Sunday, April 17, 2011

Red String


Spotted some red string pinned up along Fort Lane’s walls.

Planning the installation layout for the Eyelight artwork? Exciting!

Artist impression of Fort Lane featuring the Eyelight art work created by Swedish artist David Svensson (image from Auckland City web site)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Urban Art Play Ground


Lost Play Grounds explores the Britomart area of Auckland as a space for play, a space to slow down and re-discover the world around us. On till 28th Feb.


A couple pics below, there’s a whole lot more to see (including some performance work that I missed). The exploration (of the predominantly under construction area) and discovery of the artworks is a joy.

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The Pleasure Corporation


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Kate Muggeridge



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Claudia Recorean
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Leafa Wilson


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Kate Muggeridge

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Urban Art Gallery revamp?


The Auckland City Council is performing upgrades to the Fort Street area as we speak. Details about the upgrade are on their website.

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This affects Fort Lane and the Urban Art Gallery too.

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Plans include installation of a work entitled ‘Eyelight’, a neon work, will stretch the length of Fort Lane subject to property owner approvals. It is said that this work, will bring lighting to the western side of buildings in Fort Lane to increase interest and safety of Fort Lane at night.


Artist impression of Fort Lane featuring the Eyelight art work created by Swedish artist David Svensson (image from Auckland City web site)

There is a focus on lighting as a design decision that is planned to transform the area in the evenings. The design includes the Eyelight mounted on the western side of buildings in Fort Lane plus lighting for the ground surface (that will not detract from the Eyelight artwork).

I see the lighting decisions as social and commercial ones. Good for getting people into Fort Lane, good for supporting the bars, clubs and restaurants in the lane. Good for bringing people into an Urban Art Gallery at night? Makes me think a night re-launch  of the gallery may be in order once the upgrades are complete.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

the artful sketch



In Urbis Issue 59 there is a series of pages looking at installation works and art works with focus on the theme of the pencil. It’s a tool that creates works, that develops works, the most basic and most essential tool for a designer to have.

During October Auckland saw the ‘Sketch in Time’ campaign; “aimed at encouraging and reminding people to sketch”. I saw the stickers on the streets while doing site investigations for the Urban Art Gallery. Beyond the primary message of the campaign, I loved the interaction – intended and otherwise – with people, architecture and street artefacts.



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Photos 2-4 from

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When art is not in a gallery


When art is presented in a public place there are implications for the space, for the art and for the viewers.

Works in an art gallery are oft times deemed to be art, purely because of the space that they are housed in.

In 1976 O’Doherty wrote; “An image comes to mind of a white, ideal space that, more than any single picture, may be the archetypal image of 20th-century art. And it clarifies itself through a process of historical inevitability usually attached to the art it contains. The ideal gallery subtracts from the artwork all cues that interfere with the fact that it is "art." The work is isolated from everything that would detract from its own evaluation of itself.”

A typical white walled gallery is perceived as having no context, so that the artworks can be experienced independently from their environment. But this is not the case. Sheikh revisits O’Doherty’s discussion of a gallery space being not just a neutral container, but an historical construct. “The ideal form of the white cube that modernism developed for the gallery space is inseparable from the artworks exhibited inside it. Indeed, the white cube not only conditions, but also overpowers the artworks themselves in its shift from placing content within a context to making the context itself the content.”

So what then when art works are not housed in an art gallery? In the Urban Art Gallery the environment is an enormous factor. The environment is indeed the causal being for the artworks. The environment provides context for the artworks.

'”When art is located outside the gallery, the parameters that define it are called into question and all sorts of new possibilities for thinking about the relationship between art and architecture are opened up". (Rendell, 2006, p. 4)


In a public space art can adopt critical functions and be positioned in such a way that it is possible to question the terms of engagement of the project on the site.

“This type of public art practice is critically engaged; it works in relation to dominant ideologies yet at the same time questions them; and it explores the operations of particular disciplinary procedures – art and architecture – while also drawing attention to wider social and political problems. It might best be called critical spatial practice.” (Rendell, 2006, p. 4)

So artworks that are created for a specific site, or are placed in a site that has resonance with the aims of the work can change the level or type of engagement with the viewer.


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What about works that are just there? That have not been purpose built or specially placed for the best viewing position or best lighting? This is the Urban Gallery. The everyday artwork.




O'Doherty, B. (n.d.). Inside the White Cube : Notes on the Gallery Space. Retrieved December 3, 2010, from Society of Control:

Rendell, J. (2006). Art and architecture : a place between. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd.

Sheikh, S. (n.d.). Positively White Cube Revisited. Retrieved October 16, 2010, from Art Agenda: