Saturday, December 31, 2011

“If the artist talks about it what's the point in making it.”
Ralph Hotere, who was awarded the Order of New Zealand today

Friday, December 30, 2011

Just saying

The trouble with interactivity is that it is just so…interactive. The City Gallery is finding this out with its latest efforts to get people into Prospect - NZ Art Now. The campaign consisted of five different poster variations inspired by the initial letters of P.R.O.S.P.E.C.T. one of which is ready to be filled in. The City Gallery (or perhaps its ad agency) primed the pump with four examples. You can see the Gallery's efforts plus one from a member of the public by clicking the image above. Your mission? Pick the punter. You can see more audience versions at the exhibition many of which, in all fairness, are positive.
Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

art as metaphor

Q: When is a work of art not a work of art? A: When it's a hedge. Some private/dealer sales here (rumours of McLeavey selling a handful of Hammonds for $100,000 plus) indicate that our top one percent are also looking for art to protect their money during troubled times. Might work, might not, but it is a world-wide trend. This year in spite of economic woes in Europe and the States top-end auctions broke records at nearly every outing. An example? Roy Lichtenstein’s “I can see the whole room… And there’s nobody in it" brought in $56 million or, in our language, 400 Hammonds.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday's chart

A quick reminder as you travel round the galleries these holidays of Komar & Melamid’s research results after asking 'what constitutes the most popular and most disliked kinds of painting?' You can see the full results here. They are also available in Komar & Melamid’s book Painting by Numbers: Scientific Guide to Art, published in 1997.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Art at work

Max Patte’s sculpture Solace in the Wind doing seasonal work on Wellington’s waterfront.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Enough already

Christchurch Art Gallery's heartfelt response to a miserable year

OTN will be back on 3 January. Posts between now and then will be intermittent.

Friday, December 23, 2011


A Wellington paste-up channels Hotere channelling McCahon

Googling on: Christmas edition

One great benefit of friendships with artists is the occasional original Christmas card that comes your way. The tradition goes back aways, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner famously made cards for friends like Ray and Charles Eames and you could always rely on Ad Reinhardt and Philip Guston for one at the end of the year. 

Even the bright idea of making Christmas cards has art/museum origins with the first one being run up by the first director of the V&A in London. That card was designed by John Horsley (a copy of it was sold in 2001 for $45,500) and ran into trouble for showing a child drinking, a very long way from David Shrigley’s FU Santa card published this year by the Guardian. And only Damien Hirst could elevate the most banal of ‘Peace on earth’ imagery into the rarified air where people pay big bucks for reframed popular imagery.

You can see a range of American artists (including Guston, Pollock and Reinhardt) Christmas cards on the Smithsonian site and a range of British artist cards (including the Shrigley) commissioned by the Guardian here. You can see Hirst's translation here, and a very Happy Christmas and a great New Year to you all from OTN.

Images: Christmas cards from top to bottom, Richard Killeen, blanche readymade of et al. and Shane Cotton

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Branded: Jim Allen

The moment when artists become brands

Look who’s putting the layer back into layer cake

In a surge of enthusiasm for middle management both Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa are on the hunt for someone to head up their curatorial departments. Both jobs are virtually the same with similar requirements and expectations. Applications are due on 20 January and 27 January respectively. See if you can spot the differences.

1      Which institution offers “an inspiring place to work”?

2     Who requires “A minimum of 5 years experience in a public gallery/art museum, managing exhibition and collection processes and delivery”?

3      Which job requires the applicant to be ‘politically savvy’? 

4      Who requires the successful applicant to be “responsible for increasing the awareness, understanding and enjoyment of works of art”? 

5      Which institution wants to “ ensure that art scholarship and research is of the highest standard”? 

6       Who insists on “an exceptional track record of exhibitions and publications”?

7       Who's on the lookout for a "coach"?

8       Which manager will be in charge of “seven curators and exhibition project coordinators”? 

9      Who wants their manager to “lead the development and display of the art collection”?

10    Who wants their manager to be responsible for the “development and provision of high quality, innovative exhibitions”?

