What we're looking at

Seen & admired 2016

October to December

    • Natalia LL, Consumer Art, 1972, from the Marinko Sudac Collection; image courtesy of the artist
A selection of art I’ve seen and admired from October through December 2016, including Auckland, Gdańsk, Milan and Bydgoszcz Excerpt from "The Other" performance video A video posted by Shana Robbins (@snakesandlace) on Dec 1, 2016 at 11:54am PST Caption to film stills (above): By members… Read more

Seen & admired 2016

August to September

    • The Neoplastic Room (1948-1960) with works by Katarzyna Kobro and the 'a.r.' group's International Collection of Modern Art; at Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi
A selection of art I’ve seen and admired from August through September 2016, including Warsaw, Szczecin, Łódź, Pacanów, Zalipe, Orońsko, Janowiec, Kazimerz, Zakopane, Gdańsk and Sopot in Poland; and Auckland, NZ Read more

Seen & admired 2016

April to July

    • Christo and Jean-Claude's
A selection of art I’ve seen and admired from April through July 2016, from Wellington, NZ in the far south and Lake Iseo, Bergamo and Milan in Italy; to Warsaw, Szczecin, Gdansk, Sopot and Berlin in northern Europe Read more

Guerrilla sculpture

WWI conscientious objectors remembered

    • Guerrilla sculpture in Wellington commemorating NZ WWI conscientious objectors (anonymous); photo courtesy of Peace Action Wellington
Guerrilla sculptors took to Wellington's waterfront area in April 2016 at the time of the annual ANZAC Day commemorations with an action aimed at commemorating New Zealand's World War I conscientious objectors, including Archie Baxter, who were vilified and brutalised by the New Zealand military.… Read more

Seen & admired 2016

January to February

    • Justyna Górowska (PL), FWJG, 2010-2015, video
A selection of art I’ve seen, admired and posted on social media during January and February 2016, from Helsinki in the north and Kraków in the south, to Warsaw, Sopot and Gdańsk in between. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return;… Read more

CLOUD glow

Patient audiences in Helsinki

    • Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garret, CLOUD, LUX Helsinki 2016; photo by Rob Garrett
Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret (CA), Cloud (2012/2013) LUX Helsinki 2016, at the crossing between Annankatu and Kalevankatu Originally conceived by Calgary-based artists Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret for Calgary’s first one-night-only Nuit Blanche in 2012, Cloud was constructed from burnt out incandescent… Read more

Nowhere in Helsinki

Nathalie Chambart's light art installation

    • Nathalie Chambart, Nowhere, LUX Helsinki 2016; photo by Rob Garrett
Nathalie Chambart (BE), Nowhere (2012) LUX Helsinki 2016 Alvar Aalto Erottaja pavilion at the crossing between Erottajankatu and Bulevardi This LUX Helsinki 2016 project by Belgian artist Nathalie Chambart was perhaps my favourite work in the light art festival; and to my mind, shows that even… Read more

Pahiatua Children

Documentary on Polish regugees

    • Juliette Laird, Dreaming of summer 2013, Gdansk; photo by Ewelina Gerke
Documentary "Polish Children of Pahiatua - 70th Reunion" This documentary provides some insights into the background for Juliet Laird's project in Gdańsk in 2013. The artist worked with several members of this Polish community in New Zealand. The film was made during the celebrations of the… Read more

Essays on inequality

from art world writers in 2014

    • Molly Crabapple, Construction Crew on Happiness Island, Abu Dhabi 2014
Ben Davis, "No, Artists Aren't the Winners of the New Gilded Age," artnet News (online), Wednesday, May 14, 2014 Davis writes "... it's worth really demystifying what a contemporary artist actually does with his or her life, and talking about a fact that everyone knows… Read more

Insistent Communities

The limits of art; the failure of institutional practices; and the necessity for action

    • Passive resistance, Istanbul, 19 June 2013; photographer unknown
"The more you press, the bigger it gets" (Gezi Park stencil, 4 June 2013). In the present context of citizen activism and Occupy Movements that call for people's greater participation in public politics, what is the role of contemporary art in the public realm? There's been… Read more

Modernist Gdynia

Exhibition: The City is Born

    • The City is Born, Muzeum Miasta Gdyni, exhibition detail by Rob Garrett
I enjoyed viewing an excellent exhibition of the flowering of Modernist architecture in the birth of the city of Gdynia between the First and Second World Wars... "The City is Born: Modernism in Gdynia between the Wars" was presented by Muzeum Miasta Gdyni (18.09.2014 to 31.12.2014)… Read more

