4 Feb 2024

Arts News Sunday 4 February 2024

From Culture 101, 1:57 pm on 4 February 2024

Art mega-event - the Venice Biennale has announced the artists participating in their 2024 showcase international exhibition, Foreigners Everywhere. It will include eight respected Māori artists, including three senior figures - Sandy Adsett, Fred Graham amd Selwyn Wilson. Celebrated sculptor Brett Graham and the Mataaho art collecitve, whose giant Te Papa installation was deinstalled this week - will also participate. 

It's a busy time in HR for two key national cultural organisations. 

Following the departure of Experience Wellington CEO Sarah Rusholme late last year - who led a controversial restructure of the organisation - there have been two more departures from the senior leadership team - Chief operating officer Louise Saviker and Director of Art and Heritage Elizabeth Caldwell. 

Caldwell has been director of City Gallery since 2012 and will leave March 1. She moves on to Napier City Council to be Manager Arts, Culture and Heritage. 

This all follows in October Experience Wellington closing Capital E, the national theatre for children after 25 years. Experience Wellington are also responsible for managing institutions such as the gallery and Wellington Museum.

Staying with departures - two key programmers have left Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival. China/East Asia programmer Vicco Ho announced her resignation on social media, but perhaps the biggest blow is the departure of Ant Timpson who has worked with the festival for more than 30 years. Timpson has suggested the festival needs a major restructure - something the festival itself indicated with its November publication of a 10-year strategy.

Former Christchurch film-maker and musician Jonathan Ogilvie's film Head South played at the Rotterdam International Film Festival last week to a long standing ovation, and some solid reviews. The semi-autobiographical film tells the story of Angus, whose life is changed by punk rock while at high school in Christchurch in 1979. No release date has been set yet. 

The 2024 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlists have been released. Twelve of the 44 longlisted books are by first-time authors, and they are published by a record number of 20 individual publishing houses across the motu. 

Alongside the first-time authors, the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction includes relative heavyweights like Pip Adam, Anna Samill, Eleanor Catton, Catherine Chidgey and Emily Perkins, illustrating 2023 was quite a year for women in Aotearoa fiction.

Finally we were saddened to hear of the death of dynamic sculptor Warren Viscoe in late January. Highly regarded, Viscoe had a survey exhibition at the Dowse Art Musuem in 1997. 

Curator Justin Paton once said: "Walk into a gallery filled with Warren Viscoe's sculptures and you enter a working forest, a structure of structures, a meditation on landscape and memory that is told in planks and branches and wire and know-how."