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.
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‘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
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.