Saturday, July 31, 2004

More kick-ass historical stuff


This time courtesy Kate from the Montreal City Weblog. She's been going through the historical archives available on line at various sources, identifying the exact spots where pictures were taken, and then doing a new and current version. Absolutely spell binding.

Saint Laurent and Notre-Dame.
Place d'Youville.
Rue de la Commune.
Saint-Paul and rue Bonsecours.
Saint Laurent.
Saint-Denis and Mont-Royal.
Saint Laurent and Sherbrooke.
Saint Laurent and Pine Avenue.
Mont-Royal and Saint-Hubert.

I hope that she has the time to continue doing this for as long as she can continue finding old pictures.

Zeke reviews FRAG by ATSA


Yesterday I went for a stroll in the neighborhood. I went with Lauren Wagner who graciously took the pictures. We went looking for the stuff that ATSA had done in order to "attract" tourists to the neighborhood. I figured that it would give me a chance to comment on them.

First off, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to what where or how. Most (but not all) of the posters are the same size. Some places where you think there should be posters there aren't, some places where there shouldn't be a poster, there is. And then finally - the disclaimer, I wasn't able to get all of them, I know of at least three that I missed due to oversight.

Right besides Warshaw's, there's a poster about Smoked Meat. Hmmm. There previously had been a whack of old pictures of Warshaw's up there while they were building the Pharmaprix that now occupies the space, why the disconnect?

This one is in between the Hungarian deli and a clothing store (who's name I don't know 'cuz I don't buy clothes) and it makes no sense at all to me within that context. Given the overtly "historical" nature of the pieces I think that each one should have been made place specific. Not just slapped up on a wall to make you scratch your chin.

Picture one at the corner of Pine and Saint Laurent, if you look closely, you can see how it has absolutely nothing to do with anything, other than perhaps a fascination with one way signs.

Picture two, Pine and Saint Laurent. This is my favorite one. It is place specific, very place specific. Pictures from the very spot where it is taken in 1930, 1980 and about a month ago (although why they needed to stick a "current" picture when all you gotta do is turn around, I don't know). Very Cool.

Another kick-ass poster. Again, place specific, dealing with what was on the spot in the past. They forgot about the Balmoral (which also burned down). Nice touch, adding the no-smoking sign.

Now we get back to a more generic type of poster. The problems here are that it is about the Baxter block, which if you're looking at the poster is behind your back. Actually, most of the posters involve things that are out of your field of vision when looking at them. Maybe it is something like why European books always have the spine reading the wrong way. I wouldn't have thought it self-evident that I gotta look around after seeing a poster. I prefer things to be much more direct.

Outside Euro-Deli, something about snow, Emile Nelligan, and the Baxter block again. Sorta like summer reruns.

This one is just plain weird, they use a picture of one of Maclean's Stop Signs, from Saint Laurent and Milton (again, to your back when you're looking) but there is nothing there to make you aware that it is in fact from that corner. And now, with a little closer analysis, I realize that, yes it is place specific, but jeez! How many people are going to spend more than 30 seconds on any one poster?

More generic. Why there is the sign from the Main, I dunno.

Corner of Rachel and Saint Laurent, picture one. Place specific, which is good. Way too many words, which is not so good.

Corner of Rachel and Saint Laurent, picture two. Place specific, which is good. Not too many words, which is also very good.

Something about there being an awful lot of Portuguese living in and around Saint Laurent. The historical photos 50 feet away in the window of the Caisse Pop are way better. The chicken and the church are down the block and around the corner, not even close to Saint Laurent.

Now we get to the individual tribute posters, this one to Schreter's. Heck, I'd adore it if the city or the SDC kicked in $20,000 for an ad for the gallery, that would be very sweet.

According to this poster, the most famous corner, is Saint Antoine and Saint Laurent. This poster is in between Marie-Ann and Mount Royal on Saint Laurent. Huh?

Place specific, good. Not many words, good, too. Unfortunately, right next store is a window display that does a way better job explaining the history at the corner of Mount Royal and Saint Laurent.

Obviously ATSA are federalists because they lean their art more towards the red side. This one shows exactly why I have an overall sensation of disappointment with the project. Yes, there's a picture of one of the businesses that occupied the spot where the poster is. But, in reality it isn't all that interesting. A luggage shop? Gimme a break. Then they add a winter scene from 100 years ago, complete with a "you are here" arrow, to take up space, but again, it isn't terribly compelling. And then they have that little picture lower left, huh? All I can guess is that they needed to have some blank space for all the logos. And what's up with the Contact Image logo, like there aren't any photo labs on Saint Laurent? I thought the mandate of the SDC was to promote businesses on Saint Laurent, not one's on Gilford.

Another advertisement. Complete with a heart wrenching story. Welcome to my neighborhood.

It would have been nice if they had a map, with some explantions or stories, or something. Overall I get the sensation that this could have been so much more. Maybe Pierre and Annie will get another whack of cash to fix them up next year.

Yet Another Nameless Street Artist


Besides Roadworthy, the Stare guys and girls are also pretty damn cool. As far as I can tell they always paint on buildings that are on one way streets, and they always paint so that you have to be going the opposite way of traffic in order to see they're stuff. Cool, eh?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Siri Agrell gets it backwards


OK, so I'm slowly coming around to the fact that the National Post actually does cover art every now and again, but somebody there should put something in place to prevent navel gazing. Siri Agrell (anybody out there know if Siri is a guy's name or a girl's name?) wrote something in today's paper that is just flat out bass awckward. A simple 251 words comparing this picture

Salvador Dali's Female Figure with Head of Flowers done in 1937 with this picture

A storm kicks up fine orange sand in Oure Cassoni camp in the northern part of Chad's border with Sudan July 19, 2004. Soon the dry weather will be replaced by the rainy season, which will complicate efforts to bring relief aid to the almost 200,000 Sudanese refugees who have fled to Chad. (Gauthier Lefevre/IFRC via Reuters)

Taken about a week and a half ago by somebody named Gauthier Lefevre (at least I know that Gauthier is a guy!) Given that M. Lefevre works for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the IFRC in the credits) I would imagine that he is fairly well schooled. Last I heard in places outside of Canada, the Red Cross doesn't go around hiring dummies. Did Mr. or Ms. Agrell ever think that perhaps M. Lefevre knew about the Dali painting, and deliberately snapped a photograph to look like it? And then on top of it, the Post couldn't find it in them to publish both images in the web version of the paper. Hello?!? is anybody home? What's the point in publishing an analysis of imagery without the freakin' images?

