Urgent Moments

Art and social change: The Letting Space projects 2010–2020

Edited by Mark Amery, Amber Clausner and Sophie Jerram

book cover for Urgent Moments
Title Info Sheet Sample Pages

Soft cover


The story of a remarkable art activation

After first occupying vacant spaces in post-stock-market-crash Auckland in the mid-1990s, public art curators Letting Space re-emerged in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. Confronted by the thin net of social welfare, the waste of the capitalist system and the climate emergency, it brokered spaces for artists to think and act radically, outside gallery walls.

This book chronicles the projects those artists drove. From a grocery store where everything was free to an ATM for depositing moods and a citizens’ water-testing lab, they added to the civic dialogue at a time when public space and media were increasingly commodified and under surveillance.

Written by leading New Zealand writers and thinkers, including Pip Adam and Chris Kraus, Urgent Moments demonstrates the vital role artists can play in the pressing discussions of our times.

To look inside, click here.

‘This is a lively, readable, thought-provoking and occasionally funny account of the central and important subject matter: art that doesn't just “raise questions” but frequently posits answers’ — Graham Reid, Kete Books

  • CATEGORY: Art, design and architecture, Contemporary issues
  • ISBN: 9781991016461
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 12/10/2023
  • PAGE EXTENT: 352
  • FORMAT: Soft cover
Profile image for Mark Amery

Mark Amery is a writer, producer, curator and facilitator who works across the public arts and media with a focus on new forms of participation.

Profile image for Amber Clausner

Amber Clausner is a British arts producer based in Te Whanganui-a-tara Wellington.

Profile image for Sophie Jerram

Sophie Jerram works with artists in community, government and academic roles.