Saturday, January 30, 2010

In Kolkata

We couldn't help thinking of Kaprow (top), Serra (bl) and Brancusi (br).

Friday, January 29, 2010

In Bangladesh

We were thinking about Robert Hood

Art in adland: a bad case of Pollocks

One of your design team has been to see Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Dracula and come up with a suitcase based on Eiko Ishioka design for the Count’s body armour. Now it’s off to the ad agency for a great idea to convince the market. “You will just love this; imagine a guy holding the suitcase, and doing acrobatics in front of a painting that looks like it was painted by Jackson Pollock.” Perfect.
Images: Stills from TV advert for Samsonite's Cosmolite

Thursday, January 28, 2010

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.

What’s in that crate?

#3: Jackson Pollock One: number 31, 1950

Clothing manufacturer Ben Heller (it was Heller who, after asking Mark Rothko for a discount on a painting he wanted to buy, was famously told "Look, it's my misery that I have to paint this kind of painting, it's your misery that you have to love it, and the price of the misery is $1,350.") purchased Jackson Pollock’s 2.5 x 5.3 metre painting One: number 31 and hung it in his apartment on New York’s Riverside Drive.

The painting was also too large for the wall Heller had selected so a portion of it was rolled over the back of the canvas strainer with Pollock’s permission. Later Heller moved to a park-side apartment with bespoke walls for the work. The only problem was that the crate with the painting inside wouldn’t fit through the door of the apartment so it had to be hoisted inside after the removal of a number of windows. One: number 31 shared the room with two other Pollock paintings, Echo: number 25 and, on the opposite wall, Blue Poles: number 11 that is now in the collection of the Australian National Gallery thanks to James Mollison’s far-sighted purchase in 1973. Closer to home, Julian Dashper made a number of works connected with Blue Poles. One used the original crate Blue Poles was shipped in when sent to Australia; Dashper propped one of his passport photographs against it and later he made a recording in front of the Pollock for his work Blue Circles (1-8). For images of Blue Poles and One in Ben Heller’s apartment, go here
Image: A window of opportunity for Pollock's One: number 31.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Singapore

We were thinking about the Wellington City Gallery
You can read the Saatchi Magazine story on Kusama’s Wellington installation here.

The information age

Our art museums have never been ones for announcing ahead of time what they have planned for the year. It’s probably something about their marketing departments wanting to keep an element of surprise, although why making it tricky for out-of-towners to get to see their shows early is hard to fathom.

We’ve noted the City Gallery’s reluctance to part with future exhibition announcements before, but we’ve just found a way to get around their information drip feeding; upcoming exhibitions are only listed up to 16 May 2010 although that's better than the Govett-Brewster manages with a ‘coming soon’ page that is always empty.

Then, via the UK-based The Art Newspaper’s supplement The Year Ahead 2010 we came across listings for the City Gallery up to September 2010. Rather encouraged by this we used that information in the City Gallery’s web site search box and found even more future-info hidden away in a City Gallery Education Programme poster – you can download it here.

So here you go:
19 February – 12 September We are here and there (City art collection)
3 April – 13 June Leilani Kake (video)
29 May – 12 September Crown Lynn: Crockery of distinction
29 May – 12 September John Pule
25 June – 8 August Lauren Lysaght
28 August – 6 September Hiapo: Contemporary conversations with Cerisse Palalagi

Before all this, and during Wellington’s International Festival, the City Gallery is showing (20 February – 16 May) the Gus Fisher’s Milan Mrkusich exhibition, Christchurch Gallery’s Seraphine Pick survey and Janet Cardiff’s 2001 soundscape The Forty Part Motet which you can sneak preview here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Holy cow! A Michael Parekowhai deer in Bulls. (Thanks H)

In Kolkata

We were thinking about Peter Peryer


In the analogue world artists had to schlep their slides around dealers if they wanted to pitch for a show or a place in the line-up. Was there ever anything more dispiriting than a dealer holding up a sheet of slides in one hand and turning to talk to someone more interesting at the same time? Slides sold art history and played their clickety-clack music on the carousel projector. But no longer: enter the JPEG. Blessed with an acronym that sounds like an institutional curatorial selection team (Joint Photographic Experts Group), the JPEG saves artists from full-frontal humiliation. Sure the dealer or the curator might be reading amusing extracts from Jacques Derrida at the same time as mousing through the images, but who’s to know? The dark side of JPEGs is their assault on copyright and loss of control. While this skirmish is still in its infancy, over-exposure or inappropriate use via JPEGs is still a luxury problem.
Illustration: Pippin Barr (step back to view)

Monday, January 25, 2010

CNZ by the numbers

You certainly can’t fault Creative NZ for the fact sheet on NZ’s presence at Venice published last week. Check it out, it is a useful and comprehensive range of facts, figures and comparisons that fills in the story of New Zealand’s return to Venice - better than all the carefully worded media releases in the world.

Shock corridor

There was a time when you disembarked at Auckland’s international airport that New Zealand was presented as a contemporary creative culture thanks to some pushing by Hamish Keith. Today the large murals painted by Ralph Hotere, Pat Hanly and Robert Ellis are long gone. OK, it was around 1 AM and it wasn’t the best series of flights we’ve ever had, but these days the international passenger entry – “designed to capture the essence of what makes us uniquely kiwi” – is plain scary. There’s a corridor of large photographs of people-less New Zealand, a few photographed artefacts from Te Papa, a bizarre wall of fake windows with photographs of clouds (come on, we’ve been looking at nothing else for the last 11 hours) and an exceptionally ugly traditional carved gateway. Did we mention the National Programme-like bird soundtrack? Well, there’s one of those too. The cultural highlight has got to be when you pass through the chirruping Maori carving into the booze section of the duty free stores to be greeted by the nearest thing you’ll see to a Pakeha Haka as a tribe of salespeople step forward and challenge you to buy something before you hit Customs. Contemporary art certainly isn’t the only way to show off our sophistication to visitors, but when you look at the alternatives, it is a good one.

Image: Mood photo collaged by OTN from a photograph by Wesley Fryer

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Saturday serial ends today: part 8

Click on image to enlarge
OTN will be up and running again on Monday - see you then.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Saturday serial: part 7

Click on image to enlarge, Part 8 next week

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Saturday serial: part 6

Click on image to enlarge, Part 7 next week

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Saturday serial: part 5

Click on image to enlarge, Part 6 next week