Beyond that her analysis and comparison of the two images gets a gold star from me, double 'cuz it's in a daily newspaper. Those things don't happen too often.

Kick-Ass Post Alert


Thank to Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes I discovered that Todd Gibson writes in his blog, From the Floor about what he sees as big changes in the Art World. Combine that with all the recent hubbub about critics and criticism (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) and I wouldn't blame you for thinking that we're on the cusp of a revolution.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

More Roadsworth


More Roadsworth, this one from the corner of Saint Urbain and Saint Joseph. Does anybody have any details about who he is? I'd like to talk to him, in a nice way. What he's doing rocks!

The Live at Zeke's Gallery CDs. 2002


I don't know what took me so long, but I finally got around to finding and archiving the CD reviews that got published last year in the Hour. For the most part I was the one that got savaged, but I didn't mind. Actually it was quite fun.

For those of you who aren't aware, after opening Zeke's Gallery, I quickly realized that most people are scared to death of Visual Art. So I decided to start programming bands here, figuring that a slightly less intimidating cultural event would get people in the door. They would then realize that the paintings on the wall didn't bite, and because the place is so inviting and comfortable they would come back. So far it has seemed to work.

As of now I'm up to volume 135, what follows are a selection of some of the very first CDs recorded here. All CDs are available here at the gallery, swing by and pick one up. If you're feeling flush, go for the entire series!

Volume 2: Robert David brought some friends over, at the time I had no idea who Andrew Cowan and Joel Zifkin were, afterwards I was thoroughly impressed. They played what I call swamp music.

Volume 5: Mack MacKenzie has played here too many times to count (nine if you're really interested) this time, one of the earlier ones, he played with Bob Stagg, who added a very tasty double bass and accordion to Mack's music. You can call this one "roots," ok?

Volume 7: Francois Dufault and Nathalie Matteau. Francois was the first artist who had his paintings up here and then subsequently played here. Nathalie has a voice that combines the best of Howlin' Wolf with the best of Ute Lemprer. Not your run of the mill guitar voice duo.

Volume 11: Aaron Shragge was the first jazz musician to play here. He then decided it was good enough to play here again, and again, and again. This recording is a fairly straight forward jazz thing. It swings with style and grace.

Volume 12: Hejira is about as close to hippy music as I have ever come. Vaguely Phish-like, with lyrics worthy of Rush, the thing that I liked best was that they were all barefoot.

Volume 17: Rusty Pea Colour is what you get with the freedom of being in music school. French Horn, Electric Guitar, Clarinet (with occasional visits from an accordion and other instruments) weird, wonky and guaranteed to keep you up at night.

Volume 20: No way around this one, it sucks.

Volume 24: Short Stories was another Aaron Shragge project, I like Mike Chamberlain's description of them as "garage jazz."

Volume 27: For the longest time this one was my favorite recording, a double bass trio. Zack Lorber, Adrian Vedady and ooh whatshisname? damn! I keep wanting to organize another one.

Volume 30: Craig Morrison played and organized a whole whack of shows here in December of 2002. Pretty much a roots-rock revolution unto himself, Craig surrounded himself with top notch musicians who knew every nuance and feel of every song. Poodle skirts and ducktails are optional when listening to these.

Volume 31: I screwed up on this one, Kali is one of the better musicians who has ever called Montreal home, I wasn't able to figure out how to get the recording straight if my life had depended on it. Damn.

Volume 34½: Randboro were an amazing and wonderful surprise. They came as an opening act for another band, and ended up playing here like it was their home. They now hold the record for most performances here (and have yet another one coming up on August 4th). As I've told way too many people a combination of the Bo Deans and Neil Young. If you ever have a chance swing by to hear 'em, I guarantee you'll like 'em.

Volume 35: Pat Loiselle was one of the many wonderful musicians who Craig Morrison roped into playing here that December. I was flabbergasted, he wrote a song about the gallery. Cool, eh?

If anybody knows where I can get some MP3s hosted, I'll post some of them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sunny Days and Nights


Drop everything, and you gotta listen to Sunny Days and Nights, Tuesday's at 3:30 pm on CBC Radio One. If you can't, or don't want to, try Paul Moth'sb Log. Almost as good.

Jérôme Delgado on the clowns


M. Delgado writes 736 words that pretty much savage the current summer blockbuster at the National Gallery. He uses lines like "le propos reste obscur et confus. Du «chahut et chaos», pour reprendre le titre de l'une des neuf sections." [or in blokespeak: the matter remains obscure and confused. "uproar and chaos", to take again the title of the one of the nine sections.]

Looks like I gotta find another reason to go to Ottawa this summer.

Sylvia Daoust 1902-2004


A nice obit in today's Le Devoir about Mme. Daoust. 1,178 words by Jean-François Nadeau, that go into great detail about her life. I thnk it would've been nicer if she could have gotten a retrospective at someplace better than the Musée d'art de Saint-Laurent, maybe then I would've heard about her before she was gone.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Controversy via the Regina Leader-Post


Over in the western part of Canada it seems that they don't like naked bodies. I originally came across this story in the National Post, but they wouldn't let me read it. So I clicked over to the Regina Leader-Post and read the original. After reading it I realized that there was no controversy, sorry if I got your knickers in a knot.

First, Jana G. Pruden calls the Dunlop Art Gallery "a small Regina art gallery." Wrong. It's about 1,400 square feet, if she wants to be technical that would qualify it as a medium sized gallery. If she paid attention to Art, then she would realize that actual size does not correspond to reputation in which case the Dunlop qualifies as Extra-Large.

Second, she can't get the name of the Artists right, while "General Ideas" is close, I am certain if I were to write that her name was Jana G. Prude, she'd be annoyed. I think that the Leader-Post needs better editors.

