Sunday, May 30, 2004

What the outcome was


I found this picture of Lori Haigh, the owner of Capobianco Gallery, after she had been attacked over Guy Colwell's painting "Abuse." I will refrain from any and all bad jokes and puns. Things escalated over the weekend, and she actually got punched in the face because of the painting.

the picture was taken by Jeff Chiu / AP

If you're looking for my original post about the whole thing try this. And if you want to follow it in all its gory detail try these:

Art Censored by Thugs and the pictures and the videos

Backers rally from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tons of other video and links from Luxoblog.

And as of now, 44 others.

The Sunday Art Review Round Up


To start things off with a bang, the Guide Montréal-Nord, publishes Marie-Josée Chouinard's 464 word article about Vagabondages, which is taking place at Place Bourassa (the corner of Lacordaire and Henri-Bourassa). It appears that it is part of Projet Graffiti where otherwise disaffected and disadvantaged youth are focused into doing something constructive. Sounds cool, pity that it doesn't get better press.

Over at the West Island Chronicle they write 351 words about a motorcycle exhibition at the Harwood Gallery. Vroom-Vroom!

La Presse 1: Jerome Delgado writes 401 words about the exhibition at Vox's new space, he makes the obvious comments about Vox's next door neighbors, and also comments about the art.

La Presse 2: Prints a Canadian Press story about how the Musée des Beaux Arts du Canada is going to send another exhibition to Shawinigan, this time something about Noah's Ark. I wonder if they're also going to start sending exhibitions to Lasalle now that Paul Martin is Prime Minister.

The Gazette 1: Henry Lehmann writes 617 words about the new Vox space as well. Thankfully he doesn't comment about where Vox is, and who their neighbors are.

The Gazette 2: Steven Howell writes 758 words about the Museums Day happening today. I wonder why Mr. Howell gets almost 25% more words.

The Gazette 3: Sarah Dougherty writes 1,019 words about Kathryn Lamb who it would seem fits in well with the Streeteaters Art Market that happens here every month.

By the way, this is a picture of the Emily Carr painting that sold for $1.12-million. It's called "Quiet."

Le Devoir 1: Laurence Clavel writes 512 words about the "summer blockbuster©" coming to the Musee des beaux-arts du Canada. As I've written before it's a freakin' clown show. I don't know if Guy Laliberte will show up and see it, but I do want to know if any of the pieces came from Diane Keaton's art collection and if Pierre Theberge was successful in scoring any of the pieces from Cindy Sherman.

Le Devoir 2: Stéphane Baillargeon writes 596 words that you can't read about Marcel Brisebois not going quietly into the night. Will he ever retire? If you want to read the article email me.

Radio Canada 1: Claude Couillard writes 269 words about the Empress of Ireland exhibit at the Museum of the Sea in Rimouski.

Radio Canada 2: Claude Couillard writes 344 words about the thirty-fifth anniversary of John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's bed-in. I don't know what it is in the Visual Arts section.

The Mirror 1 and 2: Matthew Woodley covers the same thing as the West Island Chronicle (who would've thunk that there was crossover in their readership?) it runs 191 words. He also writes 110 words on the Funki Porcini's "Work in Progress" video series at Oboro.

Hour: Isa Tousignant writes 637 words about Karen Tam's Gold Mountain Restaurant exhibit at MAI. It should've been in the restaurant review section instead.

Voir 1: Nicolas Mavrikakis writes 576 words about the Garry Neill Kennedy exhibit at Articule. Obviously winning the Govenor General's Award for Visual Arts doesn't instantly move your art into museums.

Voir 2: Mr. Mavrikakis then writes 551 words about the Jean McEwen exhibit at Galerie Simon Blais. It pretty much serves as an excuse to publicize Blais' fifteenth anniversary.

And finally the thing that I find most peculiar is that the Association des Galeries d'Art Contemporain is having their Art Fair this weekend, and all they could secure as far as publicity was 137 words at the end of Mr. Mavrikakis's second article. And I was looking for articles about it. Hmmm, I wonder how many people managed to get there?

Friday, May 28, 2004

More reasons not to like the states


Short quick and to the point. From MAN the Washington City Paper is reporting that Guy Cogeval is being sued for Plagarism.

The article can be read here (scroll down to "SIMILAR IMPRESSIONS")

From my perspective (twisted at best) Annette and Brooks Beaulieu (the folks doing the suing) are looking for a payday. Their manuscript was unpublished, and how many ways are there to write about what Edouard Vuillard.did in the summer of 1896?

Unfortunately there are way too many precedents, and I would guess that it is likely that they do get their cash. MY guess is that if M. Cogeval did not write that "the catalog had required “a total reconsideration and rewriting” of existing research" and been slightly more generous with his thanks, this wouldn't have happened.

Who would've thunk, that me and Mr. Cogeval would be on the same side?

Boy I'm Glad I'm here in Montreal!!


Well, after a day's though, maybe it ain't so bad not getting respect. On Wednesday, I was reading Working Artist's Journal and came across this article. Apparently Capobianco Gallery, as they say "located in the heart of San Francisco's popular North Beach" or in other words the heart of left wing America is closing down because the exhibited this picture.

It is way tougher there than I ever thought. The picture is called "the abuse" and it is by Guy Colwell. And while I don't think anybody should have to face up to being spat upon because they're showing a picture, the concept that somebody, anybody in San Francisco would think to do that is just flat out ridiculous. Pretty much the same behavior as the Army dudes and dudettes. Yuck.

Then, (and this one, I'm not certain where I got it from, apologies, and I have taken steps to correct this) I came across this article about James F. Kennedy, a Chicago Art Dealer who has been "charged with attempted theft by fraud, a felony. He also faces 13 misdemeanor counts for possession of individual forgeries, including crude duplications of paintings and drawings."

One advantage to only exhibiting artists' first solo show, is that there is no way in heck, that it would be worth anyone's time to forge stuff. Heck, when asked, I tell artists who exhibit here, that worrying about theft, unless you have a "name" ain't nobody gonna try and steal your stuff. That's why folk exhibit here, in order to try getting a "name."

Then while we're checking out weird stuff in the US, this photographer Larry Sultan, who has taken pictures of "middle-class homes in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California" the hook is that all of the houses have been rented out in order to make porno flicks. Nothing like a little bits of T&A to get people to appreciate art, eh? Heck, it even made it into the NYTimes!

Back on this side of the border, the CBC reports that the Canada Foundation is attempting to do what I did on Tuesday the article then goes and gets things wrong, by stating that only the NDP have released anything that even vaguely looks like an Arts & Culture policy. Your choice as to what exactly the mistake is, either what the NDP have in fact released an Arts & Culture policy ('cuz from what I read they haven't) or that they missed the Liberals policy (which is about as long as the NDP's).

Then, while it ain't contemporary Art, the Globe & Mail does the right thing and trumpet's that "a tranquil forest scene by Emily Carr" set a record at the Heffel Auction last night, things bode well for the Ritchies auction next week.

And finally, the NYTimes talks up how good Mass MOCA has been for North Adams. As the Ministere de la culture et des communications du Québec have also released attendance figures for museums in Québec, I'm planning on doing some comparing and contrasting later on.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Montreal Art and Rodney Dangerfield are like that


Almost everybody is talking about the fire in a Momart art warehouse facility at Leyton in London that destroyed a gazillion dollars worth of Young British Art ©. Umm, does anybody have any brain cells left to remember the fire last November 28th here at the Centre des collections muséales?

And does anybody think to say that the Montréal Firefireghters rock? 'Cuz nothing was lost? Or that maybe the folk here in town know what they're doing when it comes to protecting irreplaceable things?

Naw, didn't think so.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

My first review!!


And as long as I am doing short multiple posts today, somebody I know gets a really big kick out of this:

"I think you should read zeke's gallery. It's a Montreal art blog and it's written in that tone of voice that is reminiscent of that hottie tone which is a new kind of humor that is not sarcastic or ironic or post-modern!"

It comes from the blog Hope She Calls, and was written on April 16th.

God bless Hugo and Kristian .

First Response from a politician


I got my first response from a political party. Surprise, surprise it is the Marijuana Party I would have guessed that it was going to be one of the smaller parties, but never them.

