I got back from Auckland yesterday arvo. Rose was off at films all day of course, but I do recommend dogs for gratifying welcomes. At least someone in the world is pleased to see me! Ho ho.
When I talked to Rose's son, on one of his brief emergences from his cave, and described the vernissage and after party, he said 'So it was rich art cunts getting wasted.'
As a one line summary, I don't think that can be beat. Fuck it was weird. Apparently, last time was in three different areas you had to walk between. This year, it was much more compact, a series of looping circuits.
There you go, a reasonably representative sample of the New Zealand art world right there (not forgetting the Aussies). And all under the same conditions. The only significant difference seemed to be the angle at which you got the light at various times of the day.
The main impression I got was that far too many people put up far too much stuff. And then there was the hilarity. Well, you've seen the best thing I saw. I knew it was going to be crass and vulgar, but I wasn't quite prepared for how crass and vulgar. People really were buying stuff off the wall and walking out with it under their arm, to have something else slapped up in its place, like cans of soup in a supermarket. Un-fucking-believable. (Needless to say, the good dealers stay aloof from that kind of carry on.)
I am wiped out once again. The last five days are a jumble of pictures, people, and lots and lots of talking (quite a few really good conversations in fact – and a great talk by Liz, during which Andy and I broke out into spontaneous applause). And I was just there for laughs. I don't know how the dealers do it. It's a pretty full on endurance race.
Oh, and, really, the best thing I saw was the Ensor at Brett's. He also had an excellent book I might have to hunt down.
I had a great time.