Third, given that the quotes "Ms. Prude" got from the "general publics" were:

Jamie Cooper said he went to see the show after hearing about the controversy. "From what I heard on the news I was expecting it to be offensive, I was expecting it to be pornography but it's not," he said. "It's in a gallery, it's art and people have a choice either to view it or not."


Rhonda Ritsco admits the pictures were shocking at first, but says she felt differently after talking to a gallery worker about what the work means. "I look at it another way now," she says. "I'm also wondering if all the public would be as outraged if it was women rather than men. There seems to be a double standard that women can be exposed and men can't."
I wonder who the headline writer is for the L-P and what exactly they were trying to accomplish.

Stéphane Baillargeon on Clowns


I've already commented elsewhere in this blog about the Clown Show that is currently happening at the National Gallery. M. Baillargeon finally get up (down?) to Ottawa and ends up writing 924 words on the show.

From my reading (albeit not authoritative, as I am a bloke) it sounds like I can miss this one if M. Baillargeon is right in his assessment.

Malorie Beauchemin Made in China


Not contempoary Art, but in a museum nonetheless, a 598 word article on what's on at the Stewart Museum right now. Now it is off my to do list.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Nicolas Mavrikakis goes to Shawinigan


For frequent readers of the blog I will be succinct.

A) It is short (404 words)
B) The name dropping is limited (probably due to the length) only Deleuze and Guattari.
C) He is late (the show opened in June)
D) He buys it hook line and sinker that 60,000 people is a wonderful number. (For those of you who are math challenged, last year during a similar exhibition they got 60,000 visitors, or 536 per day. The place is about 33,000 square feet, and they spend about $3 million on each exhibition, suffice it to say Zeke's Gallery averages about 12 visitors a day, is about 1,000 square feet, and has a budget of less than .05% of the Cité de l’énergie. Even if you are math challenged you can realize that they aren't getting much bang for their buck.)

Isa Tousignant reviews a book


I don't approve. According to the listings in the very magazine that Ms. Tousignant works for, there are 112 exhibitions happening right now in Montreal. And she thinks that a 552 word book review would work in the visual arts section.

Alexandra Gill on manhole covers


Seems like I missed a slow news day, Ms. Gill picks up on the manhole cover competition in Vancouver, too! Ms. Gill does it straight and she does get the names of the other jury members and where this sort of thing has been done before.

While I think I like Mr. Patriquin's article better, Ms. Gill gets the better quote from Ms. Augaitis; "It's a mark of sophistication for a city to think of including artists when they're designing a manhole cover." Oooh! Vancouver is sophisticated!!

For what it is worth, these are the winning designs.

Martin Patriquin on manhole covers


Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Mr. Patriquin reports about Vancouver's latest attempt at public art. Most of it involves talking to Daina Augaitus, the chief curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Apparently Mr. Patriquin missed the article in the Globe and Mail where Ms. Augaitus poo-pooed lowbrow art.

She rather tersely points out the difference between judging and jurying a competition, and then goes on to say "This is not something you'll find in New York..." Yeah, right, if the woman had done some work, other than sitting around chatting with an artist, a writer and an environmentalist (the other members of the jury) she would have realized that this sort of stuff has been around in New York for a couple of hundred years.

I think Mr. Patriquin could have done a better job of deflating Ms. Augaitus, but then again he hasn't been on the job too long, so I probably should cut him some slack.

Raymond Furlotte wins a prize!


I got eighteen articles filed away for future blogging ideas, and that is way too many, so taoday I'm going to see if I can run through them like John Fogerty runs through the jungle. First to hit the ground is this blurb from last week's La Presse about Raymond Furlotte winning $5,000 from the Festival Juste pour rire for having a cool painting according to Stephane Aquin, Frédéric Metz and Nelu Wolfensohn.

If you look at this page of M. Furlotte's paintings, wyou can obviously see that the Festival is attempting to be very cutting edge.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Revisiting old stuff is good sometimes


Submitted without comment, as long as I am scanning Artnet, Jerry Salz's column on Art Reviewing. I don't know when it was originally published but at least a couple of years ago.

Wanna write? Get a thick skin.

Ana Finel Honigman on David Nicholson


I really should make Artnet part of my regular reading. But somehow it never makes the cut in between coffee number one and coffee number two. I dunno why. None the less last week I came across Ms. Honigman's interview with Mr. Nicholson, the only reason that this is significant, is that she writes "The Montreal-born Nicholson, who has no formal artistic training (and in fact is an amateur middleweight boxer)" although if he is an Amateur Boxer how does he pay the bills, but I digress. Her 1,692 word interview strikes me as interesting on a couple of points.

First, most of her questions are banal at best.

  • "Why do you choose to paint in oil?"

  • "Right before Sept. 11, 2001, you did a series of paintings about East/ West tensions. How did that series come about?"

  • "Who or what would you cite as your strongest art historical or cultural influence?"

  • "Do you feel that, as an artist, you need to engage art history directly without the mediation of critical theory or academic discourse?"
Umm, not to belabor the obvious, but if you're going to lead with a question about medium (and by extension, technique) follow it up. She doesn't.
With regards to the second question I pulled, yes, you're living in New York City, but fer chrisakes, despite what Michael Moore and George Bush say, not everything revolves around Sept. 11. If Ms. Honigman had paid attention to her question she would have realized that Mr. Nicholson actually made the paintings before then. A question along the lines of "your series of paintings depicting East-West tensions are quite powerful, how did you come to make them?"

The question about influences is so completely flat as to almost become ridiculous, and I won't bore you with another rant against three syllable words. OK?

Now, some of the answers she elicits from Mr. Nicholson are quite telling. He states "I am referencing porn less than I am updating the notion of ideal beauty." Umm, I'd love to know when was the last time Mr. Nicholson got laid. And he then follows that up with "Why is it that history can tell that there was a difference between Shakespeare and his contemporaries but we are incapable of discerning taste distinctions in our contemporary culture?" I think that explains perfectly why Mr. Nicholson is a painter.

