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"Public Good Itinerant responses to collective space
This new publication by Enjoy questions expected notions of art in public, and asks what alternatives may be offered. Considering the increasing amount of funds and energy being directed towards the commissioning of art sited within public space, and the continual civic development of the urban landscape, we thought it timely to attempt a collected discussion into the obviously political, and forever elusive notion of The Public."
To brush the obvious, first I am spitting tacks that i am not a part of this publication given that I named Enjoy a "Public Art Gallery" and my body of work.. however I am retrained by my nobility of good to see others doing well, or doing something. Which leaves my response... Generally it was like a series of walls talking to other walls about being in fields they know nothing about.. I mean honestly the language was about as convincing as a Porsche driver describing their meeting with Work and Income New Zealand. Machine parts talking about machine parts.
Only Harold Grieves solid journalistic tact gave me anything that resembled information. Grieves article on the social perceptions around Christchurch's suburbs introduced to me fantastically relevant notions such as new suburbs being places of " pre-emptive transforamtions(s) of social life into a form of affective labor." DAMN RIGHT and we know it. Making Tina Barton's (wait for it, hear the axe grind) acoustically ringing " hello i am a robot let me introduce you to the correct way, oh here it is "sculpture for our moment a new mode of public art that is attuned to its times and aware of its history.." and all viewable from inside the walls of a gallery near you. Did i need to mention Barton's a historian and runs a gallery.
Hmm, while hardly wearing their points on their sleeves, Public Good goes beyond stating nothing, to leave brilliance to be narrative and romantic, Rachel O'neill contemporary art in the form of a poem, has nice images and is anxious enough to make me believe her that she'd put up a struggle if asked to swallow shit, or would she.. I don't know, poets right they are patronized, cultivated.. I hear the rustle of spring clippings, . There's a nice story about an imaginary eel living in side a water bed when memories of child hood attack a young beautiful lingerie model. Definitely a high light.
I don't know the tone is snooty, It' s full of grand self gratifying statements. The bad bits are like a group of white khaki wearing adventurers moving out to conquer foreign knowledge/space with poetic observation. Another would be the heart felt introspection dabbling in social commentary ( that i have a weakness for, who doesn't, thanks car ad's and their appropriation of music that was good). And finally that one journalistic pose.. The little red book to arm and inform what public is does scratch at it, SO YAY. I NO COMPLAIN. What's impt , is the list of people contributing, where they are from what machine/school they are maintaining and what they are avoiding saying.
Long live the WeB.
I love you Flake. The seething, dripping vitriol, the ego, the self-indulgence, the paradox and hypocrisy, the eloquence, the fearlessness. I love it all. Note to self, do I actually care about art at all, or just criticism? What about you Flake?
Deeply appreciate your (mostly) coherent axe dissection of Enjoy's recent publication.
Naming names on a small island takes big cojones - and for that alone you have my new respect.
I disagree only in your praise of Harold Grieves' lumpy prose.
the whole smacks of provincial time lag once again, SLOWLY the decades of existing discussions on these subjects drip through cloth ear bindings and the children wave red flags proclaiming the most recent reinvention of the wheel.
"attuned to its times and aware of its history"
flake I like your embellishments to the cover image.
Some grunty and eloquent turns of phrase, Flake.
Best piece of writing you've done. I've no idea if it is accurate, but nice commentary.
I think this can be a discussion about a comparison between the relatively clean, hermetic systems of indoor art and the dirty compromised outdoor stuff.
The indoor stuff luxuriates with the self asssurance that the viewer is going to be informed (or please just fuck off out the door you philistine),it may be a public space but it is still an Art space.
Whereas public art is an alien and unwanted presence in a truly shared (non-art) space unless the work is so identifiable to be pointless and banal. Just think of the usual response to public art; a. give it a neutralising title. b. complain about the cost.
Unfortunately much public art deserves this treatment, but with perverse logic, public hostility is seen, by some, as a sign of good art.
One panel I came up against several years ago espoused the policy that any public art should be explicable to primary school kids, at the time this made me very angry ( how do you explain Pashendale to a 5 year old? ) but if a work is so artsmart as to need specialist knowledge to decode it, isnt it just state sponsored graffiti?
Excellent Flake! Witty and to the point.
I can't wait until National get in so Enjoy will not have the funds to waste paper printing this old pap to it's own warm Macs sipping fan club.
You see, I have Green politics in mind.
Mind you, the design has a Fair Trade stylistic about it.
Duh, I'm politically confused. Art's no fun anymore.
the best piece of writing in this journal is Jessie Borelle's subtle piece of ficto-criticism "The Eel". it is a simply story of a girl visited by her "childhood", which evolves into a meditation on memory and the recording of history (not really sure if this is an 'itinerant response to collective space??) the story itself is a fairly straightforward, fictional short story but it is footnoted with references to academic writings on photography. it is both fictive and academic at once, and sort of mesmerising in its intertwining of the two.
Sounds like penis envy to me.
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how ds penis like grab ya?