salvador dali

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RHONA HASZARD: Portrait of the artist as a young woman (2004)

RHONA HASZARD: Portrait of the artist as a young woman (2004)

Popular culture loves nothing so much as the early death of an obvious talent. We are left with questions and the speculation on just what direction the gift might have moved in had the artist lived. Some of that discussion will doubtless be aired with the Auckland exhibition of works by Thames-born painter Rhona Haszard, who fell to her...

COLIN McCAHON IN MELBOURNE: Context is everything (2001)

COLIN McCAHON IN MELBOURNE: Context is everything (2001)

It can happen anywhere: in Miami you hear OMC's How Bizarre, on late-night television in London Smash Palace turns up, in a Japanese park you come across Maori carvings, in Hong Kong a woman is wearing a bone pendant of familiar design ... This not the shock of the new, rather the frisson of the familiar.Our culture, inchoate some say, resonates...

SALVADOR DALI, HIS MUSEUM IN FIGUERES: The Disneyland of the disturbed

SALVADOR DALI, HIS MUSEUM IN FIGUERES: The Disneyland of the disturbed

Of all the monuments a man has built to himself few, if any, are more bizarre than the grand conceit Salvador Dali designed in a burned-out theatre in his birthplace of Figueres. A little more than an hour north of Barcelona by local bus, Figueres is a modest, not especially interesting town of some 35,000 people. But it is the...

TARRAWARRA GALLERY IN THE YARRA: Art in the landscape

TARRAWARRA GALLERY IN THE YARRA: Art in the landscape

Out here in this bleached-brown landscape the wine is fine, and so are the views. Gazing across the rolling Yarra Valley less than an hour from inner-city Melbourne, the eye can take in columns of grape vines marching in orderly lines over low ridges, expensively manicured golf courses, and huge steroid-expanded homes running to many...

PIRANESI'S ENGRAVINGS: Exploring the dark discomforts of Roman ruins

PIRANESI'S ENGRAVINGS: Exploring the dark discomforts of Roman ruins

When the English author Thomas DeQuincey was describing nightmarish drug-induced visions in his early-19th-century autobiography Confessions of an English Opium Eater, he reflected on curious and compelling images he had never seen. They were a set of engravings by Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and DeQuincey referred to...

WILD CARDS by JOHN DUNMORE, REVIEWED: Mad, bad and dangerous

WILD CARDS by JOHN DUNMORE, REVIEWED: Mad, bad and dangerous

Subtitled “eccentric characters from New Zealand’s past” this collection of short biographical articles by Dunmore -- Professor Emeritus of French at Massey, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 -- is considerably more insightful than it looks. To his more than two dozen, diverse subjects -- from ambitious or...

ANTOINE WIERTZ: Rape, damnation and the art of darkness

ANTOINE WIERTZ: Rape, damnation and the art of darkness

Antoine Wiertz was one pretty sick bastard all right. The gallery he demanded be built to house his gigantic paintings in his adopted hometown of Brussels is  testament to an artist obsessed by death, disembowelment, rape, damnation and a virulent sexuality. Everywhere flesh is impaled or torn, eyes glisten with horror, and spears drive...

FRIDA KAHLO (1907-54), THE ARTIST AS SUBJECT: The pain and passion

FRIDA KAHLO (1907-54), THE ARTIST AS SUBJECT: The pain and passion

Pain. The word rings like a refrain in any discussion of painter Frida Kahlo. Her pain is writ large on the pages of even the most meagre of biographies: the crippling polio at age 6; the horrific bus accident at 18 and the more than 30 operations she endured as a result; the emotional wounds in her marriage to the great Mexican muralist...

BARRY HUMPHRIES ON THE RECORD: The early life of an agent provocateur

BARRY HUMPHRIES ON THE RECORD: The early life of an agent provocateur

At his first Pan-Australia Dada exhibition, Barry Humphries had packages printed up bearing the name Platitox, which allegedly contained a poison to put in creeks to kill the platypus, that much-loved, much-protected and playful native animal. “So why have an exhibit which offers a pesticide to destroy these animals? Because everything...

ROGER CORMAN INTERVIEWED (2006): It's a gas. gas, gas-s-s-s

ROGER CORMAN INTERVIEWED (2006): It's a gas. gas, gas-s-s-s

Roger Corman is the King of the B Grade Movie. He has directed and/or produced hundreds of films, claims he shot his cult classic Little Shop of Horrors (1960) in two days and one night, and usually brought in a movie in less than 10 days. He would often shoot sequences for two films simultaneously to save on costs and actors would also work in...

SIR STANLEY SPENCER ESSAYED (2003): Of angels and dirt

SIR STANLEY SPENCER ESSAYED (2003): Of angels and dirt

Sex fascinated Stanley Spencer. But so did angels, the transcendence of the spirit through faith, and life in his home village of Cookham where, as a child, he believed biblical events had taken place and been witnessed by local folk.This confluence of religious and rural influences, and his belief that sexual and spiritual desire were...

