Friday, April 20, 2012

The wisdom of crowds

The Walters Prize finalists were to be announced earlier this week but no word so far. What with the Auckland Art Gallery being given the run around by the Super City they may have forgotten to send out a press release. Anyway, everyone you meet in Auckland seems to have come to the same crowd-sourced best-guess list: Simon Denny, Alicia Frankovich , Kate Newby and Sriwhana Spong (a couple of weeks ago most lists included Dane Mitchell but the smart money now seems to have converged on Frankovich). 

If these four are the finalists it certainly cements the change to the Walters Prize from being an award to artists who made "the most outstanding contribution made to contemporary visual art in New Zealand in the two-year period preceding its award..." to a selection of artists the judges think are doing the most interesting working at the time. If these four are the lucky ones it will certainly make for a terrific exhibition but it would be tough on Michael Stevenson (survey at the MCA) and Michael Parekowhai (Venice Biennale) who in earlier years could have almost been guaranteed a berth. On the other hand it would be a king hit for the K Road/Cross Street/Great North Road axis (4), Gambia Castle alumni (2), Michael Lett (2), young women artists (3, for the second WP in a row) and the city of Berlin (2).