Posts Tagged ‘White’

For most of last year I was immersed in geographic academia and geographical detail remains intriguing to me. This morning I chanced to hear just the beginning of a radio interview with Jake Gorst, director of Modern Tide, about modernist architecture on the East Coast of the US.. The first thing that struck me was his statement that Long Island was 100 miles long. I don’t know why this hadn’t registered with me in the past. But on reflection it makes sense, as many of my literary/arts favourites have some sort of connection to the island and yet I had never really connected.

Jackson Pollock lived and died there. The Pollock Krasner house in Springs in the Hamptons is now a study centre and museum of sorts.

Both Armistead Maupin and Edmund White’s (especially Forgetting Elena) stories of Fire Island.

Large parts of John Irving’s “Widow for One Year” takes place in the Hamptons also at Sagaponack. This is not an easy book but captures human nature so well like much of Irving’s writing

The wonderful book “Architect of Desire” about the infamous Stanford White was largely located at the Box Hill estate in Smithtown.

The decline of Box Hill led me to research the fading history of Long Island and I discovered this website about the mansions of Long Island and the architectural relics of its heyday.

The mansions of course bring us to one of the most know Long Island stories “The Great Gatsby” and I was surprised how close to New York in modern terms Gatsby’s Estate was. Wikipedia states that ” In this novel, Great Neck (King’s Point) became the new-money peninsula of “West Egg” and Port Washington (Sands Point) the old-money “East Egg”. Several mansions in the area served as inspiration for Gatsby’s home, such as Oheka Castle and the now-demolished Beacon Towers.

New Picture

Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby and I am sure there are many many others….

Finally Rufus Wainright’s song Montauk is also a great favourite

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A few weeks back I drove out on the Otago Peninsula. It is a lovely landscape and features in many NZ artworks e.g.

Florence And Harbour Cone (1974) by Robin White
Collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery

I was reminded of another Robyn and her project and “the idea of a travel guide from the 1968 being recontextualised in 2010”. I have really enjoyed Robyn’s posts on her journeys and was lucky enough to find a copy of the 1968 guide for myself for 50c.

The fascinating thing for me about this guide is the artwork. A travel guide, illustrated with paintings by Garth Tapper,Juliet Peter, Doris Lusk and Colin McCahon! Also photographs by Brian Brake and Marti Friedlander (amongst others)

The Otago section starts with a McCahon.

[Three Otago Landscapes: Cover design for The Shell Guide to New Zealand edited by Maurice Shadbolt], (1968) Colin McCahon

I love the idea around using these paintings, although I hope people didn’t take the artists’ interpretation of the landscape too literally.

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I was looking at some of my online profile information recently and I always put down the book “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” by Margaret Craven as my favorite book. I could put down any number of books. Edmund White’s “The Farewell Symphony” perhaps or John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire. Not very high-brow huh?

All these books are ones that had a huge impact on me at particular points in my life. Another is The Missionaries by Norman Lewis and most that I know of the history of Afghanistan and the surrounding area is from A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby.

I could go on – but back to the owl book. Read it. Actually read any of the above, but seriously, read Craven and tell me what you think…and don’t look up wikipedia because it gives away the ending. And a good book to read in tandem with it is Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen – which I am glad to have recently found a copy of for my shelves.

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Stuff (NOT the website) has taken over my life. I am feeling a bit like the Junk Lady from the film Labyrinth, overwhelmed by things. Which has led to a reduction in blogging – and other writing projects.

Several interesting things have come my way though. Firstly I was sent a great MP3 of Dave Hickey speaking (audio file here – its big!) He made some excellent points and I felt they were very relevant to the New Zealand institutional art scene. [Hatip MC for the link]. One take away message though for me was that art is an elective, not a compulsory course, so to speak. Art is a luxury. As my twitter followers will know, I can be a bit whiney about my relatively comfortable middle-class existence. Art (in its broad sense) is my luxury and I should probably appreciate that more instead of moaning that I can’t get to see more exhibitions or buy more books. Deviating a bit from Hickey’s view, and whatever their state, I am very appreciative of public galleries (and libraries!) as I get to see so much at very little cost.

I have also been very lucky to meet with some extremely interesting people of late and to read some great poetry. It’s been awesome to be able to help out a little by scrounging for knitting needles for the binding of my good friend Helen Heath’s forthcoming chapbook Watching for Smoke. This is being published by another wonderful Helen (Rickerby), at Seraph Press. Its very energising to be around people who are passionate about what they are doing and how they are doing it. In this vein, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Dean Havard at Kilmog Press, who produces beautiful handcrafted books and have had great discussions with poet Michael Steven. Kilmog has just published his chapbook Centreville Springs and its a good one!

