Friday, September 30, 2005

Outside opinion - Jacquline Mabey on Right Under the Sun


Last week we were invited to the press preview for the Musée des Beaux Arts blockbuster fall spectacular called "Right Under the Sun: Landscape in Provence, from Classicism to Modernism (1750-1920)." Ms. Mabey graciously accecpted my suggestion to write something about the exhibit.

Here goes:

Pretty (and) Boring, or Forty Five Minutes of My Life That I Will Never Get Back

A caveat: what follows are the sour ramblings of an incorrigible city chick that smokes too much and had no sense of the beautiful. If you like landscape paintings, the current show at the Muse des Beaux Arts is, technically, very good. You should go see it. If you are on the fence about the genre, or if you just have nothing better to do, read on.

I suppose, for clarity's sake, I should declare immediately landscape paintings have never held a special place in my heart, do not - do anything for me currently, and probably will never arouse my passions. My apathy for the genre stems from my general disdain for nature, full, as it is, with things that bite and sting and a horrifying dearth of martini bars, and years of art historical study have done little to change the situation. Granted, now I can - if I must- adopt an air of critical inquiry and analyze a given work's origins, style, and possible meanings. That said, I would still prefer to rub my face up against a brick wall for an extended period of time rather than pay to go inside a big white cube to look at paintings of outside the big white cube.

So it was with a heavy heart that I passed through the doors of the Muse des Beaux Arts early Friday morning. After an awkward Franglais interaction with the ticket taker, I managed to navigate my way through the sea of tourists and old people. Almost immediately, I was confronted by Cezanne's "Montagne Sainte Victoire" (c. 1887-90).

Now, as a student of art history, Cezanne is one of the greatest hits that you learn about. Cezanne, the complex, misunderstood genius, working in isolation, the man who is the father of blah blah blah more Romantic nonsense the texts spew at you until you cannot see straight. Thus, confronted with the fetish object of much study, the experience was... underwhelming. My actual thought process went thusly:
Dude, Cezanne's "Montagne Sainte Victoire"!
Kinda cool to see it after all these years
So, yeah.
Looks like a mountain... um, should I be feeling something right now? Some, like, overwhelming experience of his talent?
I got nothing for this thing... hey, that security guard is hot.
And so on. Same goes for much of my stroll through the exhibit- which just keeps going and going and going, by the by. Paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, all left me cold. To my modern eyes, the Fauves look more like les Chatons (ouch, bad art history joke, my apologies). And the general color palette of the works post late 19th century is near unviewable. I'm talking to you, "Entry to the Port of Marseille" and all the other work by Paul Signac.

The show, like this review, is all build up and little delivery. I was more compelled by the old ads of Provence and the lavender linen water for sale in the gift shop than by the show. Personally, I would prefer to spend the $12 on a latte, brioche, and magazine, and relax on some cafe terrace on St. Denis. Watching that landscape go by - crack heads, fashionistas, delivery boys, families, etc. - inspires me more than the ones found at the Musée. - Jacquline Mabey

Right under the Sun: Landscape in Provence, from Classicism to Modernism (1750-1920)
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
September 22, 2005 to January 8, 2006
Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion
1380 Sherbrooke Street West
Monday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays until 9 p.m.
Adults - $12, Students - $6, 65 and over - $6, 12 and under - Free, Family - $24

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hello Nicolas Mavrikakis Goodbye


Yesterday I burned one bridge, by calling Jerome Delgado's writing on art for La Presse irrelevant. Today I elaborate and then burn another bridge.

La Presse touts itself as the best read newspaper in Montreal, from that I get the impression that it is fairly populist - hence Cedric's comments lauding M. Delgado for doing what his bosses want him to do. Fine, maybe more of my beef is with the editorial policy at La Presse than with M. Delgado, on the other hand, from my understanding, visual arts critics in this town have an incredible amount of freedom to choose what they want to write about. I have never heard of any other writer for a newspaper, anywhere, who is given almost free reign to choose what they want to write about. (Can you imagine a film critic telling their editor "No, I don't wanna do another film festival! I wanna review this.")

On the other hand, you got Voir, which touts itself as being the best read entertainment weekly in town - and it is definitely large enough page-wise not be disputed too much. So, I'd assume from that bit of information, it is populist, too. As it has been an extremely long time since I have written the words "Nicolas Mavrikakis" (actually, that was a copy/paste) I figured we could do a compare and contrast on the reviews that M. Mavrikakis did over the same time span.

30 juin 2005 - la Biennale de Venise
21 juillet 2005 - Galerie Art Mûr
28 juillet 2005 - Fonderie Darling
4 août 2005 - Maison de la culture Plateau-Mont-Royal
11 août 2005 - Centre Saidye Bronfman
18 août 2005 - Galerie René Blouin
25 août 2005 - Musée des beaux-arts
1 septembre 2005 - La rentrée en arts visuels
1 septembre 2005 - À surveiller en Arts visuels
8 septembre 2005 - Galerie de l'UQAM
8 septembre 2005 - Galerie Trois points & la Galerie Leonard et Bina Ellen
15 septembre 2005 - La Centrale
22 septembre 2005 - Musée des beaux-arts
22 septembre 2005 - Occurrence
29 septembre 2005 - Galerie Graff

How do you like that! 15 articles, too! Hey, check this - 9,104 words, or 15 words less than M. Delgado. I wonder which paper pays better? No need to do the quick math, because it is exactly the same as the quick math from yesterday.

Obviously there are differences in their style of writing, that I will get to later, but if you look closely at what they are writing about, you will see that over the same three month period 40% of what they wrote about was the same darn thing (6 of 15 to be exact). Now if they are duplicating themselves to that extent, you'd get the impression that there ain't a whole heck of a lot of art happening here in Montreal.

