Having been relatively confined to the house, I have been dwelling on art and suburbia and home. There an interesting exhibition at the Walker Art Centre commented on over at Best of 3 about the impact of suburbia on art. Although I haven’t been to Auckland for a while I can only hope the type of American suburb this is mostly about isn’t too present here in New Zealand. I can’t knock NZ suburbs too much because I’ve almost always lived in one and they have served me well. Apart from a short time in Aro Valley that is, and Holloway Road is truly a little entity all of its own.
I found this at Art for Housewives “Aesthetics are homemade. That is, the formation of taste comes from the home. From homemakers. From our mothers. The way they feed us, the way they dress us, the way they decorate our homes. The way they care for us. Housewives are our first trendsetters. Because our childhood follows us throughout our lifetime. Like Proust’s madeleines.” That’s kind of a scary thought. So although I encourage ‘good art’ in our home, at this point I need to remind myself of reason #41 why I can’t own decent original artworks (just yet) which is “Oh dear, there’s vegemite on the McCahon again”.
This is not just the territory of women artists either (for example Jacqueline Fahey, Joanna Margaret Paul) . Even Picasso didn’t escape from ‘Domestica’ and sorry to harp on but Clairmont’s work was domestic subjects for a large part.
On a slightly more contemporary side here is an example from Rhonda Roland Shearer
I know its a bore, but has again made me challenge Hamish Keith’s assertion in “The Big Picture” that art is essentially an urban occupation. Of course there is a bad side and I get a bit fed up with the line of artistic endeavour by “trapped housewives” and in my own area I will scream if I see another painting of Kapiti Island (apologies to Rita Angus of course – who was a culprit with Waikanae).
Items from the news
I see ‘The Listener’ has another visual art ‘review’ which is good. However, yet again, I am confused. I don’t know if the writer has seen the Don Ramage Steel Jungle retrospective but the whole thing was descriptive rather than making any strong comment. Maybe this is how its meant to be with a retrospective? But to me its almost inline with the promotional material which says the show is “reintroducing his work a contemporary audience hungry for retro design heroes” – ugh! So to contrast and compare, I came across this review of the Tate Modern’s new show on Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia. All respected names with a well known body of work, yet the author (Tom Lubbock) has something new and insightful to say. As I’ve said before though ‘what would I know’.
Exhibition by vote
I also had an interesting discussion over at Best of 3 about “exhibition by vote’. I’ve concluded this is not such a good idea and “Clever programming should be able to answer both needs” that is the familiar and the new. I am totally for better/easier public access to collections (eg at Te Papa – although they seem to be working on that with their web based stuff). What made me finally decide it was a BAD idea was thinking about the local art gallery and the demographics of my area. While there are some great artists and art about, not to knock anyone, but the vote approach here may well result in show after show of paintings of Kapiti Island (see above) – unless it was an MMP vote maybe :-)
Sorry to those who have been on the receiving end of me clicking the ‘send’ button too quickly (and too often) this last week. I will shut up now.