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White Fungus To Be Nationally Distributed in New Zealand

White Fungus To Be Nationally Distributed in New Zealand

It's been an eventful year for Taiwan / New Zealand arts publication White Fungus. The year has already seen a magazine residency in San Francisco, a motorcycle accident for the publication's editor Ron Hanson, inclusion of White Fungus in an exhibition in Russia, the holding of a smash “Noise” event in Taipei, and now a New Zealand distribution deal with Gordon & Gotch for its new 13th issue.

Starting in Wellington in 2004 as a photocopied freebee, White Fungus editor Ron Hanson says the distribution deal marks the culmination of quite a journey in running the magazine. “We began giving the first four issues out for free on the streets of Wellington and in cafes around the country, so it's exciting and surreal to be going through a mainstream distributor. We've got a chance to reach a broader audience.”

Hanson says that for years running the magazine the going was steady and slow, but in 2012 the publication had a breakout year. At the beginning of that year White Fungus was selected for the exhibition Millennium Magazines at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It would be the first of 17 exhibitions and fairs White Fungus was selected for in 2012, in places including the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands, Tokyo, Dublin, Prague, China and Vancouver. White Fungus was exhibited in the New Zealand pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

While the magazine is currently based in Taiwan, White Fungus maintains a strong connection with New Zealand and the new issue includes a host of New Zealand content, including an in-depth article on the subject of bats by Tessa Laird, a 20-page comic by Tim Bollinger, and fashion spreads by Auckland artists Clara Chon and Richard Orjis. Auckland curator and writer Andrew Clifford talks to artist Brydee Rood about life in transit, and Mark Amery writes about the Wellington Media Collective. New Zealand art critic John Hurrell writes about the veteran New York artist Tony Martin, including his work in the 1960s at Howard Wise, a New York gallery connected to the New Zealand artists Len Lye and Billy Apple.

Hanson says that White Fungus is at once global and local. “We're interested and engaged with localism,” he says, “but we conduct that engagement on a global scale. The publication began in Wellington, and even more specifically, in Te Aro, but we had just returned from four years living in Taiwan, so it began out of a kind of dialogue between and within those two locations, and that's continued. In both places we were interested in the effect of rapid urban development. We were also interested in the position of both being small countries having to hold their own in the wild currents of globalisation and the challenge to define yourself in that context.”

Recently New Zealand became the first OECD country to sign a free trade deal with Taiwan, a move that could precipitate more cultural exchanges between the two. “We've invested a lot of time in Taiwan,” Hanson says. “It's become a second home. We're really interested in bringing New Zealand artists to Taiwan and through the magazine we're laying the groundwork for future exchanges. Last year we took the Taipei sound artist Wang Fujui to New Zealand for a national tour with light installations and sound performances in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton. He really had a great time meeting people and encountering some of the artists. The next step is to bring some New Zealand artists over here.”


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