Wednesday 17 December 2014

On the radio

On the radio today I'll talk about Metro magazine's nomination of Michael Parekowhai's light house sculpture as a 'best is yet to come', and art books for Christmas.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Ummm. Hmmm. Yeah.

I'm finding Ellen Gamerman's series of articles about trends in American museums for the Wall Street Journal interesting, but weirdly - slanted? It's hard to put my finger on it, but there's a vague air throughout them that museums are out to exploit the punters. (See this earlier piece on crowd-curating & the online responses.)

Gamerman's latest is on museums and visitor data, and the moves (led by the Dallas Museum of Art) to use various forms of tracking to learn more about visitor behaviour. None of this is news to me, or particularly unsettling (the comment about the MIA's programming changes in response to visitor surveys aside) but if I was a punter and not a professional I'd probably feel well creeped out.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Learning WIkipedia

This month at The Dowse we've officially launched a summer Wikipedia project, researching and adding biographical entries for New Zealand craft/applied art artists to the site.

We've learned a lot already, and we're going to be regularly blogging about the project. I didn't expect to be very hands-on with the project - in fact, I was quite scared of the Wikipedia culture and frankly have been avoiding it for years now.

However, I've been sucked in, and over the last few weekends I've found myself diligently at my laptop, doing battle with rules around notability and wiki mark-up to create and edit pages. There's a real satisfaction to creating something that 30 or 40 minutes ago didn't exist - putting Alan Preston or Tanya Ashken or Manos Nathan into a place where I feel they belong - and more importantly, a place where they become more discoverable to the world.

If you want to follow progress - or join in! - there's also a scratchpad on Wikipedia itself you can review and add to.

Monday 8 December 2014

Things you should read

For a Wellingtonian, I've bought an unusual number of copies of Metro magazine this year, and that's credit to the room they're giving arts writer Anthony Byrt for pieces like this: Why Michael Parekowhai’s State House Sculpture is Worth Celebrating.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

On the radio

Squeezed for time this week, we only snuck in a garbled (I had to phone in, which I loathe doing) segment on the 40th anniversary of Fingers, one of the world's longest running contemporary jewellery galleries.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

The American system

“A $10,000 gift to a smaller museum can make a huge impact, and the donor will see a deeper engagement with the institution. To get to that level at one of the larger institutions, you have to give millions.” 
That’s a fine final point. For all of the glory bestowed on a trustee at one of the august museums on our list, moderately wealthy benefactors would be wise to be contrarians. Their time, money, and collection are likely to be treated better, have more impact, and serve society better when put to work at a regional or local museum.

The American system of museum fundraising and patronage just fascinates me. This article in Barrons outlines how American museums have recovered from the GFC and subsequent withering of their endowments.