Monday, March 31, 2008


We were so busy ckecking out what Artforum thought was the best of 2007, we didn’t notice they had kept part of the best for last. At the back of the issue is a picture and review of Eve Armstrong’s show at Michael Lett.

Thumbs up

This is the story of a thumb. It belongs to Andy Salisbury who was born 39 years ago in Liverpool, England. Salisbury, a left-hander, brought it with him to New Zealand in 1990. Around 10 years ago he was working as a photographic re-toucher in Wellington and had the opportunity to press his thumb into service for Te Papa. After dipping it into a mix of coffee and water, he enlarged the print, refined the whorls, added at touch of his own – an Air New Zealand-style koru-shape – and handed the result to the Saatchi & Saatchi art director in charge of creating ‘Our Place’s’ logo. With the Te Papa name attached, the new logo was presented to Te Papa and accepted. It remains the core of Te Papa’s brand identity. Andy Salisbury still lives in Wellington.
Image: Left Andy Salisbury’s thumb. Right, the thumbprint as adapted for Te Papa

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Just when you started to think New Zealand artists and overthenet were alone in their obsession with rabbits, the rest of the world catches on. This photo from Tokyo Fashion Week earlier this month.

The Peter Principle

Peter Robinson meets Peter McLeavey at Peter Robinson's opening at Peter McLeavey's Gallery this morning.

For art's sake

It's art, it's ping pong, it's on overthenet.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Also serving

9 am might be a bit early in the morning perhaps, but today was the day Massey University promised its One Day Sculpture site would ‘go live’.
31 March: The site now says it will go live on 2 April.

Wipe out

Have we ever had an Etch-A-Sketch artist on otn? It rings a bell but we can’t find one on the search. No matter Jeff Gagliardi is worth posting whatever. If you check out YouTube you will find Etch-a-sketchers buy the truck load but Jeff’s special skill is reproducing great works of art, which gets him a berth here. If you want to dive deeper into the Etch-a-sketch world of Jeff Gagliardi, go here. By the way the Etch-A-Sketch was launched in 1960 by Ohio Art.
Images: Top and left bottom Jeff’s sketches. Bottom right, Jeff.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Peter Tomory 1922-2008

Peter Tomory died yesterday. He was Director of the Auckland Art Gallery from 1956 to 1964. There is a nice piece on Best of 3 about his life and an obit by Mary Kisler on Auckland Art Gallery’s Outpost blog. Tomory will be remembered as a great champion of New Zealand art at a time when the country was still looking to England for its cultural signals.
Image: Cover of Eight New Zealand Painters the first in a series of exhibitions curated and toured round the country during Tomory’s direction.

Hats off

Last week a Goldie painting, estimated at 240-280K (itself a wide enough margin for error one would have thought) sold for $400,000 ($454,00 with commissions). Even this price is around $50,000 shy of the figure the then-National Art Gallery (like so many national institutions, always a trend setter in pricing) paid 18 years ago for an admittedly bigger Goldie. It’s been a long haul getting to I-told-you-so prices on CF but, so long as we don’t do mean things like insist on dollar value corrections, the end may be in sight.
Image: The Goldie [Detail]
Oh, oh. It's only 8.15 am and an OTN reader tells us, "Goldie's Te Aho O Te Rangi Wharepu sold for $589,625 at Fishersonline in April 2004, the current auction record." Ok, so now this story is only about Goldies at auction.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shopping report

For all the talk of Billy Apple having his photograph alongside Andy Warhol when he showed in The American Supermarket at Paul Bianchini's gallery in 1964, has it ever been reproduced in colour since that day? Has now.

Warning to everyone in general

It’s not often you get an art scam and maybe this is only one by association, still nothing like throwing a scare into everyone.

This email came to us yesterday from a Hye Rim Lee.

Hope things are good with you? I am sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling to Africa for a program called "Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education, the program is taking place in three major countries in Africa which are Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria. It as been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that I found myself is very hard for me to explain. I am really stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because I have no money on me. I am now owning a hotel bill of $1300 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management., I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $1400 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $2700 to sort out my problems here? I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here, I don't even have money to feed myself for a day which means i had been starving so please understand how urgent i needed your help. I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now, Please let me know on time so that i can forward you the details you need to transfer the money through Money Gram or Western Union. Have a great easter. Best Regards, Hye Rim

Yes it’s just the old Nigerian shuffle in a new unnerving disguise – this time they use the names of people you actually know. Ok, they shifted Hye Lee Rim's name about a bit, and the Yahoo address they used wasn’t anything like the right one. Still, after an opening, tired and befuddled...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On the road

On the road is an ongoing series celebrating the Ministry of Land Transport and Local Body support of New Zealand artists. For others in the series search 'on the road' on the blog search above.

