Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Simon articulates a theory (2 posts) about

Dane Mitchell, linking Dane's practice with desire - and I think, also a clever connection to his witchcraft/spell artworks, and to Duchamp.

Andrew Clifford comments on Simon's theory and Dane Mitchell's practice.

My own view is that Mitchell is grounded in Pierre Bourdieu's book Distinction which examines class superiority maintained through expressions of taste. I think his Barricades exhibition supports this interest in class, as does the nominalism alluded to in his most recent 'refraction' show at Starkwhite which refers to taste. (See my links on my original Collateral article.)

So what do you make of the two above stories by TV1 and TV3? Probably the most generous term I can think up for them is 'execrable.' And I bet, you like me, thought that particular word was about excrement, but it's not. In Mitchellian terms it is utterly fitting, meaning deserving of being cursed, having evil uttered against them. ....Hey, ain't language fascinating?


Anonymous said...

The reaction to the announcement was perfectly predictable. Such reactions have been happening ad nauseam forever. What appalled me was the level of discourse offered by most of the defenders of the award. What is the point of blathering on in shorthand jargon about conceptual art and Duchamp without any elaboration to allow those without an arts education access to the ideas contained in those terms?

Sometimes I think the art world is its own worst enemy. Those of us in that world who are not artists have a responsibility, in my view, to talk about art in a way that that others can understand. We are the intermediaries. Every occupational area has to dejargonise itself if it is to communicate effectively and art is no exception. If you cant do that, don’t step up to do it – get some media training.

Only one person (that I saw, heard or read) spoke articulately about the work and that was the judge, Charlotte Huddleston. On TV3 she quietly and calmly explained that the work had touched her – that the pile of packaging from the entries, complete with their senders’ names, spoke eloquently about the hopes, aspirations and ambitions of people entering a competition like this.

People get that art speaks metaphorically. Look at how St Paul's Cathedral is commissioning Bill Viola to create plasma screen alterpieces to drag people back across the river from the Tate Modern.

Art is about communicating - ideas, intangibles. Dane Mitchell has ideas and makes art. Paul Henry's rubbish, however, is just rubbish.

John Hurrell said...

Alison, you write pure poetry. I agree with every syllable you say.

John Hurrell said...

Mmm I think Alison you are probably chucking a few rocks my way, and probably I deserve it, but I wonder about this interpretation of Dane's piece in terms of the hopes and desires of all the entrants. It is a bit too touchy-feely I suspect. Makes Dane sound like Mother Teresa. I like the work because Dane shows himself to be a hardnosed little snot, not because he is kindly disposed to the other competitors. It shows the institution up because they are desperate for the event to be controversial, even though they have no idea what it is about.

Anonymous said...

My comments referred to art speak in mainstream media and that ain't eyecontact. The reviews, comment and debate here are great - particularly for those of us south of bombay.

John Hurrell said...

Thanks for that.

Re Dane's motivation. You don't think it is a bit wet-behind-the ears for Charlotte to believe Dane really cares for the hopes and aspirations of the other competitors? It's much nastier than that surely? And laughs at her as well.