Monday, August 18, 2008


We get to see a lot of Australian art here in New Zealand. The City Gallery alone usually manages one big Australian show a year including over the last few years exhibitions by Hany Armanious, Patricia Piccinini, Noel McKenna, Rosalie Gascoigne and Louise Weaver. At the moment we have Fiona Hall with a huge show care of the MCA in Sydney. In fact a few of these shows have come via the MCA, so how does it go in reverse? Not well. In fact it’s hard to think of any one-person public museum exhibitions by New Zealanders in Australia (apart from our own Robert Leonard’s efforts in Brisbane), and certainly not at the MCA. Julian Dashper has had a couple of outings, but if you’re looking for serious reciprocity, it just isn’t there. Maybe our own institutions and dealers aren’t pushing our wares hard enough or perhaps it’s just a lack of interest, although the latter is hard to fathom given the popularity of so many New Zealand artists in Australia. At least a dozen of them are part of the ‘stables’ of Australian dealers and have regular high profile shows. And the last two Melbourne Art Fairs have featured Ronnie Van Hout and Michael Parekowhai. On reflection, it’s definitely a public museum thing.