Saturday, March 31, 2007

Quite contrary

A friend just back from New York gave us an update on dealer Mary Boone’s waste paper bins. Anyone will tell you that Mary Boone only allows white paper to be put into the chromed waste paper bins in her gallery. Coloured or printed paper has to be folded and placed into white envelopes and, only then, placed in the bin. It now seems Boone has moved to a higher plane. After three visits our friend confirms that waste of any kind is no longer allowed in the bins.

Friday, March 30, 2007

What is it about ‘No’ you don’t understand?

Talking around, it sounds like the Auckland Art Fair has decided to take a trade fair approach. We’re told that exhibitors will not be allowed to change the colour of walls (sorry John Reynolds), no holes will be allowed in the walls (forget it Peter Robinson) and floor coverings have to be approved (I don’t think so Hany Armanious). Sounds like even furniture and fittings have to be vetted (ah… et al. … would you get, whatever that is, the hell out of here). Unfortunately for the Auckland Art Fair much of the best art today is kind of unruly. Coming to terms with that will be the challenge that differentiates the event from your average car show.
Image: “Not at this Art Fair you don’t”

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Must have

Our Viennese correspondent, Nicolas Jasmin, has pointed us to this gallery where you can purchase the multiple pictured on the left, which has been created by Gelitin, the giant rabbit people. This version is an accommodating 75 cm long.

Need to know

This was going to be another competition, with table tennis balls at stake. The challenge: When TheNewDowse, in Lower Hutt, wanted readers of their web site to get to know the artists on exhibition “a little better”, what 15 questions did they send them? But, in the end, we decided no one could come even close. So here they are.

1 How would your mother describe you?
2 What's your principal defect?
3 If you were a cooked meal what would you be?
4 What's your favourite foreign word? Why?
5 Who's your favourite fictional hero? Why?
6 What do you have at your bedside table?
7 Finish this sentence - New Zealand is a land with too few...
8 Have you ever cried at the hairdresser? Year? Cut?
9 Describe your creative side?
10 How do you overcome a creative block?
11 Do you have a muse?
12 What's the last exhibition that really made an impression on you?
13 When do you feel most inspired?
14 Describe a fashion trend/new age fad that you have fallen victim to?
15 What's a question that you would you like to be asked?
List supplied: as sent be email to artists by TheNewDowse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Not to upstage Michael Parekowhai for a moment, but we knew in some file or other, we had a picture of a giant pink rabbit out on a hill somewhere in Italy. And here it is. It’s 200 feet long and is located on the side of the Colletto Fava mountain in Northern Italy. It was designed by the Viennese art group Gelitin and is supposed to stay in place until 2025. Gelitin are the same people who, early one morning, removed a window on one of the top floors of the World Trade Center, pushed out a narrow balcony and posed on it for a photographer in a helicopter. That completely unsanctioned and strangely prescient performance was called the B-Thing.

Tickle me Elmo

What is it with art museum shops? At least in New Zealand most of them manage to limit themselves to books and catalogues about local art and artists. So far, at least, we haven’t seen McCahon glasses (“with these amazing painted lenses, every landscape becomes a South Otago landscape”) or even a Len Lye rocking chair (“make every sculpture a kinetic sculpture when you do the rocking”). But when it comes to art from countries and artists a little further away, it’s no holds barred. And so, offerings like the ‘The Screaming Scream Pillow’ (“Squeeze me and I scream”) available at the Auckland Art Gallery bookshop, along with its mate the ‘Light Up Starry Night’ pillow (“Press the moon and the stars light up”). For some reason they don’t stock the Giggling Mona Lisa pillow or even the wind-up Michelangelo Pillow (the detail of God and Adam from the Sistine Chapel plays “I want to hold your hand”). We assume trivialising great art like that is, quite rightly, considered tasteless.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stepping up

In the late seventies an artist’s career path was fairly straightforward. You emerged, vanished into mid-career, had a retrospective and then (mostly) grew old, waiting around to be rediscovered. Recently we came across two new career path milestones in a piece on the Turner Prize in The New Yorker. One of the Turner judges Andrew Renton from Goldsmiths, explained that the Turner honours artists who would be called “late emergent” or “early mid-career”.

So here, after some consultation (and thanks for the idea J), and a quick look through Adam Linderman’s Collecting Contemporary and a few magazines, we have begun to compile the possible steps in an artist’s career. They are:

recent graduate
young contemporary
late emergent
early mid-career
late career
senior artist

An overthenet table tennis ball signed by an artist of note to the best matching of a New Zealand artist to each category. Reader's additions in red.

