Friday, July 31, 2009

Forever young

Overthenet will be back next Wednesday.

Images: Top to bottom, left to right. Julian Dashper in the studio 1990, at Peter McLeavey's 1989, in the studio 1989, with Les Paris and Marie 1992, in the studio office checking out a parcel from Derek Cowie in 1988 and at the 2007 Auckland Art Fair.
Click on photos to enlarge

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Julian Dashper 1960-2009

We have just heard the expected but still shocking news that Julian Dashper died this morning. Julian has been an irrepressible presence in the New Zealand art scene for so long now, it is impossible at the moment to imagine it without his emails, funny stories, relentless optimism and a sweet nature, albeit tinged with steel when it came to his work. Julian and Marie managed what has often been considered impossible: two artists living together, both hugely admiring and supporting the other’s work. Add their son Leo and you had a very tight unit. Much of Julian's earlier work is little known by a decade of young artists – his wild exhibition with John Reynolds at Peter McLeavey’s in 1984 is an incendiary memory. His later work, and his impeccable role model as a working artist, has been a profound influence. We will miss Julian terribly, but his presence is everywhere.


Dali fever has hit Melbourne with the exhibition Liquid Desire. If you like Dali and want to see some great works by the erratic master, now is the time to do it. You have a couple of months before the show closes on 4 October. We have posted on Dali and his excursions into film and television before but here’s a great one: the recently discovered update of a 1946 project Dali began with Walt Disney. The outcome was to have been a short film called Destino but the project was dropped with only an 18-minute test in the can when Disney ran into financial trouble. It was picked up again by Roy Disney in 1999 to be incorporated into Fantasia 2000. That movie was finished but the Dali/ Disney tale of two tortoises didn’t even make it to the final cut. In the US anyway Destino’s fate was to appear as a short to the animated feature The Triplets of Belleville. Surprising that Disney has allowed this clip to stay on YouTube, so enjoy it while you can. If the link is broken try typing Destino Disney into the YouTube search box

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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' in the blog search box above.

Cave art

At the last Scape in Christchurch in 2008, Callum Morton installed a giant boulder in a disused shop and called it Monument #19: Sexy Beast. The work gained special resonance when we were bussed out to a large privately-owned cave for Scape’s opening party. More than one person (Callum Morton included) noted that being in the cave was like being inside the rock-in-a-shop installation. Now that thought has taken physical form in Morton’s latest installation Grotto. It was commissioned by Fundament Foundation, Tilburg in the Netherlands and as in Monument #19: Sexy Beast, a massive ‘rock’ is enclosed inside an architectural space. The difference is that this time you can get inside the rock and have the full cave experience.
Images: Top, Monument #19: Sexy Beast at Scape. Bottom, Grotto, 2009 (Pics from the roslynoxley9 web site - thanks for that.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Look alike

Images: Left, Jeff Koons Lobster. Right, Te Papa poster for F1 exhibition

Signature style

Here’s a lookalike story from the dark side. Master con man John Drewe and artistic accomplices like John Myatt are the subjects of Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo’s investigation Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art. The book examines how Drewe managed to get forgeries of works by artists like Jean Dubuffet, Nicolas de Stael, Marc Chagall, Graham Sutherland, Ben Nicholson and Alberto Giacometti accepted as genuine by the British art establishment. His mastery of the all-important archival documentation of the works and judicious gifts to institutions were among his tools. Salisbury and Sujo conclude that over 100 of the fake paintings are still in circulation. On a TV chat show, anxious to prove that not all his principles had gone down the drain, John Myatt made a play for artistic credibility. He told the interviewer that if someone came to him with one of his fakes and he knew that if he admitted he’d painted it they would lose “a whole lot of money”, he’d keep mum. “What kind of person would I be if I ever took pleasure in something like that? If someone comes to me with a painting I know I’ve done, to my dying days, I’ll deny it.” On behalf of collectors everywhere, thanks John.

