Posts Tagged ‘Hurrell’


I was thinking may be I could turn over a new leaf in 2009 and not blog anonymously. There was some debate on this subject in the art blogging world in 2008 – nicely summed up here today. To be honest though and as I said to Mr Hurrell, I am just too lazy to change all my accounts and anyone that wants to can email me and get a reply from my ‘real’ name. I am a nobody anyway.

I have been writing a few pieces not art related and am thinking of submitting for publication and while trying to write a little bio I got to wondering about pseudonyms and characters.  If a author of fiction was playing with characters , maybe writing a completely fictitious blog in that character’s voice would be an interesting way to ‘explore’ them. What would that mean though? Would it be a deception? Because to have/give full effect, you wouldn’t want to declare the intention. If you consider the ‘net “publication” could it be an Ern Malley type situation? I wonder if any of the blogs I read are “made up”?

Portrait of Ern Malley by Sidney Nolan

Also there are many instances of writers with pseudonyms, but not so many artists – I wonder why?

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I accidentally caught a news item tonight on the Power of Portraiture exhibition at Gus Fisher Gallery . “How we perceive leadership has changed over the years. The use of portraiture to reflect the image of ‘power’ and ‘authority’ has also had to change to reflect the differences in values and leadership styles.

I read a review over on EyeContact recently on this and Hurrell wrote “much of the show is plain dull. Just bad art that deserves to be tossed into an incinerator.” I guess that’s an understandable reaction to such a selection. Of course being in Auckland I haven’t seen the exhibition so I can’t comment too much about it. However I find portraiture on the whole creepy, and self portraits are worse. There’s that whole thing about being watched. This I found quiet disturbing in patches of the major Rita Angus retrospective at Te Papa earlier this year.

From what I have seen I was struck by some very conventional works. I quite liked the painting of Michael Savage as it seemed very straight forward and perhaps befitting the man? The other was Richard McWhannell’s portrait of Don McKinnon which was a little less formal and had a nice quality of light about it. Its all very weird because I just LOVE photographs of people, yet I would hesitate to have a painted portrait of someone on my walls.

Michael Joseph Savage by John A Berrie. [1937]

So from this weak start you may gather I have decided to continue with this blog. I am sure it will change with my move to Dunedin in mid January – maybe because I am hoping for a more rural outlook (and on that front I need lots of blog-reader long distance mojo right now to secure the house we are after). Also my recent cancer scare and other sad events this year, my perspective has been altered a little. It has been bought home to me that original art and more particularly owning it is something that must show up on “Stuff White People Like” (if it hasn’t already) and is hardly a socialist activity, unless maybe its your own art . I am also working on my “4 Things to do before I am 40” list, an anniversary that is approaching super fast (which is why the list has been shortened).

Amongst this I will still find art and it will continue to be an integral part of my life and you might read about it here. My motto will be from Ginsberg via Patti Smith “I noticed…”

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More from the randomiser

I have very little to say about art right now. However when clearing out old baby clothes I found 2 items that resembled Hirst dot paintings. You’d think clothing would lend its self more to random polka dots rather than rows al la Hirst – but there you go. I would have taken a photo but they are so faded that only the pink dots really stand out now.

Banksy takes on Hirst

I am feeling a bit over-whelmed at all the stuff I need to get rid of and I made the observation to a friend that I seem to imbue inanimate objects with emotional qualities. He wryly suggested that, that is what art is about. Ok – I concede that point, but you have draw the line somewhere at what particular objects you become emotionally attached to.

How can you resist a book that begins with this quote from Katherine Mansfield? “Dear Princess Bibesco, I am afraid you must stop writing these little love letters to my husband while he and I live together. It is one of the things that is not done in our world“. Having once had cause to make a similar comment about text messages, I think I know where she was coming from on that one. The book is of course “Uncommon Arrangements” and very good reading.

Finally I’ve been discussing via the comments the issue of blogger psuedonyms with John Hurrell. Having this kind of debate via comments is always tricky and I never seem to be able to convey my meaning very well. I am just hoping some more bloggers become involved. Good to see the comments from others already there.

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About Art

There has been a bit in the news and blogosphere about art writing recently. The DomPost has dropped its visual arts column and writer Mark Amery and he was on the Kim Hill Pogramme this morning talking about it (audio available for 6 weeks-ish at the link). I know it’s all because of decreasing advertising revenue, but for the “cultural capital’ to have no visual arts column in its daily newspaper seems, well just odd.

John  Hurrell is also talking about art blogging this weekend in Auckland, although he is really just uses the blogging platform for his reviews – nice that he has retained the comment feature for interaction though. Interestingly both Hurrell and Amery mention the importance of debate and discussion around art and the role of art writing in that.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about this blog recently as I have felt that perhaps I should consider being more serious and perhaps reverent towards art. But then I remind myself that this is my very personal take on it and I make efforts to declare that position. I mean no-one has to read it. In some funny discussions yesterday when I was talking about my aspirations of being more Nigella Lawson-like (cooking, literature and looks being such a great combination), someone suggested I was the Domestic Goddess of NZ art, which was very flattering – me being a kitchen sink philosopher and all. Of course it is rather over the top and thankfully I have no aspiration to marry into the art world like Nigella did.

Jim Cauty takes on Nigella

Finally my local library has come through again with the Rita Angus Life and Vision catalogue. Its stunning. I like how many of the reproductions are full page and essays I’ve read so far have been very good. It made me wonder if the name ‘Rutu’ has anything to do with the Maori land at Waikanae? Also Uncommon Arrangements by Sophie Roiphe arrived. I must remember to bake muffins for the good librarians at Paraparaumu before I leave (in a Nigella-like gesture), and lets hope Mosgiel library is as accommodating.

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