Friday 30 May 2008

What do you think of this?

What do you think of this? - the background info

At the end of May, we launched the first Auckland Art Gallery brand campaign in over 5 years. This campaign, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, was a culmination of many long discussions and a review of market perceptions of the gallery. We began to realise that we needed to overcome the problem that people tend to perceive art and the gallery as a place where the culturally elite meet and pass opinion. It is also often seen, by some, as a place that only the erudite and sophisticated understand; not relevant to the ordinary person on the street.

Our solution was to send a message to people that art is not just for the elite, it’s for everyone, from all walks of life. This message needed to be straightforward and direct.

The idea was to get people interacting and forming opinions on art in their everyday environment by confronting them with original art pieces in their everyday lives and asking them ‘What do you think of this?’

To begin, we invited three prominent New Zealand artists to create original works of art, with the only stipulation that the work must include the words “What do you think of this?’ Other than that, whatever form the artwork took was entirely up to the artist’s imagination.

A warm and sincere thanks to Dick Frizzell, Judy Darragh and Richard Orjis who took up this challenge and together, with Saatchi & Saatchi, created a campaign for people to engage with and become excited about art.

So, what do you think of this?

Tina Norris
Manager, Marketing & Communications

World Environmental Day - June 5

Well I'm not sure that art galleries really have a reputation for being "environmentally friendly" but a few of us here at the gallery are trying to encourage others especially for World Environmental Day - June 5. I'm planning on walking or cycling into work as usual and hopefully others will look at more sustainable practices like recycling, not printing out emails unless absolutely necessary...etc..

We are also trying to encourage people to come into the gallery by holding an environmental day competition in association with our exhibition Earth Matters. Come and visit the exhibition (hopefully via and environmentally friendly method of transport) and answer the question

"How does Earth Matters make you think about the planet?'

Entering your answer on the computer in the New Gallery foyer to be in to win a fabulous environmental package containing:

*Huckleberry Farms hamper (good news is they now also have an online store) worth $250
*ecostore Health Home Kit worth over $40

I don't normally go into promotions on blogs but I particularly like being involved in World Environmental Day!

Friday 23 May 2008

Bill Henson show closed until further notice

The Sydney Morning Herald reports today, that the opening of the new Bill Henson exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery was "dramatically cancelled" by police after complaints about some of the images. Unfortunately the website also seems to be 'closed for business' this morning. But apparently the images are of young children and deemed inappropriate.

Photographer Bill Henson. Photo: Adam Hollingworth

It brings to mind a time at the Auckland Art Gallery when we received similar but not as strong criticism about the exhibition Mixed Up Childhood in 2005. Photographs by some of these artists also contained children in various poses and we received criticism for the nature of them. At the time i remember wondering about the difference in peoples reaction to painting and photography. If some of the works had been traditional oil paintings would they have received such a reaction or are photographs seen as more voyeuristic. People rarely complain about nudes in paintings!

It also brings to mind the old chestnut of how far you go when censoring art. A large Gilbert and George exhibition containing images of faeces, bombs, blood and death could be equally disturbing. Should art not be allowed to stand out there for criticism. Do people have to choice what they decide to go and see, when to step inside the walls of a gallery?

These are of course, purely my personal point of view. However, i'd love any feedback from anyone out there.

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Gallery tubing

I'm currently working on some videos for the Gallery to put on youtube and have found some other galleries putting videos out there while researching it all.

MOMA have a youtube profile, currently showing an interview with Olafur Eliasson.

Tate Gallery on youtube says it updates every month but it seems a bit outdated. Some interesting videos there though, my favourite one of artists Gilbert & George, who have been on my mind after seeing an amazing exhibition of there work at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, here is the video from the Tate:

I guess i have been thinking a lot about who the audience for these videos will be. Who are the users of youtube? Is it just the young y-generation, the early to late 20 year olds, and are they interested only in looking for funny videos or is there an audience interested in this kind of education video on youtube? Do generation x or even gen-w or gen-v if they even exist, look at youtube?...I guess i'll find out as soon and we try it out.

