15 December 2006

The virtual gallery

I have to admire Bartley and Company's new virtual art gallery. In a year where Wellington has had major dealer galleries open doors, relocate, expand, and disappear completely, it's a progressive and bold move to develop an exhibition space where people can't lean against a work, drink loads of free wine, rifle through the stock room, or berate the staff about the qualities or otherwise of a particular work or artist.

I'm just not at all convinced by the format. The screen grab above, for example, is of the inaugural exhibition, but it's all text. Maybe I'm missing the point, but I still think art sells art, not the artist's statement, be it in a real or a virtual exhibition space.

And I'm inclined to take issue with their press release, stating their first exhibition "will be the first by an established artist presented online in New Zealand". Perhaps solely online, but I can think of dozens of dealer galleries that have been offering a comparable and online exhibition experience above and beyond a physical exhibition for years.

As an aside, I wonder whether a virtual gallery takes a bigger or smaller slice of the final sale price?

Clicky clicky:

14 December 2006

The non-existent museum

German Curator Nicolaus Schafhausen gave a good lecture at City last night, on the role and form of the art institution. I'm quite intersted in gallery governance and institutional development - a legacy from working in the GBAG for a few years I suspect.

Nicolaus raised a lot of good ideas about extending the location of contemporary art beyond the art museum to re-engage dwindling and aging audience numbers. I've long had reservations about audience numbers as an accurate reflection of a gallery's performance, particularly as a justification for ongoing and future development funding. It's a bit like hits on a website (as Nicolaus pointed out). Sure it's a quantifiable number, but it doesn't actually mean a hell of a lot. If anything.

As with all art lectures though, it was a nice opportunity to sit in a dark room, look at pretty pictures (in this case by Isa Genzken (more in her at a later stage)), and let the mind wander.
Prompted by the talk, I thought a lot about a couple of artist projects/works that have shifted the gallery from frame to subject- New Plymouth artist David Clegg's Imaginary Museum project presented at the Govett-Brewster, and Rem Koolhaus' dissection of the value of additions to the Hermitage at last year's Venice Biennale.

Could the fact that artists are the only sector of the industry willing to question the museum be a case of the rest of the industry not wishing to bite the hand that feeds it?

Clicky clicky:
City Gallery
Rem Koolhaas
The Imaginary Museum

08 December 2006

Art vs. the echo chamber

I've always viewed the whole blog phenomenon as something of an echo chamber - blogs are most read by other bloggers. The is illustrated brilliantly in the political blog sphere, where Mssrs Farrar, Carter, Milne, Brown et al seem comment themselves to sleep every night.

Art has been largely remiss from the echo chamber, save for a few occasional forays by general non-art focused bloggers. This seems about to change, with the quiet launch of a couple of blogs by some NZ art world heavyweights.

The great New Plymouth based photographer Peter Peryer has long had a dynamic and comprehensive website, which he set up initially to provide a first lien of defence against barrages of questions from school kids. After a brief hiatus over recent months, his site has reappeared based on a blog platform, and he's clearly embracign the ease of updating that blogging offers. I'm off to Peter's opening at Paul McNamara's in Wanganui tomorrow, so will post a review of sorts in due course. On that there was a great piece on National Radio last Sunday.

More recent converts to online content generation are art world supremos Jim Barr and Mary Barr, with a really interesting and historically valuable collection of observations and mementos Over The Net - no doubt a reference to the cult of table tennis that seems to be entrenching itself in the upper echelons of the Wellington art world. It's interesting to note that nobody has yet posted any comments on this site...

I've also come across this blog - best of 3 - which looks promising, if not still a little green.

I look forward to a stronger dialogue about NZ contemporary art emerging, as these blogs gain momentum and followings, and the edges of the echo chamber get pushed out a little bit further.

05 December 2006

Killeen @ Mcleavey

On Saturday I caught Richard Killeen's show at the Peter Mcleavey Gallery. I'm not sure what to make of it. I was impressed with the technical perfection of the works - computer generated heavily textured scenes - whose black lined edges trace a heritage to Killeens more recognised aluminium cutouts. I liked the links to Cezanne, again through the black lines hinting at Cezanne's (then) revolutionary bold outlines and shadows a century ago, and the modern take on the formally staged and richly coloured diorama of the Dutch masters. I was drawn into the stories the works were telling, trying to figure out the relationships between the various figurative objects in the works and the what the artist was saying by his choice of texture and shape.

The show also reminded me of a time when I loaded Microsoft Publisher on 30 computers, and then spent a year retraining 30 staff that just because they had access to 120 different fonts, they didn't need to use half of them on a single A4 page. Kileen's work unquestionably shows a mastery of some sophisticated 3d modelling software that has been building over his work of recent years, but I was repelled by the overly intricate textures employed (to be fair both stock and custom). The result was like chocolate sauce on chocolate pudding. The forms in the works are rich and sweet, but so is the texture. Together they're almost too much.

Richard Killeen's website
Andrew McLeod's website (compare and contrast)

29 November 2006

Reefton. Pop. 1000

Having grown up in a small town, I'm used to places closing at 8pm. Or nothing being open on a Monday night. Or not having the population base to build amenities for young people.

So spending last week in Reefton, on the West Coast, shouldn't have been too much of a shock. But in some ways it was. For example, it has the coolest skate park in the country. Huge. And with no graffiti. It has no cash machines. I had to go to the town's only bank to get money, and while I was doing that they changed my accounts so that I pay less fees (Wellington banks take note). The shops are a weird mix of service oriented (hardware and food) and completely obscure junk shops (See white boots below).