Monday, July 27, 2009

K rules OK

It was a King-hit for K-Road in the Weekend Herald’s supplement Canvas on ‘emerging artists’ going international. The story looked at New Zealand artists living in foreign countries who still manage to retain a strong presence back home. Featured were Martin Basher, Alicia Frankovich and Dane Mitchell from Starkwhite and Eve Armstrong and Simon Denny who show with Michael Lett. Among those interviewed were K-Road associates Robert Leonard and Brian Butler (ex Artspace directors), current Artspace director Emma Bugden and Dominic Feuchs (Starkwhite again).

Well covered

In an inspired act of patronage, two anonymous Australian collectors offered to pay for the 28-page Ronnie van Hout puzzle book Who Goes There that accompanies his exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Of course the inspired patronage also extends to Ronnie van Hout who took time out to conceptualise and draw up what must be the most entertaining art publication ever produced in New Zealand. At the opening it was offered free to everyone who turned up and it should be available throughout the show. If you can’t make it to Christchurch, you could send a begging letter to the gallery. Each page of the book is based on a work in the exhibition treated as a puzzle. All the old favourites are there from join-the-dots, pick-a-path and colouring-in pages to spot-the-difference and quiz questions. At the opening Ronnie had a tail of people waiting to have their book signed which he did with good cheer, occasionally adding a drawing to go along with the sig.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mimi and Kim

We saw The Creation of Value: meditations on the logic of museums and other coercive institutions by Kim on Hamish Keith’s blog One City- Many Voices. Kim’s report describes museums as “reverse time machines” that treat each object in the collection “as though it is frozen in time … with nothing being allowed to get old or fall apart.” As the cat so sagely reflects, “…this is impossible… because no matter how much the museums try to copy reality, it never comes out right.” Essential viewing for museum staff everywhere, and a laugh for the rest of us.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Once in a museum in the US we got too close to an Indian rug and a recorded voice from nowhere instructed us to, "Move away. Do not touch." Only problem was that the voice was in a strong Indian accent. Even though breaking the security beam that triggered the voice got the guards into the room, we did it a couple of times to confirm that we did hear "touchem" instead of "touch." Yesterday at Ronnie van Hout's exhibition, Who goes there, at the Christchurch Art Gallery we tripped another beam and got "Please stand back from the art work. Thank you." Was it Ronnie? Was it part of the work? Did it really matter? It was great whatever.
Image: Hidden beam lying in wait.

A professional attachment

First up, the three exhibitions (et al, van Hout and Pick) now on at the Christchurch Art Gallery are outstanding. Add to that a set of galleries that are easily the best exhibition spaces in the country and it is well worth a visit. Not often do you see such large-scale backing of contemporary NZ art. One detail said as much about the Christchurch Art Gallery as the shows themselves. No one would say that installing an et al. production is anything less than demanding, with technical requirements, sound, paint-outs and, usually, challenges to conventional practice. et al.'s that's obvious! that's right! that's true! was definitely in that mode, but here the technical team appeared to have performed faultlessly. Often a sticking point with installations is the willingness by managment to allow the work to affect the structure of the building. With that's obvious! that's right! that's true! not only had ceiling panels been removed to reveal the air conditioning ducts and electrics, but very tall metal stands had been dynabolted directly to the floor. Remember that some institutions will not even allow sculpture to stand directly on their highly polished floorsl let alone drive steel dynabolts into them. Whenever you see dynabolts in stone you know you are looking at total commitment.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flattery will get you Erewhon

"Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise man to be able to sell it."
Samuel Butler

Art is where you find it

Over the last few years the web has recorded the amazing images created in Japanese rice fields. The 2009 crop [link] is beginning to take shape with different varieties of rice producing different leaf colours. The images of the Sengoku-period warrior and Napoleon are from the Aomori prefecture village of Inakadate. You can see more rice paddy art and get more information here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


A classic Don Binney, Kotare Over Hikurangi did well at the Webb’s auction last night with a winning a bid from the floor of $220,000. That put it just under the high estimate of $250,000. Most of the other feature paintings seemed to go for under their lower estimates including the Goldie. A surprise was the high price paid for Rough Crossing a 2006 painting by Alvin Pankhurst. Back in 1974 Pankhurst won the then premier national art award sponsored by Benson & Hedges (the painting is now in the collection of the Dunedin Art Gallery). Not surprising that $27,000, on a high estimate of $12,000, got the room going.


