David Cross, after over a decade residing in Wellington has just relocated back across the Tasman to his former home of Melbourne to take up a Professorship at Deakin University. We've had a great time seeing David off lately with a series of events, many of them drenched with the demon drink, but I know we in the local arts community are going to now feel acutely aware that David is so unexpectedly, and finally, not here (he and his partner Ellie and daughter Edie left this past weekend). David's commitment to all kinds of things relating to contemporary visual art significantly increased the energy here, whether involving: public and site-responsive art, live art and performance, art writing and criticism, talks and symposia, and the curation of temporal practices. David has been extremely generous and helpful to me in my six years on the ground in New Zealand, and his friendship has been an utter joy. I wanted to offer a little DC roundup on this post, with a few links that only scratch the surface of his constant activity as an artist, researcher, and educator. I arrived in NZ shortly before the One Day Sculpture project got underway and enjoyed being an invited writer though it was pretty scary at times, leaping into this entirely new context for me. You can read and look at great images retrospectively both in its online site and the lavish book. It was also extremely humorous at times to see a frazzled David trying to project manage (in many places at once) the massive, multi-tentacled beast that ODS became. David's later Tasmanian curatorial project Iteration: Again was something I didn't see firsthand but also became a fascinating series of artworks and responses (and book) that challenged many people's assumptions about contemporary curation, particularly in this part of the world. And in the midst of all this David was making lots of work of his own, documentation of which can be viewed on his informative website, and contributed heaps of writing to many different contexts, particularly about two dozen well wrought and often witty pieces for the EyeContact site in Auckland. One of David's most ambitious recent projects in terms of its scale and conceptual scope was Level Playing Field, commissioned as part of Christchurch's Scape exhibition. I mean how many artists invent a new sport as part of their public art project? David will I hope be making his outlandish, fantastic works for many years to come, it's just sad we have to see him off after such a productive and engaging period here in New Zealand. Thanks David.
There's a terrific analysis of Julian Dashper's video artworks by Andrew Clifford that Mark Williams posted about a week ago on the CIRCUIT website. An excellent commentary on a still-underrated New Zealand artist. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Julian not long after I relocated to Wellington, and tragically, not long before the artist's death. Julian had made the effort to contact me largely owing to our mutual friend the American art historian David Raskin, who curated a retrospective of the artist's work. I have noticed in the past couple of years how enthusiastically my students have responded to Julian's writings and work and I imagine his influence will extend long into the future, particularly here in New Zealand, and appropriately for an artist who created so many projects that examined notions of both historical influence and temporality.
The Performance Arcade opens tonight at 6 PM and runs through March 3 as a wide variety of artists present public projects, performances, and events within and around shipping containers situated just behind Te Papa on the Wellington waterfront. An innovative and highly ambitious curatorial venture directed by artist Sam Trubridge it's well worth a visit! For more detailed info, please consult: http://theplaygroundnz.com/wellington-2014/.