But it was so relaxing I'd go back there. I'd return for the great cooked breakfasts, and the pizzas served from someone's carshed on the front porch they've turned into a restaurant. For the friendly locals, and the amazing skatepark. But mostly to head for the hills with a map, compass, insect repellent, and mountain bike, to explore all the old gold roads that dissect the surrounding hills.

28 November 2006

Blue thunder (only with bikes, not guns)

This has to be the best way to get a mountainbike to the top of a very large hill. And while it may seem like cheating, the next day we spent 4 hours riding up another track. In the rain.

20 November 2006

Object of desire #42,196

This photo, by Wellington photographer Andy Palmer hung in a windon on Featherston St, in one of those temporary empty-shop-space galleries that pop up from time to time. It's stuck since then, coinciding with a wider contemporary photography kick, but also with a period of limited ability to buy lots of art. Obviously the mountain is a bit of a drawcard for a former Naki boy (actually, the mountain appears in at least 3 other works in the budding collection), but I also like the sense of presence and absence (that old chestnut) - people are inhabiting the scene, yet eerily absent from it.

Lycra free zone

Q: What has mud, helicopters, native bush, 8 One-Square Meal bars, sore legs, a hearse, 3 Up and Go extremes, a silly big grin, more mud, 2 little tins of creamed rice, a magazine photoshoot, even more mud, and hopefully no more rain?

A: Me. For the next week.
Photos on the other side.

17 November 2006

Ahhh. Crisp white kichen. Who says minimalism is cold?
Can someone please fix this weather? I'm getting just a little bit sick of getting either drenched or blown off my bike on a daily basis.

13 November 2006

Begone, hideous pink!

The horrible pink feature wall in our kitchen has finally been exorcised, in a weekend long ritual involving 4 litres of Resene Alabaster, and many self-congratulatory wines. It looks much better, and has renewed faith in the self-branding exercise known as home improvement.
There is still a little too much pink left on doors, window frames, and carpet, but not for too long, hopefully.


An unexpected benefit of living in the middle of town is the ready availability of a front row seat for a renage of civic events. Like the recent fireworks display, witnessed from the civilised confines of one's deck, armed with glass of wine, nibbles, and camera. I was quite impressed with the performance this year, and got lots of fireworks photos, but kind of like this one, which was a few minutes before the display started.

30 October 2006

Fight Club

First rule of Fight Club: Don't talk about Fight Club.
Second rule of Fight Club: Don't talk about Fight Club.

Third rule of fight club: Don't pick fights with mountains.

25 October 2006

Road test: Chrysler 300c

So sitting at home last night, eating fish and chips in front of a tv show about fat people, and listening to the rain outside, and the phone rings. A friend is test-driving a Chrysler 300C, and he's pulling into my street. So I throw some shoes on, race down stairs, and out onto the footpath, and there's a rather large metallic grey Chrysler V6 turbo diesel idling in the middle of the street.

Leaping into the driver's seat, I'm immediately surrounded by leather and plastic, and a substantial array of glowing green back-lit dials. It felt a lot more snug than the Peugeot I'd just driven a few hours in - the roof is lower, windshield a lot more vertical, and the driver's footwell not so much tight as well fitting. This was an auto, with a sideways activated tiptronic that didn't feel as intuitive as the forward/back oriented tiptronics I've played with, but would probably feel better with time.

Pulling out of my street and planting the right foot, the diesel demonstrated a fair bit of torque, and the suspension wasn't as wallowy as I had expected. Flooring it up the steep bit of Vivian St was interesting - heaps of power, but teh hill countered any noticable punch in the engine. Over the Terrace the bulk - real or perceived - of the car was really noticable, though not wing mirrors were harmed in the making of this road test.

There's something about the looks of this car that gives you the sense of committing a crime, even when stopped at traffic lights. It's kind of part family friendly hot-rod, part sacked out gang-patched Holden Statesman. Even at 50kph cruising roudn town you feel like you're breaking the law.

Heading off the Terrace on-ramp onto the motorway, and this thing lept. The rogues gallery in the back seat were audibly impressed by the acceleration, and I must admit to being pleasantly surprised. There was a little bit of turbo lag, but that was overcome quickly, and off we went. Apace. Suspension was good, but given a tight backcountry road the softness would become a lot more noticable, and the slightly noticable understeer a lot more pronounced.

Interior space felt tighter than I think it was - the centre console is enormous, and the leather seats softer and less bucketed than I'm used to, giving a sort of loose shell feel that I suspect is based on the larger US customer market. I didn't test the back seats, but word is they weren't as roomy as expected.

So all in all two thumbs up. And being diesel it won't kill the polar is caps as quickly as the petrol version. I'd like to do a big road trip in one, with fairly straight roads. Where it really shines though, is around town - where you don't so much drive as cruise it. And everyone looks your way, expectign to see someone leap out of the back seat with a violin case...

17 October 2006

Kitchen quandry

After months of planning, plotting, and research, some small but strategic renovations are about to be undertaken at OMC national headquarters - namely the removal of the utterly unfashionable pink wall, covered forecer (hopefully) by a nice shade of white.
Then I suspect we'll look to modernise the kitchen, probably a new benchtop and cupboard doors, followed by an improved stove/sink/oven, then flooring and maybe lighting.
The dilemma currently facing the design committee is whether to go for a contemporary formica benchtop or a more industrial cast concrete finish. Or clinical stainless steel.
And a faux wooden or coloured cupboard door finish. Of course too many years of Wallpaper magazine readership have left me with utterly unreasonable expectations given the current budget parameters.

16 October 2006

It's back!

