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.

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