Author(s): Anthony Byrt
In April 2011, Anthony Byrt was living in Berlin and building a career as a critic, writing about contemporary art for magazines like frieze and Artforum International. Then one day his world turned upside down. A baby boy, two weeks in intensive care, and Byrt, his wife and new-born son suddenly found themselves booked on a one-way trip home to New Zealand.
This Model World is a portrait of what Byrt found when he came back. Built around hundreds of hours spent in galleries, artists' studios and on the road from Brisbane to Detroit to Venice, this is a deeply personal journey through the contemporary New Zealand art world. It's a book about major figures like Yvonne Todd, Shane Cotton, Billy Apple, Peter Robinson, Judy Millar and Simon Denny, and emerging artists such as Luke Willis Thompson, Shannon Te Ao and Ruth Buchanan. It's about severed heads and failed cities; about hot young things and old men with a final point to prove; about looking for God and finding Edward Snowden; and it's about what it means to investigate the boundary where our bodies hit the world.
If you are looking to keep abreast of developments in contemporary NZ art, go no further than Anthony Byrt’s This Model World. Immensely readable, Byrt combines serious art discussion with his own personal take on our contemporary artists, as well as letting us into his world as a critic. Drawn from interviews conducted at the artists’ studios, the conversations flow and we are given an insight into what compels these artists to make, how they frame themselves in the world, and the ideas they discuss through their work. Artists include Shane Cotton, Judy Millar, Peter Robinson and Yvonne Todd. This Model World is remarkable in its ability to be simultaneously very personal and informative, with Byrt intertwining his own life into these observations about art and the place of art in our lives.
Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction Finalist - Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017.
Anthony Byrt is an award-winning critic and journalist. He is a regular writer for Metro, and contributes to the leading contemporary art magazines, Artforum International and frieze. In 2013 he was Critical Studies Fellow at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan, and was New Zealand's Reviewer of the Year at the 2015 Canon Media Awards. He lives in Auckland with his wife and son.