Limited edition!
Now, to drink it or to save it unopened as an appreciating collectible.

EDIT: 5 minutes later: Still tastes like wee.

02 October 2006

Singing for supper

It's somthing I've been thinking a lot about recently - when you make the shift from doing something regularly by choice to having to do it regularly. Think chucking in the day job to become a full-time artist. Or taking a photography enthusiasm to the next level and getting freelance work. Or tiling someone else's bathroom floor in exchange for a few bottles of wine. Or in this weekend's case, going from riding a bike for fun, to riding a race where the general idea is to go faster thant everyone else.

The last time I had to go fast on a bike was a few years ago now. Since then most of my riding has been by myself, and in short fast loops around town, where it's hard to gauge how fast you're really going. But races are good in that it's kind of nice to push hard and make muscles burn in places you didn't know existed, and collapse in the midst of both a massive endorphin rush and total leg failure on the finish line, with a smug sense of achievement. And it really does make beer taste better.

So on Saturday in a scrappy sodden sandy pine forest near Levin I entered a race. 34km of fast logging tracks, bike carrying up nasty hills, loose sandy singletrack, and more than a few knee deep puddles. On this occasion I came in 5th. And it was good. It made me want to go get a superfast superlight race bike, put in some serious training miles, and maybe do some races again.

Maybe it'll even inspire me to chuck in the day job...

18 September 2006

6 foot and glassy

It's been months since I've left Wellington, so it was really nice to take a wee road trip and head up the coast for a couple of nights this weekend. Friday night traffic still sucks, though I suspect the big railway overbridge at McKays Crossing will alleviate that a little.

The lack of decent cafes open beyond 5pm was also felt, particularly as we had jumped in the car straight from work, but Levin has a new Countdown (even though we're off Progressive at the moment) with aisles wider than a hospital's, so all was not lost.

But once there all was good. A decent red wine, some good fresh pasta, some good cds, and a cosy batch steeped in family history. Rather nice really.

Saturday shot through to Palmerston North to look at art. Good to see Te Manawa pushing the provincial comfort zone a little, with the Sydney Biennale work by Racheal Rakena and Brett Graham, and some hauntingly good video works by Annee Olofsson, juxtaposed with a bunch of good paintings on canvas, belying the fact that Te Manawa still has a strong commitment to delivering what the local audiences actually want. Good work the new team there.

Other pleasant discoveries in the North: Peter Ireland at Thermostat - vibrant and clever canvases delivering an affordable and near sellout show, reliably good food and coffee at Barista, and a frotty Look frame at Pedal Pushers.

The rest of the weekend was a happy blur of sunshine, simple food, bombing through overgrown pine forest singletrack on a singlespeed (soo much easier that hauling a 1-geard bike around Wellington's hills) and equal amount of plotting to overthrow the art world and conspiring to advance the mountain bike industry.

Escapism. It's kinda nice once in a while.

11 September 2006

08 September 2006

In Conversation

In Conversation: discussions of place and placement
Friday 8 September, 6.00pm
Cuba [Street Art] gallery is pleased to present the latest in its public event series In Conversation. This week's installment juxtaposes landowner and landuser on their differing perspectives defining public and private space.

07 September 2006

Stingray, Stingray, dananana-nana

I'm not one to incessantly collect links to other blogs (although I guess that is the whole point of web interconnectivity), but this, from Dublin Opinion via Spare Room, is just too good to let pass.

Yes Steve Irwin's departure is a sad thing, and yes this may be a little tasteless, but come on, we of a certain age and upbringing based around Friday afternoon TV2 Thunderbirds and Stingray (before the Dukes of Hazard/BJ and the Bear/Automan at 7pm) WERE ALL THINKING IT!

06 September 2006

Celebrity Obscura

With the plethora of TV shows currently removing any sense of mystery or talent from becoming a rock star (supernova, Osbournes, Run's House, Pop Stars, idol et al), and the automatic propulsion of performers on those shows into becoming a TV stars, I wonder if music/tv celebrity is becoming devalued.

Eventually the cynicism of the informed (or at least not-uninformed) audience must overcome push of the advertisers, marketers, lables and network executives. We're already seeing a new wave of bedroom performers making their own albums, having lost faith in their own pop idols and thinking "yeah I could do that".

I predict the waves of celebrity spewing out of the music and tv industries will dwindle. In their place will be a new celebrity, one which doesn't get their fame in the bottom of a cereal packet.

The new celebrity will come from sports and science. They will work hard and think hard. They will earn more than a gold record, or a tour of shopping malls to push their latest single, and they will contribute more than next year's elevator music.

04 September 2006

Size might just matter

I've never been a huge fan of SUVs, despite hiring a baby one on occasion to go snowboarding, and doing a 4wd driving thing in a Range Rover once. Something about the smoke a lot of them put out, the aggression that a lot of the drivers exhibit, and the safety abominations caused by a centre of gravity 4 feet off the ground.

But last weekend we had one of our very own for a wee while, due to visiting in-laws bringing the 'work car' - a GMC Yukon. To say it was big is like saying Lord of the rings is a film about a short guy who goes for a walk.
  • It was exactly twice the height of our regular car.
  • It had more leg room than my lounge.
  • It had a 5.8 litre V8.
  • It was bigger than every other SUV we encountered.
  • It had over 12" of body roll (by my totally unscientific calculations)
  • It had mirror glass in the back
I'm kind sad to admit that of it was kind of cool. Hell, very cool. So big. So powerful. So practical yet impractical all at the same time.