In the mid-1970s, Philip Clairmont was living with his wife Vicki and daughter Melissa in Waikanae, about 40 kilometres from Wellington. Phil used the single car garage as a studio and often expanded into the living room. Every few weeks we’d drive out to spend the day with them, look at the work and occasionally watch him paint. Like one of his favourite painters Francis Bacon, Phil preferred to work in enclosed spaces under incandescent light and, like Bacon’s studio, Phil’s spaces were a clutter of reference material, paints, pots and half finished work. To see anything you had to pick your way through an undergrowth of past projects, drawings, photographs and painting equipment layered over paint spattered floorboards, protective corrugated card or, sometimes, carpet. Now that Francis Bacon’s studio has been packed up (thousands of photos were taken to ensure that every item could be replaced in its exact location in the clutter) and put on display in Dublin at The Hugh Lane, researchers are starting to sift through the debris. Pages out of magazines that have direct relationships with Bacon paintings are being discovered. One example shows how Bacon literally translated an illustration of a plucked and trussed chicken from a page torn from The Conran Cookbook directly to one of his canvases. While too much time has passed to do the same thing for Philip Clairmont, these photographs, taken in late 1974 in the living room at Waikanae, give a taste.

Other OTN stories on artist studios
Replicating artist studios
John Panting at the Royal College
Artists and their studios
Chinese artist studios

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Art in the workplace

Art hard at work in the foyers of the world.

Helping hand

If you want a quick read some time, try The American Painter Emma Dial. The author Samantha Peale worked as a studio assistant for Jeff Koons and has based the novel on her experiences. Among other themes in the novel she examines what happens when artists work for other artists (Koons has up to 100 assistants at any one time and Damien Hirst famously had around 250). The relationship can be brutal. We heard of one famous European artist saying that while he understood that making work for another artist could be demoralizing, good artists would never put themselves in that position. Some studio assistants do alright though. Christopher Wool worked for Joel Shapiro for a time and Chiho Aoshima and Mr. both worked for Murakami. In New Zealand a few artists use assistants. Patrick Pound once worked for Richard Killeen and Killeen for Colin McCahon. But last word to American super star artist John Currin who prefers to work alone. “[Having a studio assistant] is like hiring someone else to drive a two-seater sports car. Why bother?”

Monday, July 20, 2009

Walk with me

Last night The Man in the Hat, a documentary about art dealer Peter McLeavey, screened at the Wellington Film Festival. Founded on religious metaphor, the fight for cultural recognition, a bunch of great artists and a couple of rooms in Cuba Street, the Peter McLeavey Gallery helped promote New Zealand art here, and abroad, through the collections of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recently a couple of academics, replying to a charge that they had ignored Peter McLeavey’s role in the Mrkusich story responded, “It did not cross our minds to devote any of the text to an analysis of his role as Mrkusich's dealer. Ultimately, he was just that - Mrkusich's dealer. What is there of interest about that?” A quick look round New Zealand public and private collections and a viewing of The Man in the Hat would put a silver bullet into that one.
Image: Peter McLeavey speaks at the screening of The Man in the Hat

