Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Museum Assistance Program


I'm certain that the Gilles Villeneuve museum and the Brian McFarlane Total Hockey Museum (also here) would be extremely happy to be able to participate in the Museum Assistance Program once it is 'saved.'

Toller Cranston and Artevo.com need to do much more market research


Saw this article in yesterday's Hamilton Spectator about Toller Cranston and Christopher Talbot's latest venture that attempts to bring art to the masses. I almost lost my cookies when I read this line that Mr. Cranston said:
And a person in Saskatoon couldn't really go to New York, Paris or London, yet, with this website, those people would have access to a global art stock and could actually see it.
Umm, Mr. Cranston, if you really believe that a person in Saskatoon can't really go to New York or Paris or London, then why in tarnation did Kyle MacDonald move to Kipling Saskatchewan and get a gig in Hollywood? And what about the Shurniak Art Gallery?

I figure Artevo.com will be as supremely successful Art Face Off.

A wicked cool show that I might be able to see


Because of recent developments specifically the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, in the United States, it is going to be extremely difficult for me to stomach, if not impossible for me to go and see any exhibits down there. However, thankfully, Mass MoCA, the Yale University Art Gallery and Sol Lewitt have understood the predicament the law causes, and have graciously organized a retrospective of Mr Lewitt's work that will go on for 25 years. With a little bit of luck, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 will have been appealed sometime before 2033, so I will be able to go and see it, without having to worry if I will be surreptitiously pulled off of a street and thrown in jail.

If you'd like to see some cool pictures of the project, one and two.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Academic Art Critics discussing things in Academic French


As some of you might know, I spent Friday morning, late Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning at this conference.

And I am looking forward to the publication of the proceedings. Before I threw in the towel on a cold and rainy Saturday aft, I had seen ten presentations. Of the ten presentations, eight were read directly from the page by the presenters. Ain't no better way that I know of to put me to sleep. Since they were initially written, I figure that they are better understood read. Some of them were (excuse the academic vocabulary) soporific.

Due to unforeseen circumstances (that were not explained) the headliner that I had been waiting to see (and ask for an autograph) didn't show. But I found it very weird that is was explained in detail as to why Christine Palmieri wasn't able to make it. I can't for the life of me figure out what makes Nicolas Bourriaud's (the vedette) reasons for no-show more secret than Ms. Palmieri's.

As to the actual content of the presentations that I saw, Chantal Pontbriand has not changed one iota in the 1,057 days that I have been writing this here art blog and commenting about the Montreal and Canadian Art World. Back when I started she was all about being exclusionary and she still is. Pity. On the other hand, I was quite impressed with Isabelle LeLarge's presentation - contrary to Ms. Pontriand, Ms. LeLarge was able to identify that there is a problem in Quebecois art, and Quebecois art criticism, unfortunately she did not venture forth with any ideas for a solution. I'm going to try to get around to ask Ms. LeLarge if she wants to hunker down here over a couple of beers and discuss in a little bit more detail what's wrong, and what needs to be fixed, and perhaps how to fix it.

I also continue to be impressed with Bernard Lamarche's public speaking skills, you heard it here first, I bet you dollars to doughnuts that he becomes Minister of Culture before he dies (and no I am deliberately leaving it blank as to whether it will be a Federal ministry or a Provincial one, 'cuz I have no desire to ask him about his voting tendencies). Although Paul Ardenne impressed me even more, not only does he do public speaking as well (if not better) than M. Lamarche, I'm not as convinced that he has such an overwhelming desire to be part of the establishment.

Finally, I have to give Danielle Legentil some seriuos props, despite my pre-bashing and my post-bashing (see above) she still graciously accepted me as press, although next time, I will try harder to pay, that way I won't feel so guilty after everything is said and done.

Video Download Stats (month of October)


You might have noticed that there hasn't been much new stuff uploaded, due to a combination of multiple technical difficulties, I've been stymied for a bit. Most of the technical difficulties have been sorted out, and new multimedia material should start being available very soon - thanks for you patience.

However, despite the dearth of new material the back catalogue still prooves to be insanely popular. During the month of October there were a total of 1,012 views of the various videos made from here.

Top Five (October)
1. Ben Hammond - 203
2. GorePuter - 194
3. Stephane Aquin - 176
4. Elizabeth Bachinsky - 138
5. Michael V. Smith - 74

First Marcia Tucker, now Pontus Hulten


About two weeks ago I discovered that Marcia Tucker died before I had a chance to meet her. Now I find out that Pontus Hulten also died before I had a chance to meet him. This is not good.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nice article by Natasha Aimee Hall on the UQAM Design Centre


Previously I've busted on Ms. Hall's chops, but when she does good, she does really really good. A very nicely done article about UQAM's Design Centre, the only fault I can find is that is ain't a secret to anglo Montrealers anymore. Pity.

Where will Catriona Millar exhibit?


According to this article, the fact that Ms. Miller is going to have an exhibit in Montreal is a good thing. Personally I want to know what gallery, and when.

Charmaine Wheatley makes it big in Buffalo


Ms. Wheatley, got a grant from the Canada Council, and went to Buffalo. The Buffalo News thinks this is a great thing. Unfortunately they don't know how to spell her name.

Alain Levesque meet Max Jacquiard


Alain Levesque paints cars. Max Jacquiard paints trains. So where is the guy who paints the trucks and the guy who paints the planes?

John McAvity playing fast and loose with the facts


I'm late on this one, but last Thursday Mr. McAvity, who is the executive director of the Ottawa-based Canadian Museums Association told Richard Burnett (a good friend) "the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Canadian Centre for Architecture ... receive project funding. It could also force some of the smaller museums to close their doors." as an attempt to rally the public to save the Museum's Assistance Program that is managed by the department of Canadian Heritage. Only one problem, the Musee d'art contemporain has receiived less than 1% of its annual operating budget from the Museum Assistance Program for the past two years.

Ain't no way no museum is going to have to shut its doors because it lost less than 1% of its operating budget.

On the other hand, I would dearly love to see a clear and understandable version of the Canadian Museums Association's financial statements. They have a budget of over $4.2 million dollars, have run a deficit for the past two years, and I can 't for the life of me figure out who, or what the money was spent on. Does anyone know what Mr. McAvity's salary is?

Oh, and while I'm at it, back at the beginning of the month I pointed out that the first sentence of the last report on the Museum Assistance Programs were: 'Evaluators could not say whether the two programs are still critical to achievement of federal objectives. There has been no articulation of the federal government's museum policy and the place of MAP and CMAP within it since the 1990 Canadian Museum Policy, and the context in which the programs operate has evolved considerably.'

Riopelle hype


A nice article about this auction. They will be bringing these paintings to Montreal in the middle of November.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Quebecois Art is a hoax / L'art est un canular


As some of you may know, I really liked the film Rechercher Victor Pellerin. One of the reasons is because of its conclusion.