31 August 2006

There's a hole in my heart that goes all the way to China

Actually that's not true. I did know a guy once with a hole in his heart. We had to go and visit him in hospital when I was in primary school. His name was Phillip.

There is also a hole in the gas main, and now, because holes seem to love company, there are two large holes in the bottom of The Terrace where people are looking for the hole in the gas main. If you look closely in the above photo of said holes, you can see the obligatory guy standing around with his hands in his pockets. I wonder what level of job satisfaction that role delivers.

29 August 2006

Oh, the carnage.

Here at One Moment Caller we like to carry ourselves with the utmost of poise and dignity at all times. And we very nearly manage this at all times.

Except maybe when we ride our bike to work, with new shoes and cleats for our clipless pedals, that make it really quite tricky to unclip our feet when we get to a traffic light, which may make us fall over in front of a small crowd waiting to cross the road.

Tinks 0. New shoes 1.

28 August 2006

Street Art continued...

I had a really fun discussion on the weekend about the validity of street art, and its balance between the illicit tagging and the exhibited stencil ends of the spectrum, and where the New Zealand, and particularly Wellington blend sits.

While we've got our very own Misery and Mephisto Jones making some pretty clever statements and developing recognisable styles, they seem to have been repdily elevated to the gallery (maybe not so much the gallery as the canvas on a cafe or clothes shop wall). We seem to be lacking the buy-in from the wider community that it is a valid art form. Witness Melbourne's city-wide embrace of stencil and managed grafitti. Or Banksy's sustained efforts in delivering high-brow messages through a lo-brow medium. But then we have a whole seedy undebelly of society who view it only as a self-branding exercise, making no point other than they were there.

Maybe the stage is perfectly set for a considered showcase of street art, to position it apart form the mundane tagging that councils are poised to come down hard on.

23 August 2006

More about Nick.

I'm pretty sure this is a picture of my alter-ego Nick. On a date with Paris Hilton.
It's funny - you'd think I'd remember something like that. They must be slipping me drugs.

Hi. I'm Nick.

Please excuse my tardiness. I've been hibernating, hosting, and hiding behind everyday life.

In breaking news, apparently I have an alter-ego. Named Nick. I don't know too much about Nick yet, but was introduced by someone to two fellow bloggers (one Rose and one David Cauchi) last night as Nick. I'll keep you posted as I find out more - he sounds quite intriguing. I suspect he's a lot like me, only taller.

15 August 2006


A whole bunch of my friends have done cool things lately - one has taken her clothing label to the world, another is behind a big rock-climbing venture in Wanaka, another has set up a successful consultancy, and a couple more have taken their businesses to the next level. It's been lots of fun helping out a couple of them where I can, but I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't be plotting to take over the world in my own small way as well...

Watch this space. Maybe.

14 August 2006

If you lived here, you'd be home by now

You know in those home mags you buy that often have a Before and After photo sequence showing Dick and Jane's inner city pad as the heaving cesspit they bought it as, and now as the architectural beacon of the Western World, swathed in wall-to-wall Italian furniture, showcasing the latest in lighting and decor...

I'd like to say this is the After shot of my apartment. But renovations haven't started yet. But they will. Oh yes they will.

But sadly no, it's actually the Sydney pad of a good friend. Lucky bastard (said with love, of course). Who said minimalism can't be cosy?

1,000 words

I've just discovered those DIY photo mini-labs in camera shops, where you can plug in your memory card and print whatever you like. I could even use it - which was nice, because beyond computers and software, which I spend all day coaxing into making things look pretty, I suspect I'm becoming a bit of a tech-luddite. I don't have an MP3 player, signing up to Bloglines confused the hell out of me, my cellphone does nothing more that make and receive calls, and my home computer is coming up 5 years old.

I like to think of it as a a form of considered tech-minimalism.

11 August 2006


I was conscripted onto my first committee last night. That's me in the plaid shirt. It seems the thing to do when one reaches 'an age', and it's a chance to donate a bit of time and a few ideas to a cause I'm moderately passionate about. Watch this space (and a big chunk of land just past Karori...)

10 August 2006

So last night was my first red carpet experience - the opening of the new Sky City cinemas in Lower Hutt. I won't review too much - it was a great night, full of real dignitaries (who all drive Mercedes it would seem) and famous people that everybody talked to, and interestingly, a couple of famous people that nobody talked to. And the cinemas are stunning - I encourage you both to go there.

A highlight for many was the WALL OF FOOD! A giant clear perspex triangle wall with little slots in it that had spoons of food poking out. You simply plucked a spoon off, ate the contents, and deposited the empty spoon in a silver bucket. I should have taken a camera. It was pretty special.

And having to walk a long red carpet through a closed mall was eerily cool - like tiptoing past a sleeping giant - only in this case it wasn't a giant that wanted to eat you, it was a giant that wanted to eat all your money, and leave you with armloads of brightly coloured shopping bags filled with brightly coloured mall clothes. Everything was so shiny and bright.

I might get round to reviewing the film we saw at some stage, but a lot of money was raised for the Te Omanga Hospice, which made the event feel good, and the lucky attendees feel good by association.