Monday, March 26, 2007


unvarnished facts, reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at the brett graham and and rachael rakena installation is in a shipping container en route to venice. hamish mckay has signed the lease on a new gallery space in an ex-mason’s building around the corner from peter mcleavey. a letter sent by auckland art fair honchos to dealers greeted them with the words “hello possums”. the pink frame placed on McCahon's painting tomorrow will be the same but not as this is by bruce robinson, when working at the christchurch art gallery, has been replaced by a black one. the anish kapoor being commissioned by alan gibbs for his sculpture park has come up against major technical difficulties but is on track - the piece will tunnel through a hill on the gibbs’ farm. alicia frankovich, a graduate from aut, is to be included in the latest cream series of books published by phaidon – this one to be called ice cream: contemporary art in culture. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and the cutest - rewarded.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Scale matters

Over at stimulusresponse is a review of Ann Shelton's exhibition A library to scale, on display at Enjoy Public Art Gallery from 8 to 24 March. The show involves to-scale photographs of 13 bookcases of books with 12 shelves in each hung on 2 walls.

Turbulent times

The most remarkable photograph we have seen this year.
Click on the image to enlarge

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Advice to collectors 3

"The most important thing that a collector should do is buy."
Larry Gagosian in Collecting Contemporary by Adam Lindermann

Found – Christopher Johnstone

In all fairness, Christopher Johnstone was never really lost. He tells us that since he resigned as director of the Auckland Art Gallery he has been an art writer, consultant and has organised exhibitions including Lee Miller’s War for Monash University and the Auckland Museum. His book Landscape Painting of New Zealand: A Journey from North to South was published this year by Random House has just been reprinted.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Merry banter from this week’s artbash

“I was in the middle of having fun being trussed up and paddled by my Nazi nurse” - John Hurrell

“I'm disgusted that my parents' tax dollars paid for this patronising cow to come over. I'd have slapped her in my short pants.” - Populuxe

“shit....” - William Blake

“Have I misbehaved, PPLX? Do I get a spanking? - John Hurrell

Wanking, spanking, caning, uniforms, suspender belts and stockings, nurses, very big breasts, white walls and op art.” - Chris Taylor

“I’m stuck on the connection between Len Lye and spanking…" - alibi

Second hand

Best of 3 has joined in our happy virtual art chase and posted on Eva and Franco Mattes’ re-creation of art performances on Second Life. You can read more about what they are up to here. You can also get into Second Life to check out their store for the basalt stones that will make up their version of Beuys’ 7000 Oaks.
Images: Top left to right: Joseph Beuys 7000 Oaks and Chris Burden Shoot. Bottom left to right: Vito Acconti Seed bed and Valie Export Tapp und Taskino

Big Bang theory

“An explosion of new art by New Zealand artists. City Gallery launches its third Telecom Prospect…”

“Published on the occasion of the explosively imaginative exhibition Peter Madden: Escape from Orchid City at City Gallery …”

“Sam Taylor-Wood’s work in photography and film is distinguished by an ironic and subversive use of the media, which centre on the creation of enigmatic situations, charged with a latent but explosive energy.”

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Decisive moment

In response to the Hirst posting earlier today, Grant has cranked us up to whole new level of art-inspired Lego work. This time the artist is Marcos VilariƱo who lives and works in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. VilariƱo recreates famous photographs in the Lego spirit. You can see more of his decisive moments here.


News that Damien Hirst is in negotiation with Steve Cohen, the new owner of his shark work The Physical Impossibility of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living, sent us searching our picture files for the Lego sculptures above. It depict Hirst in front of the famous work. Charles Saatchi, who commissioned the pickled shark work for £50,000 in 1991, sold it three years ago to Cohen for £7 million. Now, because the formaldehyde has failed to adequately preserve the 14 foot Tiger shark, it needs repair or replacement. Hirst told writer Stuart Morgan (who visited New Zealand in the late 1980s) that he knew formaldehyde was not the perfect preservative, but that he had used it anyway because of it’s associations. The Lego Hirst has put us on the trail of other Lego works depicting contemporary art and artists which you are sure to see if you keep with us.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Travel tips