Jérôme Delgado on the Summer Blockbuster at MNBAQ


Why does it seem that blogging is always a game of catch up? Or is it just the lazy, hazy days of summer that make things move so slowly for me? I dunno? Anyhows, last Sunday, M. Delgado wrote a 799 words article about the Picasso and Charles Cordier exhibits down the river in Quebec City. Nice enough article (I only scanned it, sorry, not much in it dealing with Contemporary Art) but the question I have is why does La Presse reviews art exhibitions in Quebec City? I haven't given it a close read recently, but other than the Festival d'ete, I don't think that they review any musical acts that play in Quebec City? Does the Soleil not have an Art Reviewer? Do they think that there isn't enough Art here in Montreal? Or is it that they think that the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is so damn significant that in order to curry favor with folk, they give 'em excess column inches?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Nate Lippens joins the club


The Seattle Stranger just got themselves a new Art Critic, and I'd like to officially welcome him to the club. His 1,191 word article about elitism in the Art World is dead-on-balls-accurate.

There's a bunch of stuff going around the bloggosphere about the state of Art Criticism. Beyond this article, there's also Emily Hall's farewell column in the previous edition of the Stranger, MAeX Art Blog's is organizing a critic's panel in Miami, NEWSgrist mentioned INTHECONSERVATION: art talk outside the cube, in this entry.

Then yesterday Simpleposie asked "Is there enough journalistic art criticism (newspaper coverage) of the visual arts?" And in general always asks questions related to criticism, and then there's the big daddy of them all, iconduel blogs here, here, and here. Which got him these responses, which lead to these other blog entries by Timothy Quigley, Sally McKay, and Marja-Leena Rathje.

Everybody's going wild over criticism! Cool!

Harvey S. Shipley Miller & Andre Schlechtriem need to be added to your mailing list


For all you drawers out there. New York Metro ran a puff piece on Harvey S. Shipley Miller and Andre Schlechtriem. Basically, Mr. Miller got to throw lots and lots of money at drawings. Yawn.

Go buy a stamp, and send them an invitation to your next exhibition.

Harvey S. Miller
Judith Rothschild Foundation
1110 Park Ave
New York, NY 10128-1201


Harvey S. Miller
535 W 23rd St
New York, NY 10011-1120

Andre Schlechtriem
535 W 23rd St
New York, NY 10011-1120

I'm not certain why Mr. Miller would be listed in the phone book as living at the Judith Rothschild Foundation offices, but as far the article goes, I adore the line "Miller and his broad-shouldered German associate, André Schlechtriem."

Jérôme Delgado on FRAG


Last Saturday M. Delgado wrote 888 words on ATSA's latest creation. Basically an interview with Annie Roy it gives up some interesting details ($20,000 for each poster, cool! eh?) No wonder why they want to keep making more.

I still gotta get out and see 'em all.

Alexandra Gill on Lowbrow on the High Seas


All the while I've been trying to track down Roadworthy, other things have been happening. One of them is Ms. Gill's 1,815 word dismissal of what she calls "lowbrow art." Her most damning lines are:

Sure, it might be art. And yes, it's very popular, and even manages to fetch some shockingly high prices. But there's one crucial element missing from Pilon's Jetson-like hipster cartoons and Midnite's politically subversive Woody Woodpeckers that would launch them into the same stratosphere as Warhol: any sense of genius or forward-looking vision.
In order to prove her point she quotes the Vancouver Art Gallery's chief curator Daina Augaitis. It all seems to be based on and around the VAG's summer blockbuster show about Andy Warhol. My favorite line from the article "Augaitis crinkles her nose at the suggestion that these good-time artists have any right to align themselves with her summer blockbuster."

She goes as far as to describe one piece, "an $800 painting called Shipwrecked, a whimsical portrait inspired by the early 20th-century illustrator N.C. Wyeth, which depicts three sneering pirate faces swirling through the clouds in the sky above a lonesome young boy on a tropical beach." She mentions in passing two others.

But she disses 12 Midnite, Braineater (a.k.a. Jim Cummins), bill bissett, Big John Bates, Sue Lowe, Nicole Steen, Vicky M., Robert Rini, Mark (Atomos) Pilon, Mia Hansen, Luc Latulippe, Ryan Heska, Rod Filbrandt and Greg White.

Hmmm, 14 artists, 4 shows, one piece of art and they all suck? I think Ms. Gill's brush is just a little bit to broad.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Roadsworth 3!

In front of Laika

Roadsworth 2!

Fairmont and Esplanade

Roadsworth 1!

By the Gallery

Read this now (ok, maybe later...)


I've been searching for this for about two years now, and I'm getting closer and closer. There's this guy who does spectacular road art here in town. One of the streets that he paints on quite frequently is Saint Laurent, as a consequence I've seen a bunch of his stuff. Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out who he was. Well, now there's an interview with him up at the Wooster Collective! Wicked Cool!!

The first picture is Saint Urbain and Duluth.
The second picture is 50 feet from the gallery (the handicap access to Moishe's)
I don't know where the third picture is from, but the barbed wire motif is popping up all over.
The fourth picture is Parc Ave (I think) although there is another camera here at Napoleon and Saint Laurent.
The fifth picture is obviously Saint Urbain leading up to Bernard.

My day just got infinitely better.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

$6 Canadian


Recently Tyler Green burst a blood vessel because MoMA is going to be charging $20 to get in the door when they get around to opening their doors. I emailed him because he seems to think that tickets to a Yankees game are the same price as those of an Expos game. But can you imagine how angry he would get if he discovered that the National Gallery will start charging admissionCBC News reports it right here. Oh! My gosh!! It is going to cost 55% of the price of a ticket to see the Ottawa Lynx to get in the door of the National Gallery. The Horror, the horror.

Sarah Milroy rips the Power Plant


Catching up on all the old stuff I came across this 1,096 word article by Ms. Milroy where she basically states that the three things showing at the Power Plant in Toronto are not worth your time.

On first blush I like the concept that she's ripping in to stuff. On second thought I fell obligated to come to their defense (me being a contrarian and all). So I am obviously confused.

The contrarian in me asks; If they all are so horrible, then why have they been reviewed in the Globe and Mail? And if memory serves I even think that they were reviewed favorably.

The one that likes reading nasty stuff says; yeah right on! Who cares about a freakin' ferris wheel, the umpteenth time that 40 part motet rolls into town and some artist from Berlin?

