Sally Ridge is an interior designer and former television presenter living in Grey Lynn, a middle class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand.Yes, but, what is Sally Ridge for? I only ask because she seems so present and yet so absent. There she goes, there she goes again: you can always find her in the camera at parties, grinning and putting her head close to that of one or several of her BFFs. But what does she do in daylight? Supposedly, she designs interiors; she is also an artist, apparently, one with the quintessential tips that Kiwis love. As one of the many stories about her in the Women's Weekly revealed exclusively, she is mother to Jaime (17), Boston (13), Astin (7) and oclane (WTF?); she is no friend of the NewYork Five and a patroness of the arts:
“I’m not the type of person who likes stark, minimalist interiors. For me, it has to be comfortable and personal, where the kids feel they can do what they like and not worry about it.” The entrance hall’s main feature is otis, a full-sized model of a cow, decorated by the iconic Kiwi artist otis Frizzell. In the post-separation 50-50 split of their belongings, Sally has no doubt who gets the funky artwork. “otis is mine, he’s coming with me,” says Sally. “Adam and I bought him at a charity auction not long after we first got together. I absolutely love him. Home isn’t home without otis.”It seems Ms Ridge's taste and enlightened patronage may finally have found her a purpose. The resourceful Chris Saines, Director of the Auckland City Art Gallery (a nice atrium with a musuem attached) has a use for Ms Ridge:
Gallery director Chris Saines says key stakeholders received complimentary tickets, based on their contribution to the gallery or their governance roles. "I believe Sally Ridge and the other celebrities were invited because of their ability to connect with the social media audience. They are about town attending events and tweeting and so forth and that is part of the publicity for the exhibition." Ridge is this week's Herald on Sunday guest editor in the Spy section in View magazine, and has covered the opening.She is a conduit. She will channel the wishes of Director Saines to her audience, her teeming mass of 1309 Twitter followers. Obviously tiring of the sort of people who go to his gallery all the time - art lovers - Director Saines has struck out forcefully moving forward to optimise Ms Ridge and thus outreach her fans. Quite who are these fans is anyone's guess; mine is that they are the sort of people who don't know much about art but know what they want, people who know a bloke who could do a much better job (at mate's rates) of laying bricks than that Kate Newby, who know that is not art and that a five year-old bricklayer could do that. In short, they are the ghastlies; and Sally Ridge is their queen.
While the Art Gallery's collection does not include a funky cow decorated by the iconic Kiwi artist Otis Frizzell, it does have a few works by his father. It also has, for a limited time only, From Degas to Dali, an artlessly mis-titled exhibition from viewers in Scotland that includes the crashing seas of Courbet and the gritty realism of Freud, a painter of people who do not diet and probably do not floss.
It was to the gala opening or opening gala of this exhibition that Ms Ridge was invited, free of charge, while art lovers had to pay. Director Saines' cunning plan was not entirely successful - Ms Ridge covered the opening in the Spy section by showing some photographs of some other celebrities - doubtless ligging like her - but said nothing of the show. She may well have tweeted about the event, but I cannot be bothered to find out.
Gentle reader, I did not attend the gala: I was not invited and I certainly would not pay to attend an opening; oh, the vulgarity. However, I did have a spy there on the night - a woman who of course is beautiful, exotic and talented. She reported that the speeches were very dull; that of the Minister, Chris Finlayson, was quite irrelevant to the gala or the exhibition. The quality of Finlayson was also strained: my spy opines that the effort of maintaining his celebrated celibacy seems to have done something to Mr Finlayson's vocal chords. I think she reads Freud's grandfather.
There! I have done it. I have gossiped about the gala, giving the Gallery valuable free publicity. Now put me on the guest list.
Speaking of inappropriate guests, look at this bunch. They get to see the Smiths play, yet they look like a party of school kids forced to visit an art gallery.