The power of art to make a difference: Urgent Moments reviewed on New Zealand Arts Review


John Daly-Peoples of the New Zealand Arts Review has reviewed Urgent Moments: Art and social change: The Letting Space projects 2010–2020 edited by Mark Amery, Amber Clausner and Sophie Jerram:

‘The recent elections showed that political parties appear to have little interest in developing arts policies which engage with communities. While there were major efforts made in the late 1980’s with the creation of Community Arts Councils which had funding from Creative New Zealand there have been few initiatives which not only help artists but strengthen local communities

Examples of communities engaged in transformative activities, often led by artists can articulate ideas and desires so that art becomes a catalyst for change and community cohesion.

The new book “Urgent Moments” provides examples of individuals and groups creating art environments or situations which address aesthetic, social and political  issues making use of non-gallery spaces.

in the mid-1990s, the public art curators Letting Space began occupying vacant spaces in post-stock-market-crash Auckland. The social conditions of the time in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis led many to question the prevailing dealer gallery system and the way in which art was produced, marketed and commented on.

The book is written and edited  by Mark Amery, Amber Clausner and Sophie Jerram with contributions from 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.

Letting Space worked  in Wellington and Dunedin with property managers, individuals and community groups to broker the temporary use of vacant space for projects.

The idea was to use public art as a way to regenerate and rejuvenate communities and urban spaces.’

Read the full review here.