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Posts Tagged ‘Barr’

I am still working away on something BIG (well for me anyway) It’s all been quite laborious but nearly there. I have been thinking about the blog and just wanted to post about a few bits and pieces.

Last night I managed to get the launch of Vanda Symon’s latest crime novel. It’s a great book and I tell you Vanda’s frock was really superb too :-) Some funny moments to be had as well.

I was talking to someone about the intersection between art and my life. I ended up best summarising it by the day I attended Jim Barr and Mary Barr’s floor talk on ‘Kind of Blue’ at DPAG (entertaining and informative as always) with my handbag stuffed with the catalogue to the Tom Kreisler exhibition and a Farmers bag of Strawberry Shortcake training pants I’d just bought.

As always I have been thinking about the cultural heritage of this place. I’ve written something about it (hoping for publication some time some where) but in my research I found this wonderful website. I particularly liked the photo of the Robbie Burns Hotel.

Homage to Baxter – Resonance XXV – Robert Burns Hotel – (2000) Lloyd Goodman

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A Kind of Blue

I have thought long and hard before writing a post about this exhibition (Kind of Blue: new acquisitions and loans). You see I don’t ‘get’ art sometimes, or don’t get the nuances anyway and this exhibition has me stumped even though I have visited three times.

The DPAG spiel on this exhibition says “Over recent years the Dunedin Public Art Gallery has been strategically collecting, through acquisition as well as loans, a number of significant artworks by a range of contemporary artists from New Zealand and overseas. Kind of Blue provides an opportunity for a select group of these stunning photographs, sculptures and paintings by a range of emerging and established artists to be exhibited together for the first time.

This small selection (only 19 works) appears to be made up from the gallery’s collection and the Barr loan collection. I was very keenly looking forward to it after my contemporary art revelation of 2008 at Reboot at the City Gallery, Wellington. It was a mixed bag and I was a bit confused by the labelling/layout in the catalogue (no labelling in the actual gallery). Like I said though, I don’t ‘get’ things sometimes. I very much like Ben Cauchi’s photos and it was interesting to see  Yvonne Todd’s Founding CEO, 2008 which I thought might have been from the Wall of Man series but is dated earlier. A touch of lightness (but yet…not) was found in Campbell Patterson’s Lifting my mother for as long as I can series. The highlight for me was seeing in person the Peter Robinson polystyrene works. I have seen lots of photos online but to see them in person was amazing. Measure of disorder with its delicate chain links was wonderful, but oddly rearranged the second time I visited – although for the better.

At the floor talk I attended for reboot, Jim Barr talked a bit about Martin Creed’s work 88 so I was excited to see that too. Visit one – couldn’t find it and dumb old me couldn’t work out the blurry photo where I expected the Creed work to be (it turns out the photo was part of  Roman Signer’s Fireman’s glove with photograph). On my second visit, I damn near stepped on  Work 88: A sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball as it sat on the floor, albeit with a large DO NOT REMOVE sign beside it. Today, the ball of paper was there, with no sign. I am very suspicious though, as it looked nothing like the ball of paper from last week. Yeah ok I am nit-picking, but I found it disturbing.

work88
 Work No. 88: A sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball
1995 – 2008, Paper, Approx. 5 cm diam
Unlimited edition
(Image from Martin Creed website)

For me , the catalogue hits the nail on the head with “it is difficult to discern what they [the artists] represent or are contemplating as a group“. I liked individual works, but as a group “they are only remarkable for their aloofness“.

The catalogue also says “there is a distinct coolness to the works” and I am thinking perhaps they were going for a gloomy atmosphere as they say the works address “aspects of absence, melancholy, loss“.  The show is dedicated to artist Julian Daspher who died in July 2009, so I guess that is fitting.

My plan is to go to the floortalk with Jim Barr and Mary Barr on 11th October (3pm) in hope of further clarification.

A Kind of Blue at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery runs from 29 August to 6 December 2009.

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A year ago today

Well its a year since I started this blog. A year with some pretty big ups, downs and change arounds for me but I managed to keep going here – which amazes me. Blogging has opened doors and introduced some wonderful people into my life which has been all good. I feel I should list people but you know who you are….It’s also opened my eyes to many new ideas while letting me have a forum to explore them.