-----Original Message-----
From: info [mailto:info@marijuanaparty.org]
Sent: Wednesday May 26, 2004 6.54 >
To: Chris @ Zeke's Gallery
Subject: Re: Art & Culture

we are of the opinion that marijuana does wonders for art and culture,
both it's appreciation and it's creation.


While I agree with them in principle, if I had a vote, this would not induce me to vote for them. I would much prefer to see some details as to whats and hows. Like that they want to start some Arts Incubator. I haven't had a chance to read this site in depth, but it does look mighty interesting as a concept.

If you're interested in more details about the pros and cons of Arts Incubators, I got it from Andrew Taylor's The Artful Manager, apparently there are a bunch more of 'em out there, and while they sound cool on the surface, there is a lot more to them that needs to by looked at.

Shameless Self-Promotion


The poster that Bob Wiseman made for his upcoming show here. Cool, eh?

If you click on it, it will become much bigger and much more legible. Yes, it is a pricey ticket - $10 for members of Zeke's Gallery, $15 for everyone else, $25 (a bargain!) with a copy of Live at Zeke's Volume 126 (the recording of the evening) but given that Mr. Wiseman has a) graciously offered to travel to Montreal for the gig, and b) that his music is absofuckinglutely incredible unless you are dead there really isn't any reason to miss this show.

Plus, if you dress all in orange, and are one of the first five people to purchase a ticket, you get a FREE (yes, $0, no money down, really cheap) copy of the CD that he is releasing (which as of now, still doesn't have a name). Cool, eh?

Also, if I can mention, despite there not being a really swanky poster, Randboro is playing here at the gallery on June 5. Tickets are $5 (or free for members) and while they don't have the road calluses that Mr. Wiseman has, their music is every bit as entertaining.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Democracy in action


Very easy and very simple for today's entry. As the election is taking up way too much space in the newspapers, I decided to email each of the parties involved and ask them where they stood with regards to Arts & Culture. Despite my inability to vote here, I figured it would be interesting to know their policies in detail.

If and when they get back to me, I'll let you know what their response(s) are.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris @ Zeke's Gallery [mailto:zeke@zeke.com]
Sent: Tuesday May 25, 2004 3.11 >
To: npc@igs.net; office@cpcml.ca [Communist Party]
Subject: Arts & Culture


I was reading through your platform and noticed that you have no mention of Art or Culture. I was wondering what your party's position is on this subject?

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris @ Zeke's Gallery [mailto:zeke@zeke.com]
Sent: Tuesday May 25, 2004 3.07 >
To: info@cpc-pcc.ca [The other Communist Party]
Subject: Arts & Culture


In reading through your party's platform, I noticed that you only refer to the arts & culture once, and state that your party would "Restore funding for the CBC, the arts and Canadian culture."

I was wondering if you had any information that provided a slightly more detailed description of your plans with regards to Arts & Culture. While I applaud the idea in general of spending more money on the arts, throwing money willy-nilly is not always the best solution.

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris @ Zeke's Gallery [mailto:zeke@zeke.com]
Sent: Tuesday May 25, 2004 3.00 >
To: ideas@green.ca [The Green Party]
Subject: Arts & Culture


Your platform states that if you were elected that your party would
"Increase support for community arts programs and facilities to encourage participation.
Revise funding programs to expand peer review and include audience feedback.
Sponsor regional arts festivals that bring new Canadian art to a wider audience."

I was wondering if you had any information that provided a slightly more detailed description of your plans with regards to Arts & Culture. While I applaud the idea in general of spending more money on the arts, throwing money willy-nilly is not always the best solution.

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris @ Zeke's Gallery [mailto:zeke@zeke.com]
Sent: Tuesday May 25, 2004 2.52 >
To: info@canadianactionparty.ca [The Canadian Action Party]
Subject: Art & Culture


I was reading through your platform and noticed that your platform states that you would increase funding for the National Arts Council and the CBC. I was wondering if this was the total extent of your policies on Art & Culture, or if there was something slightly more detailed available.

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris @ Zeke's Gallery [mailto:zeke@zeke.com]
Sent: Tuesday May 25, 2004 2.48 >
To: info@marijuanaparty.org [The Marijuana Party]
Subject: Art & Culture


I was reading through your platform and noticed that you have no mention of Art or Culture. I was wondering what your party's position is on this subject?

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

The Bloc Quebecois, Conservatives, NDP and Liberals all use web forms for email, so the one's I sent to them don't have the same "email-y" look, sorry.

Sent to the Liberals


In going through the policy and documents section of the Liberal Party's web site, the only mention of Art & Culture are the following two quotes:

"In the arts sector, we will work to modernize our arts and culture policy and create a new international instrument on cultural diversity.

"We will work with parliamentarians to modernize our arts and culture policies and federal cultural institutions. We can aid these institutions as they take up the challenge of technological advancements, while also reflecting Canada’s regional diversity and multiculturalism.

I was wondering if you had any information that provided a slightly more detailed description of your plans with regards to Arts & Culture. Or if you were planning on continuing the same policies that have been in place without change?

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

Sent to the NDP


I was reading through your party's issues section on the web site, and noticed that you have no mention of Art or Culture. I was wondering what your party's position is on this subject?

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

Sent to the Conservatives


I was reading through your party's website and noticed that you have no mention of Art or Culture. I was wondering what your party's position is on this subject?

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

Sent to the Bloc Quebecois


I was reading through your party's website and noticed that you have no mention of Art or Culture. I was wondering what your party's position is on this subject?

Thank You Very Much
Chris Hand

Zeke's Gallery

OK, in the time it took me to type this, the Conservatives had an auto responder kick in. So far the the response tally is this:

-----Original Message-----
From: info@conservative.ca [mailto:info@conservative.ca]
Sent: Tuesday May 25, 2004 3.39 >
To: zeke@zeke.com
Subject: Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to send your comments or request to the
Conservative Party of Canada. They will be addressed as quickly as

Monday, May 24, 2004

Good use of the internet


There's this program on CBC Radio One called The Arts Today and as it is broadcast at ten o'clock in the evening, I find it difficult to fit into my schedule. They regularly talk with people like AA Bronson, Rodney Graham, Jaap Brakke (a curator with the Drents Museum in the Netherlands) Maxwell Bates, and Dominique Blain which means I'd really like to hear it.

Now, the CBC website apparently has archiving capabilities, and there is a link from "The Arts Today" web page which states (in its entirety) "Listen to the latest program." Sounds cool, right? I should be able to listen to the shows when I have time and/or am awake. Unfortunately, when you click on the link it then states "The audio file which you have requested is not available online. We regret that we are no longer able to provide this audio file and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause." Ok, you're thinking this is just me being cranky. Well, you might be right, but I figure that the CBC should be able to figure out how this thing called the internet works.

The only reason I bring it up, is that I also listen to a radio station from Jersey City, New Jersey, called WFMU. They have a program called "The Speakeasy with Dorian." It is similar to "The Arts Today" in that Dorian talks with people like Alexis Rockman, Chuck Close, James Rosenquist, and Malcolm Daniel, Curator of photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. WFMU has an annual budget of under $1 million, or by my guess less than 2% of the CBC's budget for English radio. However WFMU somehow has been able to archive all the Speakeasy shows and they archive them about two hours after the show has been broadcast.

How is it that a tiny radio station in Podunk can accomplish what the CBC can't?

The Alexis Rockman show
The Chuck Close show
The James Rosenquist show
The Marshall Arisman show
The Malcolm Daniel show
The Matthew Barney show

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Sunday Art Review Round Up


Lots and lots and lots of things this week. In no particular order, ok?

La Presse: Jerome Delgado writes 804 words about the Henri Venne exhibit at the Musee d'Art Contemporain. I haven't seen the show, but from reading Mr. Delgado's reporting, it sounds like Mr. Venne does stuff that is similar to what Philip Bottenberg is doing here. I've heard from people who have seen the exhibit that they were disappointed, but I figure I should get my butt outa here and check it out for myself. After all, they were tourists expecting MOMA.

La Presse two: Two weeks ago it was all Cocteau all the time, this week it seems as if it is all Oceania, all the time. Pointe a Calliere (the history Museum in town for you out of towners) is doing something on things down under. Predictably, the press goes gaga. 186 words from Canadian Press.