SIR NORMAN FOSTER'S BRIDGE AT MILLAU (2004):  Sublime Architecture; From Here to Modernity

SIR NORMAN FOSTER'S BRIDGE AT MILLAU (2004): Sublime Architecture; From Here to Modernity

We live in a cynical world, as Jerry Maguire said. And there are reasons to be cynical: corruption and graft, deja-vu politics, corporate fraud and payouts, famine and futility … Yet it is also too easy to by-pass healthy scepticism and head straight for the negativism of a suspicious, cynical view of Man and the world. Cynicism...

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

In an ideal world good design should be like fine wine and excellent food: only noticeable by its absence. But we live with ordinary chardonnays, indifferent meals, and abusive or annoyingly awful design. As one who enjoys travel I am accustomed to airline seats (I don’t care what the PR spin is, they are still uncomfortable in economy)...

In and Out of Fashion: The Style Council Deliberates

In and Out of Fashion: The Style Council Deliberates

When Auckland model Renata and actress Alicia-Anne Crawford stepped out last week at Une Enveloppe to announce the opening of "Fashion Month'' -- Blair Trader's new eatery on Auckland's fashionable Sandringham Road -- there were audible whispers and faux-gasps in the room. Both were wearing outfits -- "consembles'' as Auckland...

F FOR FAKE, a film by ORSON WELLES (Madman DVD): Rooms full of mirrors and smoke

F FOR FAKE, a film by ORSON WELLES (Madman DVD): Rooms full of mirrors and smoke

The context of this curious film needs to be sketched in before the innocent venture into its bewildering chicanery and capriciously obscuring nature. Made in the early Seventies and one of the last films that Welles, a notorious unfinisher, actually completed, it is on one level a look at the life of the art forger Elmyr de Hory (if...

THE VENICE BIENNALE 2009: Art for art's, and its curator's, sake

THE VENICE BIENNALE 2009: Art for art's, and its curator's, sake

Should Venice sink beneath the sea, it is possible the city could be reconstructed exactly by referring to the millions of photographs tourists have taken of every palazzo, piazza, corner and calle. On any given day -- in bitter winter or the smelly humidity of summer -- Venice is crammed with visitors snapping and filming. ...

THE STORY OF EDVARD MUNCH  by KETIL BJORNSTAD: Death at his shoulder

THE STORY OF EDVARD MUNCH by KETIL BJORNSTAD: Death at his shoulder

If we believe that, as is commonly said, great art is born of great suffering then Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was born to make great art. He certainly exceeded his quota of great suffering. Munch's mother died of tuberculosis when he was 5 and his sister Sophie - the subject of his first major work, The Sick Child -...

MADRID AND BARCELONA: Putting in the hard yards for art's sake

MADRID AND BARCELONA: Putting in the hard yards for art's sake

We should expect to suffer for our art. God knows I have for mine -- although standing in the rain outside Madrid's famous art gallery the Prado on a bitterly cold day might just have be taking it too far. It was. I quit the queue and headed back to my tiny hotel room for a warm shower, then jumped puddles to the nearby bar where I...

WITH GILBERT AND GEORGE, a film by JULIAN COLE (2008, Madman DVD)

WITH GILBERT AND GEORGE, a film by JULIAN COLE (2008, Madman DVD)

Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the artists Gilbert and George revealed in this insightful and candid documentary is -- aside from their alarming normalcy -- that they don't have a kitchen in their tidy but chock-full home. No kitchen means no smells, no time wasted on cooking or cleaning up, more space. So they eat locally around...

Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia: Art in the hills

Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia: Art in the hills

Gazing across the rolling Yarra Valley less than an hour from inner-city Melbourne, the eye can take in columns of grape vines m in orderly lines over low ridges, expensively manicured golf courses, and huge steroid-expanded homes running to many millions of dollars. In the distance lie the blue shimmering hills of the Great Divide. This is...

DYLAN HORROCKS INTERVIEWED (2010): The graphic novelist as social commentator

DYLAN HORROCKS INTERVIEWED (2010): The graphic novelist as social commentator

At the launch of the long overdue local publication of his graphic novel Hicksville in Auckland recently, Dylan Horrocks said he grew up in two places: In New Zealand and in comics, and both were on the edge of the ‘real world‘. “This was stuff I thought after I finished Hicksville,” he says later. “It...

CHINA POWER; ART NOW AFTER MAO, a documentary by PIA GETTY (DV1/Southbound DVD)

CHINA POWER; ART NOW AFTER MAO, a documentary by PIA GETTY (DV1/Southbound DVD)

In a recent documentary Drilling for Art, the spotlight was put on Dubai as a place with no art history (other than some minor folkloric things) and a city where 95 percent of people come from somewhere else. A few years ago Dubai decided it needed Art -- and so in tentative steps started encouraging contemporary galleries to open, and...

