Month: March 2015

WWJD? In Conversation with John Hurrell

WW..D? Is an interview segment where we get to know awesome people that are a part of the creative community in New Zealand. This week we spoke to John Hurrell. John is an artist, writer, curator and editor of EyeContact a website which focuses on the publishing of reviews engaging critical discussion of New Zealand’s art landscape.  You’re a trained painter – are you still painting?  Yes I am, but in the form of sculpture production that sometimes references painterly markmaking. In recent years I’ve exhibited suspended objects made of cable-ties, peg baskets, curtain rings and hair curlers at Antoinette Godkin, Christchurch’s Artbox and Waiheke Island’s headland: Sculpture on the Gulf. Some people think there is a conflict of interest for a practitioner to be a critic but I don’t agree. When I was at art school in the seventies some of my lecturers used to write for the newspaper, and internationally there have been some wonderful critics (like Peter Plagens) who have been artists too. Plus EyeContact is a genuine forum with many writers – many …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: SUCK IT: BULLIES & BRAVADO

Part Seven SUCK IT: BULLIES & BRAVADO An unfortunate encounter with a more senior artist A Billy Apple exhibition at Artspace OTHER stuff I’ll be frank.  Very frank and very blunt.  Bullies.  I’ve talked about them before.  This week though, I thought I’d speak specifically about generational bullies.  Bullies that are territorial about what they have accomplished; marking their spot with their territorial pissings.  These generational bullies don’t necessarily belong to a particular age group.  Rather, they represent a particular value system about art that is associated with a particular timeframe. An artist that I had only met hours earlier, gave me some advice this week about an exhibition I curated.  We were at the opening of said exhibition.   I was so gobsmacked that I didn’t defend my actions nor did I see the need to.  I was generally disappointed by the way this artist timed their advice so that surrounding people of importance could hear this discussion.  I appreciate your, I’m sure, well-intentioned calculated advice, but actually fuck off. The premise of the …

Forecasting Reo: Proof that we’re still a colonial nation.

I was explaining to a friend from Narrm Melbourne about this yearly phenomenon. It still baffles me. While it might be totally politically incorrect for me to say this, I’ve been addicted to TV One’s Breakfast show since Paul Henry was the host. My love of the Breakfast broadcaster has highlighted a growing concern. Every year during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori language week) the weather report includes a consorted effort to incorporate more reo Māori. Simple things, like Auckland becomes Tāmaki Makaurau, Christchurch becomes Ōtautahi, and so on. Unless you are completely geographically inept it makes little difference to the overall understanding of the weather. Really it’s a token gesture by TVNZ to embrace our countries 1st language, one week of the year. And yet every year during that same week I watch the complaints roll in. “Why is the weather being read in Māori? We speak English here.” And then I remember that I live in a country where bigotry is alive and well. A couple Wednesdays ago I opened Facebook …

The Royals of Kihikihi at TAPAC

The Royals of Kihikihi returns for a limited season this week at TAPAC. Royals tells the story of the three Royal siblings: Wolfe, Pats & Violet (Sam Christopher, Cherie Moore & Chelsea McEwan Millar), returning to the rural Waikato following the death of their estranged mother, Maggie. While twins Wolfe & Pats have escaped Kihikihi, Violet has remained, passing the time watching reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and imbibing cheap wine.  This reworked, recast and restaged production of Christopher’s vicious satire delves to the heart of family politics, revels in coarse Kiwi culture and reeks of booze and ciggies. The playing space is transformed into a dishevelled lounge with the carpet-tiled floor littered with empty liquor bottles, plastic rubbish bags and a spectacular selection of tired kitten heels.  Four white screens are used to separate the playing area from the remaining theatre space. While these screens effectively increase the sense of an intimate lounge scene, they resemble photography props, the stark white incongruous with the tired aesthetic of the production. Even more bizarre …

WWJD? In Conversation with James R Ford

WW..D? Is an interview segment where we get to know awesome people that are a part of the creative community in New Zealand. This week we spoke to James R Ford. James is a Wellington based artist whose work engages strongly with objects as critique of how we spend our time. James studied at Nottingham Trent University and Goldsmiths, University of London and has exhibited widely throughout the UK, New Zealand and internationally. In 2013 he won the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Tui McLauchlan Emerging Artist’s Award. 1. Tell us about your current work, The Something Scratchcard at Paul Nache Gallery. This project came about as a kind of self-initiated-crowd-funding-venture to pay for a new neon work I wanted to make. The exhibition, which has just finished, was entitled Jeopardy and I was keen for the funders to get their money’s worth, in a way that correlated with the exhibition ideas of choice, peril and unmasking. A scratchcard artwork ticked all the boxes: the buyer gets a limited edition print of 100 and is also in with the chance …

NINE and Power, Corruption and Lies at Casbah Gallery

Questioning systems of representation, or questioning the system, ie, capitalism in all its exploitative and destructive machinations, seem to be the twin preoccupations of a good deal of contemporary art these days. To take the latter first: a query that immediately springs to mind is, why does the artist bother? Is some profound alteration in the dynamics of civilization suddenly going to change because some performer or some artist puts some sump oil ‘paintings’ on a wall in a gallery? We all know the answer. I get a little edgy when I’m confronted with art that has ideological or political designs on me. It has nothing to do about whether I happen to agree or disagree with the subject of complaint or protest. It’s my cynicism that’s the problem. What does art in this scenario think it is doing? If it thinks it is going to make some social or political difference, it better think again. If it thinks the exploitative capitalist system is going to fold at the knees because someone paints a picture, …

On the moment of change there is always a new threshold of imagination at Artspace

Askerisks, Disclaimers and Afterthoughts  DISCLAIMER: John Hurrell has written an excellent review of On the moment of change there is always a new threshold of imagination, and acknowledged each of the artists featured in the exhibition. This article is a complex maze of asterisks, disclaimers and afterthoughts, intended to mask the writer’s opinion. The field of inquiry could be appropriately described as gossip. Misal Adnan Yildiz’s first exhibition was always going to be about him. A new director every three years, the changing helm of Artspace provides a cyclical rhythm in Auckland’s art scene. If the exhibition is indeed a meditation upon new leadership, it is a dashing success. Adnan is warm, charming – almost infectious – and very intelligent.* * If people like you, they will find a way to like your art. It’s a social game, and the currencies of meaning are embedded in real relationships, real economies. More than simply being likeable, Adnan is an interesting addition to the New Zealand art scene. Contrary to the pathological modesty that New Zealanders are …