Archive for February, 2009

Its been an overwhelming week domestically here and try as I might notice things, there wasn’t much art in my life. The closest I got to ‘high culture’  was overhearing some high school students practising Shakespeare in the library on Wednesday night.

I have been heavily involved in my study, avoiding housework, musing about fashion and my lack sense in that regard and adding to my 1960s pyrex collection. I tried to extrapolate some art from that but even for me its stretching it, although maybe this could slip in, as a similar one with 4(!) Fridas has just been made for me.

Made by beautifulnz from Trademe

I have also been playing with Twitter and been more active on Facebook. To be honest its part of the procrastination but my thoughts on these are:

Twitter: I am trying to keep my tweets art based and not talk about daily innanities. Best thing – following Stephen Fry.
Facebook: This IS where some of the details of my daily boring life gets noted. If you have friended me there expecting artspeak – its not so likely. You will probably hear about my cold and my ‘new’ ironing board. Best thing – keeping up with distant friends.

The whole social networking/twitter/blogging thing reminds me of the song “Beautiful Cosmos” by Kathryn Williams (which I couldn’t find on Youtube – but listen to a snippet here)

“You are the centre of your little world and I am of mine.
Now and again we meet for tea, we’re two of a kind.
This is our universe, cups of tea.
We have a beautiful cosmos, you and me.
We have a beautiful cosmos.”

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Goodbye Mr Plischke

As I’ve mentioned before when I was living near Wellington, one of my projects was to find and hopefully have a look inside some Plischke houses. I never did hunt down Evelyn and Fredrick Page’s Waikanae home. I had a vague idea where it was but I ran out of time to do more investigation although I was encouraged after my Angus breakthrough.

There was also the Giles house, only a few blocks from where I was living on the Kapiti Coast. It was nice to see that externally it was being looked after in the fashion of the original design but because I discivered that the owner was a ‘well know person’ I never got up the nerve to ask to see it. I bumped into him a few times in local shops etc but I was too intimdated to talk – foolish perhaps?

Last year at the time we were likely to be moving to Palmerston North, we found a house for sale in Savage Crescent a few houses down from where I’d lived previously. A gentrified former state housing precinct, Plsichke was on the design team, and it would have been the close to owning a ‘real’ Plischke house.

There are very few Plischke houses in the South Island – in fact I only know of one, Henderson House in Alexandra. I had intended to visit there while Peter Peryer was there on his year long residence but my relocation and the end of his time there didn’t really coincide. I may bug the next artist in residence.

Maybe I should just buy this book and leave it at that. Maybe its just not meant to be and it is indeed  ‘Goodbye Mr Plischke’.


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On review

I have been thinking a lot about art/literature reviews.  It may sound obvious but I think really you need to read a series of reviews by an author and compare them to your own findings to be able to “trust” them – or at least to know their foibles and leanings.

I recently fell into a trap of trusting a book review by a reviewer unknown to me – I think because what they wrote agreed with my assumptions about the book. Now that I have delved into the book myself, I don’t come to the same conclusions. Oh well.

With art writing for an art newbie (like me) it is more difficult to build up this ‘trust’ as there are few regular reviewers about. I got to rely on Mark Amery’s* column in the Dominion Post (now re-instated I believe), John Hurrell is possibly the most prolific reviewer in NZ but eyeContact mainly only covers the Auckland area. The Listener has a rotating bunch of art writers. I guess the local art mags have more known voices but they aren’t as current being monthly editions. I am only starting to get a hold on art writing in the daily paper here so won’t voice an opinion yet.

The other thing I am finding about reviewing is the conflict of interest. I find it almost impossible to write an art review because I don’t really have the background knowledge to do it properly but I do put forward a personal opinion here. The tiny art scene in NZ is bound to cause at some point a reviewer reporting on a personal friend (or enemy) and this happens in literature as well. How to keep aside the prejudices…?

Maybe I’ll find out as my academic work this year involves some formal reviewing exercises.


* Wonderful talk with him on the Kim Hill show this last Saturday (MP3) talking about labels in art museums and the small world of NZ art curators/writers.

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I started my day with the good intentions of seeing the Hotere: Fellowship exhibition at the Hocken Library. In pouring rain I ventured into Dunedin and stopped check a gallery in Caversham and have a coffee. I love Caversham – its so on the verge of gentrification and if you want to see original villas – this is your suburb. Anyway this made me late to do some exploring and check out the crazy junk/op/2nd hand shops on Princes street. I have to note if you are looking for naive art there is a junk shop full of paintings of this type. All the interesting bits and pieces that in turn made me late to get to the Hocken which closes at 12noon. Oh well….the choices we make..

Shore Party (1999) Tony De Lautour (artist essay here [.pdf])

I realised yesterday that I have played Iz’s “Its a Wonderful World” so much in the car that my youngest daughter (18 months) can now sing all the OoohOoohh bits. I feel like a bad influence – especially now that tonight she has been echoing all the last words in the lines of the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra’s Its a Heartache” (yes Tony, really!).

Anyway this leads me to my next art/culture dilemma. The Ukulele Orchestra (as above) are playing in Oamaru next Friday. I never caught them in Wellington, Oamaru is 1 1/2 hours away, I am a total fan, tickets are not outrageously priced, someoneiknow (NOT A ukulele fan) jokingly says “I forbid you to go”. What to do…what to do…?

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