Month: February 2015

Education Programmes

Tuesday night walking home from the Papakura train station, I encountered two boys between the ages of 10 and 12 about to have a fight. One was yelling abusive things. I can’t remember exactly what, but the words fuck you, motherfucker, and cunt were all used in some shape or form. The other young boy threw stones in retaliation. Perhaps he was the instigator? I wasn’t sure. I stepped in and told them both to “stop it” and “go home” in my cut this shit out I’m tired aunty voice and with some coaxing they did. I’m bringing up this story because as an education intern I think about how the institution can be more than what it is and how my programmes can engage the community in a meaningful way. I mean, it might already be engaging the community but how can it be better? It’s all well and good ticking the diversity box for funders. You can bring in different groups, talk about the conceptual framework of the exhibition and run workshops – …

Two in the Pink at North Projects

This show comes from disparate neighborhoods. Queens nail art meeting Manhattan abstraction, Gemma Syme and Imogen Taylor do not collaborate at North Projects; rather they share space like they would a subway trip in New York City. Breathing the same air – they don’t acknowledge one another. Habit their touchstone; the only link between them is commuting. Promotion. Gemma Syme’s practice is described and supplemented with quotes akin to “Gemma Syme believes art is important and awesome”. Imogen Taylors blurb is a list of her past shows and education history. The poster is of a quality and symbology that is popular in Christchurch at the moment: made with the reisograph, it is coloured with pink and purple hues, elaborated by simple but masculine typography. On a surface level there are a myriad of paintings dotted throughout North Projects. These works resemble early Picasso or cubist structures/geometric form. They are in muted tones, and sit atop hessian, grey cotton, wire mesh and other industrial media. These are by Taylor. To see but not read; there is …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Dicks in the Parade

Part six Dicks in the Parade I didn’t actually go to Saturday’s Pride Parade in Auckland. This wasn’t an intentional snub but I figured if the parade was anything like the Santa Parade, then it wasn’t going to be very good.  By ‘anything like the Santa Parade’ I mean it was about anything but Santa and likewise the Pride Parade was about anything but pride.  (Also I had a sore throat and I was watching a rerun of Masterchef Australia 2014 at my Mum’s house.) When I was younger, my sister, my cousin, a family friend and I went to the Hero Parade.  The Hero Parade was exciting and thrilling.  I wasn’t even old enough to really understand and enjoy the parade, I was just excited to be in town at night.   But even then I was aware it was a more sincere celebration of the different personalities that existed within Auckland.  It just seemed less filtered and for some reason less dangerous to be whoever it was you wanted to be.  I don’t recall seeing any …

Political Statement regarding ‘Vandalism’ of GAYTM

Tena koutou, On Thursday night our group “Queers Against Injustice” targeted an ANZ GAYTM with pink paint symbolising pinkwashing, attaching an accompanying manifesto outlining our reasons. When we woke up we found articles by the NZ Herald and Stuff.co.nz reporting the GAYTM had been attacked with white paint and quoting passers-by as being offended at the homophobia implicit in the vandalism. This “vandalism” was represented as unethical and homophobic in all media representations. The perpetrators were described as “ignorant” and “intolerant”. All the reporting on the GAYTM ignored the political nature of this “vandalism” and framed it as homophobic.  This misrepresentation happened through a lack of awareness on the part of the reporters supported by probable concealment of the accompanying message by ANZ, who tweeted a photo of the GAYTM with the poster on the ground. Pinkwashing, a term we defined and outlined in the attached poster, describes the way that institutions co-opt LGBT struggles to distract from and disguise unethical behaviour. We targeted the Ponsonby GAYTM firstly to draw attention to the commercialisation of the Pride …

