Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Experimentia

UPDATED You know, I think the sports writers tried harder.

In seventh form, I bunked a history class so I could attend a crucial NPBHS First XV match (yip, I was a kinda different person then).

Come the time of the mock exams, it turned out the history class was actually pretty crucial too. I wound up writing an essay comparing Elizabethan parilamentary standoffs to the team-psych of performing a haka before a match. (Maybe that would have gone down better in post-grad than in bursary.)

Anyway, I was quite excited to see the Guardian's current experiment - sending art critics to report on sporting events (published today), and sports writers to report on art events (coming tomorrow - I'll update the link when it's available).

I guess there's little chance that the experiment could rise above novelty value. The arts writers showed little interest in or knowledge of sport, and seemed largely content to compare the sport they were watching to the art form they normally write about. Watching the crowd afforded more interest than watching the game. But that still makes me curious to see if a rugby correspondent will try to tackle an opera in a similar manner ...

9 comments:

Cheryl Bernstein said...

I suspect there are various New Zealand artists who could write very knowledgably about sport, especially the senior ones (among others I'm thinking of Fred Graham who was a Maori All Black), but the world of art writers/critics tends to be a sport-free zone ... unless you count the chess club at school. Or is this unfair?

bestof3 said...

Mmmm - I think Gavin Hipkins and Ronnie van Hout were both rugby players.

I do think that's a little unfair (although I'm hard pushed to refute it by having a stellar example of a critic who's also interested in sport. Then again, it's also getting harder to think of examples of critics).

However, if you want to be spectacularly unfair, you could suggest that the increasing number of women in arts institutions and administration also reduces the level of sports interest. After all, Murray says the feminisation of education is ruining rugby....

Anonymous said...

I would like to know who NPBHS were playing, what year, and who won?

bestof3 said...

A bit of an age reveal here...

The year was 1997. It was a college match, I think against a Hawkes bay high school. I'm pretty sure Boys' High won.

artandmylife said...

Good point about the lack of critics here in NZ - sporting or otherwise. Anton Oliver could probably write about art.

I personally think its a very interesting idea and a bit like the science and poetry concept at Vic isn't it?

bestof3 said...

I actually think we have some great sport critics - or at least commentators - fiery, partisan, knowledgable, occasionally vastly irritating. That's why I'm a Radio Sport devotee.

The problem with the Guardian articles for me - and the reason I don't think this installment, at least, can rise above the level of gimmick - is that none of the writers cared about the game/event. I guess caring is the first rung on the criticism ladder. It's certainly why I've turned down the odd offer - if I'm not interested in the subject, I doubt I can produce anything worth reading. I'd feel dishonest doing it.

Anonymous said...

Haha...thanks Bo3, I'm way too old to have played in that one.

It would be kind of nice if the NZ art world (particularly institutions) could apply the same sort of "transparency" that is demanded of our professional sports people. i.e. no one seems to have an issue when the AB selections are scrutinised to death, yet something like the Venice selection is veiled in secrecy....but I suppose "at the end of the day" thats art and not sport.

artandmylife said...

Oops - I meant a lack of ART critics whether they were interested in sport or not (sporting art crtics). I agree that we do have some great sports crtics/commentators and I think it might be nice to have a few like that around art.

bestof3 said...

Hey Anonymous

I wrote about the different approaches to "managing the message" in the Olympics and Biennale selections a few months ago. The sport/art analogy makes for fun blogging, but beyond that, I dunno....