Sunday, April 25, 2004

Montreal Visual Art Review Round Up


In no particular order, ok?

Radio-Canada: Claude Couillard writes 342 words on the UQAM Design students' show. Very cool pictures, short sweet and to the point. Nothing ground breaking, but giving students column inches is a good thing. I can also mention in passing that the VAV gallery at Concordia and the Lina and Beonard are also doing something similar, over at the blokeschool.

Voir: Nicolas Mavrikakis writes 501 words on Albrecht D�rer and Toucher l'art, on at the Musee des Beaux Arts. Now, I am very surprised that Mr. Mavrikakis is writing about somebody who has been dead for almost 500 years, but you learn something new every day. He still manages to write that he is smarter than his reader with this sentence: "Vous connaissez certainement plusieurs d'entre elles: Le Rhinoc�ros, La Repr�sentation de la M�lancolie, Adam et �ve, Saint J�r�me, Le Chevalier, la Mort et le Diable... " (or for the blokes in the house: You most certainly know all of the prints, such as The Rhinoceros, Representation of Melancholy, Adam and Eve, etc." Heck, if I'm been reading Mr. Mavrikakis for Contemporary Qu�becois Visual Art, why in the name of anything should I have a familiarity with Durer's painting?

He continues his ridiculous habit of name dropping, somehow suggesting that because Rene Donais makes prints, and Mr. Mavrikakis wrote about Mr. Donais recently, there has to be a similarity. Yeah, right. In case you're interested in a taste comparison, try these:

Anatomie du boshi, animal mythologique chinois, by Rene Donais, 1995. I don't know any other details.

Les quatre cavaliers by Albrecht D�rer, 1498, gravure sur bois sur papier verg�, 39 x 28,1 cm

He then sums up the review with some sort of history or printmaking. Ummm, not to belabor the obvious, but if he assumes that his readers are familiar with Durer's production sufficiently that by merely writing the name of a piece they can visualize it, why is he writing something along the lines that printing started during the renaissance and that at the time there were no museums or photography? Shouldn't this be obvious to his clearly intelligent readership?

He then goes on to talk about the touching art on the aforementioned Sherbrooke street institution. Where he hides behind an unnamed source (an important gallery guy) about how important it is to be able to touch art. Umm, if you've been covering art for I dunno how many years, shouldn't that idea come to you naturally? Why the need for an outside source? And most strangely, why unnamed? And heck, what about smelling art? What about tasting art? Voir then continues their new habit of amassing content for free, and as of the time that I am writing this, there are about another 1,300 words written for free as comments - most of then going off on how good Durer's work is.

Mr. Mavrikakis's second article this week is about him slumming it. He headed over to Blizzarts, to check out the Orange/Brown show. As with Mr. Couillard covering UQAM students (see above) this is inherently a good thing. Unfortunately, Mr. Mavrikakis fumbles the ball and then boots it. Among the 386 words he typed about them, he writes this: The critic in me, always chasing after new talents and new visions (my translation). Yeah right. His name dropping this time veers off to Emmanuel Galland and Bernard Pivot (note to self, never ever make a reference in writing to a TV talk show host, English or otherwise - with a minimum of research it seems that M. Pivot is a French Talk Show host who is famous for his cheesy questionnaire of unrelated questions). He then goes on to diss Blizzarts (by writing that there are constraints in exhibiting at a bar, like there are no constraints in exhibiting at a museum or at Rene Blouin, yeah right!). And then finally, to add insult to injury, Blizzarts doesn't appear in the listings of Voir, Orange/Brown, nor any of the artists involved are under the artist listings on their website, and despite his telling his readers that he will keep them up to date with any future exhibits by and of these "new and upcoming" artists, he conveniently forgets to mention that you can see most of them at all times at Monistiraki (5478 St. Laurent).

For the record, Lance Blomgren has exhibited at Dare-Dare. Anthony Burnham has exhibited at Clark Gallery, and with Suzanne Dery at Quartier Epehemere. Most of the artists at the show are published authors, Natascha Niederstrass, Zoe Miller and Billy Mavreas, are kick-ass artists, who have done a gazillion things. Mr. Mavrikakis' patronizing tone just might get him punched one of these days. I apologize for not mentioning all of their names, but there are a bunch of them, and copy/paste can get tedious sometimes.

The Gazette: Doesn't seem to have any art review on line. They do have a fluffy feel-good piece about a mural that is now on the roof of the Children's Hospital, 563 words about making sick kids happy. Even I can't slam it. But I can quote it out of context to get a quick and easy laugh:

The lettering on the mural reads "Imagine!" which works, Papazian points out, in English and French. "We're not just good painters, we're smart!" she says.
I imagine that the Gazette could get some smarts (in both English and French) by publishing something about art.

It seems that Isa Tousignant was just a tad busy this past week, there ain't nothing in The Hour, either. Uh-Oh! it looks like English culture is slipping in the standings.

Over at the other English Language alternative weekly, aka The Mirror, the got a big ass article (1,388 words! Woo-hoo!) on Seripop. Rupert Bottenberg does a superlative and kick-ass job interviewing Chloe Lum and Yannick Desranleau. No faults, ok, one minor one, the sin, skin, custom cars and cartoon creeps might have been ubiquitous in the '90s, but to my mind they were really the rage in the early '70s. But as far as fulfilling whatever mandate of introducing the masses to underground culture, and giving "new" a day in the sun, he's rocking, along with Matthew Woodley there ain't nothing better right now than the Mirror. Too boot, they even put Viual Art on the cover, again! If you venture inside the magazine, Christine Redfern finally gets on the bandwagon and pens 157 words about the Raoul Barr� exhibit at the Cinematheque.

Montr�al Campus (the UQAM student paper) doesn't have nothing about Visual Art. Pity.

Quartier Libre (the UdM student Paper) on the other hand does. 717 words about the Nina Levitt show at Oboro, and 586 words about the web site 11h11.com. Nothing spectacular, but Linda Fatigba and Estelle Puig do a very solid job.

The Link makes like Campus, and avoids the visual stuff. Over at Le Devoir Michel Hellman writes something about "Shoot" at Dazibao, unfortunately I can't read it. I'm going to have to truck on over, because I wrote about "Point" and didn't like it. Maybe "Shoot" will salvage something, maybe not. The folks who run the web site at Le Devoir then continue to show how intimately they are aware of their anus, they figure that it is a great idea to limit access to an article that they republished from Liberation. The silliness comes in when I go to the Liberation web site, the article is there for anybody and everybody. One good thing about all of this is that since Liberation is not on my normal list of newspapers to read, I came across this article: "Le goulag de A � zeks" now I just might write a letter explaining to the fine folk in France how to spell "Zeke's." Apparently there were some folk in Russia who were called "zeks" before they were killed under Stalin. As I said way earlier, I learn something new every day!

The finally La Presse does put two articles by Jerome Delgado on line. I discovered sometime last week that Mr. Delgado is quite a prolific writer, unfortunately the powers that be on 7 Saint Jacques West don't like wasting electrons on him. Mr. Delgado is first on the block with a review about Sarah Stevenson's show at Rene Blouin. 446 words. He then blows his load with 239 words on the small exhibit in the salon at Skol, "Petite Enveloppe Urbaine No 11." I've gone over my time for writing, and am quickly losing my ability to focus, so if Mr. Delgado writes anything good or bad about the exhibits you're going to have to read for yourself. My only question, and last for the day, is did he already review the Matthieu Dumont and Christine Lebel exhibits, or is there something to be read between the lines?

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