La Presse three: Nathalie Petrowski writes 1,235 words about the thirty-fifth anniversary of John and Yoko's bed in for peace. Now this ain't specifically something Visual Art, but what intrigued me was that this "event" is being covered from here to tomorrow like nobody's business. It seems that Donald Tarlton was able to round up some Quebecois vedettes and they are going to do a cover version of the song, give some money to some worthy charity and gets lots and lots a publicity. Everybody feels good and goes home happy. However, last year (the thirty-fourth anniversary) Yong Soon Min and Allan deSouza recreated the bed in at Oboro and got pretty much no press coverage at all. Watch it here.

Now the obvious question, is what differentiates these two things (other than a year)? One is "Performance Art" and gets forty people in the door to check it out. The other is "An Event" and millions of people check it out. Yet, they pretty much are the same damn thing, which is rehashing some stuff that happened a bunch of years ago. I pretty much don't get it. Or is it just a matter of Donald Tarlton having a better PR company than Oboro?

Le Journal de Montreal, gets into the swing of things (I told you it was ALL Oceania, all the time) with a 384 word article that scans pretty much like the article from La Presse, just longer.

Radio Canada: Claude Couillard writes 329 words about the Oceania exhibit, but this time with, couut 'em four pictures! Only one of which was used by Le Journal. You'd figure that the person in charge of publicity at Pointe a Calliere would have been able to give out two different sets of pix.

My personal fave (and the one that both media outlets chose to use).

Radio Canada two: Mr. Couillard uses 309 words to rewrite the press release for the journee des musees on May 30th. Actually I gotta take that back, I'm wrong. The press release is 1,021 words and way more informative. Stuff like Quebecor being the title sponsor and Alcan, Archambault, Omer Des Serres and whacks of other companies jumping on board. I wonder how much they all paid for the honor.

Radio Canada three: Small blurb of 99 words about the possibility of a strike at the National Gallery in Ottwaw. Maybe that will be reason to get Canada in Artforum again.

Radio Canada four: 291 words by Claude Couillard and three pictures about the Richard Purdy, Ron Noganosh, and Willie Cole exhibit at the Musee des Beaux Arts in Quebec City. This exhibit does look like it would be very cool. following some of the links seems to prove it to me.

Ron Noganosh, Shield for a Modern Warrior, or Concession to Beads and Feathers in Indian Art
1983 - Metal, beer cans, feathers, fur, hair, suede, and pearls. 125 x 65 x 15 cm
Ministère des affaires indiennes et du nord canadien / Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Photo : Patrick Altman, MNBAQ

And maybe this picture will prove it to you. If that doesn't then how about this? At UQAM they have this interdisciplinary group called "Le Soi et L'Autre" which organized the exhibit. Way too much brain power there. Literature in three languages, history, art history, sociology and a whack of other disciplines all hanging out together, cool, eh? I can only hope that it makes it to Montreal (but somehow I don't think this is gonna happen).

Le Devoir: Guy Taillefer writes 798 words about the exhibit at the Chateau Ramezay. While not exactly Visual Art, it does sound very interesting. To help cross promote the twentieth anniversary of the Tour de Ville, Chateau Ramezay is presenting a history of the bicycle in Montreal. Again, a piece of reporting not a review, but informative as such.

Le Devoir two: Not available to the public they did some timely (read that VERY sarcastically) reporting about the Sothebys/Ritchies auction It was published on Tuesday, a full week after the viewing had happened here in Montreal. Like, who was editing? Wouldn't it have been a tad better to have run the article before the viewing?

Le Devoir three: Still unavailable to everybody, an article about the Musee des Beaux Arts in Quebec City announcing that there will a Rubens exhibit there in October. Oooh, I gotta mark that one down in my calendar.

Le Devoir four: I wonder who decided to run this article about Les Modernes extending the Clemence DesRochers exhibit there.

Le Devoir five: Stephane Baillargeon jumps into the all Oceania all the time pool. Yawn.

Le Devoir six: Michel Hellman writes about the Garry Neill Kennedy exhibit at Articule. This is something I'd like to be able to read. Pity the people at Le Devoir don't want me to.

Voir: It seems that Nicolas Mavrikakis couldn't get gas money from the big boys, so they got Nathalie Guimond to write 489 words about the Fu Ji Tsang exhibit at the Galerie d'art événementielle Richelieu. As this is the first time I've ever read anything by Ms. Guimond I can't really get a sense of her style. Pretty much a straight report about the show. Nicely done given the space limitations. The three comments are much more over the top in their praise of Fu Ji Tsang's work.

Voir two: Mr. Mavrikakis writes 499 words about Espace Vox, their recent move, and the current show, a little bit late. (They did it earlier this month.) It seems that Mr. Mavrikakis might have adopted a new style of writing, or at least a variation. There is no name dropping, but he does inform the reader in a rather bombastic style about his opinions on Marie Fraser, Mark Lewis, Isabelle Hayeur, and Mary Kunuk. And then he goes on to slag them! Jeez! Maybe if he went in without any preconceived notions about what the art should be, he'd be more open to it (like he is with regards to the work of Ms. Kunuk). This piece garners five comments from the readers, of a more tangential nature.

The Gazette: Someone named Kristine Berey writes 465 words about the Dawson College illustration and design graduating students exhibit. A pretty puff piece about a very neglected (but important and respectable) program at Dawson. The thing that I find annoying has nothing to do with the article, but the exhibition started on Thursday, and closes today. Like that's giving anybody enough time to get down there to see it. I just might write a letter to program chairperson Lucy Trahan.

The Gazette two: Mike Boone writes 517 words about a Guy Lafleur cash grab. While Mr. Boone and Mr. Lafleur might have "laughed off suggestions that art would make him [Mr. Lafleur] rich." If they do succeed in selling each and every last one, there will be more than a cool million bucks to split up. I assume that the artist who did the prints (hey! Mr. Boone doesn't get around to mentioning him until the ninth paragraph, I can delay mentioning him for a little bit) Mario Beaudoin will get some. Just so I can be snarky, Mr. Boone thinks that because Mr. Lafleur apparently always says what he thinks, Mr. Lafleur would make a good art critic. Maybe Mr. Boone should have asked Mr. Lafleur what he thought about the prints.

The Gazette three: Small blurb of 78 words about the upcoming Dollard-Roxboro Artists Association's exhibition and sale.

The Gazette four: Arthur Kaptainis write 334 words about the CBC-McGill Concert series finale of what they called "A Music Gallery: 3 musicians, 6 composers, and 12 painters!" Mr. Kaptainis could easily write for Parachute without missing a beat (but I betcha that the Gazette pays better). He uses "lapidary clarity," "conventionally dyspeptic," and "luminous." All with a straight face.

The Gazette five: It seems that Henry Lehman is on vacation, they gave Steven Howell 486 words to jump on the Oceania bandwagon. Double Yawn.

The Montréal Mirror's Matthew Woodley waxes eloquent in 571 words about the Studio xx fundraiser at Quartier Ephemere. I was there last night. I'll leave it at that. No sense in getting catty or pissing off people needlessly.

The Montréal Mirror then has a second piece this one by Vince Tinguely about the Perpetual Motion Roadshow that happened here last night along with a nice bit by Christine Redfern about the Diane Obomsawin exhibit at Usine C.

The Hour: Isa Tousignant seems to have had a bad day last week when she went around to see what the local galleries had to offer. She writes 650 words about the shows at Art Mur, La Centrale (which she did not see) and Champ Libre's Eaux-arts Electroniques (which as it happened when she wrote the article, hadn't seen). Ms. Tousignantgets points for writing about under covered galleries, but loses some points because I'd much prefer to read what she has to say about the art, instead of masquerading as a publicity flack.

The Hour two: Meg Hewings writes 229 words about the benefit art auction for The Bookmobile Project. Now, last week Catherine Osborne wrote in the National Post that there was a dearth of Contemporary Art Auctions here in Canada. This might be one of the reasons, the average price for a piece at this auction was by my estimate (yes, I was there) $70. Ain't nobody gonna get rich making art for that sells for $70 to the general public. Much better selling it to the Art Bank for a couple of grand, right? And is the Art Bank gonna have an auction? Didn't think so. For that matter does the Art Bank make headlines? No, they're all nice and polite. And you wonder why Canadian Contemporary Art is not on the map.

