This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art

Anthony Byrt

Author: Anthony Byrt
Format: Paperback with flaps, Ebook
Pages: 252
Published: September 2016
Specs: 21.0cm x 15.0cm
ISBN: 9781869408589

Available in Ebook

A whip-smart, travelling survey of contemporary New Zealand art and the global world it inhabits, ranging from Berlin to Marfa to Detroit then home to the farthest edge of the Hokianga.  

In April 2011, Anthony Byrt was living in Berlin and building a career as a critic, writing about the world of 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 into the contemporaryy New Zealand art world and the global world it inhabits.

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 bright young stars and old men with a final point to prove; about looking for God and finding Edward Snowden; and about what it means to investigate the boundary where our bodies hit the world.

This Model World – a riveting first-person account of one author’s travels to the edge of contemporary art.


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In his newly released book This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art, award-winning art critic and journalist Anthony Byrt journeys through the New Zealand scene to investigate what it's all about and why it matters. - NZ Herald

This Model World is personal and often autobiographical. It has relevance to us all. In it we discover a New Zealand that seldom makes the headlines, but where artists like Todd, Cotton, Denny and Judy Millar are revealing our future. - David Herkt, Stuff NZ

Alongside the description of the modern art world is a reflection on how contemporaryy New Zealanders negotiate our tangled global whakapapa to contribute to international conversations... I believe Anthony Byrt has come up with something quite profound here. - Dr. Rebecca Gray, Booksellers NZ