Frédérique Doyon on Dali and Bonet


It has been a long weekend. A very long weekend. Apologies for not writing more. One of the things I missed was this 717 word article in Le Devoir about the current show at the Musée d'art de Mont-Saint-Hilaire. It seems that they have got their hands on eight percent of the prints that Dali made in his lifetime. They have then added some sculptures by Jordi Bonet to make it a show.

Might be worth a trip to the country, might not.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Iegor de Saint Hippolyte's auctions


As it seems to be my mantra these days - "Sorry for the delay." But on Tuesday I went with a friend to the Iegor de Saint Hippolyte Art Auction at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. First off, y'all should get on their mailing list for a variety of reasons. A) Auctions are a hoot, especially if you have no money in your pocket. B) Two words: Open Bar. C) If you like to just gawk at people, the quality of the gawking is superlative - M. de Saint Hippolyte gets a crowd of people that you just can't find everyday. And D) Every now and again, you get to see some seriously kick-ass art.

Some of the art that sold on Tuesday follows below. But I use this as a lead in to how piss poor the Art market is here in town. If you're reading this from out of town, and have some excess cash, and know what you're doing you can get some serious bargains by buying here. Just to give you an example:

On the 17th of July 2003 Sotheby's auctioned off a lithograph called "two blacks and a white" by Ellsworth Kelly. According to their website it was 30 by 30in large, published in 2000. It sold for almost $3,165. By the way, here's a copy of the painting courtesy of Sotheby's web site:

On Tuesday M. de Saint Hippolyte auctioned off a similar lithograph, also called two blacks and a white, this one 23 by 47in (or 20% larger) M. de Saint Hippolyte did not know when this one was created but he sold it for $2,070, or 35% less. Courtesy of M. de Saint Hippolyte here's a copy of that one:

The we can get to the meat of the matter, this untitled Jean-Paul Riopelle, painting went for $23,000 (oil on canvas, 20 by 26in)

This Rene Jean Richard went for $16,100 (Tappeur en foret, oil on masonite, 26 by 30in)

Jean Albert McEwan, (Les iles reunites, oil on canvas, 30 by 30in) $14,950

William Kurelek (Abandoned goulettes, mixed media, 20 by 26in) $18,400

Betty Goodwin (Nature mort aux artichauts et citrons, oil on masonite, 20 by 35in) $12,075

Paul-Emile Borduas (Couple, gouache on paper, 17 by 23in) $13,800

Thursday, July 15, 2004

ATSA does FRAG by Roberto Rocha


They seem to be getting the word out, the SDC Saint Laurent decided that as Saint Laurent was a "historically significant" street that something should be done. Mr. Rocha wrote a 485 word article that basically acts as a trivia quiz on the history of the street. He quotes Audrey Lefebvre, Annie Roy, and Joey Schreter all saying the "right" things.

As I don't have to say the "right" things, yeah, it is nice that they have some visual reminders of history here on the street, but some of the posters are piss-poor (the only one that I've seen that real kicks ass is on the corner of Pine Avenue). ATSA themselves have done better work, and some how I get the sensation that the money could have been better spent. Gimme a couple of days, and I can figure out how.

Congrats to Isa Tousignant

I just got the email from Ms. Tousignant, she has taken a job as Hour magazine's Arts and Culture Editor. I like the idea a lot.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bernard Lamarche on Artefact


As I mentioned below, I'm late to the party about M. Lamache's return, sorry. Over the weekend he wrote a 1,182 word article about Artefact on the mountain. I wrote, briefly, about Jerome Delgado's review in La Presse last week.

I would guess that it is because of seniority that M. Lamarche gets the extra 500 words that M. Hellman hasn't been allowed, so far. M. Lamarche puts them to good use, as he just about mentioned each and every artist involved, along with the curator.

As he has so much room to move, he does the standard description of each piece, and mention the 1964 symposium on Public Art. Pretty much like M. Delgado, he does a nice job and makes me want to go see the art. Now I just gotta find the time to get out of here.

Bernard Lamarche on Changes


M. Lamarche appears to be back and still in one piece. Thankfully, the good folk at Le Devoir decided to let everybody read his most recent article, although now doing a little bit of research, I seem to be late to the party, it appears like he started writing again at the begining of July. Anyhows, he writes a 577 word article about changes afoot at 460 Sainte Catherine West.

It hasn't exactly been a secret, but galleries have been moving out of 460 for a while, now it appears that the floodgates have opened much wider. Skol, La Centrale et Dare-dare, Vidéographe and Artexte are all moving.

What I like best is that we're getting new neighbors! La Centrale is moving to 4296 Saint Laurent, wicked cool!

Presse Canadienne gets on the bus


Yesterday all three French language newspapers in town finally picked up on Guy Cogeval getting sued for plagiarism. La Presse version - 912 words; Journal's version - 102 words; Le Devoir - 72 words, because they only want subscribers to read it. In fact, the whole article is 940 words.

More on Toly Kouroumalis


For those of you who don't receive the newsletter, this is how I described Toly's work for the past two weeks.

July 7: We got Art with a capital "A!" It also might come with a capital "XXX" or disgust you so thoroughly that you wanna wretch. Then again, you might smile slightly, nod sagely, and realize that Toly is just putting his emotions up on paper in their rawest form. Most people as you might have realized, are not comfortable with raw emotions, much easier to deal with them after they have been filtered, massaged, or otherwise manipulated, hence the need for a gazillion dollar pharmaceutical industry (how's that for social commentary, eh?) I didn't think you were one of those people, hence me telling you that you should get your butt up here and check 'em out.

June 30: You want angry? You want pissed off, you wanna be shocked? You wanna be aghast? Well, Toly's the artist for you! He wears his emotions on his sleeve, but they aren't the standard issue, happy go lucky, lets live in the suburbs and have a barbecue emotions. No, in a nutshell, they are much more like, ok, fuck I'm stuck in the freakin' suburbs and I wanna shoot somebody, give me that damn beer and get your face outa here, now! I said NOW! If you feel up to it, you are welcome at anytime to come and take a gander at his fine paintings, and be thankful that he likes paintbrushes more than AK-47s.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Whatcha doin' on Saturday?


