Sunday 21 June 2015

Weekend reading

The benefit of being low-grade sick is that you can read half the known internet while you go through a box of tissues*

Question: Can Wikipedia survive? 

Naive Answer: Yes. If our project at The Dowse is any example, there's still a butt-ton of sectors who are yet to make the move into contributing. Less Naive Answer: I have no idea how the arcana of Wikipedia management works, and that's a real weakness of the system.

the best marketing strategy is a “transformational project” brilliantly produced

Article about Michael Kaiser and his new book Curtains: The Future of the Arts in America. Focused on the performing arts (and of course the American context) but it's hard to deny his point about artistic uniformity:
“Rather than conceiving great projects—with enough lead time to find the resources needed to pay for them—too many organizations are planning art that is inexpensive, undemanding and, frankly, boring.”
Standing with a pile of my books and others on the women who also invented Impressionism side by side with their male colleagues, I wanted to hold a banner declaring that this institution wilfully and persistently distorts knowledge of art’s histories.

Griselda Pollock does a de(con)struction job on some art gallery puffery (oh yes - we're all guilty of it) and the National Gallery in London's claims for its exhibition on Paul Durand-Ruel, "the man who invented Impressionism". One of the most enlivening things I've read in a while.

Scholarship in the service of business

Long article in the New York Times about curators from public institutions moving into the dealer gallery world, which ends with the rather oblique line "Often the interests of a curator are somewhat unaligned with the necessities of a gallery.”

*(Or finish watching Jane the Virgin)

Friday 19 June 2015

On the radio

This week on the radio I talked about some of the exhibitions and events happening as part of the Matariki festival in Wellington, including He Toi Reikorangi at Mahara Gallery and Ngatai Taepa's survey exhibition at Pataka. We also looked at Britain's decision to put a visual artist on their currency and a few stories I've covered over the past 5 years.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Small accumulations

Yesterday at work we ran our second public Wikipedia training and editing day, focused on improving the coverage of Māori and Pacific artists. It's part of the wider Wikipedia project we've been running since last November.

I'm thrilled at what we've achieved with this project. While we're not creating new knowledge, the way galleries aim to with publishing projects, we're doing a lot of dig up and knit together information about artists, to create networks of links between artists, educators and mentors, galleries and residencies and awards.

This is a screenshot of my contribution page from today.  I've been adding links from our podcast at The Dowse to relevant entries, and then links to Circuit podcasts, and then links to interviews from Standing Room Only, and then doing some work on Emily Karaka's page. It's satisfying because my nerdy art history side comes out to play; it's also satisfying because I can see how all the content we produce can have a long tail. And it's satisfying because information is going into the place where it is most likely to be found.

I now treat Wikipedia editing almost like volunteering. I have the occasional sustained burst, like this weekend, but usually it's micro-additions, a sentence or two added to the right pages when a new show opens or magazine gets published or grants get awarded. I might never get around to doing that Ph.D I ponder occasionally, but at least I'm putting my training to some use on a regular basis.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

On the radio

Today on the radio I'm going to talk about two shows I've enjoyed recently:

Frances Hodgkins: Lace Collars and Calico - Dunedin Public Art Gallery, until 16 August

Tell tails - Christine Hellyar, Maureen Lander and Jo Torr, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington, until 14 August

This June is my 5th anniversary at Nine to Noon: after stepping in to cover a friend in the New Media spot earlier in 2010, I started my fortnightly gig just after I left the National Library and on the day (I think) that I flew out of Wellington to take part in Foo Camp. Pretty much nothing else in my life (except living in Wellington) is still the same. It's the longest job I've had, and I still love doing it.