Star Studded

Contents of pack given to attendees at New Zealand premieres of Miami Vice and Little Miss Sunshine to mark the opening of Sky City Cinemas, Westfield Queensgate, Lower Hutt:
  • 1 x 55g bag M&Ms
  • 1 x 50g bag Light and Buttery Popcorn (naturally flavoured)
  • 1 x August 06 edition of M2 magazine (plastic wrapped)
  • 1 x Famous Faces auction catalogue, proceeds to the Te Omanga Hospice
  • 1 x A5 brochure for the Gold Class Cinemas - the ultimate cinema experience (I can vouch for this)
  • 1 x complimentary ticket to Gold Class Cinemas
  • 1 x $10 gift voucher redeemable at Westfield Shopping Centres
  • 1 x donation envelope for the Te Omanga Hospice (used)
  • 1 x Kiwi Blue still spring water (600ml)
  • 1 x blue Bic pen
  • 1 x Pop'n'Good chocolate and caramel popcorn
  • 1 x sampler, Britnet Spears new fragrance Fantasy (which I am reliably informed makes me smell like a teenage girl)

09 August 2006

But is it art?

I could have taken thousands of photos of Melbourne street art/grafitti. I could even have got a t-shirt that states I (heart) Melbourne Grafitti. And a book of the same.

But no. Showing uncharacteristic restraint, and choosing not to prompt a divorce as I halted mid-stride to take yet another photo of some sticker or scrawling on the side of a building that looked kinda cool, I only captured a couple of examples.

I'm not sure why it's so prolific there. Wellington was becoming that way for a bit, but stencil art seems to be no longer the avenue of artistic expression du jour. Places where it was really strong, like Peter McLeavey's doorway, now resemble tagged out Auckland railway sidings more than Melbourne alleyways. The slyly humorous stecil has gone and in it's place is the urgency of a crude, indecipherable and illegitimate aerosol autograph.

Shame really.

Guilding the Lily

Sure she's got an annoyingly catchy little song, with some decidedly aggressive lyrics, but my question this morning callers, is just who is this Lily Allen character, and why is she EVERYWHERE?

All through Melbourne her name was grafittied (sp?) in the same script as is on the album. It did make me wonder if a new advertising medium was being employed. Now my local clothing store is sending me emails (it really has become a mad interweb world) to enter competitions to win custom Nikes designed by her. All of this would be fine if only the Nikes weren't so cool!

08 August 2006

Auckland gallerist Michael Lett made a big impact in Melbourne with his bright yellow stand, inflatable bunnies (moved into various compromising positions daily) and heavily curated rotating show. This undoubtedly contributed to the extremely positive profile of the 6 New Zealand galleries at the fair, and equally nice media exposure and feedback.

07 August 2006

Little Carrot Angel

The Little Carrot Angel came down to earth to deliver a message of peace and hope, and save the good people of Melbourne from the ravages of gluttony in the form of eating too much, and sloth, in the form of sleeping too much. She did this by making everyone feel ill, and in some cases keeping them up all night as they returned their chinese meal to the earth from whence it came. By both mouth and bottom, in a somewhat emphatic fashion.

Naughty Little Carrot Angel. Go to your room.

Airports smell like the future.

Something about the smell of jetfuel - it's naughty and nice all at the same time.
But really this post only serves as a segue to post up more photos from my shiny new camera.
I've photoshopped one of these for added effect. And if you look closely you can see the Southern Cross. What ho!

05 August 2006

And so to Saturday

Sifty breakfast at a great little cafe on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, a wander along Brunswick Street, and into the Fair for the morning shift. And I've met 2 NZ tv stars today, which as we all know is waaaay more important than meeting artists or collectors.

And they give us free art magazines every morning. All I need now is free coffee and croissants and I'd never ever leave.

04 August 2006

But wait there's more

We now have the Kingpins - drag act extraordinaore - performing an 80s medly, next to the 30 foot high inflatable rabbit. So just another average Friday night really.

30 minutes to go and then I'm off to have proper Italian and loads of wine on Lygon Street.

"Shot through the heart, and you're to blame..."

From the trenches

It's Saab VIP night here. I can't understand why Wanda isn't here. A suitably Art Rock band whose name eludes me have just fired up next to a 30 foot high inflatable bunny rabbit by Mike Parekowhai.

I just tried to sell an art work by discussing the fact it was controllable by remote control. I think I'm going to hell. Right after this detour to heaven.

03 August 2006


Contents of gift pack distributed to those exiting the Melbourne Art Fair Vernissage (in no particular order):

  1. A4 page about the Melbourne Art Fair Foundation
  2. Copy of magazine The Monthly - Australian politics, society, and culture
  3. Booking form for a test drive of a Saab
  4. Compy of Saabmagazine - the innovation issue
  5. Voucher for a complimentary flute of 'ultra premium sparkling wine accompanied by a cheese plate'
  6. Voucher fo $50 off a cut and colour service at oxhey & bushey
  7. Reproduction of the first chapter of Justin Paton's book How to look at a painting
  8. Cellophane wrapped 2-pack of greeting cards from Artbank
  9. Catqalogue of Saab's current range
  10. Quirky 'Saab is art' spiral bound notepad
  11. Silver ANZ Private Bank moneybox, decorated to look a bit like the tower of London, plastic wrapped in a blue box
  12. Cellophane wrapped silver metal ANZ Margin Lending pen

01 August 2006

Gidday mate

I quite like Melbourne. It's easy to navigate, flat, warmish, and seems to have a phenomenal number of cafes. And it has a great art fair.

Setup day today - lots of fun installing art, scoping out what the other gallleries from all around the world have to offer. Some very very cool art. I moght pop down to the casino tonight - a decent win would mean I just might be able to afford some of it...

Fingers crossed, eh?

27 July 2006

2006 Melbourne Art Fair

Four sleeps and counting...
The lengths of suffering to which I must go in the relentless pursuit of being an art whore.

The couch of my dreams

Courtesy of those wonderfully evil chaps at Thonet.

And the room looks scarily like my lounge. Except I have flesh-toned carpet. And no couch of my dreams. Yet.