Big Warning, Spoiler Alert, If You Do Not Want The Ending Of The Film Ruined, Do Not Read Any Further!

But as auction season is about to start, I figure I should warn some people

One of the many things that makes the film fascinating is that there is admission all over the place that Victor Pellerin would forge paintings that were in lawyers offices in Montreal, take the real painting, replace it with the forged, and then sell the real.

They do not, in the film list any specific law firms, nor any specific paintings, and they do mention that no one is sure of what paintings, when or where, or if any fakes are still left in lawyers offices. And I do not know if 'law firms' is only law firms or if it is also engineering firms, accounting firms, or any other corporate art collection.

My guess is that there is some small group that is aware of this, but it has not made it into anything approaching common knowledge.

The Sotheby's Ritchies auction coming up lists 'cooperate collection, Montreal' in provenance as a means to promote a piece of art. After having seen the film, I would interpret that to mean DO NOT BUY, without much further information from someone swearing up and down and jumping like a banshee that a painting from a corporate collection is not a fake.

Victor Pellerin was active in the mid to late 80's, so anything bought by a corporation after that would be safe in my eyes.

Alain Lacoursiere, the Montreal Police officer interviewed in the film, specifically says he cannot discuss on film any specifics because it is all based on circumstantial evidence.

That's why I made the crack about 'it also sums up very nicely one of the reasons why Quebecois art is in the doldrums, I wish someone could go out and make a list of all the art that is in all the law firms in town.'

And then finally, in the film, when Eric Devlin is confronted with the fact that Victor Pellerin faked his 'sold-out' New York show, and made fakes to support himself, and is implicated in abetting the faking, states "L'art est un canular.' Or in English 'Art is a hoax.' That phrase is the basis for an 'underground' -like marketing campaign that the film's producers have been staging.

While I imagine Andy Warhol being able to get away with saying everything he makes is a fake, no disrespect intended, Eric Devlin is no Andy Warhol.

I have been playing phone tag with Officier Lacoursiere, and expect to be able to get more details from him on Monday. I have also been attempting to get in touch with Sophie Deraspe, the director of the film as well - but so far the Festival du Nouveau Cinema hasn't given me the time of day.

[update 2:30 pm: Never Mind, the film is even better now, in my mind, my crank was turned, turned hard, and I am blushing so brightly that it is probably possible to see this particular shade of crimson in Toronto. There is not a Victor Pellerin, there has never been a Victor Pellerin, there is unlikely to ever be a Victor Pellerin, and Sophie Deraspe is one amazing film maker, go see the film.]

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Well it looks like we won't be getting any reviews in La Presse


They think that I am spamming them. I have already spoken with people in thier IT department, and they have verified, twice, that I am on a whitelist. Pity that the IT department of La Presse is making decisions for the editorial department. I would have hoped that it was the other way around.

If you would like to read what I sent them, click on this.

$800 well spent


Only the third time I have ever seen anything Canadian art related advertised on e-Flux, interestingly enough they have all come from the coasts (two left, one right). As the art world is highly codified, and just placing an ad in the 'right' place means you are someone, I applaud Andrew Riley's decision to spend his money on e-Flux.

$249,000 Wasted


According to this press release, that's how much it cost to convert this website (granted pretty circa 1995) into this website (granted pretty 2002). If anyone had asked me, I could've found way better things to purchase with the money.

[update Friday: Some annonymous person wanted to point out that it is over five years. A) I do not accept anonymous comments, and B) Five years or one year, it is still in my estimation $249,000 wasted.]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Galerie de Bellefeuille needs to work harder for Paul Beliveau


Back at the beginning of September Charles Saatchi launched his online gallery with some fanfare and noise. Basically a competition where the grand prize was being in a show at the Guardian's Newsroom exhibition space. I pretty much ignored it, as I do with most British art stuff, because British art stuff is not Canadian art stuff.

Well, last week they announced the winners, and this week I finally got around to looking at them. And boy was I surprised to find out that Paul Beliveau was shortlisted. Paul Beliveau lives and works in Quebec City, and as it states prominently on the Saatchi Gallery site, he is represented locally by de Bellefeuille. I've met Mr. & Mrs. de Bellefeuille, most of the staff there knows me. Didn't anyone think to contact me so as to get the word out so that we could get the vote out? Or did they think that this was better to keep it top secret since it was being juried by such a distinguished panel? Or (to be tad paranoid) did they get the word out, and just decide to ignore me?

Thomas Hirschhorn may I introduce you to BGL


Right now, Mr. Hirschhorn has a pretty gosh darn cool piece of art that is part of an exhibit at the Walker Art Center. For those of you who aren't aware Thomas Hirschhorn is a world famous Swiss artist, number 42 on the ArtReview list of the 100 most influential people in the art world. From what I can glean from a variety of sources, it was first shown at Barbra Gladstone's gallery in November of 2002.

I present for your viewing pleasure, BGL's 'a l'abri des arbres.' Which was shown at the Musee d'art contemporain in November 2001.

Talk about Quebecois artists not getting any respect.

The Max & Iris Stern not so International Symposium II


I've been meaning to write about this conference that is happening this weekend at the Musee d'art contemporain. I'm only going to be able to make it to 2½ days instead of the full three days. But those 2½ days are going to be interesting.

Some of the things I find interesting before hearing a single presentation is that while they call it an 'international' conference, there are in fact only 6 speakers who come from outside of Montreal, or another way of putting it 73% of the content is local. The 6 speakers coming from elsewhere all come from the same country; France (surprise, surprise!). Or in other words there are only two countries represented at an international conference.

Then, of the 22 speakers, 11 of them (or 50%) pay their bills by teaching or being taught. Or more simply, they are academics. It'll take some serious convincing by someone to make me believe that academics in the visual arts are cutting edge, or leading, or can discover anything. The conference is called 'Art Criticism: Prospecting or Promotion?' That prospecting side is woefully lacking. It'll also take even more serious convincing to make me believe that academics in the visual arts know how to promote (although to their credit, they probably are real good at recognizing promotion) so the promotion side is a tad weak as well.

That all being said, there are some presentations that on the surface appear to be very intereresting. Namely Saturday 11am, Nicolas Bourriaud will be doing something called 'La critique d'art a l'ere de la globalisation : multiculturalism et jugement esthetique.' He's the big vedette and star of the conference, so what he talks about doesn't matter that much. if you weren't aware about 10 years ago he came up with the idea of 'relational aesthetics.' Everyone should make sure to get their copy of the conference handouts autographed.

Personally, I would have preferred a slightly larger concept of international, one that maybe included the rest of Canada, the United States, an Italy, Germany or England, and say a Brazil, South Africa, India or China. If Winnipeg can get Bruce Hainley then Montreal should be able to get Jerry Saltz, or Daniel Birnbaum, or Hans Ulrich Obrist don'tcha think? Talking about local art to local critics ain't gonna get the word out too much, now is it?

