Mayor shocked by dancing pictures

Read newspaper headlines as a media tempest gathered around artist Fiona Clark and the 1975 exhibition The Active Eye.
The exhibition, New Zealand’s first major photographic survey, was touring the country to escalating moral outcry over the inclusion of two of Clark’s images of Transvestites. Public outcry was so strong that the exhibition was not allowed to open at the Auckland City Art Gallery, and those two images were removed from the exhibition at many venues throughout New Zealand. The images eventually went missing from the exhibition.

Both an exhibition and a catalogue, Go Girl revisits this episode, one of the most controversial in New Zealand’s photographic history. It presents for the first time Fiona Clark’s complete series Dance party, from which these two images were selected. Go Girl traces the controversial history of the work, the refusal to exhibit them, and the prejudices in the media and public imagination against their subject matter.

Go Girl includes a larger group of images from the early 1970’s, which focus on the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community in New Zealand at the time. The Artist has bought the series up to date by re-photographing a number of the surviving subjects in a warm and engaging manner. The exhibition is completed by a series of video interviews between Clark and the subjects.

Comparing and contrasting New Zealand of the 1970s with the New Zealand of today, the exhibition tells a story of gender and identity over a 30-year period. It documents the coming out of the gay, lesbian and transgender
Community within mainstream culture. The story also provides rare insights into the birth of performance art in New Zealand, and the emergence of Photography as a serious art form in New Zealand.

Go Girl is a major project for Fiona Clark, one of New Zealand’s most accomplished photographic artists. The images make up one of the most significant bodies of photographic artwork ever produced in New Zealand.

The catalogue features all of the images exhibited. The publication extends the exhibition with the inclusion of essays by David Lyndon Brown and Blair French, and a comprehensively illustrated interview with Fiona Clark conducted by Gregory Burke.