Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Putting the NZ Made boot in

The Dominion Post pursued its typically stupid approach to the Venice Biennale in its Saturday editorial. The editor still can’t get past the idea that selling NZ cheese is one of the key objectives for sending artists to Venice.

“Perhaps,” grumbles the DomPost, “it is Creative NZ that should be answering the questions. Why is it spending more than half a million dollars exhibiting work overseas that says nothing about New Zealand and can be seen only by the handful of New Zealanders wealthy enough to travel to Italy?”

Probably for the same reason we spend money on scholarships to send students overseas to study mathematics (no, not NZ maths, just plain old maths) and decline to deck out the Katherine Mansfield fellows in Swanndri.

The fact is Upritchard and Millar are from New Zealand and have serious international reputations as artists. That will be enough to attract curators to visit their shows and then perhaps develop a deeper interest in them and other New Zealand artists. That’s how it works in Venice. The Biennale, believe it or not, isn’t about attracting New Zealand tourists or selling local produce.

You can see the full editorial here on OTN Stuff.