That all being said, on Friday afternoon from 2:20pm(?) until 5pm the whole session is called 'The "New Criticism:" Emergent Approaches and New Broadcast Media.' Which on the surface sounds wicked cool! Patrick Poulin is doing something called 'Life & Death of Hermeneutic people' wow! I'm all giddy for that one! Karl-Gilbert Murray is doing a presentation on Gay Art, best to let other people figure how Gay Art fits in with new stuff, I thought gay art had been around for thousands of years. Yann Pocreau is going to talk about 'Written Criticism as an artistic practice,' (Jenny Holzer anyone?) Eric Chenet is doing 'Criticizing Contemporary Art: Child's Play?' If it is then I expect that the conference would be one of these. And Isabelle Hersant is presenting a paper called 'The Art Critic: The art of exceeding the work?' I haven't read anything by Ms. Hersant, so I am unqualified to make any comments on whether the quality of her writing is better or worse than the art that she writes about, but I know that an idea like that never entered into my head before.

There are a couple of others as well that could be fun, but I've already spent too much of my time researching the above ones, so you're going to have to discover them for yourself. However, there is one thing that should make Nicolas Mavrikakis happy, I have been invited to a baptism on Sunday afternoon, so I unfortunately will not be able to attend his presentation entitled 'Who wants real art critics?'

NYArts Magazine touts TIAF


Initially when I first read this article, I figured it was a reprint of the press release for the Toronto International Art Fair. But then upon reading the the press release for the Toronto International Art Fair I realized that while it wasn't is should've been. I haven't read that much hype since Howard Cosell introduced the Bay City Rollers on his TV Show.

Congrats to Sylvia Grace Borda


According to this space filler in the Evening Times, Ms. Borda has succeeded in getting her work published. If you hadn't realized, Sylvia Grace Borda is a Canadian artist from Vancouver. Her work is about East Kilbride in Scotland. On in plainer language, Canadian art going international, always a good thing.

And then I also found this small article in the Glasgow Herald about the book and art project as well.

Art Jobs all over the place


If you're in the mood to be moving, the University of Indiana is looking for a Gallery Director. If you're scared of the impending winter here, Savannah College of Art and Design is looking for a curator for the exhibitions department. More to come as I find 'em.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why can't we do this here, please?


On Friday there is a meeting of the Asterisk Montreal Users Group. In Tacoma they've been able to make a Chihuly CellPhone Walking Tour, and while I honestly think that Dale Chihuly is a jerk, I'm jealous as all get out that Tacoma can do things that we can't.

François Brunelle vs David vs The Brown Sisters vs the Goldberg family vs. Oxford, Iowa vs Noah


Some of you might remember my fascination with duplicates. A year ago, I wrote about it, and as recently as last month I wrote about it as well. Well there's a newcomer to the bunch, please welcome François Brunelle, who is going around photographing doppelgangers. Cool, eh?

And while not entirely related, this is a link to a comprehensive (or at least the most comprehensive list of simlar projects I've ever seen).

I'm disappointed with Jennifer Baichwal's film


Yesterday, I saw two films, one which I had been anticipating since the beginning of September, and the second which blew my socks off.

Unfortunately, Jennifer Baichwal's film, called Manufactured Landscapes is not half as good as Rechercher Victor Pellerin. In the press folderol that goes along with the film, some nameless hack writes that the film 'is a feature length documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky.' Only if Mr. Burtynsky lived in China and was an environmental activist. If they were going to be truthful they would have written that slightly more than a third of the film is on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. The other third or so, is about how quickly China is trying to catch up to North America and Europe, and the last third is about how bad the destruction of Nature is.

There is a grand total of one scene that shows how Mr. Burtynsky negotiates to be able to take the pictures that he does. Throughout the film Ms. Baichwal attempts to copy Mr. Burtynsky's work, unfortunately, Ms. Baichwal is not Mr. Burtynsky. Then what really got my goat going, was that there were a large amount of shots that were just Ms. Baichwal filming Mr. Burtynsky's photographs. Sometimes with a pan, sometimes with a zoom out, sometimes static.

There was no a single shot, no matter the zoom, pan or whatever which lasted more than 7 seconds. Ms. Baichwal, how am I supposed to wrap my eyes and brain around an enlargement of one of Mr. Burtynsky's photographs (which by the by are already pretty large to begin with) in 7 seconds? Do you automatically assume that everyone can take in absolutely everything in an image in 7 seconds? Or is it that you feel that Mr. Burtynsky's images are only worth 7 seconds each?

Jeff Powis' archival footage of Mr. Burtynsky and the slide show presentation of the negotiations are the only things worthwhile in the whole movie. Dan Driscoll's music is derivative and annoying. In the film we only see Mr. Burtynsky take Polaroid pictures, I never knew that Polaroid pictures could be enlarged that much. While a good deal has been made about the landscape photographs Mr. Burtynsky takes, there was not a single mention of how he goes about discovering these places.

Then as there is a large political content in the film, ostensibly about how destruction of Nature and industrialization is not good - I want to know how Ms. Baichwal feels about Mr. Burtynsky being able to sell a single photograph he took for tens of thousands of dollars (if not more, once you take into account the multiples and the books and the, and the...) and in fact in many cases that photograph is of some unnamed worker who makes less than $5/day.

Personally, if I were Ms. Baichwal (or Mr. Burtynsky for that matter) I'd start paying the models. If anyone wants to make a political statement in a film about Mr. Burtynsky, it would be a good idea to make sure that all your bases are covered before you start to run the camera.

If I were reviewing the film, I'd be hard pressed to give it a 'C.' Only worth viewing if you don't have to pay for it (which is a pity because for the most part even if you don't see it, you will have paid for it, such is the nature of government funding of Canadian films). And it only further entrenches my belief that cultural bureaucrats, and especially cultural bureaucrats in Toronto don't have a freakin' clue.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rechercher Victor Pellerin is an amazing film!!!


I just got back from seeing it, and it rocks like nobody's business. it is in the official competition of the FNC and I sure as shootin' hope it wins. If you want some more detail, click on this link to the film's website.

And then beyond being a fantastic and fabulous and wonderful, it also sums up very nicely one of the reasons why Quebecois art is in the doldrums, I wish someone could go out and make a list of all the art that is in all the law firms in town.

And does anybody know if the film had anything to do with Eric Devlin closing his gallery?

This is art that will get you beaten


According to this article from yesterday's New York Times making art like this will land your dealer in the hospital.

They are by two Siberian artists who call themselves Blue Noses. Their real names being Vyacheslav Mizin and Alexander Shaburov.

If you would like more information, click on this.

If you can read Russian, more details appear to be here, as well.

The New York Times' article also mentions work by Alexander Djikia, although from the images there I'm not certain what there is to get offended about.

And finally, if you thought that this was solely a Russian phenomenon, may I remind you that back in May 2004, a San Francisco art dealer, Lori Haigh got beaten up for displaying a painting. (Post One, and Post Two)

Note to Mr. Bown, hire a couple of bodyguards before you do a groups show of Guy Colwell and Blue Noses, ok?

