Monday, July 21, 2014

Prize list

Once again the NZ Herald has dusted off Adam Gifford to harrumph about the Walters Prize. Last time Gifford was appalled by the four finalists who he decided “are in fact deeply conservative – a new academy." In a turn around this year Gifford is shocked by the radical nature of the final four. As the Auckland Art Gallery hasn't bothered to answer the obvious mistakes and misunderstandings in Gifford’s piece either on FaceBook or Twitter, here's our take on it:

 “The Walters Prize is the way Auckland City Gallery Toi o Tamaki deals with contemporary art. It outsources the selection of the finalists to four people from elsewhere in the New Zealand art world.”

Two of the four on the selection panel live in Auckland while a third, Tina Barton, graduated from Auckland University and was for some time a curator at the Auckland Art Gallery. Three of the four finalists went to art school in Auckland.

"There's no cover charge for the Walters Prize this year."
Admission to the Walters Prize was also free in 2012.

“The Walters selections so far have shown a bias against older artists and object makers.”
Five of the six winners of the Walters Prize (et al., Francis Upritchard, Peter Robinson, Dan Arps, Kate Newby) are object makers and Yvonne Todd is a photographer. Seventeen of the 28 finalists to date have been object makers. The average age of Walters Prize winners is 36 and 12 of the 28 finalists were over 40.

“As to the question of what contemporary art is, the answer seems to be, "It's what contemporary artists do."

This idea was first proposed by Marcel Duchamp 100 years ago in 1914.

“Worth noting is that the Walters Prize was opened by Mayor Len Brown, whose council passed a bylaw that includes a ban on "nuisance" begging. 'Uhila would have breached the bylaw when he pitched a tent alongside the gallery to shelter from the winter chill.” 
As far as we know direct begging is not part of Kalisolaite 'Uhila’s work.