Monday, September 07, 2015

Muddy Waters

Anyone who believes that the experience of looking at original artworks can never be replaced by reproductions will be in full sneer mode if they visit the exhibition Rembrandt remastered currently on show at Smith & Caughey in Auckland. It is billed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to see 'Rembrandt as never before' which is sort of true. The exhibition turns out to consist of 57 badly-lit, colour prints pasted onto boards. The boards are without frames and presented on cheesy trade-show exhibition display units. 

But the exhibition’s promoters sure know how to play the PR game. For $6,000 they managed to get the University of Auckland’s Art History Department on board to help spruik the enterprise. The cash was put up to offer two students a one-week visit to Amsterdam. All they had to do was front up with the $15 entry fee ($20 on weekends) and check out the show. To win the trip required ‘reflecting on their engagement with Rembrandt’s artworks in a motivating 500-word letter.’ The fact they will not be engaging with ‘Rembrandt’s artworks’ at all seems to have passed the University of Auckland's Art History Department by. Presumably the 500 word promotional pieces will be ‘motivating’ future visitors.

Image: Smith & Caughey, Rembrandt to go