Nunavut to New Mexico


I wonder if anyone was smart enough to trade an exhibit of Southwestern art for this exhibit of Northern art.

A useless waste of space in the Globe & Mail


Val Ross would have been better off submitting this article to People magazine. A bunch of gossip and unsubstantiated rumors about the 'future' of the Canadian Art market, that will never be followed up.

Art + Vision


Got an extra $50? this show looks interesting.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Zeke's Gallery got a review in Le Devoir!! Woo-Hoo!


And it is a mighty nice one at that.

La poésie de l'objet trouvé

Since it is moneywalled, I am going to take a chance, and post it here:
La poésie de l'objet trouvé, by Michel Hellman

Avec ses méthodes peu orthodoxes, le coloré Chris Hand, directeur de la galerie Zeke, fait souvent parler de lui, et pas toujours de manière élogieuse... Dans le milieu fermé et trop souvent élitiste de l'art contemporain, son impertinence et son côté dérangeant ne font pas nécessairement bonne figure. C'est dommage car, sur la scène montréalaise, peu d'acteurs en arts visuels peuvent se vanter de consacrer autant d'énergie et de passion que lui pour venir en aide aux artistes émergents.

Le mandat de la galerie Zeke est de présenter exclusivement des «premières expositions solo». C'est une occasion formidable pour un artiste inconnu de se faire remarquer, mais ingrate pour le responsable de la galerie, qui doit s'accommoder du manque d'expérience et d'organisation (sans parler des centaines de dossiers qu'il faut consulter !) des apprentis exposants. Pour l'amateur d'art, en tout cas, cela peut parfois réserver de bonnes surprises. L'exposition voicedance invasion, de l'artiste tyson howard (le nom doit s'écrire sans lettres majuscules... ), qui a lieu en ce moment en est la preuve.

L'exposition consiste en plusieurs sculptures construites à partir d'objets divers récupérés dans les poubelles. On retrouve des bouts de bois et des morceaux de meubles (surtout des tables et des chaises) fixés ensemble assez maladroitement à l'aide de vis et de clous. De temps en temps, l'artiste a ajouté quelques traces de peinture pour suggérer un visage. Les figures évoquent des personnages, hommes et femmes figés dans des positions statiques. Le côté «objet trouvé» des oeuvres, qui a fait ses preuves depuis les expériences des surréalistes, n'est certainement pas très original, mais il est exploité ici avec une forme de naïveté qui lui procure beaucoup de fraîcheur et de spontanéité.

Ces sculptures évoquent une vie urbaine underground, celle des ruelles sombres et des quartiers industriels déserts. D'ailleurs, l'artiste a souvent décoré certains endroits marginaux de la ville avec ses oeuvres (comme sous l'autoroute Ville-Marie), comme s'il faisait une espèce d'offrande primitive aux dieux du béton... Et c'est justement ce côté à la fois mystérieux et sans aucune prétention qui leur donne ce charme particulier.
If you would like to read an English version, I have attempted to translate it, please feel free to pipe in with any corrections:
The poetry of the found object par Michael Hellman

With his unorthodox methods, the colorful director of Zeke's Gallery, Chris Hand gets talked about a lot, and not always respectfully... In the closed and frequently elitist contemporary art world, his impertinence and cheeky side don't always cut a good figure. It's a pity because within the Montreal scene there are precious few who dedicate as much energy and passion as he does while helping emerging artists.

The mandate of Zeke's Gallery is to present first solo shows exclusively. It is a momentous occasion for an unknown artist which should be noted, but a thankless job for the the dealer, who needs to be able to handle inexperience and disorganization (not to mention the hundreds of submissions that need to be looked at!) of learning exhibitors. For art lovers in any case, it sometimes can reveal some very nice surprises. The current exhibit voicedance invasion by tyson howard (the artist uses lowercase letters to spell his name...) at Zeke's Gallery is a case in point.

The exhibit consists of numerous sculptures made out of things salvaged from the garbage. We find bits of wood, and pieces of furniture (mainly tables and chairs) hung all over the place with the help of some screws and nails. Every now and again the artist added a little bit of paint in order to suggest a face. The figures evoke a humanness, men and women fixed in motionless positions. The found object side of the works, which has been done since the time of surrealism, is not original, but it works here with a certain naiveté which gives them a sense of freshness and spontaneity.

The sculptures also evoke an underground life, those of dark alleyways and deserted industrial parks. Elsewhere the artist frequently decorated certain parts of the city (such as the Ville Marie highway) as if he was making an offering to the gods of concrete... And it is exactly this sometimes mysterious side without any pretension whatsoever that give them their particular charm.
[Update December 16, 2006: More information here]

Friday, October 20, 2006

Michael Pantazzi is wrong and has no memory


In this article in today's Globe & Mail he is quoted as saying
"I don't know of any other instance of another painting from abroad being returned to the estate of the owner in Canada," said Michael Pantazzi, who retired last month as curator of European art at the National Gallery of Canada. Mr. Pantazzi is an authority on issues of art provenance. "This is the first incident where something has been recuperated that was outside Canada," he said in an interview from Ottawa.
Unfortunately for Mr. Pantazzi some of the heirs of Adele Bloch-Bauer are Canadian, and since you first need to posses a painting in order to sell it, and the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer was recently sold for $135 million (US), I can only assume that the Canadian heirs did have the painting returned to them prior to it becoming the most expensive painting in the world.

Once again for those of you who think I am nasty


No comment from me.
Viewed in the context of the recent dumbing-down of art, gallery design and visual experience at the XXXXX Museum, the [current] show is above average. It is better than the museum’s dreary XXXXX show, its disappointing XXXXX and its weak XXXXX presentation. But it similarly lacks curatorial rigor and imagination, which lends an air of Faustian bargain.

The museum, desirous of a big-name exhibition, seems to have ceded too much control to its subject, and as a result, the show is an unconscious exercise in ego gratification that serves no one well. Leaking vanity and ambition, at once yearning for greatness and blithely assuming that greatness has been achieved, the works on view are like a high-brow, static form of reality television. It is fueled by an obsession with celebrity and accented with the trappings of first-class travel, serious real estate and privilege. Its revelations are mostly inadvertent.
From this article in today's New York Times

Michael Snow and Brock University


Judging from this article by Kayla Hillier, Brock University doesn't like Michael Snow anymore. I'd love to know more details, but I can't find anything.

Jack Anderson ain't going to be read by many people in Regina


On Wednesday the Regina Leader-Post printed this review of a Massimo Guerrera exhibit. Aesthetics, interpersonal, interactivity, various indeterminate sculptural objects, interconnectivities are some of the words he thinks are appropriate to be read over morning coffee, and then there is my absolute favorite: 'Deploying interiority by articulating a kind of internal architecture that gives form to the formless...' Either Mr. Anderson is desperate to get out of Regina, or he has absolutely no hope of ever being able to do so.