You're all invited!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Jérôme Delgado on Eaux vives


I'm getting a tad jealous, Kate over at the Montreal City Weblog has started alerting people who read her blog to the various art reviews that get published. And I thought I was special... In all honesty, I think it is a great thing that she is doing, and makes me realize that I am not writing in a vacuum. The more people read about art, the better things are.

Yesterday, M. Delgado wrote 789 words on a bunch of exhibitions happening at eight of the Maisons de la Culture here in town. Specifically Maison de la Culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Maison de la Culture Frontenac, Maison de la Culture Marie-Uguay, Maison de la Culture Mercier, Maison de la Culture Pointe-aux-Trembles, Maison de la Culture Rivières-des-Prairies, galerie d'art Stewart-Hall de Pointe-Claire and the Entrepôt du complexe culturel Guy-Descary de Lachine. I wonder if the city gave him a free bus pass for the day? Would that classify as a junket? And what are La Presse's policies on junkets? So many questions, so little time!

As M. Delgado mentions, there are more than 33 artists involved, and nine venues. If it was a perfect world, each of the artists would have gotten at least 800 words. Apparently, La Presse doesn't think that celebrating UNESCO's year of fresh water 192 days late is worth the space. Perhaps M. Delgado didn't think it was worth stumping for at least nine articles (one on each venue). Ummm, maybe if La Presse is so pressed for space, they might want to consider covering all the shows at all the museums in town in one tiny article of about 225 words, and then they might want to consider changing their name to "Le Journal de Montreal."

OK, enough of the cattiness about the lack of column inches devoted to Visual Art in this town - I should content myself with Kate picking up the ball.

So what to make of the article? M. Delgado obviously likes Annie Roy and Pierre Allard of ATSA, he takes his precious space (hey! maybe La Presse or M. Delgado view words like UNESCO views fresh water...) and mentions their piece twice. I'm surprised that he hasn't gone all gaga over their piece here on Saint Laurent. After all, it is obvious that they need all the press that they can get.

But, with the other lesser-known artists (for the record here are the names of everybody M. Delgado mentions - ATSA, Jason Arsenault, Pascale Beaudet, Josée Bernard, Jocelyne Chabot, Myrabelle Charlebois, Mei-Kuei Feu, Marie-Josée Laframboise, Elsa Lam, Martin Leduc, NIP paysage, and Jean-Pierre Teyssier) getting your name in the paper is an extremely important thing. So, does this mean I should "read" M. Delgado's article with an eye towards the concept that those artists who didn't get mentioned, suck? Or something else? I don't buy the obvious reply that "there wasn't enough space."

Will Chantal Pontbriand call back?


If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I've been trying to get Ms. Pontbriand (the editor of Parachute) to come to the gallery.

My purpose in inviting her has multiple reasons, some of them are:

A) I think that she should be aware of all art that is exhibited in Montreal. As she is editor in chief of what she calls the most influential art magazine in Canada, deliberately putting blinders on does not strike me as being a good thing.

B) Her office is right across the street from the gallery, so it ain't like she has to take a train or a plane.

C) Because she is so "white cube" I would be able to ask her what exactly are the problems or difficulties she has with my gallery (which is quite obviously not white cube).

D) There are probably some more than I haven't quite figured out, yet. If you have any suggestions let me know.

Anyhows, when I last saw her, she said to me, "call me on the week of July 12." As today is July 12, I just did. I'll keep everybody posted as to whether or not she a) calls back, and b) if she shows up.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Michel Hellman on Albrecht Dürer


Not content to just get headlines for Jean Cocteau and Nelson Henricks, the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Montreal puts the full weight of the publicity department on Le Devoir, and successfully gets the last of their three summer shows into print, phew! I was worried their for an instant. M. Hellman writes 674 word article that on first blush, doesn't strike me as a topic worthy of being written about. Mr. Dürer is dead as a doornail and not-Canadian as Kraft Cheese, he doesn't care if he gets a review. The show is from the National Gallery in Ottawa, so it ain't like there's a local curator who needs an ego boost. The show started in April (and last I looked we're in July) so it ain't exactly breaking news. And while I am not familiar with the Dürer holdings of the National Gallery, I can't imagine that the best of his output would be here in Canada, so yeah, it's nice to have an opportunity to see some of the lesser works of an important artist, but this strikes me a smacking of politics. I can't imagine that Ms. Bronfman's donation had anything to do with this review.

That all being said, as it is in print, lets get to the meat of the matter, shall we?

M. Hellman uses his first paragraph to give an introduction to the reader as to the importance and significance of Mr. Dürer. Strange, as I thought that Le Devoir was the Paper of Record for the intelligentsia in Quebec, why would they need to have an introduction to Mr. Dürer, if they already know everything about him?

He then goes on to say "Le parcours rassemble 24 impressions de ses oeuvres les plus célèbres..." or in blokespeak, the show groups together 24 of Mr. Dürer's most significant prints. Nice of him to beat people over the head with how important this stuff is. Maybe the museum ain't getting enough traffic and that's why there's this review.

As for the content, M. Hellman gives over about half of his word count to a description of about a third of the show (335 divided by seven equals 48 words per piece). As I've said before trying to do critical analysis in a daily newspaper is just plain silly. I would have much preferred to read just how the MBAM got these super significant pieces of Northern European Renaissance art, or if analysis is required by the powers that be, then something either more significant than

Le style de Dürer oscille entre des préoccupations esthétiques gothiques et l'influence de la Renaissance italienne. Dans l'épreuve Adam et Ève, par exemple, les corps sont dessinés selon les canons rigoureux de la proportion et correspondent au concept de la Renaissance de «la figure idéale».

BLOKESPEAK Computer Translation: The style of Dürer oscillates between Gothic aesthetic concerns and influences it Italian Rebirth. In the test Adam and Eve, for example, the bodies are drawn according to rigorous guns' of the proportion and correspond to the concept of the Rebirth of "the ideal figure".
If I had taken notes during my Art History course in university, I am certain that I could have cribbed something like that from them. Or if you want something else, how about how these prints fit into the context of the museum's permanent collection, and why this is the most significant collection of Dürer prints in the world?

Obviously, the editors at Le Devoir and myself do not see eye-to-eye.