As an aside, since it ain't really a local paper, the Globe & Mail gives Gary Michael Dault 205 words to try and make a lame joke at Andrea Szilasi's expense. If he didn't like the exhibit I would've preferred to know in slightly more detail why, instead of attempting to toss off one liners. If I'm looking for a comedy writer, I'll go to Hollywood, thanks.

As I'm at 1,870 words (I told you there was a lot!) I'm not going to go look in the regional weeklies, I'll catch up with them next week.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Potshots and little scattered bits


It's almost 5:30 and I got the Perpetual Motion Roadshow happening here in less than 90 minutes. So I figured that I'd get these things off my chest, and leave the weighty stuff for later.

A couple of follow ups; I originally wrote about the daughter of Ken Thompson getting into a snit about some vases that Christies had sold her. Well it seems that she's won (like the rich need to get any richer). Read about it here.

Next giving props where props are due, Sarah Milroy writes a very nice article of 1,324 words about Istvan Kantor's Lebensraum/Lifespace: Spectacle of Noise. I like it very much when arts writers have space to stretch out. There should be more of that.

Flipping over to Cleveland, some guy named Dan Tranberg, writes 601 words about "True North: 20 Masters of Canadian Glass Art," which is being exhibited at Corcoran Fine Arts somewhere in Cleveland. Cool! Even though Cleveland doesn't rock, I always like seeing "local" folk make good out of town.

Then focusing your attention on certain folk who are also blogging about art, MAeX Art Blog, has some links to some very cool articles about the price of art. Besides using it as a launching pad to read other things, Onajide (the guy who writes it) also has some pretty kick-ass thoughts about art (some of which I agree with, some of which I don't). So I recommend reading more than of his stuff, click here to check it out.

Moving north to Washington DC, ionarts has a wicked cool post about the ideas pro and con about contemporary art being either trashy or not. Way cool for avoiding working.

Then I haven't read this yet (I told you that I was pressed for time) but I figure that if I link to Adrian Searle's article in The Guardian titled "The next big thing? There isn't one" then when I am a little more relaxed I might actually be able to read it myself. Nonetheless it looks very interesting.

And if you're reading this before 7:30 pm on Saturday, feel free to swing by and check out the latest and greatest version of the Perpetual Motion Roadshow.

The press release reads:


See performances, indie vids and get your very own superhero makeover!

Editor Emily Pohl-Weary, media tigress Carly Stasko, master ventriloquist Daniel Heath Justice, hammerin’ superheroine Mariko Tamaki and other contributors to the anthology Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Mutants, Slayers and Freaks (Sumach Press) will hit Montreal during their upcoming East Coast tour.

Girls Who Bite Back will wind through eight cities from Toronto down to Madison thanks to the organizational wonders of the Perpetual Motion Roadshow.

Also featured are movie-style trailers celebrating Roadshow organizer Jim Munroe’s new edition of his anti-corporate superheroes-in-love novel, Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask.

Saturday, May 22, 7:30 pm. Zeke’s Gallery (3955 St. Laurent). $4. with alter-ego sketcher Sherwin Tjia and monster hunter Sophie Levy

Taking on the bombshell spies, slayers, witches and assassins who are fighting their way into movies and television shows everywhere, Girls Who Bite Back examines what these new role models for young women are really about.

EMILY POHL-WEARY, editor of Kiss Machine and co-author with Judith Merril of the Hugo Award-winning Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, puts her unique stamp on the field of speculative fiction and pop culture in this one-of-a-kind anthology of short stories, cultural analysis, comics and artwork.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Philip Bottenberg's "October 15, 2003"


Taking full advantage of this new toy, I figure that I can post an image from Philip Bottenberg's exhibit here.

It is called "October 15, 2003" and is oil on canvas, and four feet square.

While, obviously, all of Philip's paintings are different, this one has a couple of things in particular that you should be aware of. The blurriness that gives the sense of movement (or speed) is not something that he does regularly. Most of his paintings are very still, sort of like what you'd get if you took a photograph of the sky or underwater. There is only one other painting in the show that has the movement that October 15, 2003 has, and even then, it is much more muted.

Also, while your eye naturally follows the lines towards the center, the dots serve to break up the unrelenting g-forces that your mind is subjected to while viewing the painting. I'm certain that there is a very technical and at least three syllable word to describe it, but I don't know it. Feel free to call me a dummy while you're looking.

Mr. Bottenberg paints in layers, and while I could ask him directly "how many layers are on this one?" It is much more fun to guess. From my seat here, I count about eight or so. Then on top of all those layers there's gotta be at least a gazillion layers of varnish. Making the painting very shiny.

The glare of light on the painting shifts as the day progresses, which if you're only here to see it once, can be an annoying thing. But by having the opportunity to view it at different times of day it end up making me see and focus on different parts of the painting each time I look at it. Or in other words each time I look at it, it appears slightly different.

Cool toy, eh?

Thursday, May 20, 2004


Just got a new toy!

This is the invite for Philip's Show. Assuming that this thing-y works, then it seems that it will be way easy to post pictures from the exhibits here.


Having lotsa fun


Would somebody please remind me to mark July 12th down in my agenda? Thanks. That is the day the Chantal Pontbriand told me to call her, so as to remind her to come on over for a visit to the gallery. Woo-Hoo! I don't know whether to fall down and faint, or to jump up for joy.

Last night I went to the Concordia Alumni Association reception to honor Chantal Pontbriand. It was a blast! I got to see Chris Riley (scroll down, all the way down) Sharon Schmerer, John Aylen, Robert Winters, Laurel Smith, Pierre-Francois Ouellette, and met Leah and Norbert. But the highlight of the evening was being (re) introduced to Ms. Pontbriand by Mr. Winters. The look on her face was priceless.

After her speech (during which one woman to fainted, I won't speculate as to what the cause was exactly) I then asked her, as she was in town, if I could set up an appointment with her to come see the gallery. She had during the (re) introduction mentioned that she was a very busy woman, and was only in town for two days a week, and that because of all her traveling she absolutely had to get to her cottage (no Balconville for her, no 85 hour weeks tirelessly promoting Canadian Art, not even a single baseball game). And that this was now the reason why she was unable to cross the street to come to the gallery.

I took all of it in, without saying a word, but was successful in getting her to at least say the words "the week of July 12th." I'll keep everybody appraised of how things shake out.

Now, you're probably wondering why I have such a jones for Ms. Pontbriand. Well, first off I wouldn't quite call it a "jones" even though I did write the word. It's more like my reaction to a scab or a toothache. Where even though I know it ain't good for me I still pick and poke. I find it endlessly intriguing as to wonder why she has such difficulty setting foot in Zeke's Gallery, and what this could possibly mean for the future of the universe. Not like I have anything better to do.

But, back to the reception. One of the things that I found very interesting was how on the website for the event they wrote "With honorary patron Stéphane Aquin, curator of contemporary art at the MMFA." However, he wasn't there, nor was any mention made of his absence. They did state that Guy Cogeval was not able to attend because of some conflict, and they also mentioned that Michèle Thériault was not able to attend due to some other conflict (or maybe perhaps the same one?) however they were able to rope in Geneviève Cadieux who said what I think were nice words about Ms. Pontbriand.

Ms. Pontbriand's speech wasn't all that informative, but there was one thing I found sort of interesting, in that she related how in the "heady" days of the late-sixties and early seventies she started Parachute, and it struck me as how there are way too many people who are so thoroughly enamored of their adolescence. If you were to stop just about anybody in the street and ask them what was their favorite music, I'd bet you dollars to donuts, that they'd name a group that was very popular when their were in between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. And that the most influential movies, books, paintings, whatever, to them were from the same period.

What is it about stagnating as one grows old? Why can't people continue to embrace the "new" as they get old? I dunno? their loss.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Wicked Cool stuff


I'm not certain who or what "bloggy" is but boy oh boy am I happy I came across them! 'Cuz on Friday they informed me that eight Canadian Artsits are having a show at White Columns.

Now, White Columns is a wicked cool and kick-ass place. To quote from their website "White Columns is New York's oldest alternative art space. It was founded in 1969 to present and uphold the most challenging and creative visual arts by under-supported artists." And a little bit further down, their "mandate is to represent the best work being done today by emerging and under-supported artists."

