wellington

Sriwhana Spong, Whether standing or sitting or lying or in some other position in the dark, 2011, still from a color HD video, 9 minutes 21 seconds. From “Prospect: New Zealand Art Now.”

“Prospect: New Zealand Art Now”

City Gallery Wellington

Sriwhana Spong, Whether standing or sitting or lying or in some other position in the dark, 2011, still from a color HD video, 9 minutes 21 seconds. From “Prospect: New Zealand Art Now.”

Every few years, Wellington’s City Gallery stages “Prospect” in an attempt to take the pulse of contemporary New Zealand art. For the survey’s fourth incarnation, curator Kate Montgomery made a small but significant change was made to the show’s subtitle, from “New Art New Zealand” to “New Zealand Art Now.” The tweak implied a more urgent engagement with the present. Montgomery had also learned from earlier versions, which were often noisy, overcrowded affairs. By contrast, her selection was extremely focused: sixteen artists, all but three born between 1974 and 1985, thus neatly qualifying as “prospects.” Montgomery’s choices were also backed up by credentials; most have had an institutional show or residency, are in public collections, or have international representation. So much promise, then, for so little reward: While it was aesthetically coherent and at times quite beautiful,

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