What a difference a year makes


A little over a year ago, I made some snarky comments about the third annual BMO 1st Art! Invitation Student Art Competition. This year, I came across the press release for the fourth annual competition, and somehow, I feel warmer towards them this year, but not prepared to be completely over the top in my praise. I'm warmer, because this year's jury includes some people I know. I might have just become a tad mellower But after reading the rules, it looks like they only pay $1,500 to the regional winners which while not bad, isn't great. Since they increased the amount of prize money from last year to this year, I'd like them to continue the trend and increase it to $4,000 for each regional winner and $8,000 for the grand prize. That would be nice.

And then after a little more research, I imagine that the Dawn Cain who is curator of the BMO Art Collection, is not this Dawn Cain. But, I am confused as to how someone who is (or used to be) a curator of a rather idiosyncratic range of pieces willed to the University of Toronto by Dr. Lillian Malcove can switch gears so rapidly to be able to focus on Canadian art, isn't that like a cytologist switching jobs and becoming a biochemist? Or an interior designer suddenly deciding that they are an architect?

Jennifer Baichwal makes it back to Montreal


But not at the Film Festival I thought. Two screenings, tomorrow and Monday. I can't make it tomorrow, but I will be there with bells on for the Monday screening. A review from the left coast, somehow I do not think that it will get a regular screening here in Montreal.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Art Museums on Flickr

Art Museums on Facebook


Since Zeke's Gallery is on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503994512) it occurred to me to go looking for other art galleries and museums who were there as well. Here is the list of museums:

Brooklyn Museum
The Hammer Museum
Georgia Museum Of Art
Chazen Museum Of Art

And the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Art have Facebook groups

Art Museums on MySpace


Since Zeke's Gallery is on MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/zekesgallery) it occurred to me to go looking for other art galleries and museums who were there as well. Here is the list of museums, In a very particular order

Brooklyn Museum
MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art)
Hammer Museum
The Andy Warhol Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles
Milwaukee Art Museum
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
South Austin Museum of Popular Culture
Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami
The Mattress Factory
Austin Museum of Digital Art
Ackland Art Museum
South Bend Regional Museum of Art
Asheville Art Museum
Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art
UCR/California Museum of Photography
The Cartoon Art Museum California
The Cartoon Museum London
Polk Museum of Art
Heritage Square Museum
Berkshire Museum
Pasadena Museum of California Art

By all means not comprehensive, however if I can point out that there isn't a single Canadian museum on the list at all, and I really went looking for them.

[update November 27: It appears that one museum per week joins MySpace. In the five weeks since I originally wrote this, I have discovered these museums:
Centre Pompidou
Auckland Art Gallery
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
American Museum of Natural History
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center
Long Beach Heritage Museum
The Autry National Center
Milwaukee Public Museum
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
and as mentioned in the comments
The Walker Art Center and I am certain that there are still bunches that I've missed. If you know of any others, please don't hesitate to let me know.

I never met Marcia Tucker, now I wish I had


Judging from her obituary, she sounds like a really cool and kick-ass person.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Terminus 1525 vs. Zeke's Gallery


Submitted for your information; a comparison of the internet reach of Terminus 1525 and the Zeke's Gallery blog.

Click Here

It scares me to think how much money is being spent by the Canadian Government on terminus 1525 for something like a total of 210 people. Remind me next time to never hire any person who lists working for terminus 1525 on their resume. If YouTube is worth $1.65 billion dollars because they get about 10 million visits each day, then that means each visitor is worth roughly $165. At that rate I would estimate that Terminus 1525 is worth about $2,475.

Last one for a while about the RBC Canadian Painting Competition


Last night I crashed the RBC Canadian Painting Competition party reception at the Musee d'art contemporain (can anyone tell me where the RBC stuff is on the museum's website? I can't seem to find it anywhere).

And while I like in theory what they are attempting to do, in practice what they are doing has lots and lots and lots of room to improve.

They mentioned during the speeches that they had received 1,500 entries for the 2006 competition. They seemed to think that this was a good thing. Each year Stewart Hall has an open call for a 'rental show.' Not exactly as lucrative as the RBC's competition, but recognition none the less. They get about 450 submissions each year. The RBC's competition has a budget of, I would guess, $100,000. Stewart Hall has a budget of, I would guess, $1,000. Which organization is getting more bang for their buck?

And while I would be the first to point out that Google juice is not a scientific method for anything, it can serve as a very rough overview of American awareness. The past winners and their Google Juice numbers:
Dionne Simpson (2004 winner) - 680
Etienne Zack (2005 winner) - 1,890
Dil Hildebrand (2006 winner) - 298

If you would like to see how these compare to last year, click on this.

In a nutshell, if I was responsible for giving out $55,000 in prize money that was supposed to 'encourage and nurture creative potential and also facilitate the entry of professional artists into the visual arts community.' I would demand some things:
1. At least ten international articles about the prize winner, and I wouldn't give a hoot about the length. Some 50 word blurb in the News section of ArtForum, 75 words in Art Press, 35 words in Flash Art, you get the idea.

2. Lead arts news item on the CBC, CTV, and Global evening news, and 750 word articles about the competition and the prize winner in the Globe & Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Le Devoir, and any other Canadian newspaper with a circulation over 50,000.

3. A bilingual exhibition catalog (instead of one in French, and one in English) that does not look like a PowerPoint presentation transfered onto paper. Yes, the RBC is a bank, but so are Deutsche Bank and UBS. I'd also want it to include at least a 2,000 word text from the curator of the RBC collection on something like 'this year's trends in Canadian Painting.'

4. One entry received for every $10 in the competition's budget.

5. That the RBC purchase the three finalists' paintings, instead of leaving it up to their Vice Presidents to negotiate directly with the painters.
Then for more long range goals, I'd try to set up some sort of endowment, so that the prize would not have to rely on the generosity of the RBC each year. I'd try and explain to the museums who host the exhibit that it would be mutually beneficial to show it in one of their galleries instead of an auditorium. I'd try to make sure that the catering bill was smaller than the framing bill. And I'd try to set up a website that listed all the previous winners, had pictures of all the previous prize winning paintings, and if I was really really ambitious, a list of all the previous entrants.

Is this too much to ask?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Groupe Bizot in town, head's up


This article can give you some background on the International Group of Organizers of Large-scale Exhibitions, also known as the Groupe Bizot, and if anyone happens to see Nicholas Serota, Thomas Krens, Bruno Racine, Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, Michael Govan, Glenn D. Lowry, Maxwell L. Anderson, Anne d'Harnoncourt or any of the other 31 museum directors in town, tell them that I say 'hi.' Actually if you see Michael Govan, tell him he's my hero, and I'll pay good cash money (or at least a beer) if you can get him to visit the gallery.

Rather large changes


I will wait to form my opinion, however, Jérôme Delgado is no longer the art critic for La Presse.

Lookin' for a job?


