Posts Tagged ‘Plischke’

Home again

We are going through the house hunting process for the first time. Anyone that has done this will know what a minefield it is. My advice so far – “trust no one”.

I suppose it one of those times where you really begin to understand deeply what you like, and what you can cope with. Compromise, patience and all those things that I am not good at come to the fore along with the differences between  you and any significant other involved.

For us, another complication is the very small catchment we are looking in. I’ve always loved mid century modern but no case book houses here. In fact my favourite New Zealand houses were designed by Ernst Plischke and the number of houses he built/designed in Mosgiel or even Dunedin = 0 (please correct me if I am wrong)

There was one, a late deco beauty but a tad out of our price range and we weren’t quick enough. Can’t find a pic online but the bathroom gives you the idea


So I find I am all about character and gardens…..and that soul-less beige 90s – present day houses terrify me.

Actually this shouldn’t have come as a surprise as my latest online obsession shows. I have become a little addicted to Pinterest which is basically online old fashioned scrapbook (as opposed to craft scrapbooking *shudder*). What my Pinterest shows me over time is a fairly well rounded picture of my tastes. I haven’t included art much but over all I’d say it is very telling. There is probably psychologists analysing people’s profiles now. It might also prove to be a valuable relationship tool (if you both had accounts) instantly showing up ‘chalk and cheese’ situations.

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Goodbye Mr Plischke

As I’ve mentioned before when I was living near Wellington, one of my projects was to find and hopefully have a look inside some Plischke houses. I never did hunt down Evelyn and Fredrick Page’s Waikanae home. I had a vague idea where it was but I ran out of time to do more investigation although I was encouraged after my Angus breakthrough.

There was also the Giles house, only a few blocks from where I was living on the Kapiti Coast. It was nice to see that externally it was being looked after in the fashion of the original design but because I discivered that the owner was a ‘well know person’ I never got up the nerve to ask to see it. I bumped into him a few times in local shops etc but I was too intimdated to talk – foolish perhaps?

Last year at the time we were likely to be moving to Palmerston North, we found a house for sale in Savage Crescent a few houses down from where I’d lived previously. A gentrified former state housing precinct, Plsichke was on the design team, and it would have been the close to owning a ‘real’ Plischke house.

There are very few Plischke houses in the South Island – in fact I only know of one, Henderson House in Alexandra. I had intended to visit there while Peter Peryer was there on his year long residence but my relocation and the end of his time there didn’t really coincide. I may bug the next artist in residence.

Maybe I should just buy this book and leave it at that. Maybe its just not meant to be and it is indeed  ‘Goodbye Mr Plischke’.


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One of the things I was looking into when I started writing this blog was artists houses and the little artistic cluster at Waikanae which is virtually on my doorstep. Walters, Schoon, Hodgkins, Angus, Page, Clairmont and now I discover Richmond all made significant work there.

Any way a while back I write that I’d located the Angus home and had taken this photo. I must now admit to a “mollie moment”. From Martin Edmond’s Luca Antara blogI got as far as page 8 before the first shock of embarrassment and shame. It was this passagealmost every ‘fact’ in the last two of those four sentences is wrong.”  Since writing the book he refers to, the full story of Mollie, the elephant that died at Ohakune had come to light. 

Yesterday I spent some time with the local council historian, Ron Prockter* who furnished me with lots of information regarding the Angus home. The great news is, that although subdivided, the gardens are largely intact and it appears the home may be too , although greatly altered. The embarrassing news was the address I had previously was completely wrong and so the photo referred to above, although vaguely interesting, has no artistic association at all. 

Rita Angus (c1942) by Theo Schoon (photo from Art New Zealand Issue 107)

Angus had the use of a beach house at Waikanae owned by her father who moved there in 1943. Schoon appears to have visited her there at least once with Gordon Walters who was his protege.” Michael Dunn – Art NZ Issue 107

Why am I so interested in this anyway? Well I like Angus’s garden paintings, as to me they have a different ‘feel’ about them. And although the Angus cottage is saved for posterity in Thorndon, I was intrigued by this little local mystery. Mr Prockter also told me that this land has a long and interesting history being a large part of the ‘Rau o te Rangi’ block named after a maori woman Te Rauoterangi, the daughter of a Ngati Toa chief. Te Rauoterangi also was known as Kahe, the name she used to sign the Treaty of Waitangi.

Now that we are definitely off South in a few months, its nice to have this story complete and I am continuing my hunt for the Page home (designed by Plischke).

*Over the Net and their “On the Road” series may be interested to know that Mr Prockter is in charge of street name approval here and there is a Hodgkins Road and Goldie Place at Waikanae.

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A while ago I was asking around about the politics behind the gentrification of street art. Well yesterday I came across this about the restoration of street art in New York.