Te Papa = a, AAG = b. Answers: 1b, 2b, 3a, 4b, 5a, 6a, 7b, 8b, 9a, 10b

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Top, a haul by noise control officers in Wellington pictured in the Dominion Post. Bottom, Sean Kerr's Stacker

Done deed

Sometimes you just don’t want to rush stuff. That was certainly the case when it came to the transfer of Colin McCahon’s Landscape Theme and Variations Series B from Creative NZ’s collection to Te Papa. Way back in 1964 the newly formed Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council purchased the work in order to stop it from going overseas and with the intention of gifting it to the National Art Gallery. 

The first objective was obviously a great success as the work is still in the country and the second? Well that was only achieved a couple of months ago. Yes, 47 years after it was purchased Landscape Theme and Variations Series B has become part of the National collections at Te Papa. Mind you the Arts Council did try to give the work to the National Art Gallery back in 1964, but they apparently said they were full. 

Somewhere along the way the works were pasted down on boards and the banners became framed panels, something McCahon was very unhappy about. "I feel the more official treatment of the B series was a mistake." Another version Landscape Theme and Variations Series A survived the glue pot and framing and ended up in the Auckland Art Gallery’s collection as a gift from the McCahon family.

Image: Landscape Theme and Variations Series B (rear) with Practical Religion: the Resurrection of Lazarus showing Mount Martha being exhibited at a Dowse Art Gallery in 1980. You can read the CNZ story here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Images: Left Chales Ray's Firetruck outside MoMA. Right Firetruck on top of Fun Ho! Museum in Inglewood

Copy that

A reader sent this image to OTN playing to our interest in lookalikes. This painting is a copy from a photograph that artist Jonathan Monk took of a Martin Kippenberger painting. The painted copy was made by a Chinese copy painter and is one of an open-ended edition available from Monk's dealer gallery. The stinger is that the Kippenberger ‘original’ was also a copy made from an image created by Kippenberger and rendered by Werner a billboard painter for Kippenberger’s exhibition Dear painter, paint for me. So there you go, a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. (Thanks M)
Image: Jonathan Monk, The D.E.A.R. Painter Seated On The C.O.R.N.E.R, 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The corrections

Te Papa has responded to our post about how much each visit to the museum costs the taxpayers of New Zealand. We couldn't make the numbers stack up (and some complicated stuff about how Te Papa reports its attendances as an average over the last nine years didn't help much), but it turns out that they add to the number of visitors to its building on Wellington's waterfront the visitors to Te Papa's travelling exhibitions held in other institutions. This sleight of hand reduces the cost per visit by around 35%. So when you stumble into, say, a Te Papa exhibition of Rembrandt etchings in some small art museum somewhere in the country, you are doing your bit for Te Papa door count.

Te Papa also noted that our estimate that 800,000 people visit the art exhibitions on the fifth floor each year was completely wrong. And then they went and spoiled it all by telling us that in fact there's half that number at 400,000 visitors. That is, on average, 7,693 people a week, every week find the art on the fifth floor. We acknowledge the mistaken Noble 800 figure but anyone who has ever been up to the lonely fifth floor is going to wonder how they can kid themselves like that. You can read our request and Te Papa's response here.
Image: The 5th floor of Te Papa at 11 am on 14 August 2011

Over the moon

We posted recently about Rudi Gopas and his ‘visits’ to the outer planets and back. Then, in a touch of serendipity, we not only came across a photograph that Rudi had given us at the time (one of his moon shots), but we read on Bunker Notes the Christchurch Art Gallery blog that they have a collection of Gopas photography.

As absurd as it seems, the earthquakes have animated some aspects of culture in Christchurch. Witness gapfiller, artsvoice and a wave of other initiatives and spaces. The disaster has also shaken loose some time for the staff of the Christchurch Art Gallery to push forward on making the collection and their ideas more widely available. Whereas pre-quake you mostly had to wait around for a book or a catalogue to read stuff from Justin Paton, you can now get regular ideas and insights from him on Bunker Notes

And there's a lot more. People on staff like Felicity Milburn and Peter Vangioni are curating shows from the collection via My Gallery and anyone online is being encouraged to make and share their own selections. 

It was also by browsing through My Gallery we were able to see a full range of the Gopas photos in the Christchurch Art Gallery's collection. Excellent, we’ll send the moon shot down to join them.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A new angle on weekend boating

It’s Saturday (again), so put your feet up and enjoy the work of Julien Berthier the French trickster artist who gives Maurizio Cattelan a run for his lire. You can see more of his work here and why that boat never actually sinks, here.
Image: Love love, by Julien Berthier.

