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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Russell Smith - The attendance gap at the church of art

Howdy!

Well, it looks like I might have almost caught up with my backlog. Ten days ago, Mr. Smith wrote this piece in the The Globe and Mail. And, while on the surface, it strikes me that I should agree with it, upon a closer reading, I most emphatically don't.

While he laments the lack of coverage for Visual Art on TV, he laments it in the wrong way. He goes about asking whay questions like: "what are the thematic and aesthetic preoccupations of Canadian or other architects/dancers/composers right now? What schools of thought, what rival tendencies exist? How is this new book written? In what way does that style or technique differ from previous books? Is conceptualism over? Is the new airport art any good? How can you write an opera today?" can't be asked on the boob-tube.

Umm, I hate to break it to Mr. Smith, but there is a good reason why it is called the "boob-tube." Mr. Smith probably thinks that CBC News: Sunday and Good Morning Canada are the highest rated shows on each network. Although now that I look at what Good Morning Canada really covers, I'm not even certain that Visual Art would belong there.

From my perspective, most people who do see Art on TV, tend to assume that they have seen whatever exhibit was covered, and don't get off their asses to go see the art, hence the nickname "couch potato."

I would recommend that Mr. Smith speak to his editors, and see if the G&M couldn't cover art in Canada more comprehensively. It might be more fruitful seeing if they want to ask the questions like "what are the thematic and aesthetic preoccupations of Canadian or other architects/dancers/composers right now? What schools of thought, what rival tendencies exist? How is this new book written? In what way does that style or technique differ from previous books? Is conceptualism over? Is the new airport art any good? How can you write an opera today?"

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