Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who’s the blonde next to Moana?

When Germany made plans for its presence at the Venice Biennale this year, they made a couple of decisions that might help Creative New Zealand understand what the Venice Biennale is all about.

The first was to hire a curator who heads up a Dutch art museum. Nicolaus Schafhausen directs Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. The second decision was to select an English artist to show in the German pavilion. This is not to say that these decisions didn’t cause some fuss, they did. The selection of Liam Gillick to represent Germany resulted in the Deutsche Bank Group almost immediately pulling its sponsorship. But do you know what? The world didn’t end. Instead another sponsor, Hugo Boss, stepped right up. Since then the Deutsche Bank has reconsidered and returned to the fold.

How far away this is from the nationalistic myopia of CNZ? We understand CNZ plans to send Moana and the Moa Hunters and possibly a Kapa haka team over to Venice to make the event more “NZ-ie”. It’s as though they have learnt nothing from New Zealand’s previous outings to Venice. There is some justification for this of course as all the people with experience have left the building but even so, apart from the cost (and you could be forgiven for wondering whether the KiwiConcertParty sideshows might end up costing more to produce than the art), there is the question of focus. The Venice Biennale is designed for the visual arts. Like they would send et al to help zoom up the Rugby World Cup!

We’ll ask CNZ for the budget breakdown and let you know how the figures stack up for the different components. At least this is one occasion that “commercial sensitivity” can’t be used as a reason for non disclosure!