Benoît Munger drops the ball


Finally, Le Devoir decides to allow regular folk to read an article about the Visual Arts. On first glance this seems cool. Upon reading the 309 word article (that does not have a byline - which would lead me to believe that it was cribbed from a press release) I discover it is all about this on-line exhibition of historical photos of Quebec.

As the city's website is not designed to be friendly or easy to use, I find it most surprising that M. Munger chose not to publish a link anywhere. For those of you who wish to know - try this:
And then click on "Themes," "Regions," or "Cities" depending on your preference.

Kick-Ass Post Alert


Submitted for your approval, with only one comment: MAeX Art Blog rocks!

Robert Hughes on his TV Show


I got this advertisement for Robert Hughes' new TV show from Good Reads. And questions of credibility aside (there ain't no credibility within 50 miles of this article) this

1,480 word article makes some points (which I also imagine are made in the TV show) some of which are interesting, some of which are tedious. I also, apologize for the lack of Canadian Content (I don't think that it has or is planned to be shown here - ArTV somehow thinks that repeats of Ally MacBeal twice a day are more engaging).

First off, you can't tell the players without a scorecard. According to Mr. Hughes the Bad Artists are: Georg Baselitz, Mel Bochner, Sandro Chia, Jeff Koons, David Salle, Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol. He thinks that Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Anselm Kiefer, Michelangelo, Paula Rego, Sean Scully and Andy Warhol are good artists. He is on the fence about the work of Richard Serra.

There, I think I might have saved you about 30 minutes of your time, judging from the article, I would guess that Mr. Hughes spends that much time discussing the art of the artists mentioned.

He then goes off on a rant, which culminates in the following sentence; "The art world is now so swollen with currency and the vanity of inflated reputation that it is taking on some of the less creditable aspects of showbiz." Which I think is due in part (or at least that's how it sounds from the article) from him getting dissed by Mel Bochner and Damien Hirst.

Umm, not to belabor the obvious, but I would imagine from my limited vantage point, that The art world has been so swollen with currency and the vanity of inflated reputation for so darn long that I am shocked to find out that Mr. Hughes is suddenly discovering it looks like some of the less creditable aspects of showbiz. Ummm, what's TV, if not showbiz?

Mr. Hughes, would you like to be the pot or the kettle?

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Le Journal de Montreal covers Art!


Two small bits, nothing spectacular as they were cribbed from Presse Canadienne, but it is the Visual Arts in the Journal... The first is 153 words on the Port des arts festival happening right now down in the Old Port.

The second is 131 words about Diane Dufresne's upcoming (at the end of October) exhibition in Paris, which is called her "first solo exhibit." I only bring this up, because they also mention that she is going to be exhibiting at la galerie du Théâtre du Petit Champlain in August, I'll try to see if that is in fact a group show.

The National Post does more Art


Maybe I should change my perspective on the National Post's Arts coverage, somehow it seems like they might actually being doing some. Then again, maybe I'm just paying way closer attention. Anyhows, Julia Dault wrote 687 words on Thursday about a Massimo Guerrera exhibit in Vancouver.

I stopped reading as soon as I came across the phrase "Relational aesthetics."

Anna Asimakopulos on the web


Now, I know that Ms. Asimakopulos is a big TV star, but the CBC is hyping their websites all over the freakin' place, so I figure that it is fair game to comment. If it ain't lemme know. ok? If you check the Canada Now - Arts page out, the first thing that jumps out at me is that there hasn't been anything new on it since June 11. Hmmm, if it ain't updated, why am I gonna come back? Second off, of the fourteen "stories" presented, only two are about Visual Art, one on the Great Antonio's art, and a second on some pictures of racing cars - ummm, there is a whole heck of a lot more Visual Art happening here in town.

For the record, by my count music gets four stories, theater gets three, film gets six, and literature get four (the reason that there are more than fourteen, is because some of the reports do more than one thing).

Friday, July 09, 2004

Talkin' 'bout the Canada Council


Nice dovetailing of things. Last night I came across Jim Munroe's op-ed piece in Toronto's Eye Magazine. This happened just after I received an email from Suzanne Tousingnant:

-----Original Message-----
From: Tousignant, Suzanne [mailto:suzanne.tousignant@canadacouncil.ca]
Sent: Tuesday June 29, 2004 4.24 >
To: Undisclosed Recipient@TheCanadaCouncil
Subject: Visual arts consultations - Canada Council for the Arts/
Consultation avec les artistes en arts visuels - Conseil des Arts du

Le français suit l'anglais

Please give us your input!

Visual artists and other professionals active in the field are invited to
take part in an important consultation regarding our support to visual

The background on the consultation process along with questions for the
visual arts community have been posted on our web site.

To participate, please visit our web site at

Donnez-nous vos commentaires!

Nous invitons les artistes en arts visuels et les autres professionnels de
ce domaine à participer à une importante consultation portant sur notre
appui aux artistes en arts visuels.

Le contexte du processus de consultation ainsi que des questions à
l'intention de la communauté artistique sont affichés sur notre site Web.

Pour participer, consulter le site du Conseil des arts du Canada au
Which then lead me to this. The Canada Council for the Arts - National Consultations with the Visual Arts Community - Facilitator's Reports. Monika Kin Gagnon's 1,370 word report on what some artists here in Montreal thought about the Canada Council.

How's that for a nice long introduction? Basically, Mr. Munroe thinks that the Canada Council is a good thing, and should continue. As Ms. Gagnon was basically reporting on what the people at her discussion said, she doesn't really come to any specific conclusions, and like any good bureaucrat leaves lots of open ended questions. Some examples of them are:

+ The paradoxical question at the heart of these consultations that was particularly vexing at this meeting, was how the Grants to Individual Artists Program could remain untouched with restructuring and addition of programs, without any increased budgets.

+ One might also recognize several markets and an already-existing ecology of environments including promotion and marketing, "we must mobilize ourselves as a community in relation to economic realities."

+ This could take a variety of different forms: international curators should be supported to visit Canada; international promotion of Canadian artists internationally should be more aggressive.
Somebody, somewhere at 350 Albert Street is obviously going to have to choose between some tough options. I haven't gotten around to reading the "Facilitator's" Reports on the meetings that happened in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Moncton, Ottawa, Québec, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver, or Winnipeg (what? No love for either Saint John or Saint Johns? What there's no art in Whitehorse?)