The artists in the exhibition, called "The Cave and the Island" are David Armstrong Six, Karen Azoulay, Massimo Guerrera, Jay Isaac, Damian Moppett, and Jennifer Murphy. I know of Karen Azoulay and Massimo Guerrera, the other folk (including the curator Xandra Eden) are all unknowns to me. But I can only assume that all of the work exhibited is rawkin'! If any of you are in the neighborhood of White Columns - or in other words in NYC - please let me know what the show is like, ok?

While I am quite excited about this, I can only laugh (quietly, of course, don't want to offend anyone) about lines like this from the press release:

1. "Jennifer Murphy creates an alternate high/low dynamic through her investigation of the correspondences between popular culture, art and iconic symbols."

Does this mean that she puts pictures of Michael Jackson in really ornate frames?

2. "For this exhibition, the artist will produce a new quasi-Minimalist sculpture maquette..."

What exactly is "quasi-Minimalist?" And if "The Cave and the Island is generously supported by Foreign Affairs Canada, Jay Alan Smith & Laura Rapp, and Kaye Beeston." Then couldn't they have come with the extra cash to build the sculpture?

3. "Comprised of artists Maura Doyle and Tony Romano, GLN will present a series of new works using keyboards and special sound effects to interpret the physical and visual context of The Cave and The Island."

Ummm, does this mean that they're going to play ambient versions of "I am a Rock" written by Paul Simon, "Islands in the Stream" by the brothers Gibb, but popularized by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, "Island Girl" by Elton John, "R-O-C-K in the U-S-A" by John Mellencamp, and "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaata?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004



After wrestling, in a playful sort of way, with Blogger for way too long yesterday, I think everything could be considered back to normal. Which means that I have way too many things to opinionate about.

First off, 'cuz it is not going to be available for free much longer - last week the New York Times reported about some malfeasance (nasty stuff, but I couldn't help myself, sorry) going on as a secondary thing to all the corporate scandals in the world. It seems that some people who I think who have more dollars than brains have been trying to avoid paying the taxman when they buy art. The people named in the article are: Joe L. Allbritton, (Riggs National Corporation); Robert J. Hurst, (ex-Goldman Sachs) & president of the board of the Whitney; and L. Dennis Kozlowski, (es-Tyco) among others. As Tyler Green pointed out here and Mickey Kaus wrote here it should be a sticky situation when a Museum Board member gets investigated for this sort of thing. But it seems that it ain't getting the press it deserves. I can only wonder who and what Revenue Canada is investigating.

Then while we're on the NYTimes, they have a very nice piece about Matt Haimovitz playing CBGB's Saturday night. I've emailed his agent asking if he would play the gallery. But haven't heard anything so far.

And then finally, on Sunday they published an article by Guy Trebay, about how Los Angeles is trying to (and perhaps succeeding) in beating New York in the contemporary art world. Mr. Trebay talks to or mentions the following people:

Eugenio Lopez
19.5 Ant.Carretera a Pachuca,
55340 Xalostoc, Ecatepec,
Mexico City

Chac Mool
8920 Melrose Ave.,
West Hollywood 90069

Jane Nathanson
10900 Wilshire Blvd., 15th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90024

Brian Glazer
Imagine Entertainment
9465 Wilshire Bl. #700
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Eli Broad
75 Oakmont Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Peter Morton
510 North Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Marcia Weisman
275 North Carolwood Drive,
Los Angeles, California 90077-3535
(I'm not entirely certain about this one, it might be better to address it to Billie Milam Weisman)

David Geffen
3801 Barham Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Bill & Maria Bell
(no luck they have a way too common name)

Beth Swofford
2091 Outpost Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Rosette Delug
(No luck either, although with a name like Delug you'd think otherwise)

Cliff & Mandy Einstein
11940 Brentwood Grove
West Hollywood, CA 90049

I figured it would help to give their addresses, so y'all could invite them to your next exhibition. I can't stand fluff pieces that serve no reason other than to boost the egos of the people written about. All the addresses were and are available on the internet, either from the fec.gov web site, or phone books.

Now that we're finished with the New York Times, we can stay on the idea of money, money, money, as Business Week gives a starry eyed and sorta sweet explanation as to the hows and the why Boy with a Pipe sold for $104 million (actually $93 million before the buyer's premium).

But we can stay on the left-coast, 'cuz on Tuesday the 27th of April (yes, I'm always late to the party) on abLA (or Art.Blogging.LA for those on the more "cultured" coast) had a particularly good set of running comments.

Then continuing on the blogging front, I'm not certain which blog turned me onto Blog The Boards by On the Boards/Behnke Center for Contemporary Performance in Seattle. I particularly like the idea and wish I could pull one off here in Montreal. Unlike the comments section of Voir/Hour my guess is that it is driven by a need rather than greed. But either way, the artists involved are probably getting all excited by the opportunity to read audience members reaction instead of the standard issue critics.

Then for something completely different, again apologies for not noting where I came across it, but Superflex is doing Guarana Power and the legal and political implications are mentioned here.

Then stepping back onto this side of the border the Jeff Holubitsky of the Edmonton Journal writes a feel good piece about some homeless kids in Edmonton doing art. As they would say there, good on ya! Apparently ihuman society has been doing this for a while, there was a CBC article about them back in 2002.

And then to wrap things up, Simon Houpt wrote in last Saturday's Globe & Mail a very interesting article about what he calls FrankenArt, but in actual fact is a very nicely done piece that ties together the work of artist, Cory Arcangel, and the DJ, Danger Mouse. Or basically pointing out that every good artist borrows liberally from other artists. The only problem I have with it is that he could (or perhaps should) have mentioned Marc Couroux instead of Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. While their "Every Shot, Every Episode" piece sounds cool, been there, done that with Mr. Couroux's Rockford.

Monday, May 17, 2004

New look


Unless you're blind, you probably have already realized that I have taken advantage of Blogger's "New!" and "Improved!" templates. I think I have most of the wonky stuff in hand. If you notice anything wonky, buggy or it freakin' doesn't work, please let me know, thanks.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Zeke's Gallery Sunday Visual Art Review Round Up


Lots and lots of stuff today! And in no particular order. L'avenir de l'est has 236 words on an exhibition by students from the Centre Ressources-Loisirs Roussin. Apparently, there were more than 600 visitors (wicked cool!) I always like it when attendance figures are given. As there were 92 artists involved, Steve Caron doesn't say much about any of the art in particular.

Then, they also have a very long article (474 words) by Caroline Bourgeois about Lucie Raymond. Who is having an exhibition at Caserne 18-30. Very nicely done, I like the fact that it is not a reprint of a press release.

Over at the Flambeau de l'est André Desroches does his mitzvah for the week by using 199 words from the press release of "quinzaine culturelle Le 3e Art"

Then Marie Ève Courchesne writes 152 words about an exhibition at the centre de loisirs Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. Again it seems that attendance figure are more important than the actual art, and over three days they got 1,000 pairs of eyes in the door. I'm a tad miffed that I missed it, but I am thankful for the picture which in this case IS worth a 1,000 words, so I figure that I should revise that to read "Marie Ève Courchesne writes 1,152 words."

The organizers of the event: Hélène Fafard, présidente, Colette St-Hilaire, vice-présidente, Madelaine Leclerc, trésorière, Philippe Valois, directeur général du centre, et Robert Perron. (Photo : Sylvain Ryan)

Ms. Courchesne continues with a 313 word article about a photography competition and exhibit at la maison de la culture Mercier. Not an awful lot of information, nor any kick ass photos, but apparently there were 400 photos and Nicole Nadon won the prize.

Then we switch over to the heavyweights, it seems that La Presse published 706 words by Jerome Delgado about Petites pièces, grands espaces, at Occurrence AFTER I did my review round up. Well they can't get away with it, I'll write about this week! And it is generally well done. But the thing that gets my goat is how there are (by my count) over 175 galleries here in town and the major reviewers can't but trip all over themselves to review the same shows. You'd figure that since the same people read Voir as read La Presse, that Nicholas Mavrikakis and Mr. Delgado could figure out different things to write about, especially since their reviews are pretty much the same thing.