Paris, the pyramids and great ancient cities like Persepolis have been the subject of cultural pilgrimages for centuries. Now there are a new batch of must visit places, this time focussed on contemporary art sights like Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field in New Mexico, the James Turrell installations on the Japanese island of Naoshima, the Chinati Foundation’s installation in Marfa, Texas, and The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. These extraordinary places came to mind because of a book we have been reading, well looking at really, called Spectacle by David Rockwell and designer Bruce Mau. Going far beyond static art sites, Rockwell explores spectacles that people make and people share. He helpfully groups them into six themes: Big, Bold, Brief, Connect, Transform and Immerse. So if you want to run with the bulls, swim in tomato paste, bake at Burning Man, catch the Macy’s parade or arrive in India for Holi, this is the book for you. But for those of us who still hanker for great places to see art, we asked Artspace’s Brian Butler where he would go right now to get the greatest art experiences. Brian excluded Los Angeles, London and New York (his two art immersion favourites) and proposed this list.

1 Marfa, Texas followed by driving the desert circuit to visit: The Lightning Field, Roden Crater, Double Negative, Spiral Jetty, and then on to the Pacific Ocean.
2 Syros, Greece where Martin Kippenberger built his first subway entrance in 1993
3 Tokyo
4 The Low Countries (Belgium and Holland) but especially Ghent
5 Machu Picchu

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

And so to bed

It was disappointing not to see the Martin Creed garden still in place in Christchurch. Creed had planted the temporary installation as his contribution to Christchurch the Garden City for Scape 2006. An eclectic variety of plants were strictly ranked in order from smallest to largest in a straight line. Given the different growth patterns of the plants, it would have been fascinating to track the idea over a longer period of time rather than revert so quickly to the predictable colour splashes that have replaced it. The Creed planting neatly matched Robert Irwin’s description of the fabulous garden he designed for the Getty Center in Los Angeles: "a sculpture in the form of a garden aspiring to be art."
Images top, from left: Martin Creed Scape, September 2006, Christchurch City Council, March 2007. Bottom: Robert Irwin’s garden at the Getty Center, Los Angeles.

Monday, March 19, 2007


It’s just one month shy of five years since around twelve residents had their moment of outrage in the Christchurch Press (“The bunnies are absolutely revolting.” “What a load of rubbish.” etc. etc.) at Michael Parekowhai’s proposal to install two giant rabbits in Cathedral Square for Scape 2002. In the end the controversy made funding impossible and the installation never came off. On Friday Mike returned to Christchurch and installed Jim McMurtry, an inflatable version of one of the Scape bunnies, in the foyer of the Christchurch Art Gallery. This same work has also been shown in the Gwangju Biennale in Korea and its partner Cosmo featured in last year’s Melbourne Art Fair. Cosmo is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blur 2

We were in Christchurch over the weekend and, as the image above makes clear, down South the whole art / party thing is in safe hands.

Friday, March 16, 2007


We promise (really) that this will be the last sign post (sorry) for a while. Not sure why there have been so many, but this is as good a one to end on as any. As anyone who has been to rtspace or the Anthony Gallery in Auckland recently knows, vowels are at a premium. Both signs have been plundered, and both more than once. For anyone on the lookout, Ivan Anthony has lost an ‘A’ and an ‘N’ and Artspace at least 2 ‘A’s. The remaining letters spell out Canvas Therapy Nation – for what that’s worth.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ok, ok.. we give up

More copy cat Cattelan-type taping (Try saying that six times quickly). Believe us, if we'd known that it's practically a cult activity for students in the United States, we would never have mentioned it in the first place.

I will need words

Apparently City Councillor Christine Caughey has backed off her scheme to ban billboards in the Auckland CBD. This is a shame as the works above demonstrate. They are photographs taken in the city of Linz and have been denuded of all signage, via photoshop, by artist Gregor Graf. As you can see, Auckland is throwing away the opportunity to be the creepiest city in the South Pacific.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bad sign

Our posting on Peter McLeavey’s new sign has prompted a Wellington designer from graphics company Experimenta to pull out some hair and, after breathing into a brown paper bag, design an alternative. You can see it here.
SMALL PRINT: Did we mention this is the same designer that did our very beautiful overthenet card? Should have.

Advice to collectors 2

“Never trust an art dealer who'll
sit in a room for more than ten
minutes with a crooked
Brett Whiteley

Full circle

The catalogue reproduced above was printed for the first exhibition of what would become known as Gordon Walters’ koru paintings at Auckland’s New Vision Gallery - save for the painting Te Whiti which was entered in the 1966 Hay’s Prize earlier in the year. By clicking the image hopefully you can read Gordon’s statement, but in case: “my work is an investigation of positive/negative relationships within a deliberately limited range of forms. The forms I use have no descriptive value in themselves and are used solely to demonstrate relations. I believe that dynamic relations are most clearly expressed by the repetition of a few simple elements.”

