NZ Art Parallels is the Twitter account which reveals the previously hidden connections between world art history and New Zealand politics and media. Now NZ Art Parallels has joined The Spinoff for a monthly column, collecting the best parallels from Twitter and exclusive Spinoff-only content.
The Spinoff Parallel of the Month
Putting Winston Peters first since 1993… This parallel came about after trawling through Tracey Martin’s Twitter timeline, and there it was, actual gold in a cheaply customised standard office coffee mug format. What else could it be paralleled with other than one of the most famous pieces of glassware, ever? Winston sits in parliament, casual, in control of (at the very least) his emotions, while the sitter in the Portland Vase also… sits, in control of his emotions. For all we know the sitter could also be Winston – he’s got that kind of longevity we can only dream about.
The ‘early days of parliament’ parallel
What a TIME. The first two days that parliament sat were incredible – nothing more so than the sight of Speaker Trevor Mallard holding as many babies as he possibly could. Here, he’s compared to Moses for no good reason other than that Moses is partly famous for holding the two tablets. Followers of the account thought Mallard could be paralleled with the Virgin Mary, which would be hilarious but quite a stretch. (link)
Most popular parallel
Anything that remotely features Jacinda Ardern is popular, none more so than this screenshot of her with Lorde at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. It was instantly apparent that these two were mirroring each other in pose, youth, elevated cult-like status…Why not, then, dig out Girl Before A Mirror? Notice if you will, that the arms of the girl in the painting are outstretched to hold the mirror the same way Lorde is gripping the prime minister of New Zealand. (link)
Animal of the month
I’d been tossing around the idea of paralleling politicians’ animals since the time I did Paul Goldsmith’s dog, because dogs and cats on the internet are the place we go when we can’t face reality any longer. Then the unthinkable happened: Paddles Gayford-Ardern was run over and a nation went either into mourning or mirth if you were Gareth Morgan. I felt so sorry for the Paddles Twitter account but also obviously the prime minister and thus a special parallel tribute was created. (link)
The Mike Hosking Jacket parallel of the month
Jesus wept would you look at this.
That’s what most of us think when we see Hosking’s ‘Mike’s Minute’ jackets, less an expression of hatred than of bemusement and horror. Still, we wouldn’t want Hosking to dress any other way – as a nation we love to make fun of his jackets, and he knows it. Here, the obvious parallel was Napoleon, just based on tricked-out jackets and delusion. (link)
Uncanny resemblance of the month
Look at that little yellow dot, representing the ACT Party’s unleashed power in our MMP system of government. Look how it floats in a sea of blue dots. David Seymour must feel quite lonely at times; the graph evoked a parallel with this work by Mathew Cerletty, where the Yellow Pages (now obsolete) float in a blue sea. Notice how the sea keeps the Yellow Pages afloat. (link)
Competition of the month
It’s possible that Jacinda Ardern was simply thinking about whether to put peas in macaroni or some other pressing matter, and not disdainfully regarding the hand-shaking caper going on between Trump and Putin. In fact, a @NZArtParallels follower helpfully pointed out that she wasn’t looking at them at all. However this moment was made for a Twitter competition for followers to find the most shit-eating look in an artwork possible. This Rita Angus self-portrait seemed to captured the look superbly.
Backbencher of the month
Not all backbenchers are irrelevant. One way to become quite well-known is to leave your phone lying around, logged into your Twitter so that your kids can wildly tweet while you remain unaware. Nuk Korako got the parallel treatment in this, the first in a series. It wasn’t at all popular with followers, which made it even more amusing and irrelevant, as irrelevant as Korako’s infamous “lost luggage” bill. (link)
Parallels from a golden age
Bill English’s 2017 election campaign was an absolute song. There was nothing he wouldn’t do on camera to get the ticks, but on the night he “got up again” he stopped tweeting pretty much until Winston went with Labour-Greens. In this parallel, a young English pretends to neck a Big Mac and you just know the whole thing is a set-up, like his recent pre-election antics. He’s just not that kind of politician. The image of English with Roger Sowry, Nick Smith and Tony Ryall (cropped out) possibly references the fish and chip brigade image of yore but the 90s version; awful ties, hair and policies. (link)