Where in the world is David Trebletsky?

You can Google the name David Trebletsky as much as you like, but you’ll get nowhere, well we didn’t (maybe we have the spelling wrong – anyone?). But recently, in Auckland, that was the name we heard everywhere we went.
“Trebletsky? … huge private art collection. Close, Kapoor, Murakami, Nara, Haring.”
“You must have passed him as you came in, he just left.”
“Trebletsky’s buying work by Kahukiwa, Lionel Grant, Michael Parekowhai, lots of Chris Heaphys and Jacqueline Fraser.” (Do we sense a theme here?)
“I heard that Trebletsky and Paula Savage have had talks about his show going to the City Gallery.”
“Queensland Art Gallery’s doing something with Trebletsky. He’s putting together an exhibition from his collection and touring it round the world. At the end of the tour he wants to sell it to a public institution.”
“I think he lives in Singapore. His wife used to work for Larry Gagosian.”
“He’s the one with Polynesian tattoos you see around the dealer galleries. I heard he bought a big Shane Cotton at auction.”

Image: not David Trebletsky

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Film fun

We don’t want to go on about CNZ. Well, that’s not quite true, we do, but only until they come out of hiding. The latest in CNZ’s batten-down-the-hatches approach to the NZ public we’ve heard, is over a proposed documentary film. The idea was pretty simple. Make a film about NZ's participation in the Venice Biennale from selection to exhibition. The movie was to start with the discussion during the selection of the artist from the short list. “Not in our lifetime” was CNZ’s reply (or words to that effect), followed by the admonition “This is not about winners”. They are right of course, thanks to their process, it is about one person exhibiting at Venice and all the others not exhibiting at Venice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good news and bad news

“In the short time we had to build the collection, it was difficult to source suitable works from many of the country’s top female artists as their exhibitions were selling out so quickly.”
Rob McLeod, in Artnews New Zealand, explaining why only 10 of 64 of the artists represented in The Real Art Show (art in a truck) are women.

Recreational aesthetics

What is it about public sculpture and local body councils? In Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws reached for aesthetics to rid his town of “tacky” chainsaw art by sculptor Merv Richdale. Laws: “I don’t know anybody with aesthetic appreciation of art who likes them. Not one.” In Wellington there is a similar push to upgrade aesthetics by council, who have a sign alongside stone sculptures in Cuba Mall calling for their owners to remove them (today is D Day), and noting that the space is no longer available for stone carving.

Images: Top, Wellington City Council say no to stoners in Cuba Mall. Bottom, Chainsaw artist Richdale ‘off to Canada to pursue his chainsaw carving career’ removing sculptures, as shown on TV3.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spam, Spam and Spam

We figure you've had enough excitement for one day. So, following up our interest in Spam, here's an afternoon diversion sent in by one of our readers.


Well, we tried and failed. Our appeal to the Ombusdsman to require CNZ to let us have the tripofalifetime reports has been rejected. Strangely it wasn’t CNZ that thwarted us. The Ombudsman made it clear that “The [CNZ] Memorandum did not offer any expectation to the delegates that their reports as a whole (or personal opinions contained therein) would be confidential…” and that “I was not satisfied that it imposed a blanket condition of confidentiality for the entirety of any reports that might be submitted by the delegates.”

So far, so good.

Later in her response, however, the Ombusdman says she felt a later CNZ meeting while not “creating any obligation of confidence…” was “consistent with an understanding on the part of the delegates that their reports would be kept confidential.”

And this is where we came unstuck.

The Ombudsman consulted with all the tripofaliftimers and, what-do-you-know, “each delegate made the point that their reports had not been drafted with the idea of public release in mind.” and “Given that they had not expected public release, certain delegates concerns extended to their grammatical style as well as the sentiments expressed.” So, in the end private interests prevailed over the public interest.

