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Posts Tagged ‘Creed’

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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Art Collecting in a Crisis

Or “Art Collecting for the Poor”

I know pretty much nothing about private art collecting, but today I was thinking about how (so far) the art world village seems largely unaffected by “the recession”. I can only put this down to it not really biting yet. However I have put together some tips for private collectors in a future environmental/energy/economic crisis.

Power. Don’t buy anything that requires power. Or maybe look for works that are solar powered. Alternatively, for those so inclined, I am told a small nuclear reactor is cheap and environmentally friendly. Consider if existing works will still stand if they are in off mode – the artist may even consider this to be part of the concept? Works such as Martin Creed’s Work No 227: The Lights going on and off may be better kept in purely “idea” form or renamed “The Lights going off and on“. In fact Creed’s new Work No 850 may just be more sustainable all round. Video works could be stored, although you maybe you can get the pretty shiny DVDs out and play with their reflections in the candle light.

Assemblage seems to be a good bet – especially if environmentally friendly recycled pieces. I would avoid anything that looks like it could be used as firewood though, it may just become too tempting.

Painting. Oils in particular may also be tempting to throw on the fire – especially if the artist has taken Gopas’ advice and mixed a lot of turps in with the paint so it burns easier. Portraits may win out here, as most people are loathe to do anything to their own self image (see Dorian Gray). Artists may need to consider if their canvases and paints are sourced from sweat shop sources. I am told hessian (ripped from the walls of old villas) works as a canvas and grinding and mixing your own pigments has certain sensuous qualities. Larger canvases could also be reused as curtains.

In the end craft/decorative arts seem more practical. Vessels could have all sorts of daily uses and handmade items such as Ani O’Neill crocheted works could be joined up to make clothes or blankets.

OK – this may not even be remotely funny. No offense to any artists or collectors intended! 

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