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.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Bulletin Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu
Issue Number 155
Dec. 2008 - Feb. 2009
Editor: David Simpson
Art Director: Guy Pask

The Bulletin was established as the Robert McDougall Art Gallery newsletter way back in the late seventies, and for a long time was an extremely dull affair. The current issue however is a complete revelation, for though the publication has been gradually changing, the new issue looks amazingly striking. With the teated Fiona Hall coke cans on the cover, it is a pleasure to pick up and flick through. The layout is clear and considered. It looks like a skinny artforum, but more elegant.

Clearly this is now the smartest looking municipal gallery publication in the land. Not the most sophisticated. For that one goes to Auckland Art Gallery’s Reading Room. But that is pitched to a university readership and not a mass audience. It is too close to October and somewhat dry. The NZ art scene needs a publication not so high-brow, that is eye-catching like this Bulletin - presenting advertising tastefully, but with quality articles too. It needs an accessible magazine from an institution that goes beyond just promoting the publisher’s own exhibitions. Something wider. Something like Midwest or Tate Magazine.

The articles are varied, make excellent reading, but are still a pinch light, and too short. They don’t take long to consume. The publication is not sufficiently ambitious in its content, and needs to be less inhouse and more far-reaching in its discussions and those who contribute. Like say Greg Burke’s Govett-Brewster Visit publication of four years ago. With remarkable talent like Jenny Harper and Justin Paton on the CAG staff, that vision and those wider connections need not be a pipedream.

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