Friday, March 23, 2012

The Artspace age

1987 was a dynamic year for the arts in New Zealand. Colin McCahon died, the stock market crashed and Jorg Immendorff lived it up in the Hyatt after a death threat. In the midst of all that Artspace opened down near the waterfront. 

That was where we saw Choice the 1990 exhibition of contemporary Maori art curated by George Hubbard that introduced us to Michael Parekowhai. His sculpture The Indefinite Article got its first public outing there. Choice only attracted 555 visitors but its 18-day run turned out to be as influential as any exhibition shown in Auckland. We were also at a dinner held in conjunction with Julian Dashper’s Big Bang Theory in 1993, still back in the days when anyone who wanted to was able to sit at the drums and give them a bash. 

Later in its new digs in K-Road we will never forget Francis Upritchard nailing it by ‘filling’ the main space with a single grey haired sloth, its gloved hands decked with Karl Fritsch rings. 

That too was where we saw Parekowhai’s Ten Guitars played, et al.’s effortless reconfiguring of their Venice installation, Peter Robinson’s rambunctious Ack, Fiona Connor’s version of the Artspace staircase and director Emma Bugden lifting and lowering Alicia Frankovich.

And so much more. Thanks Artspace we couldn’t have done it without you.
Image: Watching Alicia’s up and downs (photo nicked from the Starkwhite blog)