All posts filed under: Columns

The Back-Patting Society: Letter from the Editor 

There’s something about the smallness of New Zealand arts that breeds a culture of gossip. Inner-city Auckland: next level. Critical distance is impossible, with our one degree of separation. Outwardly, we are a network of back-patters, who don’t dare voice criticality in public forums. Inwardly, we are small cliques who retreat for positive reinforcement. I was recently told that I don’t ‘belong’ to an art community, sitting in the middle of the venn-diagramed Auckland art scene. I certainIy have a posse, exhibiting mostly within ‘Pacific’ arts circles. Meaning I exhibit with my friends, for my friends. Translated, I use what little privilege my culture affords me to advance my career. Some people  perceive this ‘Pacific’ circle as a tight knit group of similarly cultured artists and curators. In fact, this ‘community’ has divergent attitudes, and encompasses distinct cultural identities. This reality was made clear to me during a row on EyeContact earlier this year, although admittedly I thought I was back-patting at the time. If arts discourse happens privately within disparate communities, should we still write about …