And even where they don't duplicate themselves there are other similarities - M. Mavrikakis writes about an exhibit that he could only hope in a million years get to see (the Venice Biennale). While M. Delgado writes an article about an exhibit in Val David. Six of M. Mavrikakis' articles are about museum (or museum-like) shows. Four are artist run centres (50% of those are the same darn shows).

And while I'd give M. Mavrikakis some points (but not many) for travelling further afield - we all know how far it is to hike to galerie Graf and Art Mur, I'd actually give M. Delgado more points for his piece on the art at the Rosemont metro.

But, my basic point is this: There are over 800 places to see contemporary Quebecois art here in Montreal, why is it always the same places over and over and over that get reviewed? If La Presse and Voir covered art like they covered film, then I could understand, ie every darn film playing here gets reviewed by both of them (sometimes twice). At which point I would be expecting radically different voices and views from the two of them. But despite the differences in their writing styles, they don't differ from each other all that often. I'll get into the details below, where you can watch me burn that second bridge. Also, I've taken the liberty to add the "readers" of Voir's grades on the reviews, when applicable. I put readers in quotes, because every last one of the comments is read by someone at Voir, before being posted to the website, to make sure it passes some test, and as the whole point behind these comments is to win "cool!" things, there are an awful lot os social constraints preventing these from being fake and manipulated means to make something look better than it really is.

30 juin 2005 - Rebecca Belmore in Venice. I've already been chastised for commenting on an article that I scanned and did not give a close read. And you gotta admit, even when shooting from the hip, it makes sense. So then how the heck are you gonna review a show you haven't seen? F

21 juillet 2005 - Les Paramètres de la peur. Sorta there, sorta not. The long editorial commentary at the beginning I find panders slightly too much to my intelligence. B-

28 juillet 2005 - Débraye: Voiture à controverse. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the concept of only describing the art (or reviewing the art) that the reviewer thinks is good, is ridiculous, and in my eyes makes the reviewer lose all credibility. While M. Mavrikakis waxes long and hard over the suspended Citation done by Doug Scholes & Dominique Toutant (although he misses the main thrust of what they were doing) and positively gushes over ATSA's contribution (again without noting its history), all he does is type the names of eight of the artists, withough saying a darn thing about their art. Heck I can do it again, too! "Cooke-Sasseville, Red, Vincent Ganivet, Margaret Lawther, Philippe Meste, Art orienté objet, Cindy Dumais, Katie Bethune-Leamen" What purpose does that serve? C+

4 août 2005 - Dépaysements des sens. Umm, M. Marikakis himself organized an exhibition at the MdC Plateau last December. Any wonder that he thinks that this is the most amazing thing since sliced bread. [Note to other arts writers: All you gotta do to avoid that dreaded conflict of interest is tell people about it] F

11 août 2005 - Janet Werner. OK, on one hand I want to applaud the guy. He finally gets around to saying something isn't good. On the other hand, the method he uses to say it is freakin' ridiculous! He takes more than the first half of the entire review to launch on this very long winded, unfocused and pathetic attempt at a rant on how all women painters now-a-days do is criticize popular culture in a realist manner. It borders dangerously on the misogynistic. C- [3/5 stars by 4 readers]

18 août 2005 - Natures. Hoisted by his own petard. (Does anybody actually know what a petard is?) So if I am to understand the subtext of M. Mavrikakis' writing, if he doesn't describe the art in someway, he doesn't think it is worthy, right? Well he then either slams most of Rene Blouin's roster of artists, or he suddenly flipped everything I knew about him on its head. 'Cause all he does is write "The list is more than respectable. Judge for yourself: Nicolas Baier, Geneviève Cadieux, Patrick Coutu, Pierre Dorion, Charles Gagnon, Betty Goodwin, Geoffrey James, Rober Racine." And I would've thought that he would've been observant enough to realize that this was an easy summer show of stuff that M. Blouin had hanging out back in his stockroom. C-

25 août 2005 - Sam Borenstein, Edwin Holgate & Gravures et dessins de l'âge d'or hollandais (1580-1660). Hey! I finally like something M. Mavrikakis wrote!! Woo-Hoo! He questions why the Musée des Beaux Arts did the Borenstein exhibit, not quite as closely as I did, but hey, I'm feeling good, I can cut the man some slack. He doesn't like the Holgate exhibit either, and doesn't quite explain why, but then and goes all misty-eyed over some Rembrandts. B+

1 septembre 2005 - La rentrée en arts visuels. This could be the type of article that I've been suggesting that M. Delgado write, except that all M. Mavrikakis does is talk about the same old, same old again, and again, and again. Besides the museums, and the Mois de la Photo which are all large and in charge in this article, the only "new" place he mentions is La Fabrique. I bet they were giddy as all get out when they read "Trevor Kiernander à la Galerie La Fabriq (du 15 septembre au 15 octobre)." If he had done any research he could've made scads more galleries and artists as happy. B-

1 septembre 2005 - À surveiller en Arts visuels. Sorta similar to the above article, but focusing on three women artists (none of them painters...). He gets one fact wrong - Andrea Szilasi has had numerous solo shows - and it will be interesting to see what he has to say about their shows once he reviews them. B+

8 septembre 2005 - Michael Snow. Windows. Not a bad review, not a good review. Just sorta there. Some simplification for his readers that isn't quite pandering. B

8 septembre 2005 - Evergon. M. Mavrikakis doesn't add anything new to the discussion on Evergon's photographs, and doesn't risk annoying anybody. Another sorta here, sorta there review. B-

15 septembre 2005 - The Myth of Sexual Loss. I dunno, maybe the pictures turned M. Mavrikakis on, he writes a very nice review of Karen Brett's show at La Centrale. 'Nuff said. A. [5/5 stars by 1 reader]

22 septembre 2005 - Sous le soleil. See what I wrote about the Evergon exhibits. B- [4/5 stars by 5 readers]

22 septembre 2005 - How to Eat Light. See what I wrote about the Michael Snow exibit. B- [4/5 stars by 1 reader]

29 septembre 2005 - The Freud Cycle. I wanted to like this review. It's about an exhibition at a place I like that doesn't get an awful lot of press. It's about an American artist, that on the surface looks like it could be interesting. But something gets lost in the translation (or maybe I'm getting tired after reading 15 reviews by Nicolas Mavrikakis). B-

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jerome Delgado for the last time.


