27 December 2004

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on tv

Had a cool discussion this morning (I know - who would have thought these things could happen without a bottle of wine) about the similarities between the art world and the advertising world, and at what point advertising became an art and not just a service, and whether it really should be an art and not just a service.

Might have something to do with the latest book I'm reading, which opens with a bullet going through that cute fabric softener bear we all grew to love on TV a good few years back.

The parallel and/or balance between art's aesthetic and intellectual components, and advertising's creativity and effectiveness is interesting when you look closely at it.

23 December 2004

Art vs. Street 2

Following on from my post yesterday, page 2 of the New Zealand Herald today informs us that local councils are stepping up the war on tagging. A bill has been drafted for Parliament that proposes to ban the sale of aerosol to under 18-year-olds, and make graffiti an offense with 'stiff penalties'.
I'll concede to the benefits in terms of property damage, and general civic seemliness, but this can't be beneficial for the development of the considered end of street art. Can it?

22 December 2004

Art + streets + the dilemma of choosing the right frame

I came across this blog recently, and it got me to thinking about the recent explosion of what I guess could be terms as educated graffiti, and my own association with it.

Waaaay back, somewhere in the mid 80's, around the first time break dancing was popular, there was a Sunday Documentary programme on New York Subway art - including an interview with NYC Mayor Guliani where he pretty much said these guys were criminals and ought to be incarcerated. In an effort to recreate the street-cool-chaos of those early intracate images of new art, a million felt pens were taken to sheets of jotter pad (and the occasional wall) in the depths of provincial New Zealand.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years, throw in an exposure to stencilling through a bedroom-based bootleg screenprinting empire, accidental then repeated exposure to Juxtapoz magazine, a bit of travel, a bit of art collection, and you've got an overview of my interests here.

It's great that we're seeing this sort of art become both commonplace and acceptable (maybe not so much to building owners and local authorities), increasingly prolific and intricate, and, unavoidably I suspect, commodified.

I note in Rose's blog that all the examples are positioned to be unavoidable as you either enter or exit fairly significant Wellington dealer galleries. I wonder if this is accidental, or if it's done in the hope of bolstering a relationship between street and 'high' - or at least saleable - art.

The works are at their thickest outside Peter McLeavey's central Cuba St Gallery - not a particularly dimly lit, low foot traffic, out of the way place you'd expect to see such a prolific concentration. But they're there - layer upon layer of considered and not-so-considered stencil, tagging, pasteups, stickers.

Given McLeavey's history of creating some of the icons of New Zealand art over the last many years (ask him about the plaster marks in the North wall next time you're in there - they present a better history of NZ art than Te Papa's latest effort), I can't help but suspect that they're there for a reason. It's likely that the likes of Mephisto Jones, Misery et al, have been into Peter's gallery, or are at least aware of his stewardship of the likes of McCahon, Illingworth, Woolaston, Walters, but the base level taggers are likely to only be aware of the sign that says Art Gallery.

So is there perhaps a hope that Peter McLeavey himself will stop as he unlocks the door one day, seize upon a prticular work, and be moved to the point of hunting down and signing up the struggling artist, escalating him/her on a path to art world stardom - not unlike the skate punks in High Fidelity or Warren the shoplifter in Empire Records - and thus take a further step towards validating this rapidly emerging form of art?

21 December 2004

And so it begins (again)

In a fit of wild enthusiasm, and a brief period of post-chaotic wind-down time at work, I've rekindled my association with the blog medium. 
I've had an interesting relationship with blogs over the last couple of years - following a couple, starting a couple, managing a couple for other people, writing a couple of reports on how they were used in the US Election campaign, and advising more people about the viability of the little suckers. 
Maybe this time I'll maintain enough momentum to contribute regularly, maybe not, but for the moment it's looking set to serve a purpose as something of a mental scratch pad - channelling old-man-rant outbursts to the interweb and away from people whose opinions are more valuable for the moment than those offered by the (relative) anonymity of cyberspace.
Please hold the line, Caller.