Many of these paintings were created in Walters’ studio in the Rutland Flats in Brougham Street, Mt Victoria in Wellington which has a special interest for us because we used to live just down the road. Let’s Google the connections. A search on Brougham and Rutland brings up the Wordsworth poem Song at the feast of Brougham Castle. It recounts the story of Henry Lord Clifford who slew the Earl of Rutland. The poem includes the following two lines, which we think neatly bring us back to Gordon Walters. “And glancing, gleaming, dark or bright, / Moved to and fro, for his delight.”
Lower image: Rutland flats, Brougham Street, Mt Victoria, Wellington 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Give us a sign

Because you need to know, Peter McLeavey has just installed a new gallery sign. This time he is following the glass-covered, easy to clean policy of next door gallery Enjoy. See our previous sign stories Forty Whacks and Sign post for more on sign history and adventures.


reckless guesswork, insinuations and possible inventions that have arrived at a mail tube hidden deep in a dealer gallery’s store room contains a nude portrait of an auckland art celebrity, created as part of christine webster’s carnival series. it is said to be all running mascara and long black fingernails and is not to be released into the wild until the unfortunate subject’s death. someone using a ouija board tells us that the words - savage, two, paula and rooms came up - whatever the hell that means. at least one of the cnz trip-of-a-lifetime group has upgraded to business class. cnz , fostering its interest in the hot night-spot business, helps fund club galatos off k road. any missed details, indignant denials or additions gratefully received, and some, rewarded.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Look alike VIII

On the left, art dealer Massimo De Carlo taped to the wall by one of his artists, Maurizio Cattelan in 1999. On the right, a student taped to the ceiling by his friends. These two images should clear the air on the important difference between Look Alikes and Copy Cats. In the case of Massimo De Carlo the event had to be cut short at around three hours when the dealer broke a rib and became short of breath. As far as we know the student may still be on the ceiling.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spin us a yarn...

Over at stimulusresponse is a review of the exhibition (story)time by Stephen Cutler at the Small Red Gallery in Wellington.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hans and Martha Lachmann

A recent visit to Te Papa brought us back in touch with a few of the paintings gifted by Hans and Martha Lachmann to the national collection. The Lachmanns, like so many of the people who helped to create Wellington’s post war culture, came to New Zealand to escape Nazi persecution. They were deeply committed to music and art and for years there were very few exhibition openings in Wellington that did not have Martha and Hans attending. Although they were both physically small people, they exuded a big presence. These photos were taken in 1995 and as you can see, paintings covered most of the wall space at the Lachmann house. It is interesting how this kind of hanging is unacceptable in a public space but can be so evocative in a domestic context. The Lachmann’s collection was also the story of another Wellington cultural phenomenon, the Peter McLeavey gallery where many of the works in these images were purchased.

Multiples (again)

The release of George Hickenlooper’s feature film Factory Girl set us thinking about actors who have portrayed Andy Warhol. Factory Girl tells the story of the briefly fabulous but sadly short life of Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick and Guy Pearse stars as Warhol. In Oliver Stone’s 1991 bio pic The Doors, about the briefly fabulous but sadly short life of Jim Morrison, the part of Warhol is played by Crispin Hellion Glover. Then there is I shot Andy Warhol directed by Mary Harron in 1996 in which Jared Harris plays the part of the punctured painter. Warhol was also famously portrayed by David Bowie in Julian Schnabel’s 1996 bio pic of the briefly fabulous but sadly short life of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Note too, that Bowie’s 1971 album Hunky Dory has the rarely quoted chorus line: “Andy Warhol looks a scream / Hang him on my wall / Andy Warhol, silver screen / Can’t tell them apart at all.” Finally, and rather more obscurely, there is Midgette’s 1967 impersonation of Warhol at a University of Rochester lecture. They are all pictured above.
Images: As Andy Warhol, from left to right, Guy Pearse, David Bowie, Jared Harris and as him self, a contemporary portrait of Midgette.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

And still the waters rise

From Te Manawa's Alice Hutchinson, a note to explain that The Dominion Post removed crucial context when they quoted her in their story on the 'strenuous fund-raising efforts' of Brett Graham and Rachel Rakena to get their project to the Venice Biennale. Alice had noted that the project was selected by the Biennale director/curator for the collateral exhibitions based on artistic merit over hundreds of international submissions. Now it is going to be very interesting to watch how Creative New Zealand’s handles the funding request for the Venice project. Having backed off selecting a representative themselves, what happens when the private sector does the job for them and turns up at the door looking for partnership support?