For you long time readers, I apologize for being repetitive. But I figure this should be the last time that I write the words "Jerome" and "Delgado" in this here blog until 2006 at the earliest. I bashed him enough that it is ceasing to be fun. However, I still got 15 reviews that he has done for La Presse since June 29th. (Quick math: 91 days, 15 articles, equals 1 article every 6 days, 1 hour and 40 minutes.) I don't know if this is his complete and total output, but it does add up to 9,119 words, or about ½ a novel. (Quick math: 607 words per article on average. Roughly 100 words per day.)

In chronological order, by place:
June 29 - Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
July 10 - Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
July 16 - TOHU
July 24 - Fondation Derouin
July 31 - Fonderie Darling
August 7 - La Centrale
August 14 - Jardin botanique, & public art at Rosemont & Sainte-Catherine Est
August 28 - René Blouin
September 1 - Le Mois de la photo
September 6 - Skol, Leonard et Bina Ellen Gallery, Pierre-François Ouellette
September 8 - Leonard & Lina[sic] Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia & galerie Trois Points.
September 10 - Feature on Gilbert Duclos (photographer & film subject).
September 10 - review of the film about Gilbert Duclos
September 17 - Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal.
September 21 - B-312

So for those of you still following, 6 of 15, or 40% are of museum shows (or places that I consider museum-like). Of the remaining nine, two (or 13%) are of commercial galleries, and one of those is only obliquely. Five are Artist Run Centres (33%) and two are of a photo-journalist and a film about him (no, I don't get it either).

It's obvious that the 607 word average ain't M. Delgado's fault. But, if I was faced with a maximum of 600 words per week that had to be about art (which thankfully I'm not) I think I'd go for 100 words on six shows, instead of 600 words on one or two shows.

Imagine if in the 15 articles he wrote over the summer and this month 90 exhibitions got brought to the attention of his readers. Imagine how much the advertising department could milk 100 words about a show into a business card sized ad in the newspaper. Imagine 90+ artists and their reaction. Nice, eh?

I've been closely following what M. Delgado has written now for well over a year. As far as I can tell, it is pretty much irrelevant to any discussion about art in Montreal. Some of the irrelevance is not his fault, but some of it is. Now I'm going to stop paying attention to what he writes about art in La Presse. If anything changes, could someone let me know, please?

Postscript: Since I imagine that some of you are waiting, with baited breath for my grades, try this:
June 29 - Le MBAM présente une exposition du peintre Sam Borenstein - Umm, I got serious problems with this show (which I never saw). Over the summer I sat in on a class at Concordia University that used as the two required texts, the catalogues from the Edwin Holgate show and the catalogues from the Sam Borenstein show, both from the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal. Of the 15 lectures, something like 9 (I don't have the syllabus handy) were lectures that were also run by the Musée des Beaux Arts education department. From that information, I would like to know what was (and is) the relationship between the museum and the university - to give you an analogy, if 60% of the lectures at the John Molson School of Business were given by people who were employed by Molson-Coors Breweries, how would you feel if your child went there to learn? Then, given how much publicity the Sam Borenstein show got, I'd also like to know, in as much detail as the museum is willing to supply, the financing for the show - especially since it was not a ticketed exhibition. C+ for being a run of the mill fluff piece.

July 10 - Trois expos pour un petit été - See what I mean about the amount of press the Borenstein exhibit got? C- for not doing anything more than sleepwalking in front of his keyboard.

July 16 - Du tohu-bohu à la TOHU - On one hand I sorta get a kick out of him reviewing a "non-standard" place to see art. On the other hand, Circus Arts? B because he actually uses the space he's got fairly effectively.

July 24 - Du baroque dans le bois - I was hoping that maybe this would be a sign that things were getting better. Nope. C-, next time La Presse should learn from the Globe & Mail and stick articles like this in the travel section.

July 31 - Tous contre l'auto - I saw this exhibit, and all M. Delgado is doing is re-writing the press release, and then embellishing it slightly by adding in a quote from Caroline Andrieux. C.

August 7 - Des photos historiques d'une étonnante actualité - This is a show that happened just up the street from here. Earlier today, I got a phone call from someone working there, apparently they want to some here to see me talk to Marc Mayer. As far as I can tell it will be the first time they ever step foot in my gallery. I've seen about three shows at their space, am I bitter, naw. But as far as I can tell they do tend to go for cerebral art, I'm not certain my brain is large enough for what they got going there. But enough on the asides, M. Delgado gets a B for making me think I might've missed something.

August 14 - Jardins urbains - I gotta give props when props are due, reviewing weird as all get go public art is a good thing. Unfortunately tying it together with some photographs of flowers at the Botanical Gardens knocks the whole thing down a notch or two. I should've read this 6 weeks ago. Pity. M. Delgado gets a B+ for making me kick myself.

August 28 - Naturellement artistique - M. Delgado goes wonky with his name dropping. I get confused. Pierre Théberge, Paterson Ewen, Isabelle Hayeur, what are they doing in there, taking up valuable words? Why does he reference the "Flop muséal à Shawinigan?" Why is he reviewing a summer piece of fluff from Rene Blouin? C+.