My first post was about Clairmont and I’ve continued to rattle on about him and his work. In fact one of my biggest regrets for the year was not making more of an effort to go see the blue self portrait (1975) that was in the recent Art+Object “Important Paintings” auction. I will now probably raise the ire of someone as I reproduce it here (from the Art+Object catalogue)

blueclairmont

Someone suggested to me that it had Baxter-like qualities. I agree – it’s a special one. I hope it is happy in its new home (if it has one)

This blog is meant to be about art and my life and so is a very personal view. That has been problematic at times because I am always learning. The biggest education experience for me this year was a tour of  “Reboot” at the City Gallery, Wellington with a talk by collector Jim Barr. I think I get it now – I don’t necessarily like it all, but I see. I feel a bit guilty about not searching out more challenging art since then, but access to formal art remains a bit of an issue.

I’ve had a busy day today and not really on the lookout for ART, but at my daughters ballet exam this morning my eyes wandered again to a graphic of Martha Graham * that hangs on the studio wall. Of course dance is an art itself but this picture seems to capture the freedom Graham embodied. I couldn’t find an exact copy online but Warhol does an ok job of dance art – and its taken from an excellent 1940 photo by Barbara Morgan. It doesn’t quite capture the same spirit though as the poster in the studio (whoever that is).

martha
Martha Graham : Letter to the world. Andy Warhol

I try to honour a tradition of  “a year and a day” to decide about committing myself to things, so I guess I have another day to decide about the future of this blog. Whatever – its been fun.

*Oh, Gosh – maybe it was Isadora Duncan? Nah…

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Floortalk

As mentioned in my last post yesterday I went to the collectors talk of Reboot at the City Gallery. In hindsight I should have allowed myself more time and scoped out the exhibition first nonetheless it was a pretty great afternoon.

To ‘reboot’ a computer system is to hit the on-switch and set its programme going again. Bringing together 100 works by 40 artists, Reboot showcases art that wants us to look twice and think again.

I find contemporary and more conceptual art challenging and this blog reflects some of that in my constant questioning of ‘what is art?”. I am also on an art journey as I am learning so much as I explore these questions. It was wonderful to hear some of my personal questions and issues voiced and discussed. For example impermanence, outsourcing and ideas behind collections and owning art. So “look twice and think again” – yes.

Jim Barr is a great story-teller and his explanation of conceptual art, illustrated (literally) with Martin Creed’s Work 132: A lamp going on and off (2003) certainly lit a bulb above my head. I always thought I was missing something, but its so simple, you really do buy an idea. I love this, really – and after that it mostly fell into place for me. I think the object groupings by curator Justin Paton were somewhat lost on me because I was a bit overwhelmed once the ideas started to hit me and wandered around a little ‘spaced’ but predictably I liked the homages (or not) to McCahon.

My personal taste is in a slightly different arena I guess, but there were small moments of wonder to be found here and I doubt I will approach contemporary art the same way again. There is so much to say but a highlight was the owner touching and ‘interacting’ (ok – rearranging) the works – something I always want to do and almost got kicked out of the Henry Moore exhibition at Te Papa for doing (for %^&$# sake – it was a few tonnes of bronze!!). It was interesting to see the small Ronnie van Hout work of Colin McCahon “action figure” because I saw this in an exhibition at Pataka – “Its a Small world” about 5 years ago. Also fascinated by comments about works standing up to the rigours of handling. I am a fan of imperfection and this made me wonder how long I could really live with something as ‘clean’ as a Walters? Often the art I like would fall into the “conservation nightmare” grouping.

And of course a surreal moment, like the start of a bad joke “A housewife, a librarian and an art collector walk into a gallery…” (liberties taken with job descriptions).

I wonder how it would have been to see this show without the talk first? I think I need to go back and look some more but the chance is slim. I also need to budget to get a copy of the catalogue ($20) and research the original Good Work exhibition (contrast and compare).

Interestingly just going back to Wellington was challenging. I think I finally have to admit that I am not a 20-something, urban-dwelling, corporate IT geek anymore – far from it.  And I think there is such a thing as TOO MUCH public art.

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