Friday, December 16, 2011

iShop therefore iAm

A Christmas gift for someone who has everything? (well they have to have an iPhone at least). S[edition] offers art apps for when your phone alone and needing a culture hit. Some of them just stare right back at you but others, like the Tim Noble and Sue Webster effort manage to muster up a bit of a twinkle in your eye.

Resting between engagements

Sometimes it's good just to sit and look at something wonderful. These drawings from the exhibition Tantra Song: Contemporary Tantric Paintings from Rajasthan at the Santa Monica Museum of Art are perfect for a moment of end of year reflection. Who can see them without reaching back for memories from the history of art? Whether it's Russian Constructivists or French Impressionists or Gordon Walters and Michael Illingworth, our connections say as much about us as they do about the paintings themselves. Best of all, these Tantric images may have an ancient lineage but they were made between 1985 and 2009. They are featured in a book of the same name
Click on image to enlarge

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"I felt shy and thought, 'It's Tony Bennett, why am I naked?'"
Lady Gaga comments on posing for celebrity artist/crooner Tony Bennett. You can bid for a Bennett Gaga moment here on EBay.


On the road going up to Don Driver’s funeral earlier this week we remembered a very funny situation we got ourselves into when we were visiting him at the end of the seventies. We were gathering material for the book Contemporary New Zealand Painters. It was based on interviews and visits to artists' studios but the trouble was that Don was not really given to talking about his work. We sat with him for most of a morning on a couch in his living room trying to get some words out of the man. By mid-afternoon we were desperate and suggested we visit the studio hoping this would loosen his tongue. Not a chance. 

Finally, when we were pushing hard about the materials he was using, Don looked up and said, “Sacramental.” Sacramental. That'll do. We figured we could write a whole Don Driver book around sacramental. “In what way sacramental?” we asked him. Don gave one of his classic shrugs. “What I said was sack and metal”. Ok.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Art in the workplace

Art hard at work in the foyers of the world

Te Papa’s cost per visit: surely some mistake.

Whenever you go into a museum and see someone click a small hand counter or notice a ‘magic’ eye, you are being added to the rough count of the institution’s attendance. Rough because these counts have to be adjusted to allow for multiple people passing the eye and only being recorded as one, the counter’s desire to boost the institution, staff entries etc. With ticket sales the only accurate gauge, it’s over to spot checks, demographic formulas and rule of thumb comparisons. As massaged as the attendance figures are (and as irrelevant as they may be to the actual experience of visitors) museums are usually keen to use them as facts.
Take, for example, the cost to the New Zealand taxpayer of each visit to Te Papa. It would seem to be a simple equation.

Based on the figures in Te Papa’s Annual Report, 1,334,712 visitors divided by the government contribution of $23,574,000 equals $17.66 per visit. Right?

Not according to Te Papa. It claims on page 3 that the cost per visit is $11.40 and remarks on how significantly low that is. For comparison, the City Gallery in Wellington (no collection and a fraction of the staff) aims not to exceed $12 per visit in subsidy from its primary funder the Wellington City Council and in March this year was sitting at $11.47 per visit. 

The problem with Te Papa’s $11.40 a visit on the Government dime is that to get to that figure, 2.07 million people would have to be going through the door, not 1,334,712. It’s a big difference.

It gets more dramatic when you take into account the total operating costs of the museum of $45.910 million (wherever the money comes from). So the real cost per visit is more like $34.40 which is closer to international figures. So why not just fess up that it costs a lot to entertain people the way they do?

We'll ask them on your behalf and get back to you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Signs of the times

“The works of art presented in this room may hurt people’s feelings, especially those of children”
Signage at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. (Thanks J)

One day at the National Gallery in London

Marketing Department 1: This Leonardo show is surprisingly successful.

Marketing Department 2: Kinda. Like who’d have thought an Italian artist would be such an attraction to an English audience?

M1: Well, he is quite famous.

M2: He is? Not in my world. Is he a celebrity of some kind?

M1: Mmm. Sort of....

M2: Then why don’t we step him up to the plate? Although I'd like a bit more than ‘sort of’.

M1: Step up how?

M2: Oh I don’t know, an app?

M1: Done it already.

M2: A video game? 

M1: Please.

M2: A TV series?

M1: I said please before.

M2: I know. A full-length feature film.

M1: Why the hell not. We could show it all round the world. Make a fortune.