From Mr. Delgado: "Reprenant l'idée du film Being John Malkovich de Spike Jonze, Salida de emergencia (Sortie de secours) repose sur une intrigante porte de la hauteur d'une maison de poupées."

[Blokespeak translation: Taking up the idea of the film Being John Malkovich of Spike Jonze, Salida of emergencia (Fire exit) rests on a intrigante carries height of a doll's house.]

From Mr. Mavrikakis: "Cela commence dans le couloir menant à la galerie par l'intervention de Lorena Peña. Intitulée Sortie de secours, elle consiste en une minuscule porte qui fait penser à celle du film Being John Malkovich."

[Blokespeak translation: That starts in the driving corridor with the gallery with the intervention of Lorena Peña. Entitled Fire exit, it consists of a tiny door, which makes think of that of the film Being John Malkovich.]

Oooh there's some brilliant insight there, eh?

Over at Radio-Canada Claude Couillard writes 507 words about the 40th anniversary of the Musee d'art contemporain. My guess is that if Manon Blanchette didn't really write it, then she was the source. It pretty much summarizes the history of the museum in such a brilliantly positive light that I'm surprised to find out that they hadn't cured cancer. I much prefer balanced overviews or coming clean (pretty much like I do here) and saying that there is a very significant bias in the writing instead of pretending like everything is all objective and hunky-dory.

Le Devoir re-wrote the press release in 100 words from the Musee des beaux Arts about Christiane Charette staying on the board of directors.

The interesting part is that in searching for the press release at the MBaM website (unfortunately I wasn't able to find it, so maybe Le Devoir actually wrote it themselves) I discovered that for Global Village they had snagged 108,154 people in to see it, or roughly 689 folk per day. I'll leave it up to you intelligent readers to figure out if 689/day is good bad or indifferent. And while I'm on it, congrats go out to Stephan Aquin for winning best exhibit in not only the Mirror's Best of Montreal, but also in the Top d'Ici.

Over on the bloke side of town, Henry Lehman writes 742 words in jumping on the Joyce Yahouda bandwagon. Sorta like Mr. Mavrikakis and Mr. Delgado, but this time Mr. Lehman and Mr. Mavrikakis. And while their readers this time don't much overlap (except perhaps for maybe me)

Mr. Mavikakis: "La seconde série d'œuvres se compose de plaques d'acier horizontales et de miroirs superposés, se déplaçant selon plusieurs axes. Ces grandes surfaces mobiles (représentatives de la manière qu'a Jacques Bilodeau d'organiser l'espace par paliers) glissent pour devenir des sièges aux positions multiples et des plates-formes de rencontre. On peut ainsi déplacer les panneaux sur une sorte de roulement à billes pour les transformer en plancher, espace de travail, table."

[Blokespeak translation: The second series of works is composed of horizontal plates of steel and superimposed mirrors, moving according to several axes. These great mobile surfaces (representative of the manner that has Jacques Bilodeau to organize space by stages) slip to become seats with the multiple positions and platforms of meeting. One can thus move the panels on a kind of ball bearing to transform them into floor, workspace, table.]

Mr. Lehman: "Consisting of mobile rectangular panels, each large enough to accommodate a prone person, this creation is meant as a provider of multipurpose surfaces. These surfaces, positioned at right angles to each other and having little wheels running along rails obtained from hospital equipment, can function as beds, tables or seats - or all three."

Or maybe I should rant about the gallery folk who say the same damn thing to everybody, nah, it wouldn't be fair to them. Their job is to get the show reviewed, and Louise Provencher and Ms. Yahouda do that very well. I'd prefer to stick with the idea that one of the reviewers could've come up with Alice in Wonderland, or le musee des nains [blokespeak: Midget Museum] for the Mexican show at Occurrence, and perhaps origami or theoretical geometry for the Bilodeau show, instead of repeating the same damn thing as the previous guy.

Le Devoir continues their tradition of not wanting me to read the articles by Michel Hellman by wanting to charge me $3.95 for something about Le Touché de la peinture at UQAM and yet another review of the Jacques Bilodeau show maybe this in fact is a good thing.

Then (we're maybe halfway done) La Presse also has a preview of la fête des musées. It runs 201 words.

Next, and technically this ain't an article about art in Montreal, Gary Michael Dault writes in the Globe and Mail about The Nicholas Metivier Gallery opening in Toronto the reason that I point it out is because it explains some of the behind the scenes stuff that happens in the "Art World." ie Nicholas Metivier used to work at the Mira Godard Gallery for 22 years. He "stole," "borrowed," "appropriated," "filched," "poached," "plundered" or did any number of other things to the artists who previously had been represented by Ms. Godard. But what I like best is the catty comment about John Scott needing representation, obviously there is some bad blood there, and reading about it in black and white is fun!

Ummm, I better pick up the pace here, otherwise I'm never getting out of here. Again, while it ain't Montréal, the Brattleboro Museum press release gets picked up by Yahoo (yes, I do read them ALL!) about their Warhol/Jon Gould exhibition. And for those of you with a car, it is only 3 hours away if you drive like Marcel Brisebois.

Now on to the meat of the matter, Hour gives Melora Koepke 794 words to wax eloquent about Vox moving in almost next door to SAT. I like seeing the Hour branch out and start using more than one visual art writer, I really like the idea of Ms. Koepke branching out and writing about the visual arts. She's got a couple of kick-ass lines, such as "Still, we're miles away from the fleshy squirm and bleep-bleep of instant gratification. But there's time for that, and plenty of it, down the street. That is, if I'm even in the mood after an hour spent in Vox's hushed, dark rooms with mirrored ceilings, where the photographic image is revered and not just made to be the sole means to a messy end. At least they kept the mirrored ceilings." Which depending on which way you swing could be a catty comment about SAT or the sex-trade workers, although if I had been her editor I would have given her the third degree about the mirrored ceilings, I don't get it.

Over at the Mirror, Christine Redfern jumps on the Cocteau bandwagon, a day late and a dollar short. Or to be more precise only 165 words and a week late.

But I gotta give them props in this week's Artistat quoted here in its entirety: "Number of dollars raised so far for the non-profit National Eating Disorder Information Centre through voluntary donations via Dove's touring photo exhibit, Beyond Compare: Women Photographers on Beauty (at Complexe Desjardins until May 16): $15,000" Although that figure is now out of date.

And lastly, Voir gives Mr. Mavrikakis the cover and 684 words to do Cocteau. For comparison's sake the 14 comments (as of this writing) run 3,342 words. I like Voir giving the cover up to the Visual Arts, I don't like them truncating Mr. Mavrikakis normal word count, and I will wait to comment on his article until I have seen the show (good thing it stays on line for a long time!).

Then there's this 734 word "interview" with Guy Cogeval and Dominique Païni. My guess is that the same things can be read in the catalog to the MBaM's show.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Getting grumpy


I got in this morning and got an email from some folk calling themselves the Toronto Alternative Art Fair International, and I said "cool!" But then I read a little bit more, and they friggin' want $1,500 from anybody who wants to exhibit there.

Just for comparison (it seems that I am in comparison mode this week) the Toronto International Art Fair (or the folk the TAAFI is being alternative to) want $5,700. The affordable art fair in NYC wants about $3,500. And the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit costs $300. The Montreal Art Fair wants (last I heard) $1,500. So, TAAFI is alternative to what exactly? (Implicit in all of this, is that the establishment fairs will draw interested buyers to come and see the art, I have no proof that TAAFI is going to do anything more than line their pockets with my cash.)

Then, I was talking with a friend yesterday, about the current show at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery at Concordia University (jeez! that's a mouthful!) which I saw last Friday. And, as per normal, I asked if I could get copies of the artists' CVs. It is after all the annual Undergraduate Student Exhibition. For the past three or four years, I've been checking it out, getting copies of CVs and sorta keeping myself aware of who is doing what and how their careers are going. Well, this year I got a call from Kelly Mackay (the Administrative Assistant there) and she said that there was no such thing, and that my request would be impossible to fulfill.

Well, excuse me, but there is this three-ring binder right at the desk, which has the CVs of all the artists who are exhibiting. I had asked if it would be possible to get some photocopies of the binder as I had received in the past. I left a message for Kelly, and am still waiting for her to call me back.

