Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bringing Stuff to your Attention, number three


Then finally, yesterday, The Globe and Mail went to town in hyping the "original" Canadian Art. The premise was simple, send Simon Houpt down to the states sometime during the fall (I'd love to know who paid for his trip) and then run an article that touts publicizes and markets the Our Land exhibit at "Massachusetts's prestigious Peabody Essex Museum" and the Totems to Turquoise exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. The first question out of my mouth with regards to the Peabody and Essex was "who?" The second question that quickly followed was "I betcha Mr. Houpt thinks that the Art Gallery of Mississauga is a prestigous place as well."

Some other choice quotes, submitted for your approval:
"This is about marketing," Irwin [Ronald Irwin, the Canadian consul-general in Boston and a former minister of Indian Affairs] explained in a brief interview during a walk through the museum. "This is how you turn a $5,000 piece into a $50,000 piece: Get it into the museums and have them put their stamp of authenticity on it."

"People want a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, and there are limited ways to get that."

"[John] Grimes and co-curator Karen Kramer approach their subject with extreme sensitivity. Pieces are accompanied by relevant quotes about life in the North from the Inuit themselves, rather than explanatory comments by the curators. "We were reluctant to get into viewing the pieces through an anthropological lens," said Grimes. "That sets up an observer-observed relationship."

"A soapstone owl by the Cape Dorset carver Paulassie Pootoogook is given deeper meaning by the comments of the artist Jacoposie Tiglik..."

"Stepping into Our Land is like being transported back in time and thousands of kilometres north..."

"And in a move that recalls a federally approved Canadian cereal box, wall text is printed in both English and Inuktitut..."

and lastly, "If visitors like what they see, they can purchase original pieces from the museum gift shop, including an exquisite Chilkat button blanket by Dorothy Grant (Haida), priced at $10,000."

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