Flotsam and Jesson

Back in the day – the mid-1980s in fact – the Wellington City Council developed an arts bonus scheme. The Council allowed property developers to exceed the usual planning regulations in return for including art in their buildings. The most notable example was Fletcher Challenge getting substantially increased building height in exchange for the purchase of Henry Moore’s Bronze Form. Unfortunately many of the bonus scheme rewards have turned sour, Bronze Form is now tucked away in the Botanical Gardens, Neil Dawson’s Rock has been shifted from its prime spot on Willis Street and its original space taken over by retail and Robert Jesson’s Starfish … well, read on. Originally installed on the corner of Waring Taylor and Featherston Streets with some fanfare in 1985, Starfish was initially obscured by the introduction of a flower vendor and then vanished for some years only to come back from the dead this weekend. Apparently it had been mouldering in a storage facility in Seaview until its current owner, Business Solutions, decided to resuscitate it. The work was refurbished (metallic paint, different colours) and has now been sited in Ghuznee Street, outside a building currently occupied by the New Zealand Film Commission. Perhaps refurbish is not quite the word. Starfish has made its reappearance as part-architectural junk jewellery and part-shish-kabob. Clipped to the wall or the and skewered on a metal pole, the work is not something that Robert Jesson would recognise or, if he ever finds out about it, likely to endorse. Wellington city likes to trade on the idea of itself as the Creative Capital. Maybe the Mayor could get her cultural advisors at the City Gallery or the Public Art Panel onto the job of defending the original intention of the work.
Images: Top, Starfish reborn. Bottom left to right, Robert Jesson installing Starfish in 1981, the original positioning and colours of Starfish

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hare brained

We’ve always had a soft spot for rabbits and art. Not so the folk behind the Bunny Project.

Friday, July 17, 2009

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' in the blog search box above.

When good art turns bad

When it was first shown in the 1970s the Tate had to close the exhibition after four days because gallery visitors wrecked the work. Now Robert Morris’s installation Bodyspacemotionthings is fighting back. Reinstalled at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall this month, it has already sent 20 people to the first aid box and three kids to hospital. Follow up on the mayhem via the Guardian.
Image Robert Morris in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. More Guardian pictures here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


It’s magic realism month for New Zealand auction house catalogue covers with Art + Object reaching for Michael Smither and Webb’s for Peter Stitchbury. Inside it’s a different story with around 68% of Art + Object's feature lots being abstract compared to 34% of Webb’s.
Images: Top Art+Object. Bottom, Webb's

Open book

It’s ironic that as the digital world threatens to do for the traditional world of books, it’s also helping museums overcome a frustrating limitation. Displaying books in vitrines has never been a very happy experience for curators or visitors with the option of what to show often cut back to a couple of pages. The display of letters has the same problem. A prime example was in the exhibition Answering Hark, McCahon/ Caselberg: Painter/Poet where much drama was in the letters. All those years hanging out to read some of McCahon’s writings and coming to a screaming halt at the end of page one. Last weekend, at the Auckland Art Gallery, we saw a smart – although oddly executed – solution to this problem. Above an album of Burton Brothers photographs (the Wonderland album) of the Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886, hung a screen with a digital show of all the pictures in the album, one by one. The oddity was the way the screen was framed – matte, frame, the lot. You can maybe get the logic of putting a frame round a screen if you hang it on a gallery wall – it’s certainly done in homes as a domesticating device - but a matte? We’d understood mattes help to protect works on paper from the glazing, not a big issue with digital screens. It felt like titivation, particularly given the workmanlike presentation of the originals in album form. You can read more about the Burton Brothers Wonderland album on the Auckland Art Gallery blog here and here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seddon Bennington

We are very sad to report that Seddon Bennington and Marcella Jackson both died in the Tararua Ranges while on a tramping trip. Seddon had a long association with Wellington as the founding director of the City Gallery and Chief Executive of Te Papa. A charming and friendly man in a difficult job, he will be missed.

asiL anoM

A while back we showed you a pic by Brian Joseph of crowds photographing the Mona Lisa. Here’s the view from the other side of the room from Flickr.

Show and tell

Getting noticed in Europe is hard enough, but doing it as a New Zealander raises the stakes. That made it a surprise to find Simon Denny’s exhibition Watching Videos Dry at the T293 Gallery in Naples featured in one of the sites we track Coolhunting. Denny has been exhibiting up a storm with a show in Berlin at the Luettgenmeijer Gallery and one coming up at Galerie Daniel Buchholz in Cologne. He has also been featured in Mousse magazine, published out of Milan, which interviewed him about his Michael Lett show in Auckland. As Simon Denny’s horizons expand, the world shrinks.
Image: Denny in Mousse

