Author(s): Damian Skinner
Émigré artist Theo Schoon was fascinating, unorthodox, controversial, pioneering and at times reckless. His life intersected with important cultural periods and places, where what it meant to be modern in New Zealand were being debated andarticulated in art, literature, music and theatre.The art he pioneered and promoted - M¿ori rock drawings, the drawings of a psychiatric patient, M¿ori moko and k¿whaiwhai, the abstract patterns ofgeothermal activity in Rotorua - were decisive for many other New Zealand artists, including Gordon Walters. And his example, as an academically trained artist with a good knowledge of modern European art and a commitment to do whatever it tookto pursue his artistic projects, was both an inspiring and a cautionary tale.Schoon's is a life less well known now than it deserves to be. This superb, highlyillustrated biography by one of New Zealand's best art writers corrects thatimbalance and examines Schoon's claims on the development of art and culture in Aotearoa in the twentieth century.