This sorta ties in with yesterday's entry (albeit obliquely) in that it seems to be the norm in this city (and elsewhere) to put as many freakin' barriers between the artists and the general public as possible. Or in other words "we don't want your stinkin' eyes even doing as much as a quick scan of this stuff, unless you already know the secret handshake."

Do you think that if I were to call Vehicule Press and ask where I might be able to get a copy of "Beauties on Mad River" by Jan Conn, they would tell me "no we don't have that information." (For those of you out of town, Vehicule is a small independent publisher that does mighty fine poetry - or the literary equivalent of contemporary visual art.)

I would imagine that the students exhibiting at Concordia would potentially like the idea that there is someone out there who is interested in learning more about their art. It would be nice if this information was accessible. But then again, I could be wrong.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Base jumping or skydiving, dangerously (w/o a Parachute)


It seems that there has been at least a whole week where I haven't gone off and ranted about White Cubes and I need my fix. This one started when I thunk that besides doing the local art review round up, it would be sorta cool to also do an international art review round up. You know focusing on the Montreal or Quebecois or Canadian artists who are written about in international publications.

Well, guess what? There ain't much.

On the Artforum website, when I search for the word "Montreal" I get these seven results: Third Asia-Pacific Triennial, January 2000; STAFF STRIKE AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA, 07.06.01; Shirin Neshat, September 2001; Edouard Vuillard, January 2003; Gran Fury, April 2003; Anthony Vidler on Gordon Matta-Clark, Summer 2003; Brian Massumi on Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Amodal Suspension, November 2003. If I go slightly further afield and search on "Quebec," I get no results. Trying an even larger area, "Canada," gets 14 results. For comparison "warhol" get more than 100, "Boston" gets 23, and "Viginia" (not known as a hotbed of contemporary art) gets six.

Similar stuff happens at the Art News, Art Newspaper, Art in America, Frieze, Art Press, Juxtapoz, Flash Art, Art Monthly or just about any other international publication you can find. (if you are aware of something written somewhere that I might have missed, please let me know). So then I thought ok, lets scale it down slightly. But unfortunately, the national publications such as Canadian Art, Border Crossings, C Magazine, Mix Magazine or the provincial publications such as Esse, Vie des Arts, Espace or Parachute don't have much if any internet presence. Which is a sorta long winded way of saying that Canadian Artists get no respect Either at home or abroad.

The one publication that supposes to do stuff about making and breaking local artists world wide is supposed to be Parachute. But methinks they might be duplicitious.

Quoting liberally from their press kit:

As stated in PARACHUTE's first editorial, the objective was to "allow artists, critics and art administrators to express themselves freely within our pages, in order to identify the issues pertinent to todays art."

In addition, it was imperative that Québec and Canadian art be given the opportunity to decompartmentalize, to escape from its narrow regionalism, to acquire a broader vision that would help it to integrate internationally.
Then scrolling up slightly,

Subscribers: 1,200
Circulation: 5,000
But then further down the page they state that they have a circulation of 4,000. Hmmm, perhaps business isn't good? And this is my main point of contention. How can anything that is read by 5,000 people even assume to be more than just a drop in the bucket? For them to state "PARACHUTE may well be the best-read and best-appreciated Canadian journal abroad. It has served as an indispensable tool for curators from here and abroad who are preparing exhibitions and seeking information on Canadian art." C'mon gimme a break. If you want to say the same thing with a slightly less positive spin, try this: PARACHUTE is not read by a single person in Canada so we have been forced to give it away in countries where they don't understand either of our languages to people who appreciate really thick spined magazines on their bookshelves because they make them feel impo'tent.

Resorting back to the dictionary:
1in•flu•ence \"in-'flu-en(t)s, esp Southern in-"\ noun [ME, fr. MF, fr. ML influentia, fr. L influent-, influens, prp. of influere to flow in, fr. in- + fluere to flow — more at fluid] (14c)
1 a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans
b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
2 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force
3 a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
4 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway
5 : one that exerts influence
under the influence : affected by alcohol : drunk

(C)1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
While I personally find idea of Chantal Pontbriand and definition 3b, to be somewhat intriguing, it is at best laughable, the most appropriate definition is 4. Unfortunately, I don't much see what effect Parachute Magazine has caused. Then again, I am only looking in some very specific places such as public awareness, or more specifically a change in public awareness. And I am certain that if I were to stop a dozen people on the street, right in front of the gallery, an even dozen people would have never have heard of the magazine Parachute (and as I have mentioned before, the magazine's offices are a block away from here).

On the other hand, Ms. Pontbriand might be thinking about some sort of "International" influence. So let's track that down, ok?

On the Artforum website they list 35 museums in the world. And in going through the various web sites it is the same old same old pretty much all the time, either doing a search through their collections on "Canada," "Quebec," and "Montreal" turns up nothing or you get a list of names that looks sorta like this: AA Bronson, Agnes Martin, Bill Viola, Brian Jungen, James Wilson Morrice, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Jeff Wall, JMW Turner, Peter Doig, Philip Guston, Rodney Graham, Sorel Etrog, Stan Douglas, Toni Onley, Yves Gaucher. And while I haven't memorized every issue of Parachute, I'd love to know who they think that they are if they say that they were the ones who convinced the world that Riopelle was a kick-ass artist.

Just taking the latest issue and Googling the artists who they mention

Davide Quadrio = 687
Ken Lum = 4,450
Liu Dahong = 112
Pu Jie = 718
Shi Yong = 4,960
Wang Peijun = 756
Wang Wei = 28,600 (hmmm, are they really writing about Contemporary Artists?)
Xiang Liqing = 849
Xu Tan = 689
Xu Zhen = 1,510
Yang Fudong = 1,730
Yang Zhenzhong = 1,030
Zhang Peili = 956
Zhang Weiwei = 166

And then for purposes of comparison

Philip Bottenberg (the current show here) = 893
Janice Tayler (the previous show here) = 3,240

No, you're not supposed to have heard of any of them. I know that Janice and Philip do kick-ass work, I assume that all the Chinese Artists do so as well.

Ok, I've been trying to push this out for two days now, but it is very slow going, apologies, but I'm going to leave you in the middle, 'cuz I got other work to do. But, if you wanna have fun, Concordia University is having a reception for Chantal Pontbriand on Wednesday the 19th at the Musee des Beaux Arts, it costs $10. I'll be there, it would be fun to see you there too.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004



Slight delay on the Parachute thing-y. And I have a couple more ideas percolating. I'm off to the Canada Council this morning, so I won't be able to write much.

In the meantime, try these on for size.

Simon Haupt in the Globe & Mail describing auction season.

Somehow, and I never would have believed it. But Cincinnati has a serious commitment to the arts.

More on the reason why current copyright laws are wrong.

And in the weird but good category. An article from Australia about some lobbyists in Washington DC who seriously collect art.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Being a good citizen


I was down at Complexe Desjardins this morning and beyond being fascinated by the fountain they have there for about 5 minutes, they did have something there that seemed intriguing. It seems that Unilever Canada has decided that one way that they might be able to get people to buy more Dove soap is by traveling an exhibition around called "Dove presents: Beyond Compare, Women photographers on Beauty." It is hanging around in front of the food court in the aforementioned Complexe Desjardins.

[after viewing the blog, it seems that the entire on-line version isn't working here. So if you want to see it in all its glory try this: http://www.dovebeyondcompare.ca/]

Now it might seem on the surface that this is an example of what is currently known as "Good Corporate Citizenship." But then again, do you buy Dove? To my mind it raises a bunch of questions, most of which I am either not in a position to answer, or not in the mood to debate. So I apologize in advance for the lack of answers to the questions.

1. What soap do you buy?
2. What soap do you think the secretaries at Complexe Desjardins buy?
3. Do the secretaries at Complexe Desjardins go to Art Galleries?
4. Do you go to Art Galleries?

So do you think that this means that Unilever Canada thinks that most of the art world is dirty and stinky?

In none of the literature that I've been able to find has there been mention of curatorial responsibility.

Clodine Desrochers,

Carla Rice,

and Kristin Booth
are mentioned as helping with the exhibition. But somehow I don't think "a rising Canadian actress, "a clinical program specialist," and the host of "Les saisons du Clodine" had much say in picking the pictures.