I don't know how much it pays, but a frequent subject of my bashing is looking for a new director. I would also strongly suggest that you do not tell anyone you heard it here first. Deadline is November 1, and good luck.

Monday, October 16, 2006

ArtReview on MySpace


While most everyone has heard about the ArtReview 100, but are you one of the 296 people who are ArtReview's friend on MySpace?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stuff Seen - Teenage Kicks/Ca plane pour moi



Saw this one back in September, and I could've missed it and my life would not be any different than it is right now. When we walked in, someone had forgotten to turn on the video Jo-Anne Balcaen's 'Screaming Girls,' and we walked in at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. After doing the tour of the walls, looked up and there it was playing, surprise, surprise. Basically sums the exhibition experience for me (or more plainly, if the gallery doesn't care enough to show the art, then why should I?)

The theme was just a tad too forced. Basically Centre Clark is celebrating 18 years of existence, so Mathieu Beausejour suggested that they exhibit some art that was loosely affiliated or based on being 18. Too much GB Jones (who seemed to have a different agenda) not enough Alain Paiement, or Ms. Balcaen. It also could have been a show about sexuality, or popular music. Personally I think they should have dropped the references to being eighteen years old and gone much heavier toward the popular music side. But then again, I could be wrong.

Stuff Seen - Terre, pierre et fer



I previewed this exhibit in the October issue of Vivva Montreal [pdf alert], scroll to page 8 if you would like to read what I wrote in advance of seeing the show. Now that I've seen the show, I'm even more impressed with the work of Jean Brillant, however, his work is not sufficient to save the rest of the show.

After talking to Hedwidge Asselin (the curator) I got the idea that she the work of all three artists was going to create something that could be called greater than the sum of the artists' work individually. Hence the idea for the group show. But, I'm not certain how that was going to happen when each artist basically staked out their own land claim within the gallery. M. Brillant at the entry to the building and in the back on the right, Eva Lapka at the front of the gallery and creeping along the left hand wall to the back. And Jean-Louis Emond on the back wall.

From my viewing, there was no crossover at all, and while Ms. Lapka might be an accomplished ceramicist, and M. Emond's stuff looks vaguely like some sort of wall hanging (maybe even a painting) and some sliced cake like object, they were both overshadowed by M. Brillant's filigree (hey, every now and again it is good to use the appropriate term - it would be sort of awkward for me to call it grillwork, because it isn't, or delicately cut metal made to look sort of like leaves).

Beyond that, it appeared to me that each artist tried to use two of the three elements in the title (Earth, Rock and Iron for the blokes and square heads reading) and for the most part it seemed overkill. I much preferred the single element objects. Nonetheless, it was my first visit to the McClure Gallery, and the gallery itself is quite a nice place, not exactly 'white cube' but then again not as against the 'white cube' as my gallery. The address is 350 Victoria Ave, in Westmount, and it is open from noon to six Wednesday through Friday and noon to five on Saturdays. For more information call Andrea at (514) 488-9558. The website is http://www.centredesartsvisuels.ca.

Props & Shout Outs to Pablo Aravena


His film gets mentioned in today's New York Times. Unfortunately, S.T. Vanairsdale, the author, or some editors at the New York Times, don't think that Montreal is one of the 'world capitals like Tokyo, London and Paris.' Beyond that the article itself serves as a reasonable checklist of grafitti films.

More on Art Advisers, this time from the horse's mouth


About a month ago, I wrote a snarky remark about Sharon Burton, the founder of Authentic Art Consulting in Washington, D.C. aft she gave good quote to Artinfo.com in an article about Art Advisors. Well, now we get the big guns...

Mia Fineman, senior research associate in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art wrote an article in today's New York Times about Art Advisors, but from the inside. While I'm still not happy with the concept that buying contemporary art is 'a closed system based largely on relationships of trust.' I much prefer an article about it that has quotes from David Zwirner, Marianne Boesky, Barbara Gladstone, and Tobias Meyer's boyfriend, than one that has quotes from one that highlights the names of the 'advisors' so that you are certain not to miss their names.

Best quote from Ms. Fineman:
Dealers are particularly wary of advisers who demand a commission from the gallery without making the buyer aware of the transaction. The worst, Ms. Boesky said, are “the Long Island ladies who come into the gallery with a group of girlfriends, and then call in from the street and say, ‘If my friends buy anything, make sure you give me a commission.’ ”
Thanks fully none of the advisors quoted in the Artinfo.com article have offices in Long Island.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Museums + YouTube two different ways of handing things


Back in July, I posted this YouTube Playlist, of videos at the Musee d'art contemporain. I was jokingly chastised by a member of the museum staff that because of me, people wouldn't come to the museum. I took it in the spirit it was intended and didn't worry about it.

Now, from today's Wall Street Journal, MoMA is using YouTube to help get people in the door for a Residents exhibit that they are having.

MoMA with YouTube = Big feature length article in the Wall Street Journal.
MACM without YouTube = 86 word mention in a column in Hour Magazine.

And you don't even want to get me started about the Chazen Museum, the Hammer Museum and the Brooklyn Museum all being on Facebook (Chazen, Hammer, and Brooklyn)

This is why I'm not a big fan of small prizes


Thanks to the generosity of the Duke and Duchess of York, Karen Ostrom is $8,000 richer. However, the story has not been picked up by any news media that I can find. The only mention of it at this time is the press release. If the Canada Council for the Arts really has as its principal role promotion of the arts, they need to try a little bit harder, don'tcha think?

Oh, and congrats to Ms. Ostrom

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Does anybody know where I can get a copy?


Of this article? Apparently using big words does not make anybody think you are smarter.

The Women are alright


It is obvious that Nicolas Mavrikakis is a bandwagon jumper. On September 21, Jerry Saltz wrote a very interesting article in the Village Voice about the amount of women artists exhibiting in New York. It got republished (as all his columns are) on October 2 on the website Artnet.com. So this week, Mr. Mavrikakis complains about the lack of women exhibiting at the Musee d'art contmporain. All because he thinks that the Rodney Graham show that is currently up, is all about men.

One of the things that made Mr. Saltz's article so interesting was that he did include some historical data in his article 'since 2000 only 14 percent of the Guggenheim's solo shows of living artists have been devoted to women.' And he also made full use of a bunch of museum's collections to make his point. Might be one of the reasons why he is considered a good writer.

Mr. Mavrikakis on the other hand seems to be incapable of remembering anything. Yes he is correct that there are no solo women's shows scheduled for the next couple of months. However in 2005 there were more solo shows by women than there were by men, and going back to 2003 at least a third of the solo shows have been by women and as many as half have been by women. As the museum has only recently instituted a 'no group show' policy, I'd love to go back and look at the groups shows as well and compare how many women to how many men were in each one - but I have other work that needs to be done.

In a nutshell, Nicolas Mavrikakis is not only a bandwagon jumper, but he is also wrong.

