Friday, July 11, 2014

Space cadets

The Walters Prize opens tonight for its three-month run. That may seem a long time but the whole event is staged as a kind of marketing platform. The artists recreate their exhibitions, this show is opened at the Auckland Art Gallery, the public look at it before the various projects are assessed by an international judge and a winner is announced. The entire Walters event is promoted with the who-will-win question building anticipation. That’s the theory anyway.

This year the selection panel (Christina Barton, Anna-Marie White, Peter Robinson and Caterina Riva) has made an unusual selection when it comes to making an exhibition in a public art museum. You may remember that for the last Walters Prize the judges didn’t see most of the work; the current judges have found another wrinkle. This time round it’s us who won’t be able to see most of work they’ve selected in the gallery. What’s a bricks and mortar institution to do?

Given that Luke Willis Thompson’s work was founded on the idea of not showing work in his dealer gallery there’s a good chance that Maddie Leach and Kalisolaite ‘Uhila may also end up with empty gallery spaces. Ok, maybe some signage and a photo but that could be it, which would pretty much leave the AAG’s 3rd floor space with a Simon Denny exhibition.  Still it’s sure to be intense, jam packed with information and visual material.

So maybe the AAG was right after all in giving so little space to temporary contemporary art exhibitions after all. If the Walters Prize is anything to go by, artists don’t want it any more.

Image: proposal concept for a blog illustration that can’t be seen