17 July 2006

I've developed a minor addiction of late - not to anything fun like heroin or Siamese cats, but to the streaming webcam of the motorway: http://wixcam.citylink.co.nz/aotea/

I do worry about its impact on child obesity though - when I did my Standard 4 maths project on the statistics of colours of cars I actually had to go outside and count them. Apparently that's not longer necessary.

13 July 2006

Dining Journal Entry: Pod

Dinner on Tuesday was with the Gallery at their stunning new local - Pod

First of all, I like restaurants with websites. They show me there's a commitment to building a lasting icon, and some investment has been made in telling people about their food. I like them more when the put the menu on the website. And I like them even more when the menu on the website is the same as the one you get at the table. Pod does all this, so one thumb up.

I also like restaurants that make me rethink my own kitchen/decor/home/way of life. Pod did this too. While I'm not so convinced about the bubbling water feature, the bar area had me rushing home at the end of the night to redesign the kitchen, and the bathrooms were pretty inspiring as well. Two thumbs up.

The food? Very good. They've moved away from the pacific/thai fusion thing they had going on last time I was there, to more of a mild Italian/New Zealand flavour.

The company? Enlightening as always, even when interspersed with stories of shooting the nipples off workmen...

11 July 2006

Further recent dining excursions

Every have those weeks where cooking dinner at home just doesn't happen? Where you're never quite sure how much is left in your bank account, but you think it's a lot so you just eat out? Where work is full on and you just don't get home until 9pm, and it's just easier to get food on the way? That was last week. A high-speed run down of places ventured and meals eaten follows:

Wednesday: McDonalds, Manners Mall. Shattered, we stumbled in hunting for quick warm reliable food. Some brutal strip lighting and a pretty dry old Big Mac later, we stumbled out again.

Thursday: Miyabi Sushi, Willis St Village Maki Sushi plate followed by Katsudon. All good, as I've come to expect over the years.

Friday: Rasa, Cuba St Great simple cheap food, though they really need some soundproofing for those friday nights where 2 big tables make a lot of noise.

Saturday: Viva, Edward St Formerly Mexican Cantina et al, but now a very nice Italian eatery with a stunnign array of wines. Adn I mean stunning. Will be headed back there for a full meal soon.

Yes. I am the restaurant slut.

06 July 2006

Wonderful white box seeks canape

Was fortunate enough to get invited to the Client's and Artist's preview of the new Tinakori Gallery space, which opens publicly today. The upstairs area which many people remarked looked cool enough to live in is pictured.

It was a great event - the new space is stunning, the diverse selection of works look great, the guests were interesting, enthusiastic, and good-looking, and the food and wine delicious.

And proving it's not all high-brow and hoity-toity (sp?) here at O.M.C. I'll recount a snippet of conversation which I wish I had recorded, purely for it's similarity to a crude Monty Python sketch, between a senior artist and a Wellington gallery owner. Neither could decide which of them liked 'dick' more, where they would put 'dick' , whether 'dick' looked good on a desk or on a plinth, whether 'dick' would stand up in Te Papa... Straight faces all round (no easy feat). Turns out they were talking about a work by Australian artist Kathy Temin - a large camoflaged fluffy material dick - apparently quite a hit at a recent art fair.

04 July 2006


This morning I discovered the Maori concept of Hauora - which translates to a balance of health across four sectors: spiritual, mental, physical, and social.

I got to thinking which section does collecting art fit best under - social, mental, or spiritual?

And is this dliemma partly responsible for Maori not having the concept of Art as such before Pakeha arrival and subsequent commodification?

03 July 2006

And more fog.

I like this photo. It was around the Miramar peninsula somewhere on Saturday afternoon. I took it looking through my sunglasses, hence the weird green light thing.

Dining Journal Entry: Simply Paris

Sunday morning, and we're over fed and over wined from Saturday night, and headed into C's work for 11am. Just round the corner from us, next to Slowboat, is a newly opened Simply Paris. I think there used to be a dutch bakery or something in the same shop.

And Parisien it was. real French staff, real French food, real french menus, coffees, patrons, everything. It made me want to launch a scintillating conversation using my French skills. Until I remembered it's been 11 years, and I would suck, probably ending in a pot of coffee being dropped in my lap.

Nice homemade jams, tres stunning pastries, and French coffee (not as strong as wellington coffee), by Nescafe, which I thought was cool. It's cheap too, but the servings are kind of lite - perhaps the real reason why French women don't get fat.

Hot tip: don't order an English Breakfast tea. As the proprieter said (you'll have to imagine a suitably French accent) "Why would you want a cup of tea that tastes of bacon and egg?"
And then he'll chase you out of the restaurant.


Good things about fog: It looks pretty, makes for good photos (see above) and interesting bike rides around the bays.

Bad things about fog: The airport being closed means sisters have to catch later flights, your knees get really really cold when riding around the bays, and it makes central wellies bloody freezing.

30 June 2006

Dining Journal Entry: Roxy

When I heard that there was a (brand) new restaurant round the corner from home called Roxy I had mixed visions of a grand bourbon soaked New York ballroom kind of place or a room full of teenage girl's dressed in ill-fitting colourful surfwear. Fortunately in reality Roxy was neither - instead positioned somewhere in between, with lots of raw brick walls, lots of light, and lots of nice things on the menu.

As far as dining experiences go, it wasn't amazing. The ambiance was a bit starck and well lit for my liking, and though I'm a fan of minimalism in decor, I felt the place needed a load more art, or something to add character to the walls, and soften the echo effect. The place is super-new, so I'm picking it'll grow into a more intimate space as the owners get more comfortable and relaxed there.

