Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker

Oh the humanities!

On the state of arts study at New Zealand universities

‘The building is crumbling round us—which is scary, coz I just got in the elevator.’ This comment was made to me the other day by fellow art writer Lucinda Bennett. Those of us whose careers are hitched to the visual arts are accustomed to thinking of our positions as vulnerable. The notion of the struggling artist, slaving away as a dishwasher to support her practice, is so well known as to be a cliché. But the struggling arts worker—whether a gallery assistant, auction house intern, or arts writer—is really just as common, as Bennett discusses in a recent think piece on the pervasive and perilous myth of ‘passionate labour’, work done for love rather than money, in the arts and culture sector. Curators, directors, and technicians may be a little more stable in their incomes, but their positions remain precarious. Redundancy hangs over all of us like an Auckland raincloud. The question is not if it will burst but when. …


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Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker


Francis McWhannell (b. 1985, Aotearoa New Zealand) is a writer and exhibition-maker based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. He is Curatorial Adviser for the dealer gallery Visions, and Curator of the Fletcher Trust Collection, a major private collection of Aotearoa art founded in 1962.