May 15, 2011

Angels & Aristocrats at AWRF 2011

Campbell is a contemporary artist who in August will be showing at the Auckland Art Fair, where a "thought-provoking public programme of talks" is planned. He is also a member of the Readers Services team at Central Library, and as such he experienced a sort of sneak-preview of the genre by attending the AWRF event where Kim Hill interviewed "art detective" Mary Kisler about her new book Angels & Aristocrats, or Angels & Aah'-ristocrats, as Kim called it, a look at the forgotten treasures of our public art collections and their history. Here are some of the thoughts the talk provoked in him:
There is a stage on which two women sit. I got here just before they came onstage, one at a time, the louder one first, followed by the quieter one. Orange advertising and seashells surround them; seashells that glow with orange from within. The space between where I sit and where they sit is filled with at least one hundred grey heads.

Are these women English? I am confused about their accents, maybe this is the sound the English make when they have been surrounded by kiwis for a long time, or maybe it is the other way round. The loud one interrupts constantly. Even when there is no interruption, the sound of interruption is still in her voice.

They talk and I learn a couple of things, that most of the artworks that the book concerns were bought by Scottish and Jewish people, that there was a depression at the end of the 1800’s and I never knew Flanders was a place. I thought it was a name, so I thought Flanders was a person. There is laughter from jokes about wine. Jokes I don’t understand but which hit their mark nonetheless.

This is an art history lecture as I remember them. This one probably more history than art, but what can you really say about good art? Nothing needs to be said, it’s just there. Sometimes all the talking makes me like the art less, but the history lesson that comes with these paintings helps me engage a little more.

I love contemporary art, the blank canvases, empty films, absurd spectacles and sculpture that is mistaken for garbage and gets cleaned up by the cleaners, even the stuff I don’t particularly like – I like that it exists. I think this sounds like a good book. A book which is wanted and needed, but I really am so happy that we have moved beyond this kind of art, so happy for the invention of photography, so glad big touring exhibitions of landscape paintings are not such a big deal anymore.

-- Campbell

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 03:00


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