And that was that.

On appeal, we made a compromise offer to the Ombudsman suggesting that the reports be made public with 1) the names of the delegates removed, 2) with anything they didn’t want made public blacked out and 3) that an opportunity was given to delegates to fix any problematic grammar. This was not acceptable and our final request for the release of the reports into the public domain was denied.

Their secrets will go with them to the grave.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It figures

If you enjoy art stats, you’ll love the Mei-Moses index. Michael Moses and Jiangping Mei of the New York University's Stern School of Business, have been tracking the art market for some time now and are starting to get a good fix on art as an investment (it roughly matches the share market). Recently, however, they made an even more interesting discovery. Apparently being mentioned by a critic or being selected by a curator has little or no effect on the art market. Out of a survey of 12,000 works, Mei and Moses only found 185 gained by the recognition and then only at a miserly .5 of a percent.


Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Sam Neill are all stars of the screen who collect New Zealand art. To this list please add Glenn Schaeffer. His collection of New Zealand work includes Gretchen Albrecht, Andrew Drummond, et al., Peter Robinson and Gordon Walters and his screen credits include Las Vegas season 1 pilot and first episode (What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas) and the fourth episode of season two (Catch of the Day). Mr Schaeffer appears as himself (“Mr Schaeffer is on the floor”) and in the pilot gives the nod to a monstrous bet (Croupier: “He’s up over three-and-a-half mil. That’s over seven plus if he wins”) being placed by the evil scammer with a mini-camera implanted in his finger. You can get Las Vegas on DVD here. Mr Schaeffer also appeared in the 2003 doco Secrets of the Pyramids.

Image: Glenn Schaeffer gives the nod

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday is welding masks, is everybody happy?

A million years ago we did an exhibition on the art of the mask at the Dowse Art Gallery. If only we had known about these babies then. You can start your own collection by going here, here, here, or here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

On the nose

Emails have been flooding in and we can now have a good guess at the short list for Venice. First up it looks like Julian Dashper, Ronnie van Hout, Andy Palmer, Fiona Pardington, Hye Rim Lee and Sriwhana Spong have fallen at the first hurdle. From our initial list, that leaves Phil Dadson, Judy Millar, Yvonne Todd and Francis Upritchard, although we have only had two of those confirmed (make that three). And, when you’re placing your bets, don’t forget the dark six that help make up CNZ’s strangely small pool of 16 contenders.

Stairway to heaven

It’s gone now, but the Artspace exhibition You are here with artists Kah Bee Chow, Fiona Connor, Finn Ferrier, Alex Monteith, John Ward Knox and curated by Ariane Craig-Smith was terrific. We had seen work by Fiona Connor before (although we missed her much talked about floor-raising at Gambia Castle) but coming into Artspace and confronting her version of the building’s staircase Props gave that shock of astonishment you always hope for. Even if that were it, it would have been a great exhibition, but there was more. Clear Float by Fiona Connor, Kah Bee Chow and Finn Ferrier, another staircase this one of scaffolding, let you climb up to look out of Artspace’s top line of windows thanks to the the translucent glass being replaced by clear. In one of the back galleries there was another impressive installation, Finn Ferrier’s disciplined floor piece Inanga. All this raises the perennial question around young artists and new work. What now? The window panes have been returned to translucent, but the memory of Artspace as a white cube with a view will stay with us. As for Props, it will be stored under the house by now and Ferrier’s floor work cleaned off. It also seems incredible to us that public institutions are so cautious about purchasing work like this. It can’t be the price. The fact is public galleries struggle to own work like this with their display restrictions (tape on the floor, stanchions and ropes, lots of warnings, to keep their audiences at bay), conservation reports and the availability of high security and storage with its air-conditioning and unrealistic space allocations. But, unless institutions like the Auckland Art Gallery can seriously consider purchases like Props, they are out of the contemporary art game. Why not take on a different set of criteria for purchasing (and protecting) work that refuses to obey the usual standards. You really don’t see that many shows this good. Maybe it’s time for those institutional curators to take a deep breath, and step up.
Images: Top, view from Clear Float. Bottom, Fiona Connor Props

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The lucky country

April is New Zealand artist month in Sydney. Julian Dashper will be artist in residence at the Sydney College of the Arts, Rohan Wealleans will be showing Slave of the Cannibal God at Roslyn Oxley and at Artspace will be Ronnie van Hout with BED/SIT and Francis Upritchard with rainwob II. Caroline Rothwell, the third artist in the Artspace offering, has also shown work with Sue Crockford and is represented in the Chartwell collection.