September 1 - Le Mois de la photo: place à l'imaginaire - D. Previews based on press releases should not have a place in a newspaper that does not have enough space to cover visual art to begin with.

September 6 - Du cran, et ce n'est même pas commencé - I like this, short quick hits on three shows at Le Mois de la Photo. The only thing I could say about how he could've made it better would've been if he had referenced Evergon's show at Trois Points. A.

September 8 - Evergon, ange et démon - Oops! I spoke to soon. If space is limited, why is he reviewing the same show a second time? I'm certain that there are some of the other 57 artists taking part in Le Mois de la Photo who would've appreciated getting their names in print. D.

September 10 - Gilbert Duclos, le photographe humaniste - this one I just don't get. Why did the editor(s) at La Presse ask M. Delgado to go talk to Gilbert Duclos? Do they not have a legal affairs reporter? Do they somehow think that all photographs are art? Were they short staffed? I dunno. 'Cause I'm so confused, I'm not going to give this one a grade.

September 10 - Pour le droit de regarder - Almost the same as what I said above. But, this time I'm going to point out that while M. Delgado gave the film about M. Duclos three stars (out of I don't know how many) the readers of M. Delgado's article only gave it two out of four.

September 17 - Illuminés par le soleil provençal - Throwing aside all sense of objectivity, M. Delgado breathlessly reports what paintings Guy Cogeval says are important. On top of it, he says that the show is "Majestic." D-. If you're still reading, I'll pipe in with my thoughts, and the thoughts of others on this show, later.

September 21 - Extrapolations sur une photo - This should have been published back on the 6th of September. C-. Saved from a worse fate because at the bottom of the article is a little bit (of very valuable real estate informing people about upcoming shows in town).

Only in Québec


I got this in the mail today. I'm not entirely certain I want to open the envelope...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Isaiah Ceccarelli Quintet live at Zeke's Gallery last night - Set Two


If you'd like to hear what you missed, click here. [39:30 minutes, 36.1 MB]

If you'd like to hear again, what you saw last night, click here. [39:30 minutes, 36.1 MB]

Another view of the Isaiah Ceccarelli Quintet. (from left to right: Fabrizio Gilardino, Frank Lozano, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Pierre-Yves Martel, and Steve Raegele).

The front line taking care of business.

Nice Evening Listening - The Isaiah Ceccarelli Quintet live at Zeke's last night


If you'd like to hear again, what you saw last night, click here. [29:24 minutes, 26.9 MB]

The Isaiah Ceccarelli Quintet in all its glory (from left to right: Fabrizio Gilardino, Frank Lozano, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Pierre-Yves Martel, and Steve Raegele).

The rhythm section being all deep and pensive.

James Culleton's drawing of the proceedings.

Nice morning reading


Woke up today, and saw this. It easily put a smile on my face.

For the unilingual English folk, you might want to try this version.

I particularly like this line:
"Chris Hand, est reconnu pour ...ses positions tranchées." I like being tranchées.

And it does appear that the sides have already been chosen, one of the quotes from Mr. Mayer is [translated by computer] "I do absolutely not agree with two thirds of what it thinks on what occurs in the world, especially in Quebec. But it has a public and it is a natural public for the museum." Or in slightly clearer language, Mr. Mayer is not in agreement with a large majority of the Quebecois public what Chris Hand thinks (my bad, sorry), but thinks that the folk who come to my gallery are the people who should come to his museum, so therefore they need to be catered to. [edited so as to not make me look completely foolish once I learned that I can't read French to save my life!]

And a little but further down, "Les étudiants anglophones sont dans la mire du musée." Or "The Anglophone students are in the test card of the museum." [new update: I've been informed that the computer translator should have written "Anglophone students are in the 'aim' of the museum." Man! You would've figured I'd have learned something after being here for 30 years.]

On both of them (assuming I'm translating things correctly) I'm on the opposite side of the fence. Should make for a fun evening, even if we couldn't stage it WWF-style.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Artivistic Wrapped Up and put to bed


Yes siree bob! The Artivistic Conference is history. I'd like to thank Jack Ruttan of Utopia Moment, Miriam Verberg of The Flink, Franklin Einspruch of Artblog.net (and Dawn, too), Karen D'Amico of Fluid Thinking, Sabine Modder of Art MoCo (and Harry, too) for all participating - and coming from some extremely long distances. (3,255 miles in Karen's case, 1,409 miles in Franklin's case, and 102 miles in Sabine's case).

I quite enjoyed all the discussions, and for the one discussion where the organizers of the conference had not double booked the participants we actually had 35 people listening to us.

What I find most telling about the experience of the conference as a whole, is that so far, only one art blogger has written about it, and there ain't much coming from technorati, either. It could have to do with it being the weekend an all.

On the other hand, it also could have to do with the organizers of the conference not being too open and inviting to people, combined with a lack of some organizational skills. I got told numerous times that things weren't as free and easy, as one would have expected.

On the other hand, being able to have face-to-face discussions with people about the nature and details of why they blog about art, far out did anything negative that came from the conference itself.

Before I forget


The conference is over. Phew!

But, as I write above, I got a comment from Loretto Martin in my Art Bloggers of the World post.

He has a list even bigger than mine. 564 to 413 (and counting). I find it strange that Zeke's Gallery ain't on his list, but he's on mine...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Montreal Gazette on art - for free


Today the Gazette has not one, but two articles on art, and niether one is locked down! I am quite glad, as it makes commenting about what they write so much easier.

Henry Lehmann is their main reviewer; I hope that this turns into a full-time gig for Natasha Aimee Hall, the second writer today. Woo-Hoo!