The National Post headline writers are just plain dumb


For whatever reasons, Canwest Global is putting its weight behind getting a Canadian Portrait Gallery up and running. For the life of me I don't know why. But today the headline for yet another article in its defense reads: Every great country must have its portrait gallery.

Ummm, what about that Russian National Portrait Gallery, huh? The Italian National Portrait Gallery? The French National Portrait Gallery? The Indian National Portrait Gallery? The Japanese National Portrait Gallery? The German National Portrait Gallery? It isn't quite as offensive as this article, but it ranks right up there.

Want a job?


Click Here. I do not know if a micro mini skirt is required as a uniform.

NIce gesture - badly executed


Some guy named Bernard Mendelman writes about Canadian art for The Suburban. Great idea. Unfortunately he writes things like 'G.A. Reid (1860-1947) recounted incidents from his life as a boy on the farm in Wingham, Ontario. In Family Prayer, 1892, Reid uses light in the painting as a metaphor: the light of the spirit.' There is no other mention of Mr. Reid anywhere else in the article, nor is it mentioned where his paintings are located, or why Mr. Mendelman thought Mr. Reid worthy of 34 words.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

18 months or 12?


I just discovered that the Sobey Art Award is going to be awarded annually. Cool! I like the Sobey Art Award, $50,000 gets you an awful lot of headlines. However, they don't seem to have changed the requirements, which now means that although the award will get given away once every year, in order to be nominated you need only have had an exhibit in the past 18 months.

Marke Andrews is not clear on the concept


A small pathetic article in the National Post today about using paintings as props on TV shows. Apparently, there are some people out there one apple short of a bushel, who think that uncredited artists who have paintings on TV are going to be the next big thing, despite as Mr. Andrews writes 'the artist has not sold any paintings or had any queries.'

Man, if Andrea Padovani had only given me the $60,000!!

Wow! The Gazette agrees with me!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

SODRAC + RAAV + CARFAC are going to kill Canadian Visual Art


I've mentioned it in passing before, but now it is getting way out of line. But Diane Juster, Daniel Lafrance, Paul Baillargeon, Frédéric Weber, Robert Vinet, Max Amphoux, Jehan V. Valiquet, Philippe Leduc, Marc Ouellette and Alain Lauzon (the board of directors of SODRAC and its General Manager) are about to do to Visual Arts in Canada what CRIA has done to music in Canada (or in plainer language: In 1999 there were about $700 million worth of CD sales in Canada. In 2004 it had declined to $562 million, a $138 million decline in absolute dollars. All due to the behavior of CRIA and its members). Unfortunately, the Canadian Visual Arts industry is not even large enough to be called 'cottage.' I would guess it is worth something along the lines of $70 million, annually. If it declines by $138 million then artists are going to have to be paying museums and galleries and collectors to buy their art.

According to their website, SODRAC represents 'more than 25,000 Canadian and foreign artists.' I would like them to make sure in advance of threatening other people that every one of the 'more than 25,000 Canadian and foreign artists' that they represent understands and respects copyright law and intellectual property laws.

If you still have no idea of what I am talking about SODRAC has started to send very threatening letters to a variety of people. These people are threatened using common elementary schoolyard techniques by bullies and thugs because they are trying to promote Canadian Art, and in doing so need to publish reproductions of artworks.

Right now (October 10, 2006) I can think of three exhibits in Montreal of contemporary Canadian Art that are in flagrant violation of the Canadian copyright act. SODRAC needs the support of RAAV and CARFAC in order to even begin to approach 'representing 25,000 Canadian artists.' It is all fine and dandy to think that by supporting bill C-42 artists will become richer. In actual fact, it ain't the artists that benefit, it is the children of the artists, the grandchildren of the artists, and companies who have bought the rights to the art (for pennies) from the artists that will become rich.

Before SODRAC bullies another person, I would like them to agree to verify that each and everyone of their members is not in violation of bill C-42, then and only then will I agree that their defense of intellectual property is kosher. As they cannot currently even give someone a complete and up to date list of who they represent it might afford a pause of a couple of millennia before we need to worry about publishing a picture from a Mike Hoolbllom video.

Stuff Seen - Girodet, Romantic Rebel



If you take a stroll down to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts you'll be able to get a gander at what I would imagine was one of the biggest and badest queens in Paris 200 years ago. Then again, I haven't read the catalog, so if he wasn't as gay as the day is long then I betcha dollars to doughnuts he had sex with more women than Casanova. The word 'romantic' in the title is genteel speak, dig?

According to what I was told, his big hit painting was 'The Burial of Atala.' He got the Legion of Honour because of it. From what I understand, the Legion of Honour is sorta like the Order of Canada but more important - maybe a combination of the Order of Canada and the Sobey Award. Imagine scoring both because of one painting. It just doesn't happen like that these days.

But beyond scoring a pretty impressive award for one painting (just for the record, in case you think I am dead serious, the previous sentences can also be called a reasonable use of hyperbole) Mr. Anne-Louis Girodet looks like a pretty gosh darn good painter, judging from this show. As the fine folk at the museum told us, it has already been seen by more than 500,000 folk in Paris, Chicago and New York. Because of technicalities Montreal is a stand in for Cleveland (first time in my life I ever am thankful for that) and judging from previous attendance figures we might just be able to get more eyeballs to see it here than saw it in Chicago.

The thing that I got the biggest kick out of, and made me think that the show was a superlative example of a kick-ass show was how Sylvain Bellenger treated an art history show - 'there has never been an exhibition of his work in North America' - as if it were a contemporary art exhibit. The two pictures above this paragraph give you a basic idea. Normally with what I call art historical shows, there are a whack of paintings and a humongous text in a catalog that can be used to beat you into submission that absolutely every gosh darn painting in the freakin' show should change your life if you only knew what you were looking at.

In this show, while I would not want to be even threatened with the catalog (I can't think of a larger one published by the Musee des beaux arts, and I only saw hardcover copies, that sucker is going to hurt and hurt something fierce if you hit me with it, it's scarier than a .357 magnum) there are numerous studies and sketches and test patterns and attempts and dress rehearsals done before the real thing that make you (or at least me) realize that M. Girodet was dead serious about his painting. The amount of obsessive detail that he must have pored over and over and over before committing a single drop of paint to the real thing is phenomenal.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of paintings that are 200 years old, heck there are a whack of paintings that are less than 50 years old that I think suck dead duck eggs. But despite that M. Bellenger has done a superlative job of making me think that an exhibition that for the most part is a whole whack of portraits of some folk long gone dead is as important and imperative to my life right now as the Rodney Graham show down the street, or the show that I have up on the walls here, or even the beer I just finished drinking.

This is one of the many paintings of mythological happenstances that sort of make me think that M. Girodet was gay.

Yes there are the requisite pictures of naked women as well (I don't think that there was any other way of getting porn in those days) but somehow they left me unconvinced. I didn't bother to go through and count naked guys versus naked girls but...