The food more than made up for it though - the menu was small but covered all the usual bases well. It looked good on the plate, and there was plenty of it, and it was done simply, but really well, and for a decently small wad of cash. My risotto was spot on - perfectly balanced on that fine line of moistness between soup and fried rice.

I'll be headed back some time soon, if only to get more than a mouthful of the twice cooked pork.
I do think it should be called The Roxy though. Sounds lots cooler.

29 June 2006

Things that suck

When you commute to work on your bike, and forget to pack appropriate socks for wearing with the suit you have stashed in the office. If anyone asks my grey ankle bikey socks and suit is an attempt at pioneering a new look. Part Don Johnson, part Johnsonville Mall.

I think it'll take off. At least until lunchtime, when I can go and get some new ones from Farmers.


Lovely sunrise over the city this morning.
(Actually, I'm just showing off my new camera, and this image was better than one of my desk. Or my hand.)

27 June 2006

Thousands of words

I've finally got sufficient motivation to get a new digital camera, so be prepared for a flurry of photographic activity, as I bore you with images of my daily life...

I've got a wee Leica on order, so at least they'll be good photos, even if the subject matter might be a little weak...

(And two thumbs up for Hutt Cameras. They rock.)

A bird in the hand...

There's quite a good show on at Pataka at the moment looking at Birds in contemporary art. I'll freely admit to being a bit of a fan of thematic contemporary exhibitions, (probably due to being involved in a few) and this one doesn't disappoint.

Lots of really nice works, from a range of emerging and established NZ artists. A good overview of what's happenign now, particularly at a regional level, though lacks a very strong argument to raise questions beyond a collection of works featuring birds.

I always expected Te Papa to be delivery exhbitions of this level, but sadly not. It will be interesting to see if much of Pataka's lead position in the curation field will be eaten into when the revitalised Dowse reopens its doors later this year...

Dining Journal Entry: It's a Sin

New favourite thing: $10 all you can eat Hell pizza, Syn Bar, Monday night.

It's all the flavours of Hell, and the best bit is they're brought to you at your table. You don't even need to stand up. Which is good, because after 10 bits of pizza that gets a little tricky.

Hell, it was a bit like pizza heaven.

23 June 2006

Tourism Boom

Due to all this freakishly cold weather and a truck crash, the only road open between Wellington and Auckland this morning is around the Taranaki coast. Imagine the boom for the coastal tourism number. In 30 years the locals will look back with teary eyes, and recall the winter of 06, the swelling numbers of tourists, all stopping in Opunake at Sugar Juice for a coffee. Visitor numbers at the Govett-Brewster will be forever skewed, as the travelling masses stop for a wee and a dose of culture. Some poor future marketing and audience development manager will be hauled over the coals for not getting numbers through the door like the gallery "did back in '06".

Other than that it's a bloody nice drive, particularly when the mountain looks like this. And there'll be a solid southerly swell wrapping around every point along the coast. I do wonder though how long it'll remain open, given the liklihood of a crash on the nasty corner by the Oeo pub...

21 June 2006


Why does it always start raining 5 minutes befor I'm due to leave the building?

20 June 2006

"Shoulda been here yesterday. It was six foot and glassy, eh"

19 June 2006

Updates ahoy!

And Sez has finally updated her blog, during a spare moment in a hotel in Amsterdam.
And yes I am jealous.


Backhouse Interiors had a sale on this weekend. It was dangerous. It took a lot of self control (and a degree of self flagellation) to only walk out a small Kartell unit and a little desk storage thing. Unlike someone I know, who managed to buy half the shop.

Hanging out for the ECC sale now...

Dining Journal Entry: Tulsi

Years ago I went to Tulsi quite a bit - it had a nice mix of contemporary styling, good service, great butter chicken, handy location, and affordable prices. So you'll forgive me for expecting at least most of that when I went back on Saturday. Sadly no.

It may have been a case of bad timing (ie half way through a rugby game which was being broadcast on a big screen in the restaurant), but the service was bleak. Just imagine not being able to get a drink (or a drinks menu even) in an Indian restaurant, during an All Blacks game. Bizarre.

The food was good though. Just kind of overshadowed.

Open Season

This weekend's addition to the social calendar was the opening of City Gallery's winter season on Saturday night. As far as they go it was a good opening - speeches were interesting and relatively brief (due possibly to the absence of both the Gallery Director and Mayor). City do a fun thing of withholding wine, food, and art until after the speeches. I guess that works for them, but creates a hell of a bottleneck, in what is a tight space anyway.

The shows offer an interesting mix of old, new, borrowed, but not much blue. Guy Ngan is the standout for me, even if it is a sort of Retrospective Lite. I can see one of his big public sculptures from my office.

And I liked the 2x2 format. But am I being too demanding in wanting more from my gallery (I am a ratepayer now) than just some paintings/photos on a wall. I want curation, dammit, if only to answer a niggling question of what City's staff actually do all day. I want to leave with questions. And answers (but to other questions - not the ones I'm also coming out with). The Ngan show did that, as did the reliably provocative show at Hirschfield. But the others? Not so much.

And I still maintain Elizabeth Thomson's work sits more at the craft end of the spectrum than contemporary art. But well done that Mark Hutchins for getting yet another of his artists into City - it's almost enough to warrant a call of shenannigans.

14 June 2006

Quiz night.

I was roped into filling a seat on a quiz team last night at the Speights Ale House (terrible name for a pub). When I say roped in, I really mean asked icely. The team managed 3rd place, which I thought was pretty sharp. And it was quie fun.

