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With Tao Wells.







Tao Wells was born in Colorado USA and at a young age with his family, two white middle class professionals and a younger brother, immigrated to New Plymouth, New Zealand. At 17 after being a high school art star, he quit his after school job at Woolworth’s to attend art school at Canterbury University. Where he was kicked out after, as class rep, he was asked to present class criticism to the head of the school about the inadequacy of the courses content (cripplingly out of touch with both where the industry was and where art was with the medium, Photography).

1995 he went back after completing half a BA in American Contemporary Literature and film. Ending up at Teachers college in Wellington and working as a Entertainer/host at Te Papa.

He then started to teach at Massey University in the department of art and design. This went on for five years, part time; doing a full time Masters and being exclusively invited to perform and exhibit during this time in half a dozen or more shows every year.


At this point he helped start Enjoy Public Art Gallery, on Cuba St. in Wellington, before a long bout of unemployment or poor employment. In 2007 he was successful with a CNZ grant to attend a residency in Australia where his project to implement a single local indigenous word into local media, or protect the proposed last sign of the Kulin Nation’s physical habitation in Melbourne (the rotting exposed Scared Tree trunk, in a down town public park) failed. In 2009 Peter McLeavey granted him his galleries 500th show at 147 Cuba st. And in 2010 after an effort to find work in Taiwan, Tao launched the Wells Group and “The Beneficiary’s Office”, with Letting Space, a team of art brokers. The “Office” performance gained national attention while also appearing to “dry up” invitations to perform and exhibit in the New Zealand art scene.


In 2018, Wells finished an artists book, for the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, of over thirty years of work. “Easier” features an essay by Chris Kraus that she also published in her new book “Social Practice” for MIT Press. Today he’s a single father of two and a happy Beneficiary of a Co-op with New Zealand’s Democratic State.



Socialist Goody Two Shoes Hierarchy Battles


A performance by Tao Wells, in direct reference to his publication "Easier", available now at Samoa House Library.

Curriculum is generously supported by Creative New Zealand.

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