Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spell check

You realise there are not many New Zealand artists to have cracked the overseas reputation thing when you hear the name Frances Hodgkins constantly dredged up as an example. Probably one of our most successful recent artists – and we reckon we can still claim bits of him because he went to Ilam art school – is Boyd Webb. Not only has Webb had a high profile international career with works held in public art museums all over the world, he did it from the bastions of the Anthony d’Offay and Sonnabend galleries. There was even word that Sly Stallone owned a large sculpture by Webb, a work that featured two giant sized teeth. 

Now another contender is shaping up in the person of Francis Upritchard. The latest marker of her success is an invitation to make a show at the Vienna Secession in April. 

The Secession was started in the late nineteenth century by a band of free-thinking artists and now boasts an extraordinary building and a long-running programme of exhibitions. It has become a showcase for some of the most interesting artists of the last 50 years. Paul McCarthy set up a tent city there and Gregor Schneider recreated a basement room of his apartment, Isa Genzken has shown as have Maurizio Cattelan, Larry Clark and Sharon Lockhart. 

When it comes to NZ artists abroad, it’s nice to have another Francis on the job.