Monthly Archives: June 2010

Harrell Fletcher presents the People’s Biennial

Veda Epling, 'Veda's Bibles (Psalms)', 2006, representative of the kind of work the curators might select for the People’s Biennial

Strengthening his commitment to individuals that operate outside of the art world’s conventional parameters, Harrell Fletcher (along with Jens Hoffmann) is developing a biennial.  In an industry saturated with such events, the People’s Biennial is different.  It will involve 5 American institutions each presenting the work of 5 local artists.  These artists must work outside of main art centres and Fletcher and Hoffman are currently touring states including South Dakota, Oregon, North Carolina and Pennsylvania selecting participants.  According to its founders, the People’s Biennale is a response to ‘…the art world’s ever increasing exclusivity, which has turned the spaces where art is produced and exhibited into privileged havens detached from the ordinary realities of everyday life’.  As always, Fletcher’s practice offers a generous alternative.

Christian Thompson vs. Richard Orjis

Christian Thompson, 'Australian Graffitti', 2008

Richard Orjis, 'Gorse and Orchids', 2007

NGV – for the people!

Harrell Fletcher with Jon Rubin, from the series 'Wallet Pictures', 1998

American artist Harrell Fletcher‘s September exhibition at the NGV is taking shape.  While posters, zines and videos by the artist are included, in typical Fletcher style, the experiences and opinions of local community groups will be at the fore.  Part of the exhibition will consist of a community gallery in which participants submit an item of personal importance, as well as reading materials about themselves.  Of particular interest is an NGV collection hang selected by local participants who’ll get to see exactly what they want, challenging the role of curator.

Hot Photo Friday – Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin for Vogue, Paris, 2009

Scared of Monkeys? What about puppets?

Billy Zane, Painter

Billy Zane, 'Suddenly', oil on canvas, 2010

Sir Anthony Hopkins and Marilyn Manson both enjoy a bit of a dabble, and now actor Billy Zane has turned his hand to painting too.  Zane began making art on the set of Titanic and says, ‘I love the surprise. The joy of making do with what you have to work with. The Hardware store, ship yard, roadside dump site is my art store and most countries, cities and villages are not short on supplies. If I can’t find canvas, I find old signage, shelf liner, or shipping crates. If I can’t find enough paint I use soil, clay, wine, spit, anything that adheres.’  If the exhibition doesn’t kill you with love maybe the artist’s self indulgent dribble will.

Billy Zane, Killing with Love, Frank Pictures Gallery, 2525 Michigan Avenue, California, until September 1.

New Director of Tate Modern announced

Chris Dercon, New Director of Tate Modern

Chris Dercon has been announced as the new Director of Tate Modern.  His previous positions include Programme Director at PS1, New York, Director of the Witte de With, Centre of Contemporary Art Rotterdam and Director of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.  52 year old Dercon, who is currently Director of the Haus der Kunst, Munich, will replace former Tate Modern Director Vicente Todoli in Spring 2011.

The Comfort of Things – Edith Amituanai at Robert Heald Gallery

Edith Amituanai, 'Atalani', from the series 'Millenial', 2008

The Comfort of Things is Edith Amituanai‘s first exhibition with new Wellington dealer Robert Heald and the show consists of photographs that are typically low-key.  Sometimes they involve interior shots of starkly lit and sparsely filled living rooms.  On first encounter, it’s easy to write them off as banal when, in fact, they are simply quiet and therein lies their charm.

Edith Amituanai, 'Mr and Mrs Sagapolou', from the series 'Mrs Amituanai', 2005

Amituanai takes an interest in the lives of others and uses her camera to better understand those around her.  She has staged scenes using members of her own family (Mrs Amituanai, 2005) and documented the experience of Burmese immigrants to Auckland (La Fine Del Mondo, 2009-2010).  The show contains a selection of photographs from both series, and others.  No grand gestures here, the works are relatively small and convey a quiet confidence.  Their domestic scale means they would look equally at home in the family rooms they depict and it’s this slippage between public artwork and private snapshot that makes them so captivating.

'Edith Amituanai : the comfort of things', installation shot, Robert Heald Gallery

Edith Amituanai : The comfort of things, Robert Heald Gallery, 209 Leftbank, Cuba Mall, Wellington, until June 26.

Hot Photo Friday – Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz, 'Hands and Thimble - Georgia O'Keeffe', 1920

Dennis Morris & Marianne Faithfull – the unseen images

Dennis Morris : Marianne Faithfull, installation shot, Snap Galleries, London

The album cover of Marianne Faithfull’s Broken English is iconic – addiction never looked so good.  Earlier this month Dennis Morris, the photographer responsible for the image, released unseen photographs from the Broken English shoot for exhibition at Snap Galleries in London.  Unfortunately the photographs are lukewarm.  They are certainly interesting historically, but there were reasons why these didn’t make it to the cover after all…

Dennis Morris : Marianne Faithfull, Unseen images from the Broken English session, Snap Galleries,  8 Piccadilly Arcade, London until 31st July 2010