Event Details


'Have you ever asked someone: ‘So, what kind of music do you make?’
If you haven't, then you have heard someone else ask the question during an interview.

I'm fairly certain you have then heard the reply:
‘Well, we don't really like to be pigeon-holed, our sound transcends labels and genre.’

This is never true, and usually means that your friend is in a super boring alt-country band. The privilege of claiming you don't have a genre is the posh equivalent of ‘I like what I like’, and unlike the accompanying mixtape, is super uninteresting.”

In this specially curated playlist, Pōneke based painter Ben Buchanan presents a selection of music played in the studio while painting his new series of works for City Gallery’s current exhibition SOUR GRAPES. Expect flavours of electro, a touch of ambient jazz and sprinklings of acerbic punk and metal.

In his accompanying text, Buchanan offers commentary against the notions that genre is limiting. Instead, he argues for the similarities between genre in art and music, and suggests that artists can use genre to push the boundaries of what is considered innovative:

“Rather than being hamstrung by the labels, I embrace them.

It's cool to bend a genre out of its traditional roots. It's fun to mess with. It's also a fun way to talk about things in general and using ‘Genre as Material’ can be sublime, it adds a myriad of possible perceptions to things. Like realizing that Cypress Hill’s cartoon-esque, “How I could just kill a man”, is, in reality, infinitely more Gothic than “Bela Lugosi's dead” by the Bauhaus.

A lot of art is made while listening to music. ‘Genre as subject matter’ is a useful way to talk about Art. Music and art movements are so intertwined in recent history, that I find ‘Genre’ a more useful term for discussing the legitimately intriguing hybrids that can be created when we move beyond the idea that nothing is new.

Anyway, I have made this playlist because I love you and want to share. You could think of it as a reading list, if you like.

Most of these songs were played in my studio numerous times during the making of the work in SOUR GRAPES, some on repeat for like a whole hour, so I could really go in on the vibe. As you listen to this mix, Imagine I have a massive crush on you and I'm trying to impress with my impeccable taste... Xb”


  • Thu 30 Mar — Sun 23 Apr

City Gallery Wellinton Te Whare Toi

  • Civic Square, 101 Wakefield Street
  • Wellington 6140