Art is where you find it

Creepy mobster tombstones from Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukrain.
Click on image to enlarge


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at the venice short list has now been assembled and cnz have contacted losers in the first round of the competition. at least two on the list published on overthenet are out of the race. gavin hipkins has joined the staff of the auckland university school of fine arts. sheep have rubbed a white line in lanolin along the base of richard serra’s sculpture te tuhirangi contour on the gibbs’ kaipara harbour farm, serra is apparently fine with it. ronnie van hout has a son vito. michael lett will be at the basel art fair again this year and this time without cnz support. the winner of the stewart fountain commission in christchurch will be announced at the beginning of scape in september. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and any that makes us laugh out loud rewarded with an overthenet cap.
Image: Spam study by Edward Ruscha, UBS collection

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Image: Merlin Carpenter at Art Basel Miaimi

One day at a time

Checking out the One Day Sculpture web site we now see it will be up and running on 28 March, which as you probably all know, is Teachers' Day in Slovakia in the Czech Republic.

Visiting rights

Pictured above are the posters that have been put up around Wellington promoting Francis Upritchard’s exhibition RAINWOB I at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Upritchard has been artist in residence in New Plymouth and this exhibition is the result. We also saw these posters around Auckland making the Govett-Brewster one of the few galleries prepared to chase audiences beyond their immediate community. It’s strange then that the invitation to the opening of the show arrived only a few days ago which made it very late to plan a trip and certainly too late to book cheap fares. Thinking more about how to attract out-of-town visitors, it’s curious that the Govett-Brewster’s website shows so little of what the exhibition looks like. Apart from the poster image there is nothing to tempt people to drive, fly or crawl to New Plymouth (not a place that is easy or cheap to get to). Compare dealer gallery web sites (lots of images of both work and exhibition installations) with public museum sites (very few images of current shows). Dealers have work to sell and they want people to see it, but public museums have an experience to sell and surely the best way to attract people is by images.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Warning to commissioners of public sculpture

"A lot of public art is gunge, an excuse which says, 'look, we're terribly sorry to have built this senseless glass and steel tower but here is this 20-foot bronze cat' " - Antony Gormley
Image: A typical giant bronze cat. This one by Botero

In tents

No sooner did we get news of Starkwhite’s invitation to show et al. at Art Unlimited at the Basel Art Fair than Michael Stevenson’s book Celebration at Persepolis turned up in the mail. The small book that is jamb packed with incredibly interesting information about the Last Hurrah of the Iranian Shah, has been published jointly by the Aldofini in the UK who took the exhibition after Basel and Keller Editions. Aucklanders might remember the exhibition of books and magazines compiled by Christoph Keller shown in Artspace this time last year. It was also shown at the Physics Room in Christchurch. The publication includes an interview with Stevenson, a detailed account of the party including important details (Nixon didn’t attend, sending Spiro Agnew in his place, Tito was there, so too was Prince Philip and Anne. And you couldn’t keep Ceausescu away, not with roast partridge stuffed with foie gras on the menu). Finally there is a suite of great pics of Stevenson’s own version of the desert folly as shown in Basel.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Here’s something you don’t see every day, and certainly something the people of Budapest didn’t expect to see 5 days ago. We're talking about 12 meters worth of Lenin statue barging down the Danube. As it turned out, the sculpture was a prop from a film.

Cue cameras

As non-object artists in the 1970s found, making art that doesn’t have a lasting product is hard on a career and tough on art historians. Work set in the relational aesthetics domain faces the same challenges. Even Rirkrit Tiravanija RA has found himself producing multiples and food related art-to-go to feed the market. A photo in Saturday’s Dominion Post of Roman Ondak’s work Good Feelings in Good Times sums up the dilemma: how to be true to the integrity of the work. At the One Day sculpture seminar, curator Claire Doherty suggested that Ondak’s queue is the kind of work that goes out and finds its own audience. Maybe, but in the case of Good Feelings in Good Times at least one audience had privileged access. We wandered the streets and didn’t get 'found' but the Dom Post photographer was obviously tipped on where to go. Without the evidence of that picture, and doubtless many others taken by local art academics who were also ‘found’ by the work, there would not have been any public record at all.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

When good art turns bad 4

Back in May 2001 a South Korean army CH-47 Chinook helicopter broke up after striking a giant sculpture it was lowering onto a plinth above a road bridge in Seoul. The rotors clipped the statue sending the helicopter crashing to the ground, where it exploded in flames. Three died.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Good eh?