The first one today is Mr. Lehmann's review of the Musée des Beaux Arts blockbuster show. If you don't want to read the article, I can tell you that Mr. Lehmann is a big fan. He trips over himself trying to come up with more and new ways to use extremely positive adjectives, finishing up with "Suffice it to say at this point that this show is a must-see, for amateur and scholar alike." His article gets B+

The second article is written by Natasha Aimee Hall. Sorta cool concept - writing about art on the walls of bars and cafes. She goes for the easy route and only mentions Blizzarts, Le Divan Orange, Casa del Popolo, The Green Room, and Pharmacie Esperanza. And it is a nice start. She misses (or didn't have space for, of didn't know about Subway - think about that for a second, the largest fast food company in the world shows art on their walls here in Montréal (3640 Saint Laurent) Prato (3891 Saint Laurent) Cafe Pi (4127 Saint Laurent) Les Bobards (4328 Saint Laurent) The Alfred Daillaire Funeral Home - my favorite non-traditional place to see art (4231 Saint Laurent) Georges Laoun Opticians (4012 Saint Denis) the various Second Cup stores that are in this city, Le Swimming (3643 Saint Laurent).

Some of the facts that she got wrong - Blizzarts was not one of the first bars to show art on Boulevard Saint Laurent. While I only started drinking on Boulevard Saint Laurent around 1985 (and I assume that Ms. Hall started drinking around here in 1998) and I can name countless bars (now long gone) that exhibited art, I also realize that even before I was able to drink - heck! before I was born, there must've been bars exhibiting art on Saint Laurent.

Second wrong fact she got wrong - in Sefi Amir's exhibit there was a guy.

And while I know and like Billy Mavreas, both as an artist and as friend, I'd suggest something a little more substantial than "Just ask" as advice on how to get a show in a bar or cafe. Feel free to ask me, too.

Third fact she gets wrong - prices can and do go way higher than $350.

Fourth First weird thing in her article - how and why in an article about art in bars and cafes does a memorabilia collection get included?

And then finally, as she says there is great art out there, I just wish she could have reported about it better. Her article gets a C- saved from a failing grade by being a good idea. Feel free to write to her editor Mark Tremblay and tell him you want more and better.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ain't no such thing as credibility here...


Earlier this morning I was at the press preview for Right Under the Sun. Landscape in Provence, from Classicism to Modernism (1750–1920), the latest and greatest from the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montreal.

And while I will have multiple reviews later (it has been a busy day so far, and promises to get busier still) there was one thing that struck me as downright bizarre. At the press preview, and there was quite a number of the press there. After Guy Cogeval, Marie-Paule Vial, Danielle Champagne and David Goodman had finished speaking, the audience (or in other words the reporters) broke into applause. I asked someone with more experience than myself at these sort of functions if that was normal behavior, and he said yes.

Can you imagine what would happen if at Paul Martin's next press conference all the reporters applauded him after he finished his speech?

Can you imagine what would happen if at the next Canadien's game, the reporters in attendance cheered when a goal was scored?

Back when I was working in the record business, it was common practice to hold a "launch party." It wasn't called a press conference, the beer flowed freely, and great times were had by all. Nobody, for a second, thought that it was anything than a rather successful way to promote a band's latest offerring. No objectivity was offered, none was assumed.

Given that the arts reporters here in town have grown accustomed to that sort of event, I would strongly urge the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montreal to call a spade a spade and change the name of this sort of event from "Press Preview" to something like "Press Vernissage" or "Press Opening Party."

If they moved the time to something like 6 pm, and offered drinks instead of coffee (oops! I forgot - they did offer wine) they might be able to get as much press as say Daniel Boucher.

And finally - more as an aside than anything else. On the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montreal's website they write that Marie-Paule Vial is director of les Musées de Marseille (an organization of 15 museums in Marseille) yet on the website for the Musée des Beaux Arts de Marseille she is listed as "Conservateur" and the director of les Musées de Marseille appears to be someone named Danièle Giraudy. Hmmm.

Monday, September 19, 2005

David v Goliath or The fox enters the hen house


I strongly recommend that you make reservations, there is only space for 50 here. For those who don't get it. Imagine the following:

Marsea Goldberg of New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles debating Jeremy Strick of MOCA LA. Or Alan Nidle of the Zeitgeist Gallery in Boston, debating Joseph Thompson of Mass MOCA.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Art Bloggers of the World


I'm working on the program for the Art Blogging Conference, so I figured I would attempt to make a list of all the art blogs in the known universe.

This is my first draft a work in progress. 414 art blogs. Not bad, eh?

I know for a fact that it is not complete. If you have any additions, corrections, or suggestions, please feel free to use that comment button. At some point soon I should be able to update my blog roll.

[update: 09/23: All comments as of now have been incorporated into the list. To clarify things, these are Visual Art Blogs. Yes there are many other types of art, but I'm mainly concerned with stuff you gotta look at.]