Thursday 15 May 2008

Earth Mattering

Earth Matters opened at the Gallery on the 1st of May. It's a collection show with a project by Wellington-based artist Amy Howden-Chapman in the entrance-way, making a connection between work from the collection and a recent work which has strong associations to the exhibition's theme and content. Amy HC's Great Pacific Ocean Rubbish Patch Recreation is presented as a slide-projection, reflecting upon the currency (or comedy) of activism today versus its urgency in the past, she's also included a new work The Slip a photograph of an erroded hillside, mirrored below in a mock tribute to the sublime.

Also featured is one of our newest acquisitions - Maintenance of Social Solidarity - instance 5, by et al. which has a reciprocal presence at the Sydney Biennale this year.

Getting the prize for the most fondled work in the exhibition at only two weeks open is the Boyle Family's Gisborne Triptych. On show for the first time in 18 years, this is obviously still a favourite for the "how did they really make it?" punters. And it's still a magnificent work. A vitrine of newspaper clippings shows just how popular the Boyle Family's residency and exhibition were - including allusions to how tame they were by comparison to Jörg Immendorf's infamous stay just prior to their visit. For good measure Michael Stevenson's work on Jörg is around the corner, but in a new installation, with the Immendorf edited out, revealing our cyclical economic environment.

For someone who was dragged along to an ongoing series of environmental actions as a child, this exhibition was as much an opportunity to raise a rhetorical question at the collection: how does environmental concern look through the lens of the collection? And, in what ways and means does socio-political preoccupation with 'environmental decay' get reflected in an artist's practice.

Images: Amy Howden-Chapman, The Great Pacific Ocean Rubbish Patch Recreation, 2006 (video still); The Boyle Family, Gisborne Triptych, 1990 (detail)

Friday 9 May 2008

Happy Birthday to Artbash

A little birdy told me that it is the 3rd birthday of Lee Cunliffe's website Artbash this month so a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY i'm a huge fan.

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Changing colours

While in San Francisco I visited SFMOMA which had a number of exhibitions but I was lucky enough to see the Olafur Elliasson work One-way colour tunnel, 2007 that is a remnant of the exhibition Take Your Time. I had heard so much about this exhibition and was disappointed to have missed it (it came down in February 2008) but it was fabulous that they have still have this work. I was told it was made specifically for the walkway on the top floor of the SFMOMA.

A beautiful experience, you walk through a tunnel of shards of pink and purple stained glass, with a semi opaque floor allowing you to see all the way to the ground floor foyer.

Then turning around, walking back through the tunnel all the colours change to almost black.

I loved it and have to give credit to the very knowledgeable guide or security guard up there who explained it to me and let me take some photos. I can't really place why i enjoyed it so much. I guess it reminded me of the hall of mirrors and experiences and the fairground as a child i the UK, like there, you are immersed in a whole new sensation.

Olafur Eliasson, One-way colour tunnel, 2007, Site-specific sculpture, Courtesy the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Sorry for the lack of writing. Things got a bit hectic. However im back on track now and going over the memories of the last days in Canada and San Francisco.

I was stunned by the building (and impressed by the website) of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Not only do they have a most impressive Louise Bourgeois sculpture Maman outside (as shown above). But the whole building seemed beautifully set up for families. There were children's activities hanging from the walls, a large outdoor/indoor area with plants and a shallow pool right in the middle of the building to relax in and allow the kids to run around away from the artwork. The cafe had lots of room to move around in and the whole place had a great feeling to it. Lots of natural light in corridors from ceiling panels also. It was defiitely worth a visit.

Joe Fafard, Running Horses, 2007 (detail), Collection of Joe Fafard, Artist. Photo: Don Hall

While there i saw a special exhibition by Joe Fafard with some very popular and impressive sculptures. I visited on a Thursday and it was packed!

Not to be missed from their permanent collection is the "giant baby", as title by the 3 year old i was with, a huge sculpture of a newborn by Ron Muek. Totally engrossing and hard to believe how real it seems when you are in there. Take a look at this:

The only disappointment was the lack of postcards of the exhibition available in the shop, but apart from that it was an impressive experience of a very nicely set out Gallery.