Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Critic's Part: an overview of the practice of New Zealand's longest serving and most influential critic

Wystan Curnow's book The Critic's Part was launched at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki last night. Edited by Christina Barton and Robert Leonard, the book brings together a selection of Curnow's art writings from 1971 to 2013 to provide the first comprehensive overview of his practice. It features long form essays that investigate the stakes for 'high culture' in a 'small province' like New Zealand; major essays on key artists including Billy Apple, Len Lye and Colin McCahon; reports on the contemporary art scene; catalogue essays and short reviews offering insightful readings of their work. Both a map of contemporary theory and practice and cogent agenda for thinking through the implications and challenges of making art here, it is a must-read book for anyone interested in New Zealand art as it has unfolded since 1970. The book is available from Victoria University Press.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Matt Henry's Structural Relief at Te Tuhi

Using painting as a departure point to explore relationships between art, architecture and design, Matt Henry has installed an arrangement of stretched white canvases on a white wall at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts. Some of the canvases have been inset into the wall itself, while others are hung conventionally on its surface. Both rely on the play of light to define the internal and external forms and call into question the presence of a painting in a room, not as an image or surface, but as something that might become part of the architecture in which it is placed. The project opens at Te Tuhi tomorrow and runs to 15 February 2015. 
Image: Installation view of Matt Henry's Structural Relief at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts

Monday, November 10, 2014

Former chief executive of TVNZ to head up Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Rick Ellis has been appointed chief executive of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.  The former chief executive of TVNZ will provide "inspirational leadership," says Te Papa Chairman Evan Williams, foreshadowing "a shift in the culture of the organisation." Read more...
Image; Rick Ellis, the new chief executive of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

This week at Starkwhite

Seung Yul Oh's memmem (downstairs) and Gavin Hipkins Erewhon: The Book of the Machines (upstairs) continue this week, throught to 29 November.
Image: Seung Yul Oh, memmem installation view

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Outsider art fair launches in Auckland

Later this month the inaugural edition of the Outsider Art Fair launches in Auckland. It will feature work by several of New Zealand's prominent outsider artists and include an exhibition of the work of the late Jim Dornan and others curated by Stuart Shepherd. Well-known collector John Perry will also showcase a small selection of folk art from early last century in the fair's curated section. The Outsider Art Fair runs at the Nathan Club, 51 Galaway Street, Brittomart from 23 - 25 November.
Image: Jim Dornan's I love One Sleepin'

Friday, November 7, 2014

BILLY APP launched in Auckland

Last night the Albert-Eden Local Board launched the BILLY APP, which uses mobile phone GPS settings to guide users to three of Apple’s public art works in the Albert-Eden area – Corner Post, Waipero Swamp Walk and Monkey Hill Steps - and allows them to access information on the artist and the artworks. You can download the app at

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Art & Object launch second issue of Content

ART+OBJECT has launched the second issue of CONTENT, a magazine published "to celebrate the vital contribution New Zealand's visual artists make to our cultural identity and increasingly to the global discourse."

The current issue traces the journey of whare Hinemihi from the desolation of the Mt Tarawera eruption to the grounds of a Palladian manor house in an English country. It also includes interviews with Justin Paton, head of international art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Simon Denny who will represent New Zealand at the 56th Venice Biennale. Tobias Berger discusses the Asia Pacific focus of Hong Kong's M+, Brian Butler and Isha Welsh comment on the US West Coast art scene and Richard Maloy and Roberta Thornley talk about a seminal photograph that has influenced their practices.

CONTENT is a must-read magazine, available free of charge from ART+OBJECT

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Art Basel Hong Kong announces 2015 lineup

The lineup of exhibiting galleries for Art Basel Hong Kong 2015 has been announced. It includes Hopkinson Mossman, Michael Lett and Starkwhite from New Zealand and Andrew Jensen (AUS/NZ), Darren Knight, Murray White Rooms, Roslyn Oxley9, Anna Schwartz, Sullivan+Strumpf and Tolarno from Australia. You can see the full list of galleries here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Arts Foundation of New Zealand announces laureate awards

Last night the Arts Foundation of New Zealand announced the recipients of the 2014 Laureate awards. The recipients include Lisa Reihana (visual arts) and Cliff Curtis (film). You can see the full list of awardees here.
Image: Lisa Reihana

Olafur Eliasson issues a wake up call with Ice Watch

Ice Watch is Olaffur Eliasson's latest environmental project. In a square in Copenhagen he arranged 12 chunks of ice weighing in at 100 tons to resemble an ominous clock. The melting ice represents the amount of ice that disappears every 100th of a second due to global warming. Read more...
Image: Olafur Eliasson's Ice Watch, City Hall Square, Copenhagen

