Martin Patrick

Martin Patrick

Associate Professor, Whiti o Rehua School of Art

Dr. Martin Patrick is an art critic, historian, writer, and regular contributor to a wide range of national and international publications. His research specifically involves critical writing on interdisciplinary practices and experimental uses of media in modern and contemporary visual art. His book Across the Art/Life Divide: Performance, Subjectivity and Social Practice was published by Intellect (UK)/University of Chicago (US) in 2017.

Martin teaches into both the theory and studio components of undergraduate and postgraduate art programmes, and supervises at masters and doctoral levels. He is currently the Academic Integrity Officer and Ethics Advisor for the college and a member of the College Board.

  • Expertise

    Contemporary art theory and criticism; conceptual and performance art; art history since 1945; Fluxus; photography; experimental and interdisciplinary art.

  • Research Highlights


    Martin Patrick, Across the Art/Life Divide: Performance, Subjectivity and Social Practice (Intellect UK, University of Chicago, USA, 2017).

    Martin Patrick explores the ways in which contemporary artists across media continue to reinvent art that straddles both public and private spheres. Examining the impact of various art movements on notions of performance, authorship, and identity, Across the Art/Life Divide argues that the most defining feature of contemporary art is the ongoing interest of artists in the problematic relationship between art and life.

    Peer-reviewed articles

    “Convergences and crossovers: Lawrence Alloway’s incorporative criticism and the ‘end’ of formalism” (The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, New York: Routledge, 2011)
    This article examines the art criticism of the British-born critic, curator, and educator Lawrence Alloway (1926-90). It emphasises the ways in which Alloway’s approach to criticism both in the Sixties and afterwards was more aesthetically incorporative and politically progressive that that of his more formalist colleague Clement Greenberg. Alloway’s wide-ranging commentary addressing film, literature, politics, popular culture, and the visual arts laid significant and now under-acknowledged groundwork for many ideas taken for granted in contemporary art and art criticism.

    “Performative Tactics and the Choreographic Reinvention of Public Space” (Art and the Public Sphere, Bristol: Intellect, 2011)
    Recently many artists’ endeavours to creatively engage with the public space have become more aligned with the temporal than the spatial, and this shift away from traditional notions of public space has allowed for an increasingly elusive, radically dispersed number of events and intervals to occur. Projects incorporating site specificity have begun to show a greater preoccupation with so-called non-spaces and non-sites. Artists have recently been involved with a “choreographic turn” as they stage, configure, and orchestrate their creative actions. This essay discusses a variety of such projects by Francis Alys, Mark Boulos, Harrell Fletcher, Sharon Hayes, Toby Huddlestone, Tino Sehgal, Jane Tsong, and The Yes Men.

    “Unfinished Filliou: On The Fluxus Ethos and the Origins of Relational Aesthetics” (Art Journal, New York: College Art Association, 2010)
    This essay comprises a discussion of the influential yet underrated work of the French Fluxus artist Robert Filliou (1926-1987) and aspects of his interwoven theory and practice, especially as recorded in his book Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts and related video works. It also examines the influence of Filliou’s work on other contemporary artists and the corresponding use of the critical formulation “relational aesthetics” (as posited by the French curator and writer Nicholas Bourriaud. A primary goal of the essay is to offer a provisional attempt to reconsider Filliou’s visionary approach to artmaking in the late 1960s and early 1970s and what it portended for so much “relational” art yet to come.

    Contributions to books

    “Encounter”, in One Day Sculpture, D. Cross and C. Doherty, eds. (Germany: Kerber Verlag, 2008). A commissioned text on the notion of “encountering” contemporary artworks.
    Each encounter with a contemporary artwork involves a vast and unpredictable multiplicity of factors, rather than a singular approach or set of assumptions. Moreover, the complex framing of any current “sculptural” venture reveals itself both spatially and temporally. Younger artists enact an ongoing dialogue with the history of temporal practices, which call into question received notions of the object/image-based work’s status in favour of the artwork seen as a process, an event, an encounter. Nevertheless what is most pressing today is the self-conscious yet generative nature of this dialogue, raising the hope that artists will thread provocative aspects of their encounters with the world into the complex fabric of their works, so as to not continually describe that which already exists, but that which we yearn to experience, as our encounters continue to unfold before us.

  • Qualifications

    MFA (University of Texas at Austin)
    MA (State University of New York at Stony Brook)
    PhD (University of Kent at Canterbury)

  • Current Supervision


    Johanna Mechen
    Doctor of Philosophy
    The Video Essay in Performative Photographic Practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand

    Chang Xu
    Doctor of Philosophy
    Critically Exploring Contexts of Children's Art Museum Education: Comparative Contemporary Examples from China and New Zealand to Identify Potential for Artist-led Innovations in Primary School-aged Delivery

    Jill Sorensen
    Doctor of Philosophy
    Engaging the languages of visual representation, written narrative and participatory practice to facilitate a fundamental reimagining of human/ nonhuman interrelationship that eschews Cartesian and Humanist models of co-existence with nature


    Madaleine Trigg
    Doctor of Philosophy
    Worn: wearing through fabric and flesh

    Michael Heynes
    Doctor of Philosophy
    Approaching a digital sublime

    Bepen Bhana
    Doctor of Philosophy
    Cultural appropriation and cultural hybridity in the age of globalisation

  • Completed Doctoral Supervision


    Brownyn Holloway-Smith
    Doctor of Philosophy
    The Southern Cross Cable: A Tour: Art, the internet, and national identity in Aotearoa New Zealand

    Tim Barlow
    Doctor of Philosophy
    Caring Deception: Community art in the suburbs of Aotearoa (New Zealand)