HERB AND DOROTHY, a documentary by MEGUMI SASAKI (Madman DVD)

HERB AND DOROTHY, a documentary by MEGUMI SASAKI (Madman DVD)

This charming, low-key and multiple award-winning documentary introduces two remarkable, modest but fiercely intelligent art collectors, Herbert and Dorthy Vogel of New York who met in '60 and shortly thereafter began painting and drawing. But within a few years, despite some interesting work of their own as the doco shows, they had started...

ARCHITECTURE; THE COMPLETE BOX SET (Five DVDs, Ovation/Southbound)

ARCHITECTURE; THE COMPLETE BOX SET (Five DVDs, Ovation/Southbound)

Although at a first encounter the narration to this series -- 29 major architects and/or buildings in separate episodes over five DVDs -- might seem a little dry and distant, you warm to it as the images take hold and the voice-over offers clear and informative commentary. These episodes take the nature of self-contained films (character and...

CHUCK CLOSE, a doco by MARION CAJORI (Madman DVD)

CHUCK CLOSE, a doco by MARION CAJORI (Madman DVD)

More than a documentary about the great American artist Chuck Close -- whom we see work on an astonishing self-portrait during the course of the filming -- this remarkable, revealing and important film weaves in the work of many of Close's contemporaries (Richard Serra, Robert Storr and others) and has friends and longtime colleagues (Philip...

PICASSO, THE FINAL MASK (2003): Into the void

PICASSO, THE FINAL MASK (2003): Into the void

In his last self-portrait -- a crayon on paper work done nine months before his death in 1973, at age 91 -- Pablo Picasso created a disconcerting image: the eyes wide as if terrified, the mouth taut and drawn tightly over the teeth, and the face gaunt with defined cheekbones quite unlike what his bowling ball face actually looked like. It is...

BODYOGRAPHY, photographs by CHRIS VAN RYN

BODYOGRAPHY, photographs by CHRIS VAN RYN

Some months ago the Auckland photographer Chris Van Ryn, whose innovative and often moving work I have long admired, told me he was putting a collection of some of his images into a book. I was genuinely excited for him because it meant his work would get to a wider audience. He asked me to the write the foreword. The book is now...

THE ART OF THE ALBUM COVER: CD or not CD?

THE ART OF THE ALBUM COVER: CD or not CD?

Paul McCartney perhaps spoke for his generation when he recalled the thrill of buying a new record as a teenager and, while taking it home, sitting in the bus pouring over the cover photo and liner notes, scanning them for clues. The covers of subsequent Beatle albums also had that effect on another generation, and their covers were...

WIZARDS, a film by RALPH BAKSHI (1977, DVD 2011)

WIZARDS, a film by RALPH BAKSHI (1977, DVD 2011)

The animated, futuristic allegory Wizards by Ralph Bakshi stands as a highpoint of his fantasy work -- and at the time was a marked departure from the tough-edged, sometimes profane "street" stories he told in Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic and Coonskin (1972-75), which had more in common with the US underground comics movement of the...

FANTASTICA: THE WORLD OF LEO BENSEMANN by PETER SIMPSON (2011): A man apart

FANTASTICA: THE WORLD OF LEO BENSEMANN by PETER SIMPSON (2011): A man apart

Shortly after Leo Bensemann's death in January 1986, Dennis Donovan wrote a tribute to him in Landfall, the magazine which the artist and graphic designer had long been associated with, and which he also edited for a period. Donovan's tribute was generous (“more than a genius – he was also a scholar, a learned man”) but...

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; THE RADIANT CHILD, a doco by TAMRA DAVIS (Roadshow)

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; THE RADIANT CHILD, a doco by TAMRA DAVIS (Roadshow)

The art critic Robert Hughes didn't have much time (but some sympathy for) New York painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. In a brutal essay in The Republic in '88 -- after the death of the painter at age 27 -- entitled Requiem for a Featherweight he pulled no punches. The truth abut Basquiat, then the most famous painter of his generation, was,...

LADY GAGA, ONE SEQUIN AT A TIME, a doco by SONIA ANDERSON

LADY GAGA, ONE SEQUIN AT A TIME, a doco by SONIA ANDERSON

The famous British DJ Jimmy Savile wore a suit made of bananas when he was hosting a television show. Copying Lady Gaga's notorious "meat dress"? Not at all. Savile -- now Sir Jimmy -- wore his eye-catching clobber on Top of the Pops back in the Seventies. Visually striking and an icon she may be, but you certainly couldn't...

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE TOURING LENNON ART EXHIBITION (1997) In his own draw

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE TOURING LENNON ART EXHIBITION (1997) In his own draw

For anyone who has only experienced her singing -- which slews wildly between a visceral scream of anguish and an orgasmic howl -- Yoko Ono’s remarkably quiet speaking voice, barely above a whisper, comes as a surprise. And this week as she talks about art and music from her home in New York it is aggravated by a cold and initially reduced...

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