Thursday, July 24, 2014

Utopian Slumps founder teams up with Anna Schwartz

Utopian Slums Founder Melissa Loughnan has joined the Anna Schwartz Gallery and the pair have a lot in common: Schwartz has a 32 year history of running her gallery which began in Melbourne and expanded to the Carriageworks site in Sydney, and at the age of 32 Loughnan has spent eight years running Utopian Slumps, during which time she transformed it from a small not-for-profit space into a commercial gallery.

Schwartz is delighted on have Loughnan on board: "For me, the opportunity to keep the vibrancy of the gallery through the engagement with somebody who is of this younger culture is what I always dreamed of, what I hoped the gallery would be going into the future, rather than a piece of historical apparatus." Read more...
Image Anna Schwartz and Melissa Loughnan 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Magnus Renfrew moves on from Art Basel Hong Kong

Magnus Renfrew is stepping down from his position as Art Basel Asia Director with oversight of Art Basel Hong Kong, to take on the role of Deputy Chairman, Asia and Director of Fine Arts, Asia for Bonhams. Renfrew was the founding director of ART HK in 2008 and oversaw its development and acquisition by MCH Group (the parent company of Art Basel) in 2011. His continued involvement in Art Basel Hong Kong was a sign that the fair would continue to have a strong Asia/Pacific focus under its new management. From the outset, he has been an advocate for the Pacific region and he will be missed by the New Zealand and Australian galleries that have worked with him over the past seven years.
Image: Magnus Renfrew

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Zealand International FIlm Festival premiers Gavin Hipkins' first feature-length film

In his first feature-length film, photographer Gavin Hipkins presents a richly pictorial essay of images of the natural world - and the often forlorn evidence of humanity's passage through it. Hipkins draws his themes for Erewhon from Samuel Butler's Erewhon: Or, Over the Range, published in 1872. Butler had worked on a South Island high country sheep station and it's easy to suppose that his objectification of a wholly invented 'native people' is an ironic posture owing something to his experience in colonial New Zealand. Likewise his concerns with the coming dominance of industry chime eerily with contemporary concerns: vegetarianism is the law of the land in Erewhon and machines have been banished to museums for fear of their becoming conscious.

Erewhon  was premiered on Sunday at the New Zealand International Film Festival and screens again today at 1.30pm at Auckland's Academy Theatre. You can view the film trailer here.
Image: Gavin Hipkins Erewhon (Production Still)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Barry Keldoulis talks about the Melbourne Art Fair

Barry Keldoulis, the CEO and Group Fairs Director of Art Fairs Australia, the presenters of Sydney Contemporary and the Melbourne Art Fair (on behalf of the Melbourne Art Foundation), will talk about the upcoming Melbourne Art Fair at Starkwhite at 5pm today. He will cover public and collector programmes, and the three new exhibition sections that have been introduced to this year’s edition of the Melbourne Art Fair - MAF Platform, MAF  Video, and MAF Edge. Curated by Simone Hine and Kyle Weise, the co-founding directors of Screen Space, MAF Video includes Grant Stevens’ Auric Variations.
Image: Barry Keldoulis

Grant Stevens opens at Starkwhite

Grant Stevens exhibition Hold Together, Fall Apart opens at 5.30pm today and runs to 2 August.
Image: Grant Stevens, Haven (2104) video still

Monday, June 16, 2014

This week at Starkwhite

Michael Zavros' exhibition Bad Dad continues at Starkwhite this week through to 28 June.
Image: Zavros' Mercedes M Class/Killing me Softly, 2004, oil on board

Thursday, June 12, 2014

IMF gives another tick to New Zealand economy

The latest International Monetary Fund report on the New Zealand economy says economic expansion "is becoming increasingly embedded and broad based." The IMF is forecasting economic growth of 3.5% and predicts that it will not fall below 2.5% over the next few years. 

