Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gian Carlo Biferali is making the Centre Leonardo da Vinci into a joke


On the 19th of April, there's a vernissage for something called "Se mettre en jeu 2006" at the Leonardo da vinci Center in Saint Leonard. For the squareheads in the house, that translates into "To put in play 2006." Some of the bafflegab and gobbledy-gook that they put up on the website makes mention of "emerging artists" [for the non-squareheads: Les participants à Se mettre en jeu représentent la relève artistique."] They are presenting the art of Rosa Manno, Jean Sébastien Denis, Heidi Taillefer, and Meredith Carruthers.

For the record, the only artist exhibiting at the Leonardo da vinci Center in Saint Leonard that I could consider "emerging" is Rosa Manno, but I could be wrong, I have been wrong in the past and will be wrong in the future. The only reason I consider Rosa Manno to have the slightest possibility of being an emerging artist is because I can't find a gosh darn thing about her on the internet. I do not know if this is a good thing, or a bad thing.

Heidi Taillefer has already had exhibitions at Yves Laroche, the Cirque du Soleil and La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles.
Jean Sébastien Denis has already had exhibitions at Simon Blais (two solo exhibitions in fact) the second most influential commercial gallery here in Montreal, along with the Art Gallery of Outremont, the Maison de la Culture Plateau Montreal, and a bunch of others.
Meredith Carruthers has already had solo exhibitions in three provinces (BC, ON and QC) and two countries (Canada and the UK). She has already been represented by two commercial galleries here in town (Sandra Goldie and Joyce Yahouda) and has a Master's degree in Fine Arts.

Going solely by the artist's CV's on their own websites I find it hard to believe that anybody would think that they are emerging. Maybe nobody actually bothers to read artists' CVs? Maybe nobody knows how to read an artist's CV? Maybe (and most likely) nobody gives a rat's patootie about an Artist's CV.

In case anybody thinks I'm full of it, according to larger organizations than me (although I have gained weight recently) "emerging artists are those at an early stage in their career who have completed their basic training and have created a modest independent body of work, mid-career artists are those who have created an independent body of work for a number of years..." Notice that mid-career states very specifically A Number of Years [emphasis, mine]. Going back to the CV's Jean Sébastien Denis appears to have been making art professionally for at least three years. Heidi Taillefer for three years as well. And Meredith Carruthers for seven years. Then, while it ain't painting but still on the Canada Council's website; they define emerging slightly more precisely if you're a media-artist:
An emerging artist is one who has less than three years of practice but has completed basic training as an artist. This can be formal (university or college studies) or informal (production courses, workshops, hands-on experience in media arts production, etc.). [emphasis, again entirely mine]
Then as long as I'm on the rant, what's up with giving the curators top billing? Is there a catalogue being printed? Is this sorta like the second coming of the Whitney Biennale, but different?

I went and read all the fine print at the Leonardo da vinci Center website, and all they could come up with were quotes from an entertainment weekly, and the Journal de Montreal, both known as very serious places for discussion of the visual arts. And then some smart wag was able to hit up the Conseil des Arts de Montréal for $5,000, Banque Scotia for an unknown amount, BMW et Mini Laval, Délégation Commerciale d’Italie probably for something around $3,000, Discount (that's weird!) Art Americas, Biferali Fine Arts (might this perhaps be the sideline business of the person running the show at the Centre Leonardo da Vinci?), Pastificio Sacchetto (guess what's gonna be served during the vernissage?), CIVDEV, and Fraser Milner Casgrain to be sponsors. I would guess that they scored something close to $15,000 along with free food and booze. I'd love to know details of how the cash was spent. Looks like I might have to haul my carcass across town to see.

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