) sculptures. Something of a set-back for Anthony Caro and the rest of the twentieth century sculptors who made such efforts to climb down off the plinth and have their work live in the real world.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

If all you’ve got’s a hammer…

This from the latest Art Newspaper on hammer museums. Apparently the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (see previous overthenet post) and the Hammer Museum in Alaska are locked in a battle of the brands. Both museums have submitted applications to own the trademark name. We're sure you'll appreciate the difficulty in differentiating between the Hammer Museum displaying contemporary art in Los Angeles and the Hammer Museum in Haines Alaska that claims to be the "first museum dedicated to providing a unique view of the past through the use of the hammer".

Stocking (sic) filler

Sensible people will be starting their Christmas shopping and Overthenet intends to point you to the top art gifts for this year. There’s no better place to start than these chocolate Santas from Paul McCarthy. Modelled on the sculpture Father Christmas with Butt Plug exhibited at the Basel Art Fair this year, these Christmas treats will be available from Peter Paul Chocolates in New York from 15 November. Let’s have a small pause here to remember that it was overthenet that connected this Santa/Chocolate mash-up back in July. These Christmas edibles will be part of an installation by Paul McCarthy at the Michele Maccarone Art Gallery and for sale at $100. For the show McCarthy will be turning the gallery space into a fully functioning chocolate factory. Curiously the chocolate version is to be known as Santa with Tree and Bell politely referring back, we guess, to its pre-McCarthy origins.

Images; Left, prototype of the chocolate Santa with Tree and bell. Right, the original china figurine used by McCarthy as a model.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Warning to art students

SHEILA HETI: I suppose the schools have something to do with the change—the craziness that you have to get an MFA to be an artist.

DAVE HICKEY: Thirty-five thousand MFAs a semester, 90 percent of whom never make another work of art.

SH: And do you think that that kind of system produces—

DAVE HICKEY: Almost no one. Idiots with low-grade depression. When I opened my gallery in the late ’60s, Peter Plagens—who’s now the critic for Newsweek and still shows his paintings—was the only artist I represented who had been to graduate school. The MFA thing is an invention of the ’70s. Its raison d’être is evaporating.

SH: Which is?

DAVE HICKEY: Training sissies for teaching jobs. Well, the official raison d’être was to create an intellectual and pedagogical justification for the most frivolous activity in Western culture, so you go back and read things from the past. It’s the traditional Renaissance desire that artists should be taken seriously, and that art not be a practical but a liberal art. But I tend to think it’s a practice, like law or like medicine.

Taken from an interview with Dave Hickey by Sheila Heti in November’s issue of The Believer. Thanks J

Copy cat

Hotere-like product in the foyer of the Wellington's Bond Store apartments.

You say potato

Most people reading this post will have a shock of recognition when they see these two paintings. Many will have even more of a shock when they hear that both were painted by Mark Rothko in 1969, and not Colin McCahon. Looking at reproductions of works like these it is hard for most art educated New Zealanders not to read them as landscapes. Where an American would see an abstract painting we’ve been trained by works like Tomorrow will be the same… painted by McCahon in 1958 to see them as slate grey land with lowering dark skies. We remember having this discussion with an American curator. We were looking with him at Rothkos similar to these and pointed out the landscape possibilities they presented. Initially, he had no idea of what we were talking about. We had to do that thing you do with kids when they see their first elephant. Point out the tail, show where the legs are, and hope that it moves. Once that was done our curator friend grudgingly admitted the landscape possibility but, even then, we could see he kept losing it to the abstractness he had come to expect from Rothko.

Image: Left, Mark Rothko Untitled (Black and Gray), 1969. Right Mark Rothko Untitled, 1969. The two paintings are both for sale, one at Sotheby’s and the other at Christie’s.

Monday, November 05, 2007


We have just heard that Natasha Conland may not be making an appearance at the Massey Grand Tour session tomorrow night. That would cut the Trip Of A Lifetime representation by 50 percent. Think, think, think. Here's an idea. Given that she lives and works in Wellington, why doesn't CNZ’s Undine Marshfield step up and onto the bill? (er, why wasn't she on the bill anyway?) She too took the Trip Of A Lifetime and, according to those who were there, took notes. Even better, isn't Undine coordinating the confidential (sic) reports from all Trip members? People who want to hear what the lone TOAL survivor (Gavin Hipkins) has to say might be better to button hole him at an opening. LATER: Have just had a call from CNZ's Undine and she'll be there to listen.

Time flies

One of our readers has just noticed this press release from CNZ.
"12 Sep 2007 Creative New Zealand Award for Bravery recognises innovative partnership An innovative partnership, resulting in New Zealand's first-ever live webcast involving sound and moving image, was recognised tonight with the 2007 Creative New Zealand Award for Bravery at the National Business Review Awards for Sponsorship of the Arts."
As our gob-smacked reader notes. One of the first NZ live webcasts of sound and moving image, included Many Hands playing live (CuSeeMe) as part of the Wellington Artslink performing arts festival eleven and a half years ago on 8 July 1995!
Take a belated bow Alison Green, Craig McDougall, Bruce McNaught, Rob Mayo, Derek Tearne, John Ellis, Peter Jamieson and Matt King. Brave ones.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Conceptualise with Confidence!

Over at stimulusresponse is a proposed conceptual framework for the description and analysis of all forms of art.