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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s an update on the first in the STATEMENTS series of essays, An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea by Erika Balsom. Apollo magazine featured Balsom in their 2018 40 under 40 list and recently followed with this audio interview covering the book withing a discussion of Balsom’s wider work with film. Click the image below to purchase a copy of An Oceanic Feeling from the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery shop or from LUX if you are in the UK/Europe.
We’re presently working on the second in the STATEMENTS series, written by Caleb Kelly and edited by Sarah Wall.
Last week I spoke at the opening of our new suite of exhibitions, a rather large suite featuring Haegue Yang’s first exhibition in Aotearoa, Triple Vita Nestings (touring from the IMA in Brisbane), Maureen Lander’s Flat-pack Whakapapa (touring from the Dowse Art Museum), new works from Richard Maloy and Jacqueline Elley and two new Len Lye exhibitions. This all wraps up 2018 and carries us through to 2019.
Here’s this week’s e-flux announcement of highlights from our 2019 programme.
The evening was also time to celebrate the work of Peter Peryer (1941-2018) who passed away in November. We arranged a small exhibition of Peter’s work for the summer season. The Govett-Brewster has a modest number of works in its collection which you can browse here. I’ll write more on Peter’s work in the coming weeks.