Julian Dashper

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1960, d.2009


  • 1996
  • Vinyl on drumskin
  • Purchased 2004
  • 2004/09

Op + Pop 6 February – 19 June 2016

The repurposed drumskin became a signature motif for Auckland-based Julian Dashper, whose conceptual art practice saw him develop an international exhibiting profile in the United States, Australia and Europe, before his untimely death in 2009.

Resonating with the American pop artist Jasper Johns’ 1950s target paintings, Dashper’s drumskin canvases were also made to honour a band of New Zealand’s pioneering modernists. In 1992 The Big Bang Theory saw him assembling full drumkits emblazoned with his heroes’ names: The Anguses, The Hoteres, The Colin McCahons, The Woollastons and The Drivers.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • As a New Zealand-born artist with a strong profile in America, Australia and Europe, Julian Dashper often considered the role distance could play in filtering, fragmenting and disrupting the effects of international art movements such as conceptualism and minimalist abstraction.

    Although he worked with a variety of media, Dashper enjoyed what he called the ‘instant kind of internationalism’ that came with using reclaimed drumheads – because a 42-centimetre drumhead bought in Auckland looks exactly the same as one from America or Japan. In Untitled, Dashper has applied brightly coloured vinyl to a drum’s blank face, creating a pulsating composition that recalls the rings of a target while connecting a familiar found object from popular culture with the rarefied world of abstract painting. As the artist himself noted: ‘People, curators and writers that is, were quick to confirm that drumskins are stretched like canvases and are sometimes even played with brushes. Such is the wicked web that I seemingly wove.’

    In 2005, Dashper’s work was the subject of a major touring retrospective in America – the first-ever such exhibition for a resident New Zealand artist. (Label date 2009)