M2: Get an Academy Award from Billy Crystal even… but we’d need a star, what about that chick with the ‘sexiest voice on TV’? Gravel someone…

M1: You mean Mariella Frostrup?

M2: We can change her name.

M1: But if we showed a feature length film of people just talking about the Leonardo show and sent it all round the world, do you think anyone would pay to see it?

M2: They all queued up for Toy Story 3 didn’t they?

M1: Yes… that’s right…they did! Let’s get a crew together and start shooting this week.

And that's is what they did

Images: The thrill that is Leonardo Live: the motion picture. You can see the trailer here

Monday, December 12, 2011

Door charge

"Move five steps back! Move five steps back!"
Guards at the W Hotel's Wall nightclub in Miami to a crush of art collectors out for a night on the town after attending the Miami Art Fair

Parsons and Picasso

One painting that has always held a special place in Wellington is Picasso’s Girl before a mirror. Not the original, you understand, that's in the Museum of Modern Art, but the one on the mezzanine in Parsons’ bookshop on Lambton Quay. The copy, for that is what it is, was painted by English-born Roy Parsons who was Picasso obsessed. Stuck in a city, well a country really, that had no original works by his hero back in the early seventies, he took the obvious action and painted his own. 

One of those paintings is still hanging in the mezzanine coffee bar in Massey House the Ernst Plischke designed building where the bookshop relocated in 1958. How passionate was Roy Parsons about Picasso? One of his sons recalls the time when the Picasso Estate finally moved its collections into Paris’s Picasso Museum in the mid-eighties. “He practically jumped on a plane the day he heard the news.”
Images: Top, Roy Parsons' copy of Girl before a mirror in the mezzanine coffee bar at Parsons bookshop. Bottom, Picasso’s portrait of Marie-Therese Walter known as Girl before a mirror 14 March 1932 on display at the Museum of Modern Art

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alex shrugged

While we’re all hanging out for Conceptual Artist Barbie, to keep us going, the Barbie I Can Be series has slotted in a Architect Barbie. OK, she does come across a little the-hills-are-alive in that Tyroleanish outfit with a city skyline trim, and the Philip Johnson glasses are not quite right, but the plan roll and hard hat certainly push things along architect-wise. And as if they don't nail the architect thing, AB also comes with her own (presumably architect designed although it doesn’t look like it) Dream House.

Friday, December 09, 2011

More Don

Don Driver outside his studio with Yellow tentacle pram in 1980
(click on image to enlarge)

Mexican wave

Yesterday Google dipped its masthead to the 125th anniversary of Diego Rivera’s birth.

What’s in that crate?

OK, we're not even sure what in fact is in this crate seen downstairs at Ivan Anthony's, but the signage is curious. The idea that anyone might intentionally drop a huge crate is weird but if someone did want to drop it (just for fun), what are the chances a couple of stencilled don’t-do-its would stop them? Of course on one famous occasion dropping a very large crate worked out just fine. When Marcel Duchamp’s work The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) was being shipped backfrom its first exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, the glass was broken leaving a network of cracks. Duchamp chose to leave them as part of the work.

Other OTN crate stories:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Don Driver 1930 - 2011

For us there have been just three reasons to visit New Plymouth: check out the Govett-Brewster, spend time with Peter Peryer, go see Don and Joyce Driver.

The news of Don’s death this morning is not unexpected but is a shock. We first met Don in the early 1970s when he was moving on from making highly finished abstract paintings and starting with his great large banners assembled from tarpaulins, clothing, sacks, tools and whatever else captured his attention. It was quite a time. Some of our most memorable experiences over the years have been fossicking around in his various studios with Don and discovering what he had been up to.

Don was never a great talker so the silences were as memorable and as eloquent as the conversation. He was a gentle man who made tough, raucous, and magnificent work. Audiences were often riled by his challenges but Don was implacable. He knew what he wanted to do and he did it. Of course such determination came with a cost, and we can't fully express our admiration for Joyce and for their daughter Justine and her family for the enduring support they gave him freely and with love. Joyce's determination matched Don's and her unwavering confidence in the work was always an inspiration.

New Plymouth without Don Driver. Such an unlikely idea. But even without his presence all of us who know his work will always see the city through his eyes. The ordinary made extraordinary. Even so we will miss him deeply.