Two Earth Rooms

Walter de Maria and Olafur Eliasson

    • Walter de Maria, The New York Earth Room, 1977, DIA
With close affinities, but decades apart, two artists sought to transform the experiences and perceptions of museum-goers. Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room, 1977. Long-term installation at Dia Art Foundation, 141 Wooster Street, New York City. An interior earth sculpture. 197 cubic meters… Read more


Lara Almercegui and shop renovations

    • Lara Almarcegui, Spanish pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale (2013); photo by Rob Garrett
At the 55th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art, Lara Almarcegui filled the Spanish pavilion with mountains of precisely the materials and quantities of those materials - such as brick, concrete, cement, and glass - used by workers to construct the pavilion in the early 20th century.… Read more

Curator in Nice (FR)

Villa Arson residency, May 2014

    • Banquet preparation at la Station; photo by Anne-Sophie Lecharme
Images and notes from my curatorial residency at Villa Arson, Nice (FR) to visit artists' studios, including at La Station, where I presented a public lecture entitled "Turbulence and Calm". 2014-05-15: ... and a banquet in La Station's yard after the lecture. Thanks for… Read more

A gaping hole

Collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

    • In the Heart of the Country installation view with works by Pawel Althamer, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Slavs and Tatars; photo by Rob Garrett
In the Heart of the Country* Over the past two decades, art has regularly surpassed reality by widening the horizons of the imaginable. Yesterday’s transgressions are the norm today, and the subjects art is delving into now could become our future. [Joanna Mytkowska, catalogue essay, p12.]… Read more

Judge: Estuary Artworks 2013

Uxbridge, Creative Arts Centre, NZ

    • Belinda Griffiths & Rob Garrett, Estuary Artworks 2013 Supreme Award; photo courtesy of Rob Garrett
The award Estuary Artworks (15 March – 26 April 2013) is an annual award exhibition run by Uxbridge and is in its 7th year.  The competition is open to all New Zealand permanent citizens and residents over the age of 16. Entrants are encouraged to creatively… Read more

Into the future

Rob Garrett for The Big Idea

    • Rob Garrett in Gdansk; photo by Borys Kossakowski
The Big Idea asked creatives “What do you think are some of the opportunities and challenges for the next decade?” Rob Garrett I believe that the conventional distribution models need to change if they are to be effective for artists and relevant to audiences. Among the… Read more

Joanna Langford

The High Country: SCAPE project realised

    • Joanna Langford, The High Country 2012, commissioned by SCAPE Public Art; photo courtesy of the artist and SCAPE
Finally, after the disruption of the tragic earthquakes in Christchurch, Joanna Langford's public art project "The High Country" was realised: "The High Country" by Joanna Langford is an aerial utopian city installation that appears to be floating above its urban surroundings in central Christchurch. "The High… Read more

10 favourite things

Viva interview with Rob Garrett

    • Rob Garrett; photo by Babiche Martens; courtesy of APN Holdings & NZ Herald
Making an exhibition of all things big and small By Zoe Walker Even everyday objects such as packaging and children's high chairs take on artistic meaning for an Auckland art curator. Art and landscape will merge at this week's New Zealand Sculpture OnShore, curated again by… Read more

Anastasia Klose (AU)

The Re-Living Room, Primavera 2012

    • ANASTASIA KLOSE, The Re-living Room 2012, Primavera 2012; photo by Tristan Derátz, courtesy MCA Sydney and the artist
Anastasia Klose was selected for the prestigious 2012 Primavera exhibition at the MCA in Sydney. For her presentation the Melbourne-based artist relocated to the MCA gallery to re-enact a two-month period of unemployment, watching television, eating junk food and dancing to music video clips in her… Read more

Cécile B. Evans (BE/US)

2012 Emdash Award project at Frieze

    • Cécile B. Evans, This Is Your Audio Guide, 2012 (P3 and various locations throughout Frieze Art Fair); image courtesy of the artist and Frieze Projects
Emdash Award recipient Cécile B. Evans' project for the 2012 Frieze Art Fair is "This Is Your Audio Guide" 2012 (P3 and various locations throughout Frieze Art Fair). See her talk about her project here... Frieze Foundation link... Cécile B. Evans also participated in the Auckland… Read more

Soo-Joo Yoo

Water and air

    • Soo-Joo Yoo, “Multiple Temporalities” 2012; photo courtesy of the artist
Soo-Joo Yoo’s crisp, chromatic and complex new work “Multiple Temporalities” 2012, introduced water dripping from zip-lock bags and air leaking from large black balloons to undercut the installation's taughtly composed structure. Materials: water, air, pipes, mount boards, damp course, picture frame, tiles, bricks, stones, glass, ropes,… Read more

Sarah Morris "1972"

"Everything falls apart" Artspace, Sydney

While in Sydney recently I was delighted to see Sarah Morris's "1972," a profoundly revealing film interview of Dr Georg Sieber, who was head psychologist of the Olympic Police when the terror group Black September attacked the Isreali Olympic Team in the Olympic Village. Watch an… Read more

