Thursday, July 04, 2013

Call for papers

In a cavern, somewhere deep beneath the art world, is the unseen stream of decisions and deal-making. Only a small group of people visit and even fewer know where to get tickets for the boat. For instance currently floating along on the stream is the 2014 Walters Prize panel, whoever they are, who will be looking (or if the last one is anything to go by, not looking) at exhibitions like mystery shoppers. There's also a bunch of people who will be deciding on the next commissioner for the Venice Biennale (surveying the field it's probably between Alastair Carruthers and Massey's Heather Galbraith with Carruthers as the current off course favourite) and of course another mystery group will be deciding who's to go to Venice in 2015.

So here's a question - why are all these decisions being made in the dark? The appointment of the artistic director of Documenta in 2017 will be announced this November but it's public knowledge as to who's on that very significant panel. Why can't we have the same level of information on NZ plans? There are no commercial issues involved and there would be some major benefit. The Walters selectors could surely do with some input on exhibitions in NZ and overseas that might be worth considering and the Venice juggernaut needs all the good will and interest it can get.

And then there are the delays. Even when decisions are finally made why does it take so long to announce them? It can't be in hopes of a publicity blitz as the media releases are seldom picked up and the only people really interested could be drawn from the mailing lists of about ten dealer galleries. So why restrict knowledge of the final decisions to the committee, their immediate families, a few friends they bump into and people they meet at parties, some of who (hell maybe most) don’t give a damn?

That was really what got us to start publishing  OTN back in 2006, to jumpstart communications. So if you hear any of this stuff let us know and we’ll make sure the rest of you find out. And yes, wild guesses and overheard conversations in public toilets are more than welcome.