On the road

And still they come. Another in our much loved series ("love the series" - R of Taranaki) of examples of the Ministry of Transport giving it up for artists young and old, living and dead, throughout the land.

The days of their lives

In this week’s episode:

Paula announces she is leaving the City Gallery hard on the heels of Kate who has been in her job for under a year after the departure of Heather who went to Te Papa for a short time and then on to Massey. But before Paula announces her departure Pat begins a search for Kate’s replacement and Paula interviews Robert. Afterwards she surprises him with the news she is moving on. Robert flies back to Australia. The next week Greg, who lives in New York, turns up in town for a day. Meanwhile Pat surveys the community to see how a $10 door charge might go down. The survey also suggests that Wellington people might get in free. Will that fly Pat wonders. Will it even walk?

Next week:

Pat turns her mind to replacing Paula. Could she get Greg to return or did he have his sights on something more juicy across the Tasman? Tim might step up but how would Tim’s Te Papa style fit with the City Gallery contemporary art brand? Then there was Cam, close but maybe a little too close for comfort. Perhaps Elizabeth might want to come out of the cold or Blair away from the shakes. Would Heather do a boomerang? Well, she thinks, anythings possible, why Tina might even be persuaded to come down off the hill. As these options race through Pat’s mind, Paula plans her move to Auckland.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Life follows art as Danielle gets trapped in a clothes horse when she falls off a bed.
Images: top, Danielle's accident. Bottom Campbell Patterson's Sandwich 2008

Your tax dollar at work

The Te Papa Annual Report is always launched with little or no fanfare. That's a shame as it tells a lot about how the place really works and what happens to the around $23 million we spend on Te Papa each year. So here are a few numbers for the year 2010 to 2011. You can see a list of art acquisitions for the year here on OTN stuff or download the Te Papa Annual Report here.

First up visitor numbers. It would be interesting to have visitor numbers in more detail like how many people actually schlep up to the fifth floor to see the art (Te Papa claims 80 percent of all visitors make the climb which would be 800,000 ). It would also be interesting to know what percentage of counted visitors go to functions (weddings, film festivals, conferences, product launches etc.) rather than look at the collections. Anyway here are a few figures from the 2010-11 year: 

1.34 the number in millions of total visitors 
7.3 the percentage drop in annual visitors to Te Papa last year
36.7 the percentage of Te Papa visitors who live in Wellington

As to figures on specific exhibitions - there aren't any. As a rule, unless it's a huge success, Te Papa keeps pretty quiet on audience numbers to exhibitions. It would have been interesting to know, for example, how much European Masters (or any other exhibition) cost when fees, marketing and exhibition expenses are deducted from ticket sales (which are presumably tucked away in the commercial revenues figures).

Next up art purchases.
3.65   the number of dollars in millions spent on art acquisitions
.72      the number of dollars in millions spent on all other Te Papa acquisitions
9         the number of paintings by New Zealanders purchased last year
1         the number of paintings by New Zealanders purchased that were made after 1970
6        the number of contemporary New Zealand sculptures purchased
9        the number of contemporary Maori works made after 2007 purchased
2        the number of International contemporary art works purchased (both by Australian Nick Mangan)

And finally sharing the art collection with the rest of the country:
4000 the approximate number of total Te Papa loans made to other NZ institutions
36       the number of art works lent to other NZ institutions (22 of them a single exhibition loan to Wellington's City Gallery)

Images: Te Papa's "visitor numbers" chart published in this year's Annual Report with internet and touring figures included and bottom, the same chart just showing visitors to Te Papa. (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

City Gallery up for grabs

Paula Savage, has resigned from the City Gallery. She will leave in March 2012 to take up a job in Auckland. She was appointed Director of the Wellington City Art Gallery in 1991 and managed its move to the old library building where it was renamed City Gallery.
Image: Queuing at the City Gallery for Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years

Art is where you find it

Someone making an art like product round the back of the old Michael Lett Gallery

Tectonic plate

OTN regular N has certainly achieved cut through with this drive-by shooting of a classic personalised plate an image that opens up the opportunity for a new OTN series. We have no idea how many ‘series’ we are currently running on OTN. Tragically some of them have only run to a single post, but this time we're optimistic. This could be an important addition to OTN’s ongoing practice, a project that interrogates artists' personas, number plates, fandom, automobiles and urban transport. We hope you enjoy the posts in the forthcoming series APNFAUT.