  1. 00e00
  2. A Label for Artists
  3. (eponym.ca)
  4. (Re)mark
  5. 2 Blowhards
  6. 21 Production
  7. A Blog Called Nowhere
  8. a boring journal
  9. A Daily Dose of Architecture
  10. A Painting a Day
  11. a&d PLUS
  12. About Last Night
  13. Absent without leave
  14. acdouglas.com
  15. AGYU Blog
  16. Ajduric at three pm
  17. Alex Stevenson
  18. alexandrasilverthorne.com
  20. Amanda Dumas-Hernandez
  21. Amateur d'art
  22. Anaba
  23. Andrea Polli
  24. Annie Kevans
  25. Antony Gormley
  26. Armavirumque
  27. Art & Letters Daily
  28. Art Addict
  29. Art and Literature
  30. Art at the Katzen
  31. Art Blog
  32. Art Blogging LA
  33. Artbutcher
  35. Art In Cities
  36. Art in the City
  37. Art In Liverpool Weblog
  38. the art life
  39. Art Myth
  40. Art News Blog
  41. The Art Newspaper
  42. Art Node
  43. Art or Idiocy?
  44. Art Progress
  45. The Art Weblog
  46. Artangel
  47. Artblog - fallon and rosof
  48. Art-blog.com
  49. Artblog.net
  50. ArtCal - Home
  51. ArtDC.org
  52. Artdish blog
  53. The Artery
  54. ArtFocus
  55. The Artful Manager
  56. ArtInfo.com
  57. Artist Anti-Defamation League
  58. Artists Network of Refuse & Resist!
  59. the-artists.org
  60. Artnotes
  61. Artpost
  62. ArtQuest
  63. ArtRift
  64. Arts & Letters Daily
  65. arts | post.thing.net
  66. ArtsBlogging
  67. Artsfeed
  68. ArtsFeed
  69. ArtsJournal
  70. ArtsJournal: ARTOPIA
  71. ArtTwit
  72. Artzen
  73. Artzee eye
  74. Asymptote
  75. baconparty
  76. Bad Art Cafe
  77. Bad at Sports Podcast
  78. baillairge
  79. Balduffington
  80. Banksy
  81. Bare and Bitter Sleep
  82. Beat Canvas
  83. Beat Canvas
  84. Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity
  85. Bill Fisher's Art Department Directory: nohate
  86. Bill Viola
  87. Black Cat Bone
  88. Blind Contour Drawings
  89. Bloggy
  90. bronx mus[eum]ings
  91. Cafe Gallery Projects
  92. The Caravan Gallery
  93. Carnet de Zénon
  94. Carol's Bloggie
  95. The Cassandra Pages
  96. catfunt
  97. Cathy Lomax
  98. Caveart's Ulterior Designs
  99. The Chatelaine's Poetics
  100. The Children's Museum Blog
  101. Chmkoome's Blog
  102. City Comforts Blog
  103. Coincidences
  104. Comedy of Errors
  105. Conscientious
  106. Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis / The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
  107. Contemporary Graphic
  108. context weblog
  109. corey eiseman
  110. Cornelia Parker
  111. The Cornwall Weekly News
  112. Creative Chick
  113. Creative Generalist
  114. Crucial talk
  115. cultural traces
  116. Curiosity Collective
  117. d r a w e r
  118. Daily Dose of Imagery
  119. Daniel Lemire's blog
  120. dante woo / blog \
  121. Daryl Waller
  122. david palmer studio
  123. david shillinglaw
  124. DC Art News
  125. Dear Paul...
  126. Deborah Morbeto Fine Art
  127. Dennis Hollingsworth
  128. Detroit Arts
  129. dieu diesel
  130. Dorothy Cross
  131. Drawer
  132. Drawn
  133. drivedrive com
  134. Duality
  135. E Y E B E A M
  136. Editor's Life Unedited
  137. Educated Community
  138. Edward Winkleman
  139. Eggebert &; Gould
  140. Elaine Gan
  141. Electric Skin
  142. the-electromagnetic-internetwork
  143. Electronflow
  144. enoughforall
  145. Elsie Tomlinson
  146. Eric Laplante
  147. Eric Deis
  148. esart blog
  149. Ettie Spencer
  150. Eva Lake's Diary
  151. Eve Andree Laramee
  152. Everyday Matters
  153. Eyekyu
  154. Fallen Fruit
  155. ffactory
  156. Fictional Art
  157. fiffe
  158. flashcube.org
  159. The Flink
  160. Fluent~Collaborative
  161. Fluid Thinking
  162. Folding Chair
  163. Forward Retreat
  164. found in space
  165. Fresh Paint
  166. From the Floor
  167. FT - The Brown Wedge
  168. G. DeGrazio Art
  169. g r a p e z
  170. Gabrielle de Montmollin
  171. Gallery Hopper
  172. GalleryDriver Art Blog Aggregator
  173. Gawking at the Creative Mind
  174. Generator.x
  175. GlassTire. Texas Visual Art Online
  176. Glowlab
  177. Goldwell Open Air Museum Guest Blog
  178. Good Reads
  179. Grammar.police
  181. Greg.org
  182. Guardian Unlimited: Culture Vulture
  183. Haber's Art Reviews
  184. Happy Famous Artists
  185. heartart
  186. heavytrash
  187. The Hive, Michelle Kasprzak
  188. Houndstooth
  190. Hustler of Culture
  191. Iconoduel
  192. Idle Words
  193. I get My Show on the Road
  194. Il Cannocchiale
  195. immediate
  196. In Search of the Miraculous
  197. In the conversation
  198. Indian Temples and Iconography
  199. inIVA: inIVA Online - about inIVA
  200. Innerbias
  201. The Institute for Infinitely Small Things
  202. Insurgent.Muse
  203. Inuit & Native Art Bulletin
  204. Ionarts
  205. Impetus Green Room
  206. Impetus Java House
  207. It's art baby! art!
  208. Jack Ruttan
  209. James Chinneck
  210. James Culleton
  211. James L. Acord
