18 July 2004

Et al.

This week there's been some amusement to be had with the media's reporting of et al. being our representative at the next Venice Bienalle. The Dom Post used the term 'dunny artist' on more than one occasion (cos of the portaloo that brays like a donkey), ACT MP Deborah Coddington was quoted as saying 'It's crap - and most New Zealanders know it', and the conservative critic Hamish Keith suggested Ralph Hotere or Max Gimlett instead.

I have to say I really don't like et al.'s work - it's all this poststructuralist language and meaning bullshit. A lot of the palaver is about the amount of taxpayer money being spent on it - with the express purpose of promoting NZ art at the premier international art event - when the artist pretends to be an anonymous collective of artists and refuses to give interviews or comment on the work. Oh yeah, there's the usual my three-year-old daughter could do this kind of comments as well.

This is bollocks of course. Anonymity is a perfectly valid and reasonably common artistic strategy. The curators and Creative NZ staff can do all the publicity bullshit. The problem is that this is the third (out of three) installation we've sent (not to mention the fact that language-based conceptual art is not exactly exciting and new). I reckon Tony De Lautour would make a much better choice.

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