Monday, December 05, 2011

On the other hand…

"...the success of the uber art dealers is based upon the mystical power that art now holds over the super-rich. The new collectors, some of whom have become billionaires many times over through their business nous, are reduced to jibbering gratitude by their art dealer or art adviser, who can help them appear refined, tasteful and hip, surrounded by their achingly cool masterpieces."
UK art collector Charles Saatchi has a go in the Guardian

“Miami likes a faster read”
Art dealer Casey Kaplan on the Miami Art Fair crowd

Home and away

The latest round of Creative NZ Arts Board Grants has some surprises. Going through the 65 grants (totalling $1,598,359) we found the visual arts ended up with 12 percent compared to performing arts with 45 percent. The visual arts numbers look better (up to around 20 percent) if you add relevant media art funding. It’s very odd of CNZ funding media art separately to the visual arts. Followed to it’s logical conclusion CNZ would also have categories for painting, sculpture and photography etc.

The big difference this time though is that most of the visual arts money (a whopping 60 percent) goes to what you’d call specific individual artist based projects. Residencies, art school study, new work - that sort of thing.

Publishing is still getting a lot of attention grabbing $66,000 of the $190,970 the visual arts end up with. Over half of it ($36,000) goes to Robert Leonard to finish off Rock on, his history of contemporary NZ art post 1956 that he started when he was a Stout Fellow back a while.

Another interesting feature of the visual arts funding is that a big chunk ($87,490, that’s 45 percent) goes off-shore to international projects. This time it includes $16,420 to 2009 Venice artist Judy Millar to show at Museum Otterndorf in Germany and $28,810 to send three artists to the Sydney Biennale.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Saturday's a leg of lamb, is everybody happy?

This French & Saunders version of Gilbert & George via Leg of Lamb (thanks Leg)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Branded: Chris Booth

The moment when artists become brands


When you’re rummaging around the OTN Forgotten Archive, you may notice that Nick Spill was once found and soon after disappeared. The reason is simple. Nick asked us to remove the entry that was peppered with references to security, guns and bodyguards and so we did. 

Now Nick has re-emerged, this time via the image of an early art work sent in by a reader (thanks A). It turns out that Spill might well be a world leader in art taping. Our earliest example used to be Maurizio Cattelan’s effort with his dealer Massimo De Carlo but Spill’s precedes that by 21 years. 

When we asked if we could publish the taping pic we were pointed toward his novels published on Amazon. Whoa. Nick has literally spilt the beans on NZ art and sex (mostly sex) in the seventies. It’s a novel but those who were there and anyone who can google should be able to sort out who’s doing what to whom. You can buy Growing Up Horny in New Zealand by Nick Spill for kindle here on Amazon. His next book The Way of the Bodyguard is coming soon.
Image: Llips together 1978, courtesy of the artist

Thursday, December 01, 2011


In november we: wondered how the hell te papa and the city gallery managed to spend $600,000 on oceania • came up empty when we looked for art related election promises • became depressed at the old-guy selection for venice • drummed up a cricket team • pondered the future of art publishing • revisited rudi gopas • worried about where to send the kids to art school and nearly scooped the announcement of michael parekowhai’s brisbane commission (nice one lara)

But wait, there’s more

It is the tradition of the great newspapers of the world to champion the rights of the oppressed, maintain a close vigil on the political and expound directions for the future. Blogs are somewhat different choosing instead to offer instant opinions, prod institutional power, advocate the importance of cuteness in cats and shamelessly promote those near and dear to them.

In this spirit we must tell you our son Pippin's book How to play a video game has just been published and is in bookshops now (or near as dammit). This means that the perfect Christmas gift has appeared right before your eyes. 

For everyone who was left behind when the PlayStation controller hit the scene as well as those who despair of their partners, parents or work mates ever understanding the joy of gaming, this is the book for them and this is the book for you

… don’t just take our word for it:

‘A fabulous insight into how video games work’
Simon Morton

‘Passionate, insightful and full of easy charm, this smart, informative, funny guide to the gaming world is a great read for ardent fans, the uninitiated and sceptics alike’
Derek Lockwood, Worldwide Director of Design, Saatchi & Saatchi

‘Pippin Barr is an emissary from the flourishing civilisation of video games. His book is the perfect introduction to a global movement becoming ever more influential and all-consuming’
Toby Laing, trumpeter, Fat Freddy’s Drop