I thought about a team of bloggers entering, but then decided that all our secret identities would be revealed, and the sense of intrigue would be lost. .

And for the record Barry Bostwick appeared in both Spin City and the original lineup of Rocky Horror Picture Show. And it is possible to shoot 285 free-throws in 10 minutes. (We would have got first if we'd known that yesterday).

Knowledge. Funny really.

13 June 2006

Googling. The new stalking?

Some workmates Googled me the other day - I think in a fit of boredom they were doing the office. They got to read about a bunch of bike races I did a few years ago, and a few press releases about artists I write in a former life in the provinces. And some other vaguely interesting miscellany.

Which made me wonder whether I was sort of being stalked. It was all just a little bit creepy.

12 June 2006

Walters Prize

Time for another of the Auckland Art Gallery's Walters Prize finalist lineup, and a slightly more edgy selection this year.

I'm a bit partial to Phil Dadson, particularly after spending a day driving one of his creations - a 1974 Landrover with 80 harmonicas suction cupped to it (Harmonicar) around New Plymouth. Think he might be a bit eclectic though, despite a major presence over the years.

I'm secretly picking the massively underrated Frances Upritchard to come from behind in the late stages to take the win though, but suspect it'll probably go the way of Peter Robinson.

All will be revealed in October I guess.

09 June 2006

Object of desire # 984,207 to 984,208

Since I sold C's bike in a fit of reductionism and ambitious planned expenditure, I've been looking for another one for her. And may have found it. And as an added bonus I got to place my first bid on Trade me. The slippery slope has begun.

And because I'm desiring this object for someone else, I get to choose one too (hey - I don't make the rules!), AND SO:

A modern take on a bike I had years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed riding, until it just plain wore out. Sadly I have to drive to Hamilton to get one. And plunge into debt - and evil consumer debt, not good mortgage or paying off an artwork debt.

Woohoo! 710!

10 people in a day! I'm building a cult following! Cool.

But what colour uniforms for my legion of merry followers? Black's a bit old hat, particularly since the whole Waco Texas thing. Maybe charcoal grey...

08 June 2006

Woohoo! 700!

You may not be aware of this, but like a nosey neighbour, I have been parting the net curtains and spying on you.

Not really - there's just a little counter at the bottom of this page that count's your visits. And today it reached 700. That's 350 each.

Well done both of you!

06 June 2006

Object of desire # 984,206

The hunt for a new digital camera has led me to lusting after a Leica. Sure it's esentially technically the same as a considerably cheaper Panasonic, but with a Leica I can feel like a serious photographer. And that's worth heaps.

Take cover Mr Peryer et al.

Hit the North

Having just spent a brutally cold and wintery weekend at the beach, I must confess to renewed faith in open fireplaces. Burning stuff is fun. And warm. And dragging the couch in front to eat steak and mashed potato and drink wine with a loved one is a very pleasant way to spend an evening.

I have also decided I need to go surfing again. There's something really nice about winter surfing - the solitude, the grey glassiness, the sea meets sky emotiveness, the joy of a warm dry towel at the end.

01 June 2006

Late night chocolate can be dangerous

We ventured out into the new neighbourhood for a late night coffee and cake last night. We wandered past all the close-to-home haunts on Cuba, mainly because they were really busy, which was good to see., and ended up in Espressoholic.

Once we'd fought our way through the ubiquitous hoard of spotty first-years who've just discovered coffee, culture, drum and bass, and that they don't have to go to bed ever (Oh the memories!), we found a really good selection of dangerously good cakes.

Beyond that the evening descended into part history lesson/part rant about said first-years, as I struggled to consume a hot chocolate slightly bigger than my head, and fought the urge to elope with a particularly flash White chocolate cheesecake.

All in all two thumbs up, despite too much chocolate.

And thwn we went and bought music. At 9.30 at night.
Central city. It's good.

31 May 2006

Tinks the Bookie

I've started running a book on the heavily pregnant woman in the neighbouring office. Namely when, what, and how heavy. I think this means I can start talking like the lads from Lock Stock or Snatch now.

30 May 2006

Dining guide

Having moved to the hub of Wellington's restaurant district, I think I ought to start a restaurant guide. My reasons would be totally selfish - mainly to avoid the "let's go out for dinner" " okay but where...?" conversations. But given the total share everything nature of the blogosphere, I thought I might share. You lucky things.

I might park it on another blog site - as per Petone is full of Jelly.
And if I ever get round to getting a new digital camera, it could even include photos.
Or drawings on napkins scanned and posted up in the mean time.

Watch this space. Or some other space that hasn't been created yet...

25 May 2006

O to the M to the C

I was thinking about the whole One Moment Caller phenomena (Ha!), and thinking it needs a flash new rebrand, and maybe a rename. Givent the popularity of Text Speak amongst the young'uns, I was thinking of abbreviating to OMC.

Which led me to thinking about whatever happened to the Otara Millionaires Club.
Which, oddly led me to thinking about whatever happened to Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark.

Except that would be OMD, and it wouldn't fit. Orchestral Manoevres in the Car perhaps?

22 May 2006

Cash cow

It had to happen I guess, catching the Trade Me bug.
Only it's extended to Real Groovy and Arte Bee's to flog off books, cds and dvds as well.
Just as long as I can keep selling and not buying I'll be sweet!

Oh - anyone wanna buy 100 or so cassette tapes - mostly indie rock circa 1985-92?

15 May 2006

I thought things were looking a bit dry and texty, so here's some pics of Mt Taranaki. I like the one with the rolling cloud - it reminds me of a Gordon Walters koru.