  212. James Leonard
  213. James Wagner
  214. James Wolcott
  215. January Blog
  216. Jin-me Yoon
  217. Jin-me Yoon
  218. JMG Artblog
  219. jmgartblog.com
  220. Jonathan Gitelson
  221. Journal to a Muse
  222. JW Bush Gallery
  223. Kevin Osmond - Artist
  224. Kneetoe productions
  225. kollabor8
  226. Kristofer Paetau
  227. Kultureflash
  228. Kunstspaziergänge
  229. Las Vegas Arts & Culture
  230. layla curtis
  231. Lisa's Art Blog
  232. Livin' It Up Big Time
  233. Look, See
  234. Loren Beven
  235. loreto martin
  236. lux lotus
  237. Madame Raula's Art Blog
  238. MAeX Art Blog
  239. Magnus Sigurdarson
  240. MAiLOUT
  241. The Map Room
  242. Marc Johns
  243. Marc Speigler
  244. Marja-Leena Rathje
  245. Markmaking
  246. Martin Parr
  247. the mass is secretly obsessed with nipple dream
  248. Maykr
  249. Megan & Murray McMillan
  250. Michael Wedgwood
  251. Mick Mather's ARTblog
  252. Mike Durcak
  253. Mike Patten
  254. minty goodness
  255. mnemosyne
  256. MoCoLoco
  257. MoCoLoco Art
  258. MoCoLoco Montreal
  259. Modern Kicks
  261. Montreal Found Art Collective
  262. MoOM
  263. Motel Gallery
  264. Movable Walls
  265. Moving Here - 200 years of Migration to England
  266. MTAA-RR
  267. Mudman of the Rio Grande
  268. Mugsy the Bear
  269. My Pet Skeleton
  270. NarcissusWorks
  271. Net Art Review
  272. Netlex News
  273. Neutral Ground
  274. New Art
  275. New Images - Hans Heiner Buhr
  276. NEWSgrist
  277. Nigel Cox
  278. No Practice
  279. Non, c'est realite
  280. Non-Thingthing
  281. North Carolina Museum of Art
  282. Notes and Queries
  283. Notifbutwhen #2
  284. n-tier
  285. NYFA Interactive
  286. OC Art Blog
  287. octomoto
  288. One0Two
  289. Open End
  290. Out ot Lascaux
  291. OVATION The Arts Network
  292. parisydneytokyo
  293. peckham pet-tastic
  294. pedantic nuthatch
  295. Personism
  296. Peter Fraser
  297. Peter Reginato
  298. Pixel Street Stickup - Brighton Street Art
  299. the Pointy Waterslide
  300. PORT
  301. Port Moody Station Museum Blog
  302. theportable.tv * Jen Southern
  303. Postmodern Thought (all you need to know)
  304. Pouet-cafee
  305. Power Lines
  306. Practicing Magic
  307. Pretty City
  308. PrintedMatter.org
  309. Proboscis
  310. Projects 2005-1996 and info on Danish artist Lars Vilhelmsen
  311. proprioception
  312. Purestarproducts - The Art Sarah Doyle.
  313. Rarified Air
  314. Rashomon
  315. reBlog
  316. Reflections in d minor
  317. Reluctant Painter
  318. Re-title.com - online artist and exhibition directory
  319. Rhinestones
  320. Rhizome
  321. ridding a coattail to heaven
  322. RMVaughanink
  323. Robmeyers
  324. Rodcorp
  325. Rosemary Shirley
  326. Ruth-Ann French: delicate arrangements
  327. Sailing Sinking Ships
  328. Salgood Sam
  329. Sally McKay
  330. samantha clark
  331. Samplesize
  332. Sandow
  333. SCAN
  334. Scene and Herd
  335. Sean Bonner
  336. see art / make art
  337. the Sellotape files
  338. Semiophile
  339. Sequential
  340. Share Your Country
  341. Shitfit
  342. Shooter
  343. short notes:
  344. Simpleposie
  345. Slower
  346. some art links that i like
  347. Southern Fields Art Resource
  348. sounds & fury
  349. Space and Culture
  350. the space in between
  351. Speed of Life
  352. Stand Assembly
  353. STANZA. The Central City projects
  354. stevenberlinjohnson.com
  355. Studio Notebook
  356. studioNOTES
  357. Stunned.org
  358. Superfluities
  359. Sushi and Sensibility
  360. Sylvia Nickerson
  361. Synergy art project
  362. t s mcclellan
  363. takingthebrim
  364. Tangerines in a Red Net Bag
  365. Tapemen
  366. The Tears of Things
  367. Temporary Services
  368. Ten Years of My Life
  369. That Brutal Joint
  370. That Rabbit Girl
  371. Theory Org
  372. Thickeye
  373. Thinking About Art
  374. This is Aaronland
  375. Thought Not
  376. Tija
  377. Tintype
  378. tobias c. van Veen
  379. Tom Moody
  380. Tom Sachs
  381. ToY INDUSTRieS
  382. TragicBliss
  383. Travellers Secret Box
  384. troyland
  385. Tulle Ruth
  386. UnBeige
  387. Universes in Universe
  388. urban cartography
  389. Utopia Moment
  390. The View from the Edge of the Universe
  391. WAB
  392. walker and bromwich
  393. Walker Art Blog Portal
  394. Walker Art Education & Community Projects
  395. Walker Art Film / Video
  396. Walker Art New Media Initiatives
  397. Walker Art Off Center
  398. Walker Art on Call
  399. Walker Art Performing Arts
  400. Walker Art Visual Arts
  401. We Make Money Not Art
  402. Wenda Gu
  403. WiFi-ArT
  404. Witold Riedel
  405. Woospace
  406. Wooster Collective
  407. Working Artist's Journal
  408. Working sculptor
  409. www.tapestryresource.com
  410. Year Zero One
  411. ZeDBloggers
  412. Zeitgeist Gallery
  413. Zeke's Gallery
  414. ZoneZero

