Although the last 10 days have been pretty much full immersion in the web world, I did surface twice to take an art breath.
Between the end of the Webstock conference and the beginnings of the Onya's dinner, I slipped over to City Gallery Wellington for the opening of the Festival shows, mostly to get a glimpse of Janet Cardiff's The Forty-Part Motet. The small amount of time I spent in the room was enough to convince me that I'll be returning often - perhaps when there isn't a woman in there using it as a quiet place to have a conversation on her mobile away from the noise of the opening.
Then on Saturday night I headed out to the New Dowse for the opening of their suite of Festival shows, and in particular Bill Viola's The Messenger. The Dowse is clearly moving at a great rate of knots right now - all three new shows have been quickly assembled, but the move I've noticed recently towards more cleanly, thoughtfully installed shows continues nonetheless. The collection show was an unexpected and lovely treat, and a purposeful reminder from the Dowse of the great works they hold on behalf of and for the benefit of their community.
Tonight Anthony McCall opens at the Adam Art Gallery and on Thursday Te Papa opens the installation of Judy Millar and Francis Upritchard's Venice Biennale projects. I don't know if it's chance or not, but the three international shows that have been brought in at Festival time - McCall, Cardiff and Viola - all fall into the meditative kind of art experience rather than the spectacular, a la Kusama and Mueck. In a rather rare public display of interoperability, a Festival Art Bus is running on 6 March, which will take you round all three shows for $15.