Bond Street Pop Up – Exhibition Review

While most of us have been admiring the new look in Bond Street, one of our elected councilors is claiming that it’s an abomination, Lindsay Shelton said.
When presenting public art or installation your work becomes open to criticism. This work here done by the council as a pop up space was fun and unexpected to me. The swing is fun and relaxing within the weather proof shipping container. Also within is an image of nature and rivers. the fake grass adds to the nature theme and relaxing space.

But I think the isolated swing is to stage like and intimidating for me. As you swing alone and can’t relax knowing someone else might want to go on. The bean bags were successful and the fun polka dots on the ground made it fun. After reading that some shop owners were mad at the pop up I was baffled as to how this pop up was effecting sales. I would never walk down bond, apart from taking a short cut down this boring street. With the pop up space i was pulled into the space and it court my attention. I found out about the space from word of mouth as lots of people had seen and chilled in the area or had taken photos.

The work was successful in advertising its self as everyone talked and spread images on the media. I hope with my own work a label like pop up space or anything will become a means of finding tagging the image online.


Weta Works Couch – Art Review

While wandering Cuba street on a ‘gallery wander’, I came across a concert couch sculpture  placed in front of a bar. The hard-shaped old fashion couch design did not pull me in to sit on it, as it was a cold wet night in Wellington. I then came across glass text explaining that Weta created the couch and that there was a built-in heater that turns on every hour. I was very surprised and interested in the choice of material such as concrete which is hard and cold in winter. Also though the heater goes on every hour, it’s only between 7am and 9pm. I missed this heater time period and was skeptical regarding the relaxing heat element. I guess the choice of concrete was due to the outdoor weather in Wellington which would destroy any other couch. This is all a ‘cold reading’ as I did not find any information online about this work and the label on the glass only labelled the chair and did not provide any additional information. A bit more information on how and why this was made would be nice as it has sparked my curiosity.

If I was to make an outdoor comfy furniture using the Wellington theme, I think a cover from the wind and rain would be great. As a person who wanders from the train station to Newtown often, hiding from the elements is key sometimes. While this work was a surprise sculpture to me I’d like to do a more simplified  method of surprising people.

Elbe’s Milk Bar by Tim Barlow – Art Review

Common Ground Hutt Public Art Festival

3rd March – 7th March 2015

By Sarah Kennedy

Ten artists from across New Zealand have been selected in this year’s 2015 Common Ground Hutt Public art festival to show their work to the public in Lower Hutt. Wainuiomata based artist Tim Barlow is one of the ten artists chosen to take part in the festival, where his work responds very well to the location. His temporary public art project went back down memory lane to recreate Elbe’s Milk bar close to where the original Elbe’s Milk bar traded from the early 1940’s to the late 1950’s. This reinvention happened inside the old souvenir shop on the corner of Laings Road and High Street where the place was transformed back in time, with the same theme of classic 50s colours and installation of the original.

Elbe’s Milk Bar served ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes, and was a main area for teenagers to hangout and socialise enjoying the atmosphere, music from the jukebox and food.  The behaviour of some of its teenage patrons led to moral panic which led for the Mazengarb inquiry report of 1954, a beginning to the birth of youth culture in New Zealand.

Tim Barlow’s project captures an audience of a mix of teenagers, families and elderly coming in to reminisce of their younger days. Also what made it special was that the artist got in touch with the original owners of Elbe’s Milk bar sons to help out behind the counter at the same time the brothers got to relive their father and mothers business in the 1950s and 60s.

I found Tim Barlow’s installation inviting and it is a very clever way to get the public mixing and thinking about societal changes or youth culture whilst enjoying sundaes and listening to music from the jukebox. I found out about this from the newspapers, radio, posters and word of mouth to come along and experience it. I think the work is engaging, history repeating itself, satisfying, brings up discussion of the past and what’s happening today in New Zealand youth culture and is a fun interactive piece that people socially engage in the community.


What is Live Art? by Julian Sofaer – Art Review

By Callum Devlin

28 August, 2002

In the video a man steps swiftly from the side of the frame directly into a close-up.