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Wicked cool from the Star


Check this out!

As a start, it shows promise, if only because the Toronto Star has decided to fully embrace the 21st century. If Mr. Goddard happens to read this, could I suggest in the future, he a) write a script, b) get the addresses of the galleries to be text instead of being recited, and c) take advantage of the fact that it is audio and actually talk to the artists or the gallery folk.

No wonder Ken Thomson adores the Group of Seven


It's been a while since I mentioned the Go7. But I came accross this article (thanks to the Montreal City Weblog, because I am not in the habit of reading travel sections of any newspaper). Somehow, the powers that be at the Globe and Mail decided that the preview article about the latest and greatest should be stuck in the Travel section. I'm not certain I like the idea, but then again I'm not certain I dislike the idea either.

Given that it is in the Globe and Mail, (owned by Mr. Thomson) the line that caught my eye was this one:
There is something reassuring about finding a scene that you have known in a painting; it gives not only a sense of connection with history, but also a palpable sense of relief that at least a small part of the world hasn't become a highway or shopping mall.
So that's what I've been missing all these years, trying to figure out what is the fascination with landscape painting in general and the Group of Seven in specific.

Another thing that's sorta nice about the article (written by Deanna MacDonald) is that it seems like the Globe and Mail is grudgingly joining the internet revolution. They included a slide show to go with the article, although most of the pictures are taken by Ms. MacDonald. What I'm going to have to check once the show is up and running, is if the paintings Ms. MacDonald references are actually in the exhibit at the Musée des Beaux Arts, or if she just pulled them from thin air.

Whether this means that Sarah Milroy won't be previewing and then reviewing the Right under the Sun: Landscape in Provence, from Classicism to Modernism, 1750-1920 exhibit, I don't know.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Trying to clear things up


I got a phone call this morning from someone who thought I had written something negative about their work on this here blog. As I told them, I do my best not to criticize art that I haven't seen (which does not mean that I won't have an opinion on it if I haven't seen it). And in fact what I was attempting to do was criticize the work of the publicists of The RBC Canadian Art Prize.

Back in April I wrote this post, where I completely forgot about the RBC thing-ys (first piece of evidence that they have some work to do). And now, that they have named this year's winner (which ain't anywhere on their website!) we can do a little test.

Etienne Zack, the most recent winner gets about 727 hits on Google.
Jeremy Deller, the most recent winner of the Turner Prize gets about 93,700 hits on Google.
Dionne Simpson, last year's winner of the RBC Canadian Art prize gets about 420 hits on Google. (And she got shafted in other ways, too, as when she won it, the prize was only worth $10K).
Heck! Let's take a slightly more obscure prize, the Lucelia Artist Award. Their last winner was Andrea Zittel. Conveniently it tosses off $25,000, too. Ms. Zittel gets about 38,400 hits on Google.
How many hits on Google do you think Mr. Zack will get at this time next year?

So, to sum this all up for the phone caller (and anybody else who is interested) from my perspective the RBC would be better served keeping its money, instead of trying to convince anyone that the are promoting Canadian Art in any meaningful fashion.

Phyllis Lambert needs to brush up on her Aristotle


Got this in the mail yesterday.

The invitation to the CCA's next year long show. (If you haven't received yours, it is called "Sense of the City") Just from a quick scan of it, I can identify hearing, sight, touch, and smell.

As I far as I can remember, that Greek guy wrote that there are supposed to be at least five senses. Or am I mistaken, and in fact it is impossible to get a taste of a city?

Then again, perhaps Ms. Lambert is suffering from Synesthesia. Or maybe she should just talk with Gediminas Lankauskas who gave a presentation on the sense of taste "as non-narrative media for remembering (and forgetting) [a] nation's socialist past." At February's CONSERT conference on Sensory Collections and Display so that it doesn't happen again in the future.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Dust Jackets Live at Zeke's Gallery Last Night


For those of you who missed it. Or for those of you who can't get enough. Click here [40:20 minutes 36.9MB] to hear what went down here last night.

The Dust Jackets during sound check

Zeke's Gallery's artist in residence James Culleton's drawing of the proceedings.

James Culleton himself, in action.

James with some folk who wanted to join in on the action. If I get copies of their drawings, I'll post 'em too.

Once again, juries know Jack!


As some of you might know, I've been following the RBC Canadian Painting Competition with a fair bit of interest because Wil Murray entered, and was shorlisted.

Last night, they announced the winners. And as you might expect, given the title of this post, Wil did not win.

They gave the $25,000 to Etienne Zack for this painting:

The runners up were Mathew Reichertz

and Kristine Moran

Given that Dionne Simpson won it last year, and we all know that she has been the latest Canadian Art Star to blaze brightly across the firmament... Awww, never mind. Congrats to Mr.'s Zack, Reichertz and Ms. Moran.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Wil Murray makes The Shortlist


Since y'all have already seen Zev Tiefenbach's exhibit here. I figured that I would give you head's up about the next show. Wil Murray will be exhibiting here in October. If you weren't aware he has been shortlisted for this year's RBC Canadian Art competition.

You’re Lazy, So There’s Nothing That Can Stop You Now From Sleeping
Alkyd & Metallic Pigment on Board, 52” x 36”, November 2004
Borrowed shamelessly from the RBC.

They say "Wil approaches each painting with a process that is intentionally slow and deliberate. He starts with a formal concept and then lets inside and outside forces shape his work, making both intentional and free-flowing brush strokes. It is a long process that he does in complete solitude."

I'd love to know who they got to write that.

Check out his competition:
Paul Bernhardt, Halifax, NS
Yang Hong, Halifax, NS
Chris Kline, Montreal, PQ
Mathew Reichertz, Halifax, NS
Chris Down, Guelph, ON
Jason Gringler, Toronto, ON
Meghan McKnight, Newmarket, ON
Kristine Moran, Toronto, ON
Nick Ostoff, Toronto, ON
Matthew Brown, Vancouver, BC
Holger Kalberg, Vancouver, BC
Chris Millar, Calgary, AB
Krisdy Shindler, Vancouver, BC
Etienne Zack, Vancouver, BC

They're making the decision public tonight.