18th Biennale of Sydney

Selected highlights, 2012

    • Peter Robinson,
Cockatoo Island, a World Heritage-listed island in the middle of Sydney Harbour, certainly gives art installations a run for their money. As a former prison and shipyard, it has the sort of post-industrial scale and spaciousness sought after world-wide for contemporary art installations and events.… Read more

Forgotten Songs

Public art brings birdsong to life

    • Michael Thomas Hill, Forgotten Songs, 2011, Sydney, photo by Rob Garrett
"Forgotten Songs" (2011) is a beautiful public art installation by Michael Thomas Hill in Angel Place, Sydney City (just outside the City Recital Hall). The work is comprised of empty and open bird cages suspended above the lane; recorded birds' song; and the names of the… Read more

Estella Castle (NZ)

Romantic fictions

    • Estella Castle, Untitled (A Sense of the Vapid, Annaliese) 2009, oil & gesso on linen, 1300 x 950mm; courtesy of the artist and Rob Garrett
About the works Estella Castle’s painting practice appears to be that of the conventional European portraitist. It is not. The paintings have all the hallmarks of the portrait genre with their isolation of the figure in a neutral setting, the faithfully represented of physical characteristics, the… Read more

Dane Mitchell (NZ)

Cosmic dust collection, Busan 2010

    • Dane Mitchell, Cosmic dust collection (Extraterrestrial Smithereens), 2010, Busan Biennale; photo by Rob Garrett
I came across Dane Mitchell's "Cosmic dust collection (Extraterrestrial Smithereens)" almost by accident. Taking a day out from my schedule as a guest of the International Academic Program of the Onggi Ceramics Expo in Ulsan, South Korea, my Korean interpreter and I drove to Busan, and… Read more

Art that made us laugh

Tatsu Nishi in Sydney, 2009-2010

    • Tatzu Nishi,
“I get it!” is not always possible with contemporary art, and sometimes I don’t mind being puzzled, mystified or confounded. But other times there are art works where I think I ought to get it – but feel pushed away and then annoyed by the fact… Read more

Tomás Saraceno (AR)

Spiders in Venice / Clouds in Berlin

    • Tomás Saraceno, 'Galaxies forming along filaments, like droplets along the strands of a spider's web' 2009, Venice 2009, photo by Rob Garrett
Attending the 53rd Venice Biennale in September 2009 and then travelling to Berlin to visit galleries and meet artists, I had the good fortune to see two impressive installations by Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno, who now lives and works in Frankfurt am Main. 'Galaxies forming along… Read more

Paul Pfeiffer (US)

Empire at Hamburger Bahnhof, 2009

    • Paul Pfeiffer,
Paul Pfeiffer's video art work "Empire" at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin is literally three months long... That's right, the video runs for three months, not looped and repeating for three months; the piece is a single three-month-long take... No, I didn't take my sleeping bag and… Read more

Rushing but not rushed

Teresa Margolles (MX) in Venice, 2009

    • Teresa Margolles, “¿De qué otra cosa podríamos hablar?” (What Else Could We Talk About?); 7 June - 22 November 2009; Palazzo Rota-Ivancich, Castello 4421, Venice; photo by Rob Garrett
The Mexican Pavilion was the last on my “list” of must-see exhibitions at the Venice Biennale and I had left it and a few others to my final afternoon. But sandwiching a half-day trip to Verona into my final day and missing my preferred train back to Venice, meant… Read more

Seeing the Giardini

Steve McQueen & Roman Ondak, 2009

    • Steve McQueen,
Two art projects in the Giardini at this year's Venice Biennale particularly thrilled me because they drew attention to the garden location of the pavilions; and they did so in unpretentious and understated ways. What made the exprience even more emphatic for me was the unanticipated… Read more

The Death of L.Budd

by Amanda Wayers

    • L. Budd, National Park (sorry) (2008), disputed: denied by The Estate of L. Budd (et al.); courtesy of the artists
Amanda Wayers reviews a 2008 retrospective of the late artist’s work.    The Estate of L. Budd commemorates and defines L. Budd’s life’s work in a retrospective exhibition at Michael Lett gallery, accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue raisonné. The project promises to make a definitive statement… Read more

This Art's Rubbish

by Amanda Wayers

    • Dan Arps, Outreach (2006), image courtesy of the artist and Gambia Castle, Auckland
Auckland artists dumping cardboard boxes and tatty blankets into white-washed galleries are being lauded as the cutting edge of contemporary art. Amanda Wayers asks where the beauty is in a hunk of junk.   It looks like a pile of rubbish randomly dragged off the street.… Read more
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