Friday, March 02, 2012

Germany calling

You may wonder why the Ministry of Culture would support an art exhibition during a five-day Frankfurt Book Fair. After all, it is a trade fair for the publishing industry and the exhibition venue the Frankfurter Kunstverein (in Auckland terms more St. Paul's than Artspace) is a good 40-minute walk from the Fair site. Still, with NZ as "Guest of Honor" (it was Iceland last time round) it is probably part of an effort by the Ministry to show us as well-rounded or something.

NZ's art presence is already fraught. Michael Stevenson (not in the FK show) was invited to exhibit at Portikus (more Artspace than St. Paul's) during the Fair, but once the FK exhibition with multiple artists was mooted, Stevenson's project was edged out of the funding opportunity. Seems tough particularly when you recall the Walters Prize debacle over Stevenson in 2010.

So how is the FK exhibition shaping up? Well don’t look to the Ministry of C&H for answers. In her recent media blitz project director Tanea Heke mentions the architect designed pavilion, the furniture, and (of course) books, but art, not so much. That’s kind of surprising as this is the same Tanea Heke who was project director for CNZ’s Venice effort last year. Thanks to German efficiency, however, the Kunstverein itself tells us about the curators (Leonhard Emmerling, Goethe Institut Munich, ex St. Paul's and Aaron Kreisler, Dunedin Public Art Gallery), the curatorial rationale and some of the 20 artists included. As the Auckland Art Gallery might call it Walters to Ward-Knox.