All the literary talk prompted me to have a hunt for Fernado Pessoa books in Dunedin’s excellent 2nd hand book shops (reuse!). I had a great conversation with one ‘bookshop guy’ which went something like this:

“I am looking for anything by Pessoa”
“Oh, the Portugese chap? No sorry not at the moment”

I was so impressed that ‘bookshop guy’ knew Pessoa (and on my last visit taught me how to pronounce ‘Camus’ properly) that I ended up walking away with Rimbaud’s prose poems which was at the top limit of my budget. As this flying bookshop visit was on the way to a family outing to the Botanical Gardens I also ended up carrying Rimbaud and a copy of Edmund White’s ‘The Flaneur’  with me around the park which felt a tiny bit surreal.

The park has some interesting Peter Pan statuary. Apparently you can find these all over NZ but I found the detail in the base of this one a tad creepy. The statue is of Peter standing on a tree stump. In the tree roots are all sorts of creatures – and babies. It hadn’t occurred to me that the ‘lost boys’ were once ‘lost babies’ which I find a little disturbing and reminiscent of The Importance of Being Earnest where a baby was left in a capacious handbag “in the cloak-room of one of the larger railway stations in London.”

This baby looks quite forlorn in it’s tree root ‘cage’

On the recycle front so much has been happening but probably only of interest to me. But in the spirit of ‘recycle’ , here is a cover of Word Up – played on the ukulele. Yes, I have also been neglecting my ukulele fetish even though I am actually taking some lessons. WORD


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The Peninsula

Somewhat in line with yesterday’s post I went on a trip out to the end of Otago Peninsula today. I just love the area and would move out there in a second if circumstance permitted.

A reader has suggested that this is the 3rd Peninsula painting by McCahon, although it was painted in 1939

Harbour Cone from Peggy’s Hill(1939) Colin McCahon

I am am very fond of Harbour Cone (but surely not a “real” volcanic cone?). Portobello or Broad Bay would suit me fine. Of course Robin White documented this area comprehensively and I couldn’t help but recall the painting in this Robin Morrison photo today.

Robin White with Sam Hunt at the Portobello Pub (1978) Robin Morrison

I also managed to see seals on the beach and 5 albatross soaring about the heads. It reminded me of when I was about 4 or 5 visiting a sculptor in his studio in Christchurch. He was carving a huge albatross (larger than life). It may have been my first serious art experience.

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Ebb and flow

Some weekends I feel that I achieve nothing. And although I managed a trip through the cultural mecca of Levin yesterday, this weekend was pretty empty. In contrast, next weekend appears to be bulging at the seams already. Election day, Kapiti Arts trail, an invite to an artist’s studio in Wellington on Sunday and if I can work it, Rain of the Children at the Embassy on the same day.

The prospect of an afternoon in Wellington (without the kids) is so exciting that it also makes me realise how much I will miss some of my regular ports of call. For example, there is a lot you can criticise about Te Papa (and I have) but just to be able to wander in and visit my old friends is magic. I know that the Dunedin Art Gallery is good but what will it bring? I did see my first Clairmont there (at the old site*). The promotional brochure and DVD about Dunedin we were sent by my partner’s future employers has a picture of a couple walking past “A Waterfall in the Otira Gorge” by Petrus van der Velden – you’d think it would show something more contemporary. It is a nice painting though.

A Waterfall in the Otira Gorge (1891) by Petrus Van der Velden

It also means I will stick to my usual plan of only visiting a few places in the local Arts trail. Some time ago Janet Bailey said something to me about not compromising any critical integrity this blog may have by randomly promoting local events and places. I have tried to stick to this and only mention things I would actually go to myself. So this is an opportunity to see a few artists and their work again before I leave – Chris White at Colbolt and Caroline Beaufort for example (I love Caroline’s woodblock prints).

So I am hoping for a fine weekend and if anyone wants to join me for a coffee in Wellington next Sunday…I’ll check my dance card.

* I cannot for the life of me, recall where the old gallery was. It was in a park – Logan Park maybe?

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Round up

I finished my academic work for the year today and it appears my brain is ready to go on holiday so just a round up of some interesting things I’ve found.

Nothing to do at Labour weekend – what about a book reading at KFC in Hawera as part of the One Day Sculpture series? Came a Hot Sundae: A Ronald Hugh Morrieson Festival, Sunday 26 October 2008, 9am-late, Hawera, South Taranaki. I ‘d be there if I was in the vacinity.

Further on the subject of books, I am reading (well looking at) a great book right now. The Desire of the Line: Ralph Hotere Figurative Works. Its lovely. I have also been thinking there should be a Volume II of “Between the Lives” and this book by Jacky Bowring looks particularly good.

Woman(1970) Ralph Hotere

I also enjoyed this speech by Chris Price from the Going West Books and Writers Festival. I have decided I really must make more of an effort to get to festivals and exhibitions when I move South. I perhaps haven’t made enough of local opportunities here.

On that note the Real Art Road Show has a new selection of works, now on show at the Mahara Gallery and I really must go back to Colbalt before I leave.

And finally I may be eating my words when I have been a bit sneering about the plethora of Kapiti Island images around here. This may just be the subject of a artwork I will next be purchasing, although Sheldon Swears had some great photos of the Paekakariki Railway buildings.

And don’t worry – I’ll get ‘back on topic’ and stop obsessing about moving soon, when I actually get super busy with the logistics probably.

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