I had a rather surreal experience recently. Last Saturday morning I had the pleasure of sitting in a dealer gallery going through ‘a bunch’* of artworks, happily working out titles and discussing writing for a proposed catalogue for a show. A few people wandered in and almost warily checked out the current show (Martin Thompson) and scuttled off again.
Even a year ago I was too scared to enter a dealer gallery. When I lived in the Wellington region I really wanted to go to Peter McLeavey’s but just couldn’t make myself climb those stairs. Is there such a thing as a phobia of dealer galleries??? I did force myself into Milford Galleries to see a Nigel Brown show because, unfashionable though it may be, I like his work. It was worth it. The scariest part was the desk right by the door manned by “an older gentleman” who have to say was rather frosty looking. I guess he knew I don’t have the money to buy a Brown. The same blog post I noted how I really wanted to go into Brett McDowell’s but scurried past, intimidated by the Hoteres.
I guess my point is that I encourage people just to get into the galleries – public or dealer. Once you are over the threshold, its great. I don’t imagine everyone is as paranoid as I am but to the “outsider” these places can be very intimidating. I guess there are a lot of tyre kickers, but you know, an interest in art today might develop into buying later in life.
I suppose I was being a bit vampiritic, having to be asked in to these places but it has been so worth it. Maybe some galleries are more welcoming to others. I was talking to a ‘dealer’ recently who said apart from selling art he felt he had a responsibility just to promote art in general. I thought that was pretty enlightened :-)
For the sake of an image – I am very fond of this Don Driver that lurks in the backroom of Brett McDowell’s
Babysnatcher – Don Driver
*Is there a collective noun for art? If there is a ‘real’ one please comment and if not I will give out a real life prize to the most inventive one in comments.
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Posted in Art, Craft, tagged Driver, Halloween, Waterhouse on October 31, 2008|
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I am no artist, or crafter and only really manage to sew in a straight line if I concentrate so today’s big challenge was homemade Halloween costumes for the kidlets. Luckily bat wings are easily made from a $2 shop umbrella (even if you have to paint out the tartan pattern on the nylon) and an old sheet = a happy 3-year-old ghost.
However this got me thinking how cool Halloween costumes might be made from some of our ‘darker artists’ – actually take your pick of any artist. Although this sprang to mind pretty instantly. Ronnie van Hout I hear you say? Well some things are just too disturbing for children.
I am not big on the whole Halloween event really though because its so American and at completely the wrong time of the year for us in the Southern Hemisphere. I mean really its Beltane here and dancing around a ‘may’ pole seems more seasonal. Also isn’t Guy Fawkes so much cooler?
The Magic Circle(1886) by John William Waterhouse
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Posted in Art, Books, Poetry, tagged Adams, Angus, Culbert, de Lautour, Driver, Frizzell, Hotere, Hunt, King, McCahon on October 5, 2008|
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Firstly, I have to report back on the subject of “Crowd Pleasers” posted on Over the Net a while back. They write: “In New Zealand it’s hard to think of any major crowd pleasers…You’d think Rita Angus’s Cass would be a contender, but it has always been crowd-free when we’ve been around.” Well not today! A cloudy Wellington Sunday afternoon and the final day of the Rita Angus retrospective at Te Papa – you could hardly move in the place. At first I thought only one person was stationed in front of “Cass”, but then from behind me I heard “there it is” and a gaggle of middle aged women charged towards it.
Cass – from Ministry for Culture and Heritage social club cake decorating competition
I did a VERY quick run through because the crowd inside Rita’s imagination was a bit much for me today. Oddly the ‘seasick green’ room was quite soothing because there were very few people in there, so I had a sit down and flick through the catalogue. I hope my library copy arrives soon, because I want to have a good read of the essays which looked rather interesting. As an aside, my library came through with Sam Hunt’s new book “Doubtless” last week and it’s great – as good and better than “Talking of the Weather” plus older works. I have added this book to my ‘have to own’ list.
Upstairs there were some different things on show in Toi Te Papa, and I agree with Best of 3 that “there is a frigging spectacular Driver in the hang – the appropriately named Big Relief (1980).” that is a railway tarp – isn’t it? Several other things took my eye though including Don Peebles Wellington series (No. 16/60) . A little sad that the McCahon/Shadbolt kitchen bench was gone, but hey I can always look at it online. Oddly the Fomison looked like it was about to fall apart and I kept finding Mark Adams photos throughout the museum!
Te Papa always strikes me as noisy for a museum but my kids love it and they were entertained for hours today. We also had fun lying in the centre of the Hotere/Culbert “Void” which was about as close as they got to the art – “oh not the gallery mum…” Although Inspiration Station, their favourite place, has a new artwork (replacing the Frizzell chicken), the vaguely disturbing Send off by Tony de Lautour.
Having just re-read Rachel King’s “The Sound of Butterflies” it would have been nice to see more Lepidoptera, but maybe another day…
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Posted in Art, tagged context, Driver on April 24, 2008|
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This morning I’ve seen read several entries on an experiment about art and context. I blogged on this topic a while ago in Art Transformation Zone – and probably made a few people think I really was ‘witless’. As Tyler Green put it “Context matters — and that’s OK”. I have been wrestling with the “That’s OK” bit, I am still not sure.
Over the Net said “If you put a pile of road working equipment in the middle of an art gallery, would people stop to consider it seriously as art?” The thing is they probably would in at least the same percentages as the experiment reported above. I would estimate at least 4% would seriously consider it art because it was in a gallery. EDIT: Maths is not my strong point but probably much much more than 4% would think its art. So context does matter then?… I’d love to see this tried out actually, dumb idea or not.
Again I reiterate I have no problem with art that requires a gallery context (or not) – it just gets you thinking – well me anyway.
I saw this over on eyeContact. What does it say about context???
Layla Rudneva – McKay from Tell yourself you’re OK
Oh – and I just love that phrase “jumping on the bandwagon” For some bizarre reason it makes me think of climbing aboard Don Driver’s “Ritual”.
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Posted in Art, tagged Driver on March 6, 2008|
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I have been debating, deconstructing and trying to figure out what art is for a while now. I had come to a few conclusions, one being that it was about intent, but a discussion with someoneiknow last night brought up that it isn’t just about the artist otherwise artists would just shut all their works up in a dark room. The moment something is put out for public ‘consumption’ the viewer becomes part of the equation. So the question remains unanswered and thats probably as it should be.
I was at the library today (I love my library!) getting some books to counter what my daughter is being taught about art at school. The goal of learning to ‘colour inside the lines’ really grates on me, but apparently its about structure and discipline *shudder*. Anyway I found some of my answers – or at least a discussion of the topic in the children’s section. “What is Art? Experience art in the world around you” by Rosemary Davidson is excellent and although written for young people covers the bases really well. I guess anyone who has been to art school knows this stuff inside out but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of the basics. I liked this “What is Art? introduces the idea that art can be a personal everyday experience – rather than remote and ‘out there’“, which is sort of what my blog is about.
I also picked up the fantastic book “Welcome to the South Seas” by Gregory O’Brien. Again aimed at a younger audience, what I think is quite brilliant is that it covers many different art-forms. It doesn’t back away from introducing kids to Don Driver, although I am a little thankful it is “Yellow Tentacle Pram” not “Ritual”.
DON DRIVER Yellow Tentacle Pram 1980
To me art is where you find it (and home is where the art is). As an example I found this blog entry – just scroll down to the pictures. It starts with “Just imagine you’re in a very tiny art gallery… that smells a bit like moth balls…” The items in themselves may not be art but the photographs as a collection (and I can imagine them mounted in a gallery) certainly are.
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