When we promised almost a year ago (16 March 07) we wouldn't mention the Artspace sign again, we hadn't reckoned on this, photographed today.
Thanks R, that's worth a cap.

What's my line?

For one day today, Wellington the capital of pointy sculpture and relational aesthetics, will be the venue for the Litmus Research Initiative’s One Day Sculpture. Throughout the day, or parts of it, the artist Roman Ondak’s work Good Feelings in Good Times will be performed in the city. Good Feelings… is on loan from the Tate in London and takes the form of a queue of people. Ondak calls it ‘taking a line for a walk’. Unfortunately, unless you are a member of the Litmus Club, or chance on the work, there doesn’t seem to be any way to know where or when the queues will form. We assume, however, the media will be alerted and those in the know will take photographs. Good Feelings in Good Times is being curated by Claire Doherty who is a Senior Research Fellow at Bristol UWE and Director of Situations. You can read her blog here. A one day sculpture site with details about the project is set to start publishing today but, as at 8pm on 11 March, is not working.
Image: Good Feelings in Good Times (artist’s impression)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Copy cat

Top: Weta Workshops. Bottom: Louise Borgouis.

Strippers Part 2

An invitation a while back to the launch of Testrip: a history of an artist-run space (1992-1997). Fittingly this book is being launched in the post-Vulcan Lane Teststrip gallery in K Road which is now occupied by another artist run gallery Gambia Castle. The photo above was taken when the Testrippers were in Wellington for the exhibition Teststrip on tour at Cubewell House in March 1993. If you want to catch the launch go to Gambia Castle at 454 K Road at 6pm tonight. Wish we were there.
Image: Denise Kum at Cubwell House. She melted beeswax in her trusty electric fry pan to make a shelf of wax books and other waxy works on the spot.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Copy cat

The Last Supper has always brought out the best, whoops we mean worst, in copycats. This version, featuring the cast of Battlestar Galactica, is our all time favourite. But let’s leave you with the words of the Battlers themselves.

Baltar: I had nothing to do with this. You know I had nothing to do with this.
Number Six: You have an amazing capacity for self-deception. How do you do that?

Pride of place

Bangladesh is full of painted rickshaws and trucks. We saw one truck sporting the Sydney Opera House and a couple with paintings of the National Assembly Building designed by Louis Kahn. Can you imagine a Wellington taxi with a pic of the Beehive painted on its boot, or an Auckland one with the Sky Tower? Not so much.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Warning to art thieves

Two of the Norwegian Munch Scream stealers have had their sentences increased. One scored an extra six months the other had a wacking nine and a half years tacked on. Like our own medal-pincher discovered, people don’t like it when you nick national treasures.

Monday, March 03, 2008

On the road 4

On the road is an ongoing series celebrating the Ministry of Land Transport and Local Body support of New Zealand artists. For others in the series search 'Road' on the blog search above.

Big Ears

Depending on who you hear it from, the story of Laurence Aberhart’s sell out exhibition in Sydney, goes something like this.

We are in the Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney. Around the walls are photographs by New Zealand photographer Laurence Aberhart. Enter Sir Elton John. He moves quickly round the exhibition his eyes sparkling with delight.
Sir Elton: (pointing wildly at the images): I’ll take that, and that, and that. (pause) I’ll take them all.
Sir Elton moves to the next room where a single photograph is hanging on the wall.
Sir Elton: …and that
The director Darren Knight (Mr Knight is not knighted like Sir Elton, Knight is his given name) moves forward.
Darren Knight: That image, is a little more expensive.
Sir Elton: Goody.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


To keep on the perfume theme here is an art perfume too far. Revolution Pipe Bomb is a limited edition fragrance by New York artist and curators Lisa Kirk. The perfume will be launched on March 13, at PARTICIPANT, INC