Monday, November 3, 2014

The dark side of clowns

On a recent trip to Shanghai we saw Ugo Rondinone's Breathe, Walk, Die at the Rockbund Art Museum. Featuring 40 impassive clowns spread over a five-floor installation that was both beautiful and unsettling, it was a reminder that Coulrophobia, or fear of clowns, is still relatively common. Now a new development is unfolding in France where police are reported to be on hight alert after fake clowns caused panic in a spreading phenomenon that has led to violence and a response by vigilantes. Read more...
Image: Pennywise the clown from Stephen King's It

This week at Starkwhite

Seung Yul Oh's memmem (downstairs) and Gavin Hipkins Erewhon: The Book of the Machines (upstairs) continue this week, throught to 29 November.
Gavin Hipkins Erewhon (Planet) and Erewhon (Forest) 2014, archival pigment prints, 600 x 337mm  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

William Wright AM

Sydney-based curator William (Bill) Wright passed away on Friday night after a battle with cancer. Formerly the Assistant Director (Professional) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales where he headed the curatorial programmes, he was also curator of the 4th Biennale of Sydney, Vision in Disbelief, which included New Zealand artists Billy Apple, Christine Hellyar, Richard Killeen, Peter Peryer and Boyd Webb. Wright also curated a number of memorable shows such as The British Show (with Anthony Bond), Systems End: Contemporary Art in AustraliaThe Rose Crossing and New Zealand X1. He was later curatorial director at Sherman Galleries and most recently director of William Wright Artists Projects.

Wright's connection with New Zealand dates back to research trips for the Biennale of Sydney and the New Zealand XI exhibition, which was shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Auckland Art Gallery. He will be missed by his friends and colleagues here, as well as in Australia.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Auckland's newest contemporary art gallery opens today

After two years of construction, and many more years planning, Auckland's Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery opens today with a programme of exhibitions, events and activities including a tour of the gallery by director Andrew Clifford. Read more...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Seung Yul Oh and Gavin Hipkins open tonight at Starkwhite

Tonight we open two exhibitions - Seung Yul Oh's memmem downstairs and Gavin Hipkins Erewhon: The Book of the Machines upstairs. The opening is from 6-8pm.
Images: Seung Yul Oh, dottori 2014, fibreglass and two pot paint, 600mm (h) and Gavin Hipkins Erewhon (Becoming) and Erewhon (Machine) 2014, archival pigment prints, 600 x 337mm  

More on Jenny Gibbs and Venice Biennale

This link takes you to an article on Jenny Gibbs' decision to support a new assistant curator's position for New Zealand at the Venice biennale.
Image: Grand Salon of the Bibilioteca Nazionale Mariana, venue for New Zealand's presentation at the forthcoming Venice Biennale

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dirty Politics muddies the water in Venice

Art patron Jenny Gibbs has clarified her position on the Venice Biennale following reports that she has withdrawn her support after hearing Creative New Zealand is providing Dirty Politics author Nicky Hagar with airfares to and accommodation in Venice where he will join the team supporting Simon Denny, the artist selected to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Biennale. Gibbs is making a statement about Hagar's involvement, but hasn't bailed out of the project. Rather she has redirected her support to the newly created position of assistant curator for the Venice project, a move that has been welcomed by Creative New Zealand. According to the earlier reports, Michael Friedlander has also withdrawn his support, but he was unwilling to make a statement when contacted by the press following up on the announcement by Jenny Gibbs.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Coming up at Starkwhite

On Friday we open an exhibition upstairs of new work by Gavin Hipkins. Realized in conjunction with the artist’s recently completed feature length essay film Erewhon, the exhibition features a new suite of photographs presented alongside a key chapter from the film, and Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel, The Book of the Machines.   
Image: Gavin Hipkins, Erewhon (Mountains)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Curating in post-quake Christchurch

Lara Strongman is the new senior curator at the Christchurch Art Gallery, replacing Justin Paton who moved on to take up the position of Head of International Art  at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In the latest issue of the Bulletin, Strongman talks about her approach to writing and curating in post-quake Christchurch. Read more...
Image: Lara Strongman, senior curator at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu

Frieze post from China

In this frieze blog post, Carol Yinghua Lu comments on the origin and development of participatory practices and social intervention in the field of contemporary art in China, and a more recent drift away from the political and social realm towards the market where new auction records get more WeChat time than the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Read more...
Image: pro-democracy protester in Hong Kong