Found - Garth Cartwright

For those who were there, Garth Cartwright will always be the Clairmont groupie who was punched by art writer Francis Pound in Wellington. From memory, Peter McLeavey was on the spot, so he’s probably the best person to ask if you need details (don’t bother Francis with it). Garth, reaching for the third person, has described the time in his biographical notes. “Initially beginning with scribbles on Auckland punk and reggae bands as a teenager in the early 1980s, Garth developed into one of New Zealand’s most outspoken writers on visual arts, music, sport and all things multicultural.” He also mentions that, “Garth…trained as a boxer ('I sparred with David Tua who went on to unsuccessfully challenge Lennox Lewis for the heavyweight title.)” Certainly, no one at the time thought it was a fair fight.

Since leaving New Zealand in 1986 he has been a working music journalist based in London. His book Princes Amongst Men: Journeys with Gypsy Musicians was published in 2005 and, to bring things right up to date, he wrote an article for the Listener a couple of weeks ago. Garth “lives alone in a Peckham council flat. He has no wife, no car, no pets, no children.” You can read a fuller account of his life and times here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


W.D. is probably already on to this, but with bird flu hovering, the rest of us should also take note. This Hammond-like image is of a seventeenth century plague doctor. The bird-bill mask was designed for protection, with herbs stuffed in to filter the air and crystal eyes. Looks like it wasn’t just Buller they were watching out for.

Team spirit

“Te Manawa curator Alice Hutchinson said it was the first time that New Zealand had been admitted to the biennale based on artistic merit alone.”
Alice Hutchison, Team Leader Art at Te Manawa, evidently referring to Peter Robinson, Jacqueline Fraser, Michael Stevenson and et al. in the Dominion Evening Post’s story on the Brett Graham project for the Venice Biennale, Artists scramble to find funds for biennale - 5 March 07

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ooky Spooky

Over at stimulusresponse is a review of Gordon Crook's show, Inhabiting the Circle, at the Mary Newton gallery in Wellington. The review takes the form a ultra-short stories based on the story of Maitreya.


The London and Zurich dealer gallery Haunch of Venison has been purchased by Christies, the auction house. Haunch of Vension's roster includes personal favourites Jorge Pardo, Barry La Va and M/M (Paris) showcased on the snazzy site. This acquisition seems interesting to us not just as another blow in Christie's slugfest with Sotheby's but as an example of blur. This worldwide phenomenon describes how very different businesses and organisations are crossing traditional boundaries in an effort to get a stronger grip on their markets. With H of V, Christies leaps into the world of dealer galleries. Here in New Zealand Webb’s already have a gallery and upcoming new auction house Art + Object also plans its own gallery space. Blur offers more than expanded function. Art fairs and dealers aspire to the mana of the art museum with soaring spaces, full-scale catalogs and work that is curated in for context, not for sale. Private collectors are into the game too opening their own museums, publishing their own catalogs, holding their own events and generally muscling in on the public programs mandate of art institutions. The Rubell Family Collection in Miami is a prime example. What makes blur so interesting is that it seeps in all direction. Design stores are blurring with museums through their exquisite displays (we've heard that Moss in Soho repaints the walls Every Night!), curatorial eye and informative labels. Fashion stores are blurring with dealers (Louis Vuitton opened the art gallery of its flagship store in Paris with Vanessa Beecroft and although the current show is about the Louis Vuitton Cup, it still nods to the museum model with a curator (Bruno Trouble) and a scenographer (Alain Batifoulier)). Is blur a benefit? That’s a yes, when it comes up with new ideas and expands, and no when it limits what’s already there. Take the way so many public art museums are blurring into halls for hire. Maybe this is why installation art, sculpture and anything that takes up floor space is being pushed out in some of our museums in favor of glazed paintings and photographs that don’t get in the way.
Image: Table tennis ball in flight after being put over the net by Nicolas Jasmim

Monday is washing day

Why didn’t anyone tell us that washing powders have bleach that slowly turns our black clothes grey? Fortunately, Reflect a specialty black wash has been formulated for “your black and dark garments”. And no, you don’t have to pour black gloop into your washing machine, it’s a clear liquid. Reflect is available at your local supermarket and, if you want more detail, has a free information hotline at 0800 287 766. (Thanks N)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

28 days

For those with RSI or broken scroll bars here is our pick from last month’s postings. In February we: worked out the current price in gold of Manzoni’s shit; announced the City Gallery’s move into dealer galleryship; broke the Brett Graham to Venice story; found Bruce Robinson; thought that old-brain Len Lye would join in Peter Peryer's protest over the destruction of an historic building in New Plymouth; questioned the takeitorleaveit approach to exhibition display; marvelled at advances in luxury artist accommodation and retired Walters to the vernacular.

