It’s ok to be quiet

Liesbeth and I want our collaboration to have a reach outside the gallery, and for inspiration I’ve been looking at public art initiatives that challenge preconceptions about where art belongs and when and where it might take place.

I’m a long time fan of UK-based curator and writer Claire Doherty, editor of the book Situation and a proponent of experimental curatorial models.  Her work includes the One Day Sculpture project which occurred across NZ in 2008-9. The website features the stellar line-up of NZ and international artists who devised new work that occurred over a discrete 24-hour period. (I can’t believe I missed this monumental scene in Wellington:

one day sculpture wellington

One Day Sculpture: Journee des Barricades, Heather & Ivan Morison, Stout St,  Wgtn 2008) 

A standout for me is Maddie Leach’s understated Perigree #11. (A perigree is the moment when the moon is closest to the Earth, often associated with extreme tides and weather patterns.) Leach used a long-range weather forecasting model to predict a major storm in Wellington. She advertised it in local papers:leach-webflyer_1

and refurbished a boat shed at the mouth of the harbour from which viewers could experience/shelter from the extreme weather event:


Peregrine #11, Breaker Bay, Wellington, 28 August 2008

In the event, 28 August was a blindingly gorgeous day. However, that was immaterial to the success of the project. The work was about anticipation, the gap between actuality and potentiality as experienced by visitors to the sunny Breaker Bay hut, who were unwitting participants in an unchoreographed performance.


I love this description from the website:

Perigee #11 occurs as rumour, as text, as topic of conversation, as quest, and as a site of sociability in public space.

Best of all, there’s a No way post-script; 5 years on the boat shed succumbed to its destiny, as attested by this link on Maddie Leach’s own website, 20/06/2013 Storm batters Wellington:

post script

Another of Claire Doherty’s projects is the ongoing Situations public art programme in Bristol, UK. On their website  I found a gem: The New Rules of Public Art. You can download the full list from the website, but here’s my favourite: rule 6







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