Friday, March 06, 2015


First up: to hell with ‘Five things for Friday’  We did say we'd try it out and we did and we don’t like it and reading through the piles of mail that have come since starting it, one of you doesn't like it either. So here’s what we’re going to do. Once a week, probably Monday, we'll do a longer piece and for the rest of the week post stuff as it comes. If there’s nothing there’s nothing if there’s lots there's… you get the idea. If we see it and think it’s interesting we’ll put it up on OTN and let you know about it via FB and Twitter. So good luck with that.

Heirs   Most visitors to the McCahon House in Titirangi (you should go if you haven’t, it’s kind of amazing) come away with the same story, ‘Did you see that room where the McCahon kids had to sleep under the house?’ The three-walled bays with bunks for the kids to sleep in were constructed under the house in the mid-1950s although they also had their own separate bedroom from around 1958. The bunkroom with one wall open to the elements and bugs may feel harsh today but anyone who grew up in the fifties will know about parents obsessing over fresh air. ‘Go outside and play’ was the mantra (some personal bitterness creeping in here, perhaps?). From the forties government Health Camps were scattered around the county all designed to fill little lungs with life affirming oxygen. It was a thing of the times and as the McCahon bunkroom was probably only used over summer (and just for a couple of years) it was maybe not so harsh after all. After all, in places like Stockholm, parents leave their babies outside in their prams in -5C (23F) temperatures. Harden up NZ. 

The Doctor will paint you in a moment “The professionalization of art production – congruent with specialization in other postcapitalist industries – has meant that the only art that will ever reach the market now is art that’s produced by graduates of art schools.”  Chris Kraus in Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life.

Dream job   Ambitious curators in New Zealand will be all aflutter with the news that Juliana Engberg has resigned as the Artistic Director at ACCA in Melbourne. She is off to Denmark after 13 years in the famous rust-coloured building.  Engberg has been a good friend to New Zealand artists over the years although, curiously, picked just one, Shannon Te Ao, for her 2014 Sydney Biennale. ACCA is a big prize for any curator with Engberg leaving behind a reputation for smart shows and attitude. While Melbourne’s not an easy ride for outsiders (as Rodney Wilson found out when he did his year as Director of the National Gallery of Victoria in 1988) it would definitely be worth a try and might look attractive to curators who have already worked in Australia.

Heads up    When we were in Brisbane last year we saw Michael Parekowhai’s sculpture As the world turns for the first time in its final location. The last time we'd seen it was as it was being craned up through the roof of the foundry in Auckland (it was too big to go through the door). The sculpture is of an elephant standing on its head so it was cute to see in one of the museum shops a shelf of toy animals which someone had playfully turned into a copy cat.