Thursday, November 22, 2007

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.