Wednesday, October 29, 2008

By the numbers

In an email from Parsons Bookshop a while back we got notification of a book by Oliver Stead due for publication later this month. It’s called Art Icons of New Zealand. The email gave a sample of a few of the icons represented including Pat Hanly’s Figures in Light No 17, Tony Fomison’s Each Must Decide and rather off left field, Ralph Hotere’s Rosemary.

We decided to use that well-known visual icon calibrator Google Images to check out the iconic status of Stead’s selection. First we did a test run with New Zealand’s most loved painting Rita Angus’s Cass according to The Sunday Star Times. It scored 14. Then we put Parsons’ sample to the test. Here are the results in terms of number of images found. Firm, but fair.

Neil Dawson Ferns - 31
Michael Parekowhai Ten Guitars - 11
Pat Hanly Figures in Light No 17 - 3
Edward Fristrom Pohutukawa - 3
C F Goldie Tamehana from Life - 2
Tony Fomison Each must decide - 1
Jeffrey Harris Family - 1
Frances Hodgkins Summer - 0
Ralph Hotere Rosemary - 0
Robin Morrison K Road - 0
Filipe Tohi Lavalavaometry - 0

Image: If its in the New World supermarket, its an icon – end of story.