Len Lye on the Home Front

IMG_1927
Kill or Be Killed (1942)

This week I’ll be introducing a programme of Len Lye’s films at Stadtkino Basel accompanying the symposium hosted by Museum Tinguely and the University of Basel. Len Lye on the Home Front presents eight of Lye’s films made during the Second World War and a work from his early days in New York, the March of Time newsreel, Night Club Boom.

Many of these films are rarely screened. Musical Poster #1 (1942) and Kill or Be Killed (1942) tend to be represented in summaries of Lye’s filmmaking; however, Newspaper Train (1942), When the Pie was Opened (1941) and Work Party (1942) in particular deserve more attention.

Len Lye at Museum Tinguely #1

20190905_105304

I’m just coming to the end of three days in Basel assisting with some preparation for Museum Tinguely’s upcoming exhibition Len Lye – Motion Composer. Opening in October, this will be the most substantial exhibition of Lye’s work ever seen in Europe. Previous surveys at the Pompidou Centre and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham were large exhibitions but Motion Composer is a very deep dig into the Len Lye Foundation collections at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

More info on the exhibition is here.

20190905_122548
Working with a view of the Rhine

One of the highlights of being in Basel again is seeing Jean Tinguely’s restored Méta-Harmonie II.  Likewise, with Motion Composer, Museum Tinguely will be including a number of recently restored Len Lye works from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Albright-Knox Art Museum.

20190905_144847
Jean Tinguely, MétaHarmonie II, 1979

 

Sub Rosa / Sex in the Art Gallery

Getting back to last season’s exhibitions, here’s some coverage of Shannon Novak’s Sub Rosa. The exhibition occupied the Open Window space of the Govett-Brewster and interior spaces leading to the public bathrooms in the gallery.

IMG_0518
Courtesy of Shannon Novak

Documentation of the exhibition can be seen at Novak’s website.

Pantograph Punch published a great essay by Francis McWhannell on Sub Rosa which you read here. McWhannell will be speaking soon at the Govett-Brewster as part of our Monica Brewster Evening series with the talk In search of intimacy – a photograph by Paul Johns. Details here.

Here’s one of the tracks that Novak used in the installation.

Moonhead

In a week focused on the moon…

I caught up with Pink Floyd’s Moonhead, their live improv broadcast by BBC’s Apollo 11–themed episode of Omnibus. The Atlantic published a closer look at this performance this week. And like Pink Floyd, Robert Rauschenberg was invited to be part of the Apollo 11 celebrations.

The Guardian considers the photography that came back from the mission (and others) as art which takes us to Geoffrey Batchen’s exhibition in Wellington this year, Live from the Moon.

Another exhibition here looks at the history of mapping the moon.

A longer interview with Batchen here at Radio NZ.

Tony Milligan at the TLS wonders if returning to the moon is a good thing.

And we shouldn’t leave the Russians out. Here’s the New Yorker from 2017 on Laika, the dog that started it all.

aerspa022

New season’s exhibitions

received_338978123490622
Introducing Mikala Dwyer’s Earthcraft, credit Alessandra Keighley

On 6 April the Govett-Brewster launched a new season of exhibitions including Mikala Dwyer’s Earthcraft (curated by Sarah Wall), Nicolás Paris’ what connects us (curated by Sarah Wall), Suspended Agency: An installation by Peter Wareing (curated by Mark Williams, Circuit), He Rere Ke – Different Pathways (curated by Gabrielle Belz) and several projects under my curation – Shannon Novak’s Sub Rosa and two Len Lye exhibitions, No Trouble and Art That Moves (co-curated with Emma Glucina).

I’ll follow up on each of these in more detail in the coming weeks. For now, here are a couple this week’s radio interviews concerning two projects. First, artist and curator Gabrielle Belz talking about her Open Collection project with us, He Rere Ke – Different Pathways. Second, Peter Wareing in conversation with Lynn Freeman around his new installation Suspended Agency.

8a02270b1af9fc686b3b0e42cd62206c
Peter Wareing Suspended Agency 2019, courtesy the artist

Weekend Reading

auden
Len Lye, ‘W. H. Auden’, 1947
Len Lye Foundation Collection, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre

This week we celebrate W. H. Auden’s birthday. Here’s Hannah Arendt’s 1975 New Yorker piece on the poet and above is Len Lye’s 1947 photogram portrait of Auden. The portrait includes lines from Auden’s The Fall of Rome (in his own hand). You can find all of Lye’s photogram portraits in this publication, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Joan Miró, Hans Richter, Le Corbusier and Baby Dodds.

The Times Literary Supplement recently published Genevieve Yue’s Secret asphyxiating world: Films and the watery depths, a review of Erika Balsom’s An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the SeaYou’ll need to be a subscriber to the TLS to read online. The book can be purchased online via the Govett-Brewster in New Zealand or LUX in the UK.

Artist Shannon Novak has been interviewed about his thoughts on the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery with Home magazine. Shannon will be exhibiting in the next season of exhibitions (April – July 2019) at the Gallery with Sub Rosa.

A few weeks back I was interviewed for a Taranaki Daily News article about the Gallery’s screening of The Room (dir. Tommy Wiaeau), one of the stranger media moments I’ve experienced.

Reading about the downfall of New York art dealer Mary Boone I was directed to this interesting piece about her fellow dealer Leo Castelli.