31 January 2007

The new McCahon

While we're on the subject of who's next, the subject of 'Who is the next McCahon' came up over dinner last night.

The general consensus was that Shane Cotton was the best bet. Which I didn't really agree with, but couldn't think of a better example of someone that constantly pushes their work in new directions, and had the potential to hang a legacy over New Zealand art like a brooding raincloud over an empty Central Otago landscape.

But riding in to work today I got to thinking a lot about Micheal Parekowhai being a bit closer to the mark. Will probably elaborate at some stage.

30 January 2007

Contemporary Casualty

A little-reported casualty of the chain-store takeover of Central Wellington, and the massive rent rises some retail spaces have faced in the last 18-24 months, has been an exodus of decent art galleries from the Thorndon/Parliament end of town. A few years back we had a plethora in this neighbourhood, covering pretty much the whole market, all within walking distance. Chris Moore and Bowen on the Terrace, Tinakori and Ferner on Featherston, MacGregor Wright (not my cup of tea, but part of the rich tapestry), and others.

Now we have dodgy old Fishers. And the seldom open (it seems) Aaron Lawrence Gallery. Short of a hike down to Hamish McKay's, my lunchtimes just aren't as stimulating as they could be.

The exodus of dealers from the Parliamentary precinct seems inversely proportional to the increased investment in the arts by Central Government over the last 7 years? Maybe it's a good thing - galleries can afford to move away from the political and business hubs and into the consumer hubs... Maybe I'll ask my friendly dealer.

Who are they now?

Jim Barr and Mary Barr have just posted an interesting snapshot of the Auckland art scene circa 1968 over on Over the Net. The photo got me to thinking of where the powerbase in the art world/market lies now, and who would be in a similar photo if shot today, and more interestingly one shot in another 30 years.
The current photo wouldn't be too hard, though maybe a bit tricky when it came to identifying the artists who will make it to the history books. Qualifying gallerists, collectors, writers are all fairly identifiable.
The photo in 30 years is not such a given. I'm not bold enough to hazard a guess as to what of today's artists would make it, and even less certain of the curators, young gallerists and critics. I'm sure they exist, but the whole wider issue of the lack of credible arts/exhibition industry succession planning, as bravely raised by Peter Peyer makes things quite tricky.
As an aside, I like the fact that a non-art publication was prepared to take such a close look at the people driving the art industry, and not just the individuals at the fashionable forefront (Vanity Fair have done a fairly interesting art issue recently, though I'm not sure what relevance a blue photo of Brad Pitt has to the contemporary art market) as we tend to see in the likes of Urbis, H+E, and other glossy NZ mags.

29 January 2007

Renovation madness

Flying boldly in the face of the government, who have declared 2007 Export Year, I'm focusing our efforts a little closer to home. Make that a lot closer to home. 2007, at least so far, has been dubbed Home Improvement Year. Yesterday was a flurry of activity as windows were re-puttied, new window hardware procured and installed, holes filled, finishing touches chosen. Cat doors are about to be removed, and in we're finally poised to exorcise the last of the dreaded pastel pink we inherited with the place.

We're replacing the pink - or more accurately Overcooked Salmon (strangely not included in the latest Resene colour book) with Alabaster - apparently the closest white gets to pure white. And somewhat fittingly the colour of at least one dealer gallery in town.

It'll be a far cry from the last room I painted. As the picture above illustrates, that was a slightly bolder colour choice - I suspect inspired largely by an et al. exhibition I was involved with at the time. A similar grey (a custom colour developed for the artists by Aalto) was applied to most of tha gallery walls, teaming up with a surreally magical soundtrack to create one of the most ambient exhibitions I've ever experienced. Oddly for such a bold colour it also made for a very restful bedroom.

Left: et al. serial_reform_713L (detail) 2003 (photo Bryan James)
Right: Grey room without flash late at night (probably after wines)

24 January 2007


Peter Peryer's recent discovery of an "ex-cat" reminded me of this photo of an ex-bird I took over Christmas, also in New Plymouth. It had flown into a window before assuming a somewhat dignified position on the grass for it's final moments.

17 January 2007


Nike and Apple have teamed up to deliver NikePlus - a shoe that talks to your iPod which talks to you about how your run is going, and injects a "Powersong" when you drop off the pace.

Part of me is thinking this is really cool, and part of me is just a little bit scared. Consequently, I haven't bought one yet.