Printing the Pacific 1698 – 1804 at the Auckland Art Gallery

Printing the Pacific: 1698 – 1804 and Tales of Handsome Ignorance. The bi-cultural nation is performed yearly in the sub-tropical theatre of Waitangi. The day is telling marked as a ‘commemoration’, in place of the expected ‘celebration’. It’s a subtle difference but it says a lot about the fraught and contested state of nationhood in New Zealand. Excellent I say: for a retrograde construct like nationhood, it’s preferable to have a day enshrined with problems. The Auckland Art Gallery gifted a quiet bombshell this Waitangi Day, a re-hang of the historic New Zealand collection. No more gross over-dependence on Goldie and Lindauer, (the two monoliths are now confined to a tasteful presentation in the near-by Auburn Gallery). The preceding exhibition Toi Aotearoa was punctuated by some successful tinkering, but it had been a long three-years of The Arrival of the Maoris in New Zealand, 1898. When it came to ‘historic’ New Zealand art, Auckland was as starved as the inhabitants of that anachronistic canoe. The new exhibition is titled Printing the Pacific: 1698 – 1804, …

Annette McGuinness on dicks: ILD: pls txt me, k?

Part Five On Unrequited Reading and Unrequited Writing AKA The Recalled Book The year was 2012. A friend set me up with a book. Actually, I don’t remember who recommended the book, probably someone in my class, or maybe my tutor. There’s an outside chance that I stumbled upon a reference to it in independent research – it’s been known to happen. At the time, I had a university library account with 25 slots to burn. “What the hell, take a chance”, I thought. So I logged onto my account, and  “recalled” Chris Kraus’ “I Love Dick” from whichever sap currently had the book of my dreams. I soon became that sap. Let me just say, this book gets around. I started it about four times. Every time I got about two thirds of the way through, and every time I had to return it before I had finished, since some cruel person – some faceless third party – had recalled my book. I have been doomed to love “I Love Dick” from a distance. …

A view from the other side

Like anyone who leaves this country for any amount of time, the feeling of deflation upon return is often frustrating. Admittedly, I’d been spoiled for choice when it came to perusing art on the Continent. And yet I was rather exasperated that cultural perceptions in Aotearoa still remained archaic. Like any nation with a history of cultural evolution, the two dominant narratives seem to revolve around migration and the working class. Social and economic factors have a direct impact on art making and spectatorship, and while a lot of advances have been made, these narratives are as yet still unfolding. Somewhere along the way with the rebranding of New Zealand as a multicultural nation, there also seemed to be an overzealous stating of difference. The most obvious example would be the identification of Pasifika art as a distinct field. Among my contemporaries are artists who no longer belong to the generation who remember home as another place. Which is not to discredit artists who draw on their cultural heritage, but it seems this has become …

Meredith Leigh Crowe speaks with Hamish Coleman

Painting with Hamish Coleman Friday, January 30, 2015 Meredith Leigh Crowe Hamish Coleman is an emerging artist in Wellington who works with paint on canvas.  His work emanates a strong and thoughtful engagement with colour, from monochromatic, to compound or triad relationships.  His series that uses faces and torsos seems to capture snapshots of figures as they are on the edge of something, there is an anxiety, a fear of deterioration present in many of their facial lines and body language.  Coleman’s figures are isolated and anonymous, people you couldn’t get to know even if you wanted to.  Another thread of work is his engagement with basic geometries that goes right into the linen.  Coleman stretches his own canvases and many of the forms and scales he works with at this early stage of the process dictate the rest of the work.  I visited Hamish in his studio on a sunny Wellington Friday afternoon to see what he is making at the moment. H – This is pretty much how I have my studio, I …

Glad it’s on? 

Since finishing art school, I find myself watching a lot of TV. Recent viewing includes; a Cliff Curtis documentary on Marae, episodes of Billy T James on Sunday Theatre, to my personal favorite; Kristies Handmade Showdown, featuring “pigs intestine caramelized onion”. Some of which I enjoyed contemplating. The black box offers relief. TV offers a mimic world, a scheduled consumer orientated paradise where I am expected to be passive. Perfect. Sometimes I don’t want to think. I’d rather immerse myself in a digital form of human existence, a space of vague connectivity to those around me. Never fully absorbed, my TV mind is disrupted by voiceless thoughts. The bubble effect of the art institution is gone. Now what do I do? I’m a contradiction on an unbalanced foundation; nonetheless it’s somewhat pleasing. This is exactly how I feel right now. How do I counter my inner struggles? Since graduating, I find myself yelling at the TV as certain ads skillfully use all the necessary tactics for enticing consumerist behaviours. The colour coordination between the product …