But, to get to the meat of the matter, my beef with the Canada Council is that they don't strike me as having any focus. They seem to me (from my limited knowledge) to be trying to do too much for too many, which just makes the wheels of bureaucracy spin round and round without going anyplace.

As I've told some friends, I'd like to see the Canada Council focus in real tight on what they want. Some possibilities that I've thought of are:

Hey, lets get us a Canadian Richter.
Hey! lets improve the secondary market (auctions for you regular folk) for all Contemporary Canadian Art.
Hey - Most Contemporary Canadian Artists are fair to middling, let's improve Arts Education so that the next generation is freakin' kick-ass!

And my most radical idea is to make artists think about becoming self-sufficient. Or in other words, "yeah we'll fund you for three years, but during that time you have to figure out how to get other people to pay you for what you're doing, 'cuz we're stopping the checks then."

I'm certain if I spent some more time on the matter I'd be able to come up with a bunch more things that the Canada Council could focus in on. My reason for wanting them to focus, is it then becomes possible to gauge how well the things are doing.

If they wanted to "create" a Canadian Richter, then all Canadians could thump their chests with pride as they told friends "hey! We have the best contemporary Artist in the world!" If the improved the secondary market then all the world could look on in amazement as prices for Canadian Art went skyrocketing, which would translate into much more awareness of Canadian Art. The stuff about education should be self-explanatory.

J. Kelly Nestruck on Autograf


When the National Post covers Art (of any sort) I tend to consider it a red letter day. On Monday they published Mr. Nestruck's (I nailed it this time!) writes a 604 word interview with Peter Sutherland, the author of Autograf: New York City's Graffiti Writers (powerHouse Books). Light, and breezy, the interview doesn't delve into why Mr. Sutherland has a fascination with tagging, or what the appeal is for the taggers (their photographs, taken by Mr. Sutherland are the content of the book) - maybe it is in the book, after all a 55 page book is going to be mighty small, no matter how thick the paper.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Isabelle Porter on Le Temps des Québécois


A very short quick hit. On Saturday Le Devoir published an article by Ms. Porter on the "new permanent exhibition" at the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City. It runs 637 words and as it is nowhere near to being relevant to what I do (ie Contemporary Canadian and Quebecois Art) I figured that I would just let you know about it. Reading about Art in newspapers is a good thing.

Jérôme Delgado on Artefact 2004


On Sunday, M. Delgado wrote 944 words about Artefact 2004, happening now on the mountain.

I dunno if it is the weather, or what, or if I took some mellow pills, but M. Delgado makes a convincing arguement that I should get my butt up to the mountain before vandals destroy the whole sucker.

I can't fault him for a damn thing, he describes all the pieces, gives a nice overview, and doesn't go all academic on anybody. Hell, the only thing even vaguely approaching "Art Speak" is his reference to the symposium that happened in 1964 about Art on the Mountain - but he makes it clearly enough that a 5 year-old could understand it.

Good job, M. Delgado.

Peter Schjeldahl is late to the party


Just in case there are any of you out there who care, the New Yorker Magazine pipes in with a 1,361 word review written by Peter Schjeldahl.

Nicely done, he has a way with words (to be expected as he also freelances as a poet) but I am surprised with the word count, I would've figured that the New Yorker would've allowed him at least 4,000.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Nicolas Mavrikakis on lots of things


For a bunch of reasons, I've been slack in keeping up with what Mr. Mavrikakis has been writing, apologies, and mea culpa. Let's get back up on that horse, ok?

Back on Fete Saint Jean, he wrote 441 words about the current exhibition at Circa, called "La sculpture et le vent." Sixty percent of the article is a polemic about the state of feminism today. Umm, no to belabor the obvious, but didn't Mr. Mavrikakis think that perhaps the art in the show could've used that space?

His name dropping is muted as he only writes "Linda Nochlin" and "Artemisia Gentileschi." But if his thesis truly is that women deserve to be heard more, then why the tiny article?

On the same day, he wrote 287 words in basically note form about Artefact (on the mountain) the exhibition at Galerie 1225, and the Roberto Dutesco show on McGill College. Umm, isn't this why Voir has listings?

Then finally, this past Thursday, he wrote 582 words about the Oceania exhibit at Pointe a Calliere. I betcha he was told to review this as Pointe a Calliere does advertise in Voir, quite heavily, and why else would somebody who has a gig as a writer about "Contemporary Canadian Art" put pen to paper about something that was Natural History from 8,000 miles away?

All I can assume is that François Desmeules and figures a museum is a museum is a museum.

Guy Laliberté trying to take over the art world?


Submitted for your approval, with only one comment.

Sarah Milroy writes 1,582 words on the latest and greatest at the National Gallery in Ottawa.

In it she writes "But the structural weaknesses of the show ultimately can't undo its magic."

Jérôme Delgado on Dominique Lemieux


Over the weekend, La Presse published a 884 word article about the exhibition Ms. Lemieux is having at the Maison de la Culture Plateau Mont-Royal.

More an interview than a review, M. Delgado, writes the equivalent of "local girl makes good." He glosses over the fact that everything up on the walls is a reproduction of an original drawing, and that instead of Ms. Lemieux's name, they are all signed "soleil." Which is the name of the circus for whom she works.

I'm not certain if this is a good thing, and I'd be most interested in watching how many other circus themed things show up at Occurrence (the gallery where Lili Michaud, the curator of the exhibit works).

Seattle and San Francisco Have The Greatest Number of Arts Businesses Per Capita - via AbLA


I'm late to the party on this one. But Caryn at Art Blogging LA brought this to my attention.

As the headline says, Seattle and San Francisco appear to be the most "creative" cities in the United States. However, reading the press release slightly more carefully, their methodology is a tad vague. They state that they counted all the "arts-related businesses, institutions, and organizations" in the US, as they say that they were counting "advertising companies" I'd like to know in slightly more detail exactly what they considered "arts-related."

Monday, July 05, 2004

Toly Kouroumalis


Slow news day, thes are example's of Toly Kouroumalis' work. Come see the entire exhibit.