Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dom Post as art crusader
John Daly-Peoples NBR , Tuesday March 17 2009 - 04:03pm

A couple of weeks ago the Dominion-Post was the first fof the blocks putting the boot into the two New Zealand artists, Judy Millar and Francis Upritchard, who will be showing at the Venice Biennale later this year.

Judy Millar (art shown left) will be producing an installation of large scale painted canvases that will intersect through walls and out of windows, challenging the conventions of display and exhibition design.
Francis Upritchard will be creating an imaginary landscape, which refers to the works of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel. The landscape will consist of hand-made architectural features and figures combining the antique with the futuristic.
The paper criticised Francis Upritchard for not living in New Zealand and both of them for producing work which had nothing to do with New Zealand.
Presumably the Dom Post wants a set of chocolate box images of the Southern Alps and a Maori concert group, the sort of images that Tourism New Zealand manages to sell quite well on the world stage.
People around the world know about New Zealand. It’s a country with fantastic scenery inhabited by great hulking guys playing rugby.
We need to add a bit of sophistication and intelligence into that mix and one of the ways is by presenting creative New Zealanders to the world. Peter Jackson has done wonders for the place in having New Zealand scenery shown in the Lord of the Rings trilogy but he is equally well known for being a creative person.
Next the Dom Post will be demanding that Ernest Rutherford be removed from the $100 note as his research had nothing to do with New Zealand.
The Venice Biennale is not a travel convention.
It is the place where several hundred thousand people go to to find out who the top movers and shakers in the art world are. That sort of thing also affects the way they perceive places and the people who live there and that sort of thing cannot be bought with advertising dollars.
In 2005 the Dom Post got apoplectic about sending an et al installation to the Venice Biennale. The said it was a dunny that brayed like a donkey. Even when it was pointed out that the braying sounds were recordings of the French testing at Mururoa they did not seem to think there was any need for further investigation. “Dunny Art” was a much better headline than “World Beating Art."
Maybe the Dom Post should run a short series on how to identify art – what a French painting looks like or an American or even an Irish one. The Irish became the great feisty little nation of the last decade so maybe if we could do the same sort of art as them we could strike it lucky.

John Daly-Peoples
National Business Review Arts Writer
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Anonymous said...

There is hope, yet, for The Dominion Post, as the person in charge, who has been responsible for years of knee-jerk reaction to the arts, is about to leave. Let's all cross our fingers for a non-philistine as his successor. Please, Mr Elenio, choose someone sensitive to the importance of the arts to Wellington's identity, and New Zealand's.

Local Reader said...

If ever there was an example of a newspaper out of step with the city it claims to be published for, it's the DomPost. Whereas Wellington fizzes with creative energy and has a lively appreciation of radical art, its local rag is an anachronism, still thundering Victorian conservatism. Its opinions (and most of its columnists) are just irrelevant.