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Skin deep

The art magazine TAR (they passed on RAT) has given its second issue cover to Damien Hirst, the first went to Julian Schnabel. The cover features Kate Moss as the Visible Woman. As Kate Moss has said herself, “The more visible they make me, the less visible I become.”
Image: TAR spotted in Auckland’s Magazino


We had promised ourselves not to mention the painting car. Animal art is fine, even art by people using animals to their own ends gets by, but cars? We think not. So when we saw the painting car ads start to pop up in magazines, on the net and on YouTube we ignored them. Besides, the car can’t even paint as well as your average horse; it just goes round in circles or backwards and forwards. While BMW have had a good history with artists and car painting (including Andy Warhol’s car, which you can watch him paint here) the real reason you are even reading this is because yesterday, when we looked out our window, there was a huge billboard for the painting car. Ok painting car, we give up.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Branded: Barber

When artists become brands.


As fast as Wellington puts them up, Auckland pulls them down. Hamish Keith reports that the Selwyn Muru sculpture from Aotea Square has disappeared. Public sculpture. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

The light fantastic

If you get round the dealer galleries and keep an eye on what’s going on, it’s hard for the public museums to surprise you with a collection show. But that is exactly what happened when we went to For Keeps the Auckland Art Gallery’s latest slice from the Chartwell Collection augmented by some of their own purchases. The lightness of touch, of physicality, of colour, of display stops you in your tracks. From the first room that includes et al.’s bleached canopy work and some fragile-looking pastels of socks by Nick Austin you can feel there is a new sensibility at work. In fact the only time it falters is in a room of suffocatingly dark images by Australian photographer Bill Henson. On the other hand, it’s kind of entertaining to have so much New Zealand work floating on through while the central Australian contribution feels stuck in angst. The exhibition is a shock in the best sense of the word, and sets up a great argument with Sam Neill’s 1995 documentary Cinema of unease and its belief in the essential darkness of the New Zealand soul.
Image: From the Estate of L Budd (Thanks to Michael Lett Gallery for pic)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flash art

We were going to mark this NSFW but as it’s Saturday hopefully none of you are at work. Besides, what’s not to like about artists’ genitals, especially when they are drawn by a Frenchman. Well plenty apparently. Jacques Charlier’s drawings of “artists’ genitalia” were banned in the public space of Venice as part of the Venice Biennale when he wanted to put them up as posters. The penis posters were to be part of an effort supported by the Ministry of Culture and Broadcasting of the French-speaking Community of Belgium and were submitted as a collateral event. The reason for the rejection was that the Biennale officials feared the artists represented might take offence. This was denied by Charlier who said he had been in touch with most of them over the project’s creation. The full collection was made available from 3 to 7 June on a boat moored at the Riva dei Sette Martiri, near the Giardini. You can expose yourself here.
Images: clockwise from top left, Dan Flavin, Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons and Carl Andre.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Advice to collectors

“When we set out to conceptualize a new exhibition, we know we will only get the depth and quality we seek if we already have a strong foundation of works by a core group of artists. Once the exhibition is determined, we then collect into it, buying works that we consider essential right up to the closing date for the catalogue.”
Don and Mera Rubell, art collectors

Concrete post

When we visited the Rubell collection in Miami a few years ago we saw Charles Ray’s installation Oh, Charley, Charley, Charley. Don Rubell told us that he had swapped the work for a boat with both collectors and artist getting what they thought was the best of the deal. So when an OTN reader (thanks P) sent in a picture from the bizarre outsider artist Veijo Rönkkönen’s sculpture garden in Parikkala, Finland we did a double take. Charles Ray and concrete sculptures. The best of both worlds.

You can see more of Rönkkönen’s concrete sculptures here.
Images: Top, Veijo Rönkkönen’s sculpture garden in Finland. Bottom Charles Ray’s Oh, Charley, Charley, Charley at the Rubell collection in Miami

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Time Warp

Anyone who visited Te Papa during its opening months will remember the thumbs up and thumbs down hands that accompanied the opening exhibitions. Ian Wedde and his curatorial team called that exhibition But Is It Art? Now many years later the show is memorialised by a lone figure participating in the Fourth Plinth project in London’s Trafalgar Square.

