I am currently a kitchen table writer due to the fact that there is simply no space in our new house for my desk. This is ok but frustrating and leads to envy of such scheme as the Cuba Street Garret. Actually I would imagine anyone writing at home with children might dream of such a place. Here Rachel King observes just what a treat “a room of one’s own” really is. For me this week, just having to break the stream of thought to change a nappy was a wake up call.
I dream of a room of my own with a view (Woolf and Forster). Not too good a view though (distracting) and a few hours a week of child free writing and research time. My reverie extends to this building not far from me. The upstairs is quite wonderful where the original wood work has been exposed. Maybe it is leaky and rat infested, but it would make a romantic work place. I do wonder what “exchange” in this context is. As its not too far from the old mills, so maybe wool exchange? It is also called the Souter Building which may give a clue (I have more research to do).
The next best thing is a day off – which is what I am doing tomorrow. Taking my camera, journal and a couple of books ‘to town’.
On a different tangent, I just love this from the Wooster Collective. Art insired street art – heaven.
from the streets of Los Angeles (swiped from Wooster Collective)
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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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More on artists/writers residences (and residencies). I just read on Beatties Book Blog that the University of Waikato have bought late writer Michael King’s house at Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula, for its staff and students as a retreat to research and write. “Bookman Beattie is certain Michael would have been delighted with this decision. And of course this brings to two the number of university involvements with the late Michael King, with the University of Auckland having earlier become involved with the Michael King Writers’ Centre”
This is great stuff but I do wonder about all the fellowships and residencies and how available they really are. My concern is for women who tend to still be the main child carers. Lots of female writers fit their work in around domestic duties and although maybe be eligible or even offered such an opportunity, it could mean uprooting a family, the husband/partner finding a new job in a new town, kids at new schools and all the associated ‘stuff’. “But men have the same issues” you cry. Well ok but then, maybe they ‘go on ahead’ and the family joins later OR in some cases, thefamily stays behind. I have a bias of course but I do wonder about how many women have missed these opportunities because of ‘the pram in the hallway’. Maybe other women are more organised than me :-). Is this why women artists are under-represented or is it something more sinister?
King was associated with the visual arts in several ways too. The catalogue for the John Money Collection “Splendours of Civilisation” (Eastern Southland Art Gallery, Gore) and Moko with Marti Friedlander are two books that come to mind (without thinking very hard).
I dashed madly through the Money collection at the ESAG a couple of years back. It was disjointed (to me) but impressive. It is odd to find such notable art in an ‘out of the way’ place like Gore. “Nic-named the ‘Goreggenheim’ by Saatchi & Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts, this regional public art museum features permanent exhibitions of national and international note” The Ralph Hotere collection there is meant to be one of the best in the country.
Hotere, Walter Logeman
Speaking of art in Southland I wonder if the reason Gopas’ Trawlers, felt so familiar to me is that a 1955 watercolour of his, also named “Trawlers”, is held at the Anderson Park Art Gallery in Invercargill. Maybe its was similar to the 1959 oil?
There has been a lot in the news here lately about ‘affordable housing’ and people not being able to get into first homes. Well I have a good idea. I am happy to never own my own home (well not quite) if they bring in this scheme. “The French government is proposing interest-free loans (up to $10,000) to less wealthy people toward the purchase of art. The idea is designed to entice private individuals who might otherwise think they’re not rich enough to start buying art…Apparently similar programs have been introduced in Britain and The Netherlands”. Hmmm – where should I start???? Perhaps a McCahon before the Americans snap them all up :-)
Anyway off junk shopping tomorrow, always in hope that I’ll find a Frank Carpay vase in the 50c bin or a lost Goldie amongst the broken picture frames
Crown Lynn vase by F Carpay
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