Monthly Archives: February 2010

Michael Parekowhai to represent New Zealand at 2011 Venice Biennale

Michael Parekowhai, 'Jim McMurtry'

The kiwi art scene’s worst kept secret has now been confirmed by CNZ.  Auckland-based artist Michael Parekowhai will represent New Zealand at next year’s Venice Biennale.

Edith Amituanai – La fine del mondo

Detail from Edith Amituanai's 'La fine del mondo' series

Edith Amituanai’s photographs occupy an indeterminate space between casual snapshot and formal portrait. A selection of her work currently on display at Corban Estate Arts Centre is part of an ongoing series that documents the Lai family’s transition from Myanmar to Massey as they re-settle at la fine del Mondo (or ‘the end of the world’).

Often dealing with suburban interiors that can at first glance seem ordinary, the appeal of Amituanai’s work lies in the artist’s curiosity and desire to understand her subjects.   She is refreshingly honest about her practise.  In an Art New Zealand interview published last year the photographer admitted to sometimes having difficulty describing herself as an artist. For her, authenticity is of utmost importance and as such, the social documentary aspect of her practise is invaluable.

La fine del mondo at Corban Estate Arts Centre, 426 Great North Road, Henderson, Auckland, runs until April 11, 2010.

Shaquille O’Neal…curator?

Shaquille O'Neal

American basketball star Shaquille O’Neal has curated an exhibition for The FLAG Art Foundation in New York.  The athlete selected the 66 artworks for the show over dinner with FLAG directors Glenn Fuhrman and Stephanie Roach. 

‘Size DOES Matter’ is – surprise surprise – a thematic exhibition about scale.  When questioned about his curatorial premise in New York magazine, O’Neal stated: “I picked those things because they were beautiful. The thing about size – if it’s big or small you have to look at it. Because I’m so big you have to look at me. I think of myself as a monument. But sometimes I like to feel small.”  

Despite including big-name artists like Cindy Sherman, Yinka Shonibare and Maurizio Cattelan, the ‘curator and muse’ (according to FLAG’s website) is clearly more interested in self promotion than any significant form of curatorial investigation.  He even wants to commission featured artist Ron Mueck to make a giant sculpture in his likeness and set up office in it’s head.

Don’t give up your day job Shaq.  

Size DOES Matter, The FLAG Art Foundation, 545 West 25th Street, New York, until May 27.

Hot Photo Friday – Daido Moriyama

Daido Moriyama, 'Tights', 1987

Hany Armanious to represent Australia at 2011 Venice Biennale

Hany Armanious, 'Uncanny Valley', 2009

The Australia Council for the Arts today announced that Sydney-based artist Hany Armanious will represent Australia at the 54th Venice Biennale.  Good choice!  You can read more about his selection here.

Sneak peek – Seraphine Pick

An installation shot from Seraphine Pick’s current exhibition, Pocketful of Rainbows, at Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington.  You can view more works from the exhibition here.

ACDC / Rennie Ellis

Rennie Ellis, 'ACDC, Atlanta, Georgia', 1978

Leg of Lamb saw ACDC at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne last night, epic!  When the AV display started flashing up photos of the late, great Bonn Scott, I couldn’t help but think of Australian photographer Rennie Ellis’s early documentation of the band, particularly his classic images of Scott and The Heathen Girls in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rennie Ellis, 'Bonn Scott and the Heathen Girls, Atlanta, Georgia', 1978

Ellis (who died unexpectedly in 2003) captured candid images of Australian counter-culture.  His photographs of ACDC not only convey the thrill of live performance, but also document revealing moments during the band’s down-time.  Witness Scott, oblivious to the bevy of beauties (well, by ’70s standards anyway) that surround him as he stares into his drink (above).  This is typical of Ellis, his enthusiasm for life was matched by an aknowledgement of the more unsavory aspects of popular culture.

Pretty When Angry – Yvonne Todd

Yvonne Todd, 'Pretty When Angry', 2010

Leg of Lamb was excited to discover a new photograph by Yvonne Todd posted on her website.  ‘Pretty When Angry’ reveals the artist’s fascination with commercial photography techniques, evident in the banal grey background and backlit figure (seen also to great effect in her previous treatment of inanimate objects like eggs, plastic pipes and pine cones).

This new work also recalls her 2005 series, Vagrants’ Reception Centre, that features children in tiny Victorian gowns, trussed up in frills and lace.  They look pretty enough, but are also deeply unnerving.  Todd’s forays into pulchritude are always compelling.  Pretty When Angry‘s alluring nymphette wears a curious expression; is she angry? confused?  Her scantily-clad figure, adorned by fussy, girly accessories, is at once alluring and problematic.

This work appears in Feminism Never Happened, a group exhibition at the IMA, Brisbane, that runs until March 20.

Hot Photo Friday – Guy Bourdin

Guy Bourdin,'Charles Jourdan, Spring 1979'

Alexander McQueen dies aged 40

Alexander McQueen

The British Fashion Industry’s ‘enfant terrible’ has been found dead in his Mayfair home.  Unconfirmed reports suggest that the 40-year-old fashion designer and creative director of the Gucci group hanged himself following the death of his mother, Joyce, 9 days earlier.