So it vanished: art, tapu and shared space in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand
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In February 2012, The Dowse Art Museum (‘The Dowse’) in Lower Hutt, New Zealand cancelled an exhibition by internationally renowned Mexican artist Teresa Margolles on the ostensible grounds of culture offence. This article analyses the cancellation of Margolles’s So It Vanishes and situates it in the context of previous conflicts between Indigenous beliefs and exhibitions of transgressive art. Background information is firstly provided and Margolles’s work is sketched and compared with other taboobreaking works of transgressive art. The Māori concept of tapu is then outlined.1 A discussion follows on the incompatibility of So It Vanishes with tapu, along with a review of other New Zealand exhibitions that have proved inconsistent with Indigenous values. Conclusions are then drawn about sharing exhibition space in contemporary Aotearoa NewZealand.
Barrett, J. (2013). So it vanished: art, tapu and shared space in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand. Portal, 10(2), 1-17.