A seat at the top of the table

Around this time last year we showed you some photographs taken by Michael Wolf and the make-shift chairs above were also photographed by him. We present them as a homage to Martino Gamper. The catalogue of his exhibition 100 chairs in 100 days is one of those books everyone wants to steal from our place. To save you the trip, you can buy a copy here at split/fountain. They also stock his most recent publication Piccolo Volume —II—. If we make Martino Gamper sound like a publisher it’s unintentional, he is rather one of the most creative furniture designers in the world. A friend explains why Gamper claims there is “no perfect chair”. As Gamper often makes new chairs by collaging old ones, as a commission he invited Gamper to chose a couple of chairs from his own home. Gamper chose the two best ones but the result was sensational and worth the gesture. Martino Camper was recently married to Francis Upritchard and exhibited with her and Karl Fritsch (how many favourite artists can you have in one post!) earlier this year. You can see the result of their collaboration here at Kate MacGarry.
Images: Michael Wolf’s photographs of makeshift chairs in China

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

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' in the blog search box above.


Koons’ fans – and we are assuming that’s most of you given the NZ reader spike on Koons’ related posts – should hot foot it to one of the worst movies to be released this year. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian animates a number of art works including Balloon Dog that is chased through the gallery by what looks like an animated Dennis Oppenheim (or was that a dream?). The Smithsonian set was constructed in Vancouver and based on a medley of Smithsonian museums including the American Art Museum which, in some handshake news, we can tell you was once directed by Charles Eldridge who curated the NZ/US show Pacific Parallels.

Other art events in the film include actors being placed inside paintings like Hopper’s Nighthawks, the shapes in an Ellsworth Kelly painting going Tetris, and Degas’ Ballerina getting to dance with one of the core cast. The movie also has one fantastic line when a museum guard accuses Ben Stiller of I.T.T (Intent To Touch). When Stiller responds, “Last time I looked we lived in a free country,” the guard tells him, “No we don’t. It’s the United States of Don’t Touch That Thing Right In Front Of You.”

Other Koons Puppy Stories on OTN here, here, here and here.

Image: Stiller with art like product and The Thinker.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


As this is our post 1500th post we thought we would point to some of our favourites from the last few years.

Late breaking news on Lazlo (The Hammer) Toth +
The Beginning of art at the movies +
Behind the scenes with Peter Peryer’s Trout +
Trying to get McCahon database errors fixed +
Cool camo +
The very best collapsing sculpture video +
Animal art +
Collecting shit +
Big Ears +
Doing it by the numbers +
Keeping in touch with public sculpture +
Waiting for Buller +
Word of the day: misdirection +

Image: You got it. 1500 table tennis balls in packs of 100

Bird’s eye view

No one has done more than OTN to promote our furry and feathered friends as crafts animals and artists. Often dismissed as trivial, or worse, prescient our aim has always been to just give the animal world a fair shake when it comes to painting, sculpting and conceptual art installations. So it was good to discover that the New Scientist has come onboard with a report on art smart birds.

Psychologist Shigeru Watanabe, who works at the Keio University in Tokyo, has trained a couple of pigeons (bird variety) to distinguish between good art and bad art. We kid you not. Way back in 1995 Watanabe had some success getting birds to discriminate between Picasso and Monet and now he’s taken his critical bird project another important step. Using a reward system the academic trains the birds to know bad art when they see it. It is basically a peck-the-button-if-you-like-it-situation and it works.

You can read the New Scientist article and see what pigeons fancy here.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Posting on 'sculpture' last week this ad for Wellington turned up on our screen. It might be the first time Ferns has appeared in an animated gif, but when was the last time anyone used the word Lolly for money?

By the numbers

NZ Commissioner Jenny Harper “introduces some highlights from New Zealand’s return to the 53rd Venice Biennale” on CNZ’s promotional video Voices from Venice. Here’s the shot list.