The economy will be driven by strong construction activity, higher prices for exports and increases in net migration. And a sharp slowdown in China and Auckland's overheated property market remain the two threats to economic growth in New Zealand.

You can read the full report here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Art investment jitters in Australia

Changes to the rules governing collectibles held in self-managed super funds (SMSFs) in Australia may trigger a flood of artworks onto the market with investors facing the possibility of their portfolios being sold at fire sale prices. According to art accountant and valuer Michael Fox there has already been a significant level of divestment of collections that he says could be explained by "a desire to seek a higher price for the artworks and collectibles before the market becomes depressed by an oversupply of artworks". Read more...
Image: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Untitled (Awelye) 1995

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The risky business of art investment

The role of art in growing your wealth and viability of art as an investment were two of the session topics at the London Business School's recent art investment conference.

Keynote speaker Anna Dempster, an economist and senior lecturer at Soetheby's Institute of Art, said art as an asset class presented significant opportunities at a time when an estimated $2 trillion of artworks are currently held in private hands. But other panelists disagreed with the positioning of art as an asset class. "Art is an asset, not an asset class," said Luke Dugdale, director of the Royal Bank of Canada's British-based wealth management division. "If it were an asset class, the Financial Conduct Authority would regulate it and that would kill the art world. It's a market in which everyone can be an advisor."

The conference was wrapped up by self-confessed flipper Kenny Schachter. "An asset class generates a return on investment, whereas with art the dividend is visual," he said. "But if you buy art low and sell high you can make extraordinary money." Read more...

Monday, June 9, 2014

This week at Starkwhite

Michael Zavros' exhibition Bad Dad continues at Starkwhite this week through to 28 June.
Image: Bad Dad installation view 

New Zealand's first pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

New Zealand is one of 11 countries presenting inaugural exhibitions at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, which opened on 7 June.

Artistic director Rem Koolhaas's theme invites participating nations to reflect on the development of modern architecture since 1914 and the resulting loss of distinctive national characteristics in architecture. But New Zealand commissioner David Mitchell argues that national differentiation in architecture is possible and has curated an exhibition about traditional Maori architecture, identified by Artinfo as one of the 5 rookie pavilions to watch out for. Read more...
Image: detail from the whatarangi (Maori storehouse) in the New Zealand pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Melissa Chiu to head Hirshhorn Museum

Melissa Chiu has been appointed director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She is currently director of New York's Asia Society Museum and the institution's senior vice president for global arts and cultural programmes and has published extensively. Recent titles include Asia Art Now (Randon House and Thames & Hudson, 2010) and Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader (MIT Press, 2010), both co-authored with her husband Benjamin Genocchio.
Image: Melissa Chiu

Friday, June 6, 2014

MCA announces Primavera artists selected by Mikala Dwyer

Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art has revealed the names of the 13 artists selected for this year's edition of Primavera, the exhibition for young Australian artists under the age of 35 launched by Cynthia and Edward (Ted) Jackson to honour the memory of their daughter Belinda. The selection was made by artist Mikala Dwyer, one of the four artists exhibited in the inaugural edition of the exhibition at the MCA in 1992.

Dwyer's lineup includes the controversial Melbourne-based artist Paul Yore who is currently fighting charges of producing and possessing child pornography after being accused of creating images that sexualised children during an exhibition of his work at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Art.
Image: Hossein Ghaemi's Frank: Hole up - Hold up (2013). Ghaemi is one of the 13 artists in Primavera 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Okwui Enwezor checks out Australian art

Okwui Enwezor, the artistic director of the 56th Venice Biennale, has been on a whirlwind trip to Sydney and Melbourne where he has been meeting artists and visiting galleries and exhibitions, which he described as a "fascinating investigation into Australian contemporary art". Read more...
Image: Okwui Enwezor

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Michael Zavros opens tonight at Starkwhite

Michael Zavros' exhibition Bad dad opens tonight at Starkwhite and runs to 28 June.
Image: Michael Zavros, Bad dad, 2013, oil on canvas, 110 x 150cm