They're History

Time moves on. This is the dusty archive for the Found and the Forgotten.
The Found: Anne Kirker, Garth Cartwright, Christopher Johnstone, Andrew Bogle, Bruce Robinson, Ray Castle, Ian Hunter, Barnard McIntyre, Gary Sangster, Cheryl Sotheran, Tim Garrity, Alexa Johnston, Nic Spill, Derek Cowie
The Forgotten: who can remember? 

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Copy cats VII and XIII

With this chair on the left, created and guaranteed original by Vickie Davis and called “Hurricane” #48, and the plate on the right, photographed at Iko Iko, we are leaving Gordon Walters copy cats to their own devices and the new vernacular they have created.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Being mean to collectors

“Thanks to the Armory Show, several big art accumulators in town graciously “open their homes” so other Armory-affiliated VIPs can check out their stuff. Here’s the protocol: You show up and wander around their art-filled pad strictly for connoisseurship purposes - sometimes the collectors make themselves available for chitchat and offer coffee, sometimes not—all the while pretending not to notice that what you’re really marvelling at is the money that enables these people to live in their own private kunsthalles. It’s a passive-aggressive display of conspicuous consumption exalted by the noble calling of art patronage. Who could resist? These people are to contemporary art what Imelda Marcos was to shoes.” - Rhonda Lieberman at a collector's open house – Artforum diary.
Image: The shoes, now housed at the Shoe Museum in Marikina, the "Shoe Capital of the Philippines".

Tom toms

We can’t make it to the opening of the Tom Kreisler exhibition at the Govett-Brewster this weekend, but we are in awe of the focus and professionalism in the marketing of Tom’s work, the exhibition and the publication comma dot dogma. The stand alone web site is impressive and includes an easy to use catalogue of works and the beginnings of a sophisticated commercial operation. The catalogue looks pretty comprehensive and has fast access by category and visuals via thumbnails.

This effort is being fronted by Aaron Kreisler, Tom’s son who is curating the Govett-Brewster exhibition. The catalogue for the show is published by Wellington based Umbrella Design who also created the marketing material with the explicit goal “to re-establish the artist and his place in New Zealand Art History” This aim is supported on the Kreisler site, in a statement by Wystan Curnow: “Tom Kreisler is possibly New Zealand’s most under-recognised important painter”, and on the Govett-Brewster web site: “Tom Kreisler has left a legacy of work considered by a number of New Zealand’s foremost art commentators to be amongst the most significant bodies of painting produced in New Zealand over the past 30 years.”

The management of artist estates is not easy and keeping reputations alive even more difficult still. In the revealing book Artists' Estates: Reputations in Trust, edited by Magda Salvesen and Diane Cousineau, the New York Times writer Michael Kimmelman reminds us that “An artist’s posthumous reputation is the result of endless vagaries and sea changes.’ It will be interesting to watch how Tom Kreisler’s reputation shifts with the injection of this new energy.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tool time

We have just had an amazing book come into the house. Home-made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts, by artist Vladimir Arkhipov displays the highlights of his collection of over 1000 functional objects made in the Soviet Union. As the regime slowly collapsed from the 1980s, access to manufactured goods became difficult and people improvised. Arkhipov calls his project “The People’s Museum of Home-Made Objects.” Each image is accompanied by a short description by the owners of the object, how it was made and how it is used. We were talking to John Parker (the ceramic artist and theatre designer) about this wonderful project and its connections with an exhibition we all worked on in 1990 for the then Crafts Council called Mau Mahara. Some of the objects selected by John and co-curators Cliff Whiting and Justine Olsen might have found a place in Arkhipov’s collection. John then produced the two tools in the top image. One is a soldering iron made by his grandfather and other a tool John contrived to incise deep pots. The three images below are from Home-made. From the left Vasilii Arhipov’s axe, Evgenii Vasilev’s bath plug and Andrei Smirnov’s kitchen safe.