“What is live art?” he says. The camera zooms out slowly, revealing a crowded footpath of pedestrians floating by. The man speaks directly into the camera, with the articulate air of a broadcast journalist. “Well,” he continues, “at its most fundamental, Live Art is when an artist chooses to make work directly in front of the audience in space and time. So instead of making an object, or an environment and leaving it for the audience to encounter in their own time, Live Art comes into being at the actual moment of encounter between artist and spectator.”

He is speaking to the camera, to the audience, but he is performing for the crowd around him. People stop, stare at the camera and at the man. He is a spectacle, a curiosity, but not un unfamiliar one. The image of a journalist performing their to-camera monologue in the public is a well-worn trope. It instantly connects the content of the story directly to the city, to the people they are speaking about, and that their story seems to be affecting. But the curiosity of the crowd around him is electric, overly so. The content of his monologue directly matches the form that it is taking. Moreover, the content is echoed in the reaction of the crowd around him, creating a feedback loop that builds between the two.

The punchline is the hole in his pants, revealed as he turns on his heel at the end of his speech. A perfect circle exposing his ass to the world, visible for a moment before he disappears into the crowd. Instantly the speech is recontextualised, and a second viewing is called for, as you are now “in” on the joke.

The video is a curious statement. Initially it serves as a clear description of an art movement, it’s history and priorities. The text itself is cohesive, entertaining, and informative, while the performance slick and assertive. However, in it’s form as a video, it seems to initially contradict the art movement that it seems to be a part of. Live Art is defined as taking place in the moment of creation, between the viewer and the audience. The video acts as a permanent ghost of the initial performance.

Katherine Mansfield Sculpture – Art Review

art in context Mansfieldrugby image

Midland Park, Lambton Quay, Wellington City
Unveiled: 8 September 2013
Artist: Virginia King

By John Fuller

The first time I set eyes upon KM in late 2013, it finally dawned upon me what an important piece of Wellington’s history this tragic yet immensely gifted young author is and it is a little surprising that it has taken nearly 100 years for her to be recognised in this way. I had some business in the Vodaphone building on Midland Park and I literally stumbled upon her (no pun intended). Since that first encounter, KM “The Sculpture” has been close to the top of my list of the best public art in Wellington. Auckland artist Virginia King is a very well established and highly regarded sculptor. King has worked predominantly in metal (KM is stainless steel), but is not so well known for figurative works, tending to favour abstract interactive pieces. Despite this, with KM King has succeeded in so many ways. KM is not a particularly large work at three metres tall, but her presence is immense. The form is overtly feminine, yet the polished silver finish perforated with laser cut lettering, somehow creates a feeling of isolation or distance, that I would associate with a male persona. For me this just adds a layer of mystique and makes me want to go away and learn more about Mansfield’s life. The lettering all relates to Mansfield’s literature and one can spend time walking around the sculpture deciphering it. As you do this the, sun and the surroundings cause all the colours of the city to reflect off KM, creating a constantly changing kaleidoscope. Come night time KM lights up triggering a dramatic change. She takes on a warmer personality, almost coming to life, as golden light radiates from the perforations in her surface. I am speaking about an object here, not a person, yet I feel this sculpture has interacted with me in a way few artworks have. It has set up a dialogue which for me means it has achieved its most important purpose as public art. KM has something to say and I have responded. When talking about public art in Wellington, it is difficult not to draw comparisons with other contemporary sculpture. Figurative sculpture in particular has its risks in my view. For example where King has created a very imaginative and contemporary take on this genre, at the opposite end of the scale we are lumbered with works such as Richard Taylor’s Rugby World Cup Sculpture, which fails in almost every way KM succeeds. Yet somewhat perversely, KM celebrates an historical figure, but relates brilliantly with contemporary society, whereas Taylor’s work arguably celebrates the modern game of rugby, yet oddly it ended up looking like it would not be out of place on a plinth outside a Borgia Pope’s Vatican. Go figure.