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A novel way to wind up an art co-op collection

Over the past decade we've seen a growing interest in art co-ops in New Zealand - groups of art lovers forming collections purchased collectively and rotated around their homes. When the collections are wound up they generally go to an auction house to be sold into the secondary art market. However, this week the Auckland-based group Bijou took a novel approach to the dispersal of their collection. The works were appraised by an independent valuer giving an estimated value for the entire collection. The sum was divided by the number of members in the art co-op giving each member credit they could use to bid for works at a silent auction held at Starkwhite. Through a process of paper bids and rounds that allowed each member to get a work before moving to the next round, the entire collection was picked up by members who were all delighted to have works they couldn't bear to part with.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Art/Fashion in the 21st Century

Independent curator/writer Alison Kubler discusses her new book  Art/Fashion in the 21st Century (Thames & Hudson) at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki on Thursday. The book, which she co-authored with Michael Oakley Smith, explores the creative collision between fashion houses and art such as Balenciaga, Walter van Beirendonck, Prada, Jeff Koons and Hussein Chayalan, as well as Australian labels Romance Was Born and Birthday Suit, since the turn of the new millennium. (Auckland Art Gallery auditorium, 29 May, 6pm, free entry)
Image: Alison Kubler

Monday, May 26, 2014

Brand power at work in Hong Kong

Never has brand power been more in evidence at an art event than at Art Basel Hong Kong 2014, says John McDonald in the Sydney Morning Herald. He also discusses why the fair puts such emphasis on curatorial projects (like Yuko Hasegawa's Encounters section), lectures and forums. Read more...
Gordon Walters, Chrysanthemum (1944), oil on card, courtesy of the Walters Estate. Chrsysanthemum was exhibited in the Starkwhite survey of GordonWalters' work at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2014, with the support of Creative New Zealand  

MIchael Zavros' Bad Dad opens this weekend at Starkwhite

This coming weekend (Saturday 31 May) we open Michael Zavros: Bad Dad and launch a new publication on his work with writing by Robert Leonard, Chief Curator at the City Gallery Wellington, and an interview with the artist conducted by Rhana Devenport, Director of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, who will also open the exhibition.

While Zavros has exhibited previously in New Zealand at Auckland Artspace in 2005 (Uncanny (the unnaturally strange)), and at Govett Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth in 2007 (New Nature), this is his first solo exhibition in New Zealand. Bad Dad brings together new paintings and drawings with a selection of important past works borrowed from private, public and the artist’s own collections in an exhibition that offers an introduction to the artist’s rich and complex oeuvre.

“In the consistency, coherence and cunning of his post-criticality, Michael Zavros cuts an unusual figure. Other artists are postcritical. Other artists make likeable art. Other artists are rated, curated and collected. Other artists are profiled in the glossies, are well connected and live the good life. Other artists nag the boundaries between life and art. But Zavros has tied these thoughts together and granted them the force, clarity and self-consciousness of a project – a paradigm. In doing so he has become a reference point in Australian art that other positions must be read against. Because of this, his art is as much about what it is not as about what it is. It can be read both in itself, as a self-contained system (a hall of mirrors), and in terms of its relation to other work. The art world looks different with Zavros in it.”
Robert Leonard
Image: cover of Bad Dad published on the occasion of Michael Zavros' first solo show at Starkwhite, design by Inhouse, Auckland

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Damien Hirst: Gone but not forgotten

A 10,000 year old woolly mammoth skeleton, gilded in 24-carat gold leaf and encased in a giant gold framed tank has sold for 11 million euro. Damien Hirst's Gone but Not Forgotten was auctioned at a star-studded fundrasier for AIDS and purchased by Leonard Blavatnik, the Ukranian owner of Warner Music and Britain's fourth richest person. The mammoth skeleton is from Hirst's natural history collection which he began in 1991.
Image: Damien Hirst with Gone But Not forgotten