Thursday, October 29, 2015

The shock of the new

The artists selected for the 2016 Sydney Biennale have just been announced and it looks as though there are just two New Zealanders, Dane Mitchell and Joyce Campbell. Great news for Mitchell who will be showing in the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Campbell whose venue is still to be announced but (yes, there is a but) this is sure as hell not the six or so NZers you might reasonably expect to be in a regional exhibition like this. It used to be pretty standard that five or six NZers would be included but this is the second time New Zealand has been virtually ignored by the Sydney Biennale curator. 

This time round it's Stephanie Rosenthal who has done the lack of honours. If all the artists were listed without their originating countries you might find such a concern provincial but that's not the case so the Biennale is certainly counting. The weird part is that the Biennale has been running an active campaign in New Zealand to raise money for the event. It the blurb it even claims to 'showcase New Zealand artists in our region'. Well yes, we are certainly in the same region, but for our artists to be 'showcased' they have to be seen. The selection of one NZer in 2014 could be described as a misfortune, to have just two in 2016 feels like carelessness.  

LATER: GREG BURKE tempers the shrill cry of injustice: "In my short time at CNZ there was one biennale with just one Kiwi (Peryer) and one with a record 6 for the time (including Campbell). Prior to that the record had been 4, but was more likely to be 2."