Anthony Byrt

  • Lisa Reihana, Ihi—The Separation of Rangi and Papa, 2020, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 12 minutes.

    Creation Myth

    IN THE DARK ROOM at the start of “Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art” at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Robert Jahnke’s Whenua Kore, 2019, glows. The piece consists of a ring of white neon, which, through a trick of mirrored glass, seems to endlessly repeat and retreat deep into the wall on which it hangs, like a tunnel. Move in front of it, and the tunnel seems to bend. Two things are caught in its black reflection: on the opposite wall, Reuben Paterson’s kaleidoscopic digital animation Te Pūtahitanga ō Rehua (The Constellation of Rehua), 2005, and, floating somewhere between

  • Emily Karaka, Kingitanga ki Te Ao (They Will Throw Stones), 2020, mixed media on canvas, 78 3⁄8 × 109".

    22nd Biennale of Sydney

    Curated By Brook Andrew

    ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2019—a lifetime ago—Biennale of Sydney artistic director Brook Andrew announced his curatorial framework for the event’s twenty-second edition: “The urgent states of our contemporary lives are laden with unresolved past anxieties and hidden layers of the supernatural. ‘NIRIN’”—the title means “edge” in the language of the Wiradjuri people, from whom Andrew descends—“is about to expose this, demonstrating that artists and creatives have the power to resolve, heal, dismember, and imagine futures of transformation for resetting the world.”

    What no one could

  • Zac Langdon-Pole, Cleave Study (ii), 2019, plastic anatomical human tongue cross section, Xenophora shell, 4 × 2 1⁄8 × 3 1⁄2".

    Zac Langdon-Pole

    In 2018, the Berlin-based New Zealander Zac Langdon-Pole won the BMW Art Journey prize at Art Basel Hong Kong, an award he used to fund a trip from Europe to his homeland, via several stops in the Pacific, including Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, and Samoa. His recent exhibition “Interbeing” was (along with a new book about his practice) a culmination of his journey across the world. The trip’s course was determined by two overarching navigational frameworks: first, the history of celestial navigation by Pacific peoples and later colonizers; and second, the migratory patterns of two birds, the

  • Patrick Lundberg, No title (detail), 2019, mixed media, 45 1⁄4 × 3⁄8".

    Patrick Lundberg

    In a catalogue text for Patrick Lundberg’s 2015 exhibition “Draft Copy,” fellow New Zealand artist Roman Mitch quotes Peter Sloterdijk’s 2006 book, Rage and Time: A Psychopolitical Investigation. “Vengeful acts of expression mean nothing more than a narcissistic expenditure of energy,” the philosopher says. “The professional revolutionary, who is working as an employee of a bank of rage, does not express individual tensions; he follows a plan.” Given the distinct lack of obvious rage in Lundberg’s quiet, provisional painting practice, Mitch’s surprisingly apt quotation points to what makes it


    IN 2018, scholars Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler published “Anatomy of an AI System: The Amazon Echo as an Anatomical Map of Human Labor, Data and Planetary Resources,” a revelatory essay, rich with schematic illustrations, that unpacks the extractive processes underpinning “Alexa”—the cheerful, feminine, computer-generated persona that anthropomorphizes Amazon’s home-surveillance algorithms—and the slick speaker device that has enabled her to slip, elegantly, into our lives. “The scale of this system is almost beyond human imagining,” they write. “How can we begin to see it, to grasp its


    Curated by Jarrod Rawlins and Emma Pike

    For his solo exhibition “Mine,” Simon Denny will link two forms of extraction that shape our era of “surveillance capitalism”: the environmentally devastating removal of raw materials and rare-earth elements to meet the demands of technology, and the pervasive harvesting of our personal data to fatten the coffers of tech giants like Google and Facebook. Drawing on the work of scholars Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler, Denny will build full-scale replicas of artificially intelligent mining machines; adapt an insidious Amazon patent for a warehouse worker’s

  • Marie Shannon, The Rat in the Lounge, 1985, gelatin silver print, 18 1⁄8 × 33 7⁄8".

    Marie Shannon

    There is nothing unique or original in the idea that our families, and the spaces we share with them, turn us into who we are. And yet contemporary writers from Karl Ove Knausgaard to Maggie Nelson have highlighted that, within this ubiquitous truth, mysteries and revelations can still lurk. The New Zealand artist Marie Shannon has been making similar self-exposures and confessions, with a literary bent, for more than thirty years. Organized by Dunedin Public Art Gallery in New Zealand and subsequently shown in Wellington and Christchurch, the survey “Rooms found only in the home” showed how


    FOR EXACTLY TWO DECADES, New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, has tried to map the country’s vexed bicultural history—a history that began with the first contact between Māori and Europeans and continues, to this day, in the complex relationships between Māori and Pākehā (New Zealanders of European descent). To accomplish this task, Te Papa followed a distinctly 1990s logic, doing away with the separation between the national museum and the national art collection, and—under the shamelessly hopeful slogan “Our Place”—combining the two institutions in one grand,

  • Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17, 4K video, color, sound, 64 minutes.

    “Lisa Reihana: Cinemania”

    The exhibition for New Zealand’s pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, “Lisa Reihana: Emissaries,” consisted almost entirely of the artist’s massive video projection in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17, which reimagines Jean-Gabriel Charvet’s early-nineteenth-century scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique. Reihana’s digital panorama attempts to subvert the original wallpaper’s arcadian portrayal of James Cook’s voyages, deploying performers who act out the real-life events and traumas of early contact between British and Pacific peoples. This show—which

  • The Jaackers performing at the FAFSWAG Body Vogue Ball, Family Downunder, Auckland, August 20, 2016. Photo: Jermaine Dean.


    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND’S largest city, has long instrumentalized Pacific people as a way to demonstrate its cosmopolitanism and diversity. It trades heavily on its status as one of the world’s biggest Polynesian metropolises (boasting a Pacific population of some two hundred thousand, almost 15 percent of Auckland’s total inhabitants); the city’s self-promotional efforts routinely foreground Pacific culture, artists, and, most of all, sportspeople—billboards advertising local rugby matches and underwear alike feature muscular brown men as a kind of shorthand for erotically charged athleticism.

  • Colin McCahon, Parihaka Triptych, 1972, acrylic on canvas, 5' 9“ × 12' 4”.

    Colin McCahon

    IN 2002, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum presented a survey of the late New Zealand artist Colin McCahon. Called “A Question of Faith,” it was staged in the belief, held by the Stedelijk’s then director, Rudi Fuchs, that McCahon was one of the great artists of the mid-twentieth century. Though Fuchs’s enthusiasms never went viral in the way the exhibition’s organizers had hoped, there have been occasional international champions of the artist since then—most notably Thomas Crow, who has recently placed McCahon’s work, alongside that of Sister Corita Kent, Robert Smithson, James Turrell, and

  • Gottfried Lindauer, Tamati Waka Nene, 1890, oil on canvas, 40 1/8 × 33 1/8".

    Gottfried Lindauer

    Between the 1870s and early 1900s, the Czech émigré Gottfried Lindauer crisscrossed New Zealand, hawking his skills as a portraitist. His paintings were competent, if unspectacular: realist likenesses very often made by working from (and sometimes over) photographs. His portraits of the Māori, particularly those wearing moko (traditional tattoos), are, however, major documents of New Zealand’s colonial history. Many of them traveled to Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie and the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic, (Lindauer’s birthplace) in 2014–15, after the Nationalgalerie’s director,