1 minute 22 seconds of Ria Hall and Maori Concert party
36 seconds of general tourist shots
13 seconds of Commissioner Jenny Harper
7 seconds of CNZ branding (tote bags etc)
4 seconds of signs and flags
3 seconds non-NZ art at Biennale
3 seconds Francis Upritchard banner
3 seconds of Francis Upritchard’s work
2 seconds Judy Millar banner
2 seconds of Judy Millar standing outside her venue

Image: Incomprehensible figures on a blackboard

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Cut up

During a divorce hearing, billionaire art dealer Alec Wildenstein claimed as one reason for the separation his wife Jocelyn’s multiple plastic surgeries. He said she frightened his clients and impacted on his income. Art and plastic surgery, plastic surgery and art.

Friday, July 03, 2009

All a twitter

Tweeting an art work? You’ve got to be kidding. Well, no. Even though a tweet is only a maximum of 140 characters, Mario Klingemann managed to code (with that 140 characters) a series of polygons into a Voronoi Diagram ofthe Mona Lisa. The incredible thing to us is how little visual information you need to get the essential Mona Lisa image. Squinting helps but even without that we think most people would pick up this tweet as at least ‘school’ of Da Vinci. If you want to stare into the abyss and see how Klingemann does it, visit him here on Flickr.

Cover up

In Wellington’s Cuba Mall three large hooded poles have appeared. Umbrellas? Heaters? Lighting fixtures? Who the hell knows. One thing to keep in mind when placing your bets, Wellington is the world capital of pointy sculpture. (Sorry sculpture fans - a reader tells us they are umbrellas, and even we aren't going to pull a Christo look alike on three.) Thanks A.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Things you hoped you'd never see

The Freeda Kahlo colouring in book.

Size matters

Over the years we have been going to them dealer galleries have changed a lot. In Wellington, in particular, they used to be mostly domestic scale spaces reflecting the way artists of the time used the front room of their home as a studio. A living room with the fireplace removed passed for a white cube and that in turn decided the size of work that could be displayed. Janne land broke from the pack when she moved into a variation on a loft space in Blair Street, but few followed and when she closed several decades later it was from a converted house of the old school. This history came to mind when we found the cavernous new Anna Schwartz Gallery at the CarriageWorks in Sydney. Putting aside the irony of someone named Schwartz working in such a gigantic white expanse, what was truly amazing about the exhibition was that it seemed to have spilled out of the space and into an adjoining hall. Schwartz seems to already feel cramped.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Will the circle be unbroken

The new Duveens commission at Tate Britain in London is by Eva Rothschild. The previous installation was by Martin Creed who had runners sprinting through the galleries for the duration of the exhibition. Creed’s dealer in New Zealand is Michael Lett and Ryan Moore, who used to work with Michael, is now in London working at Stuart Shave/Modern Art. And they show the work of Eva Rothschild.
Image: Opening of the Eva Rothschild installation at Tate Britain

The same but different

As we’ve said before on OTN, multiples offer a great way to buy art at reasonable prices and still get major pieces. Many artists like the way multiples give a wider range of people the opportunity to own and live with their work.

On Saturday in Sydney we went to one of multiple exhibitions of multiples. We had already been to Michael Stevenson’s show at the Hamish McKay Gallery and were intrigued to see what he would turn up with at the Darren Knight Gallery. The word multiple should have given the game away. It was practically the same show. As we might have expected, however, Stevenson had thrown multiplicity in the air and some of the pieces came down to earth as unique works. For instance, Bowl made from remnants of Stevenson’s version of Australian artist Ian Fairweather’s raft (yes, there was more than one replica raft constructed) was slightly different and on different issues of The National Geographic Magazine in the Knight show compared to the McKay version. The McKay exhibition also had Lance, the replica of a burnt tent pole that, simply by the way it is made will be different from the rest of the edition, and the Knight exhibition screened a copy of Introduccion a la Teoria de la Probabilidad. When you add the stories behind the works and the stories involved in their creation, the venture is enough to make your head spin. One good thing about having your head turned is that you do get to see new angles and new connections.
Image: Left Bowl at Darren Knight. Right, Bowl at Hamish McKay