Now, I like the idea that whoever did the curating isn't getting their name in neon letters. What I would prefer is if they really did not have any curating, ie say a year ago there were forms in your Dove Soap box and you could send in pictures of "beauty" and then get them included in the exhibit. Then I gotta ask how much did everybody get paid?

Also, then since this is about "beauty" I gotta ask how and why they chose the pictures that they chose. Not all of them are professional photographers, but way too many of them are. Those that are seem to be mostly commercial photographers (represented by companies) than artists (courtesy of a gallery).

And I can't forget to ask why Unilever Canada decided to exhibit this in a shopping mall. Is it a case of going to where the folk are? Or is it a case of no gallery would touch it with a ten foot pole? Personally bringing art to the masses is good. Bringing art to the masses in order to sell more soap ain't so hot.

OK, I gotta get back to work (the band just showed up). I'll try to deal with Parachute tomorrow.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Doing my research


Well, I found a wicked cool source for what I would assume is pretty much every media outlet in Montréal - all 144 of them. Then I went and tried to see if they had something on line. Thankfully most of them did not, or else I would have spent my entire day reading them to see if they had any art reviews, instead of writing about writing about art locally. I'll wait until next week to slog through the ones in the rest of Québec.

So, starting with the newcomers.

The Journal de Rosemont has 304 word article about the installation by Gonzague Verdenal and Nikita Sapeguine called 500 watts. Pretty much a copy paste job on the press release, the release does make it sound like it could be an interesting thing. The question remains can I get my butt out to La maison de la culture Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie?

L'Informateur Riviere Des Praries republishes the 165 word press release about an Art Brut exhibit at the Riviere Des Praries library. Benoit Fradette decided that he needed a byline so besides the exhibit taking advantage of some folk (if you want to hear my rant about "Art Brut" and "Outsider Art" email me, ok?) M. Fradette seems to have gotten paid for doing nothing. If I can't get out to Rosemont, I don't expect that I will be able to get to Riviere Des Praries, so instead I'm posting a picture.

Personally, I gotta kick outa figuring out how to post it, because the kind folk at Transcontinental are really really scared about not getting paid if their pictures are re-used, for the record the picture was taken my Julie Bonin, and I betcha she didn't get paid all that much for it.

I particularly like how all the Transcontinental web sites have the same silly "comment" section as Voir/Hour. I would guess that until they start writing articles that aren't copy/paste jobs, they're not going to be getting many comments.

The West Island Chronicle has a whack of articles about art. Who would've thunk?! I have always been told that the west island, is a waste island, but it seems upon looking a little closer that there is some culture there. In the first article, Albert Kramberger writes 368 words to political art. And yes siree bob! it is "de-merger" art.

The second article comes from the Cites Nouvelles and is written by Valérie Schiltz. She spends 433 words writing about Claudine Ascher who runs la Galerie de la Ville de Dollard Des Ormeaux, and what she does in running the joint. I didn't know that she had been doing it for 16 years. In passing they also mention the latest show she has going on.

And the third article from the Chronicle/Cites Nouvelles is Hollie Watson picking up on the nice mural that got done for the sick kids at the Children's Hospital. I imagine that most of the people who read the Chronicle also read the Gazette, so her 404 word article is sorta superfluous, as she doesn't come up with any new and brilliant insights.

Now that we have the newbies out of the way, lets continue on with the regulars, ok?

First and foremost, just so I can get the conflicts of interest over and done with, the wonderful and supremely amazing Montréal Mirror writes glowingly and lovingly about the Philip Bottenberg exhibit called Ocean of Intagibles that is currently hanging on the walls here. Matthew Woodley writes 171 words that is not a copy/paste job from a press release, 'cuz I haven't written a press release. The picture is in black and white, unfortunately, but what are you going to get from a black and white tabloid?

The in case you weren't aware, the readers of the absolute best alternative weekly in the entire freakin' universe (otherwise known as the Montréal Mirror) once again voted this here gallery as the best one in Montréal. Yes siree bob! I'm happier than a turkey still living on the last Friday in November.

Oh and Mr. Woodley also covers Paul Litherland's ASCII Fighter boxing/art thing. I'm certain that he would be as effusive with the praise as I am, but he ain't writing this blog.

Now that we got the conflict of interest stuff out of the way. Lets get on to the serious stuff.

Isa Tousignant comes back from wherever she had been for the past two weeks and writes 720 words on three different shows. Talk about catching up on stuff quickly. Blindspot: Visible Art Activity, Emanuel Licha: In & Out, and Guillaume Labrie: Champion des poids neutres get the going over. But, somehow I figure that each of them are worth more than 240 words (720 divided by 3 for the math challenged). She comes up with some inspired lines such as "... on certain days, I feel that if I have to see just one more piece that rests solely on some overanalyzed psycho-social phenomenon and an artist's self-congratulatory wit at pointing it out, I'm going to explode." It seems as if she has been subjected to space restrictions because both the paragraph about Emanuel Licha's installation, and Guillaume Labrie's seem a tad abrupt. If I have a chance I would like to talk to her more about both of them.

Over at Voir, Nicolas Mavrikakis just won't go away. This week he has two articles about Petites pièces grands espaces at Occurrence (468 words) and Jacques Bilodeau at Joyce Yahouda (480 words). First before I even read a word of either review, Mr. Mavrikakis last wrote a review about a show at Joyce Yahouda's gallery on March 11th. Since then he has written 13 other reviews, I wonder if he truly thinks that Ms. Yahouda choices are worth 7% of the space he is allotted. Or in other words, if you want your exhibition to get reviewed in Voir, schedule it when Ms. Yahouda does not have something happening. But, to the meat of the matter: And now you're going have to help me pick my jaw up off of the floor. I am completely flabbergasted and thrown for a loop. In Mr. Mavrikakis' review of M. Bilodeau's exhibit he does not drop a single name. I don't know what I'm gonna do. Is the world ending? Have the black holes that Ms. Tousignant wrote about engulfed Montreal? The only thing even approaching name-dropping is his reference to traditional Japanese architecture. And then he does the same thing in his review of the show at Occurrence. I obviously am going to have to find something else to pick on; this can't turn into a love-fest. For the record the reviews are pretty much straight forward and descriptive, nothing too fancy, and as some of the "Voir community members" point out, sorta make you wanna check out the art. Which is exactly what I think a review in a local weekly should be doing.

In passing, I find it interesting that Mr. Mavrikakis and Ms. Tousignant write about two different artists, and two different pieces of art, that sound to me like they are exactly the same thing (the tiny door, for those of you who haven't read either article) without mentioning the other one. It ain't like the two different galleries are in Riviere des Praries and Dollard des Ormeaux or something.

As I am now pushing 1,200 words, and dinnertime is fast approaching, I'm going to skim over the "All Cocteau, all the time weekend" that was had by the daily newspapers. After I've seen the show, I'll let you know what I think, and then y'all can blast me.

The Gazette, Henry Lehman - 932 words

Radio Canada, Claude Couillard - 413 words

La Presse, Jerome Delgado - 240 words

Le Devoir, Michel Hellman - word count unknown because I am not allowed to read it.

Le Devoir the second, Odile Tremblay, ditto

The Globe and Mail, Sarah Milroy - 1,797 words OK, I might comment on Ms. Milroy's article later in the week, but I think it probably would be a good idea to a0 see the show, and b0 read the article first.

The Gazette also gives Steven Howell 532 words to write about the Made in China exhibition at the Stewart Museum. I'm not certain that I like reading lines like "Check out the..." and "Also, don't miss the..." in the Gazette. While I know that they are actively trying to get new readers, I don't think publishing writing that sounds like a CEGEP newspaper is the proper way to go about it. Or if they want to go that route, then they should add in a "kick-ass" and "rocking" as well.

Radio Canada also has 395 words on Sang dessus dessous at the Musee des beaux Arts du Québec. And, 313 words on the Henri Venne exhibit at the Musee d'art contemporain.So it isn't exactly all Cocteau all the time, but pretty damn close.

Then finally Le Devoir gives Paul Cauchon 739 words to wax eloquent about some TV show on Dali. As I don't own a TV, I am not terribly interested in reading it. If it is a very good article, let me know, ok?