Wednesday 17 September 2008

Mid-week musing

SFMOMA is currently deinstalling (aka painting over) Sol LeWitt'' s Wall Drawing #935 and #936 in preparation for the Martin Puryear exhibition. Artist Chris Cobbs, who has executed many of LeWitt's works, muses on the event on the SFMOMA blog.

Irving Sandler interviews Jerry Saltz - a sample:

To become a critic I read Artforum religiously. I wanted to write the way they wrote in that magazine, which seemed very cool, smart, and reserved, although I was secretly horrified because I barely understood a syllable of what I read. Worse, when I did understand what I read I kept thinking, “These people hate art!” At first I tried to write like that. Whenever I read what I had written afterwards I had no idea what I was talking about. I had all these other thoughts and feelings I wasn’t sharing. That’s when I began to change in my attitude about writing.

In home town art debate, here's John Hurrell on the Walter's Prize on Radio New Zealand and his blog. From the blog post:

... when the selection committee for this year pick two past finalists (Reynolds and Robinson) to resubmit, something has to be wrong. The message is that Aotearoa doesn’t have the quantity and range of exciting practices to keep the exhibition continually fresh. In this country the inherent vibrancy needed doesn’t exist.

That is clearly not the case. More likely the committee didn’t do their homework and thoroughly scour through all the dealer exhibitions the length and breadth of the land. But with no South Island curator on the panel there was no incentive to ensure that. And with two of the four selectors from Auckland alone, the result seemed predestined to ensure Auckland parochialism, especially when the two repeating artists live in Auckland.
From conversations I've had recently, people are poking holes in the Walters from all directions, with a surprisingly common sentiment being that Reynolds and Robinson should have stepped aside.

Personally, I'm fine with people being re-nominated, if their work is judged by the committee to be at the top of the pile of the past two year's exhibitions. If you don't judge on merit, then the award risks turning into an everyone-gets-a-turn event.* My main complaint still lies in the lack of urgency for a two-yearly prize, and although I didn't get to New Plymouth for Peter Robinson's opening in the weekend, pictures I've seen confirm my suspicions that Ack will look outdated next to Snow Ball Blind Time.

*Sports analogy - sure, it'd reduce the feel-good factor if the same person wins twice in a row. But you don't stop sports people from competing just because they've won before. I guess you could always handicap artists like they do racehorses (make them install in the dark, maybe?)

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