“Within the past year, two highly-prized, old school graffiti works have been retouched on the walls of lower Manhattan, while, this summer, a third work has been repainted in its entirety onto the brickwork of the Lower East Side. “

Personally I think money may be at the root of this more than simply a “new found reverence” for street art.

“[they] had been told by the building’s previous landlord that a Jean-Michel Basquiat work lay hidden in the building somewhere. Though the pair didn’t find one neatly-formed work behind the walls, the art they did uncover was perhaps of greater significance: a floor-to-ceiling hash of tags, throw-ups and burners belonging to such old school graffiti writers as Fab 5 Freddy, Futura 2000, Nesto, Ramellzee, as well as Basquiat.”

and of course Basquiat is worth bazillions so

“Irgang managed to remove and remount the graffiti to a lightweight panel, using a tissue paper, cheesecloth, adhesive, chisels and stiff fabric… the mural is due to join the collection of a major museum.”

– Am I being cynical? Also the restoration of Haring’s first major outdoor artwork seems a little off when “Keith himself covered over the work once the paint started to fade.”

Well – whatever. In other news I have found a interim solution for my desire for a mid century house (a la Plischke) – a mid century modern birdhouse

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I am currently looking at the possibility of returning to the provinces. OK, I am already halfway there but being only 45 mins from the Capital with good public transport makes it not quite feel so isolated.

Its not all bad of course. It is quite possible that I can even return to a Plischke suburb [.pdf file] which the nearest I’ll probably ever get to living in one of his houses, its a University town, has a reasonable gallery, many friends live there and just how often do I get into Wellington anyway? Also as a friend said, they do have the Internet there.

But, I also quite like my current seaside existence even if one geographical feature heavily dominates the landscape and the artwork.

Waikanae (1951) Rita Angus

Of course nothing is definite yet so I shall just keep “deaccessioning” and packing.

There is a lot of debate about how surroundings and domicle impact on people psychologically and I guess this is often reflected in art as well. For example McCahon’s Titirangi, Muriwai etc. Woolaston’s Nelson, Ronnie van Hout’s Christchurch house(s). There should be a travel guide to artistic NZ like the defunct literary one. Now there’s a project, in two volumes (art and literature), entertainingly written, hansomely photographed – anyone in?

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I was at my favourite cafe today when I noticed that a painting I really liked that had been there for an age (and I was quietly thinking of saving up for) had gone. I didn’t think so much of the replacement. Anyway the painting I liked was called “Motu Motu” and by the artist Jon Stevenson
Jon in front of Motu Motu

The thing that is good about a regular cafe is that they almost have your long black waiting as you walk in the door – or a Romano in the weekends! Casa Java also serves fair trade coffee which totally blew my cutting down plan by drinking only fair trade. Now if only they had fair trade Ethiopian Yirgacheffe my life would be complete.

I’ve been reading some design books this week. Firstly “Crown Lynn: New Zealand Icon” by Valerie Ringer Monk. I just keep thinking that I grew up with this stuff and some of it is gross. My mother would be amazed that it is now so collectible. She got a set of ‘Autumn Splendour’ as wedding gift I believe or maybe a little later – anyway it was slowing disappearing when I came on the scene and replaced with Fleurette.


The other book is 40 Legends of New Zealand Design by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins and its a bit of a revelation. Again its very familiar territory but the significance of some of these people had been a bit lost on me. Another book to add to the “must buy one day” list. I might have to start another page here for that – or at least a link to an Amazon wishlist. Actually forget Amazon – I’m trying to buy books via Goodbooks if possible now but to be honest, I don’t buy very many books at all. Thankfully my library has accepted another list of recommendations from me recently (including the new Angus one).

Speaking of books I picked up two good 2nd hand ones today Below the Surface: words and images in protest at French testing on Moruroa  and Landfall 208. Both have inscriptions, which is something I love. I suppose unless its from the author they devalue a book, but don’t you ever wonder who “Ethel, Christmas 1947” was? Anyway the copy of Landfall had an inscription on the cover from Fiona Kidman which is funny considering the contents.

My recent obsession with Plischke houses (still haven’t located Eve Page’s) led someone to point out to me the latest “Home New Zealand” magazine which features two quite amazing mid century houses – worth a look!


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Art Transformation Zone

You may have seen this advert

Well I’ve been thinking that this may also apply to some more ‘conceptual’ artworks. If I was very clever I would make my own video version…but for now picture this. Find this object within a few hundred metres of a gallery or public artspace and its ART…

Peter Robinson (title unknown – anyone?)

Further away than that and it becomes…a big lump of polystyrene.

art, art, art, art…polystyrene    OR

Kah Bee Chow & Finn Ferrier For F & F, 2008

art, art, art, art…sand

NOTE: I have nothing against these artworks. I was just thinking about what would happen if you encountered them in a space not ‘designated’ for art.

In other news I am ridiculously excited to find a Plischke house just down the road from where I live.

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