There also the requisite portraits of some really famous folk

And some folk who weren't so famous - although you gotta hand it to M. Girodet, being able to paint the first ever portrait of a black man, as a person, not a slave, and about 15 years later being able to paint a portrait of the leader of the free world. He runs the gamut from 'A' to 'Z' and then some.

The 'then some' being that this guy apparently wasn't too fond of Napoleon, and Napoleon wasn't too fond of him. Can you imagine these days someone, anyone, being able to paint portraits of Osama Bin Laden in 1998 and then in 2004 paint a portrait of George Bush (ok, you're right, I haven't read anything by Bin Laden recently, but hyperbole is mighty fun, ain't it?)

And lastly, I'll finish by writing that I was also impressed that the Musee des beaux arts had not set up a store just at the end of the exhibit, it runs contrary to everything one thinks and hears about contemporary museum culture these days. As a consequence, I was unable to peruse the selection of goods associated with M. Girodet (d'ya think his great-great-great-great-grand children are entitled to any royalties (oops! I forgot he was gay!)) but for reasons that are extremely personal I hope that the next time I am at the museum store they have this painting available for purchase as a postcard.

It is a good thing that I have to go back and see the show two more times. If I can convince my sister that she needs to see it too, then that'll make it three more times. I like it when old paintings get me as giddy as new paintings. If you have a sister, mother, or sweetie (or all three, like me) take 'em to this show – remember how everyone you knew swooned over James Dean? - M. Girodet did Dean better than Dean did 150 years earlier.

Comments are working again


Thought you might like to know. They will be moderated (ie I will need to approve them) but the only comments that will not go through are those that are comment spam.

However, I would appreciate it if you did sign your name to your comment. Thanks in advance.

Thank You Peter Byrne. The Refus Global rocks my world!


Apparently he writes for this website called Swans.com and yesterday he wrote an article callewd Total Refusal, or for those familiar with the terrain of Quebecois Art, 'Refus Global.' Basically it serves as an introduction to this wonderful article by Sam Abramovitch all about Paul-Emile Borduas and the Refus Global. Lots of fun in there.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Christian Yaccarini & Iber Management doing what's good for the city.


Mary Lamey writes an article from Friday's Gazette about how the city is taking the land and a building from its owners, giving them $1.9 million in exchange and then give it over to Christian Yaccarini. Mr. Yaccarini then requires another $9 million dollars (assumed to be coming from various levels of government, because he already has $11 million in private financing) so that he can build 'a box office selling tickets for a wide variety of shows, gallery space, a bistro, the Maison de l'image et de la photographie as well as office, meeting and multimedia rooms for arts groups'

Right next door, is Club Soda, which has a ticket office. Just down the street are Vox and SAT, both of which are gallery spaces. Across the street is the Theatre Nationale which along with SAT have bistros, the aforementioned Vox (and SAT to a certain extent as well) are the equivalents of Maison de l'image et de la photographies. But I gotta hand it to Mr. Yaccarini, he can really identify a niche that needs to be filled - there is no office space two blocks of where he plans to build his eight storey building. Dollars to doughnuts, as the project evolves, it suddenly has condos or a boutique hotel grafted on (how else could you explain the need for 'meeting rooms?'

Speaking of condos and art, slightly further down the article Ms. Lamey writes about how 'Iber Management, a hotel operator, plans to build twin residential towers over the Place des Arts metro station at the corner of de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Bleury St.' I think that makes eight condo projects on de Bleury in between de Maisonneuve and Viger.

Oblique dig at Conceptual art by Danielle Egan


And she just doesn't understand. In this article about a show at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Ms. Egan writes 'Angela Grossmann, an established artist also represented in Paint.' This is her CV, you judge if it is the CV of an established artist. Or conversely, if it is the CV of an established artist, then as 'established' is about as high as you can go on the career ladder (emerging, mid-career, established) that's a pretty low bar being set in order to be established.

Then in the blurb about the show on the VAG website, they write 'Peter Schuyff, who ventured outside Canada in the 1980s to establish [an] outstanding career on the international stage...' Mr. Schuff's CV - you judge if it is 'outstanding' or 'international.' (To me they did get it right with regards to Jessica Stockholder - although I'm not certain how Canadian she would consider herself, and while she does use paint - there is an awful lot of concept in her work as well.)

Louise T Blouin MacBain in 3,741 words

Cluny makes it into Gridskipper


Right here. Congrats to Patrick and Rob.

Mixed up by mixed signals


This article by Paul Gessell serves as a simplistic introduction to the Canadian Government's cultural policy. You might of heard the something called the Museum Assistance Program, where the government gives more than $4 million dollars to museums was threatened with being stopped, and then was saved. What you might have missed is that back in 2004 or so, some bright wags in the Canadian Government decided to evaluate the 'the Museums Assistance Program and Canadian Museums Association Program.' The first sentence of their findings were: 'Evaluators could not say whether the two programs are still critical to achievement of federal objectives. There has been no articulation of the federal government's museum policy and the place of MAP and CMAP within it since the 1990 Canadian Museum Policy, and the context in which the programs operate has evolved considerably.'

I haven't slogged through the entire report, but from a quick scan it looks like they suggested that there be more precise goals and oversight of the Museum Assistance Program. Which would lead me to believe that they were throwing money away willy-nilly - which is not a good thing. I have no idea if any of the recommendations were implemented, or if they have stopped throwing money away willy-nilly, but I certainly hope so.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rodney Graham should be pleased


Some guy who works at Ralph Lauren just paid $5.8 million US for a weathervane. If you would like some reminding...

Rodney Graham, Weather Vane, 2002, stainless steel, black enamel, 69 x 63 cm, collection de Scott Livingstone. © Rodney Graham
Rodney Graham, Weather Vane, 2002, stainless steel, black enamel, 69 x 63 cm, collection de Scott Livingstone. © Rodney Graham

$70–$100 per square foot



It is news when MoMA Adds a Department for ‘Media', however defining media art by where it is viewed is almost as stupid as defining it as having an experimental nature or being research-based. Instead of broad definitions I'd prefer narrow definitions.

Grumble Grumble, Complain Complain


Richard Cork writes some drivel in the New Statesman about contemporary art.

He tries to make some comparison between art in 1906, and art in 2006, and his main point is that art today is bad. He writes 'Does anyone else share my sense of disappointment about the unfocused character of art today?' But then he shoots himself in the foot, and then places it in his mouth when he continues to write 'After all, even Picasso was so perturbed by his friends' hostile reaction to Les Demoiselles that he left the unfinished canvas rolled up in his studio.'

How many unfinished canvases are still hanging out rolled up in studios around the world today? Personally I am still looking for a Jacques Doucet, and I strongly suggest that Mr. Cork wait until 2037 before complaining that art made in 2006 doesn't stand up to Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

400 Galleries - a £500 million art market


In a preview of the Frieze Art Fair the Guardian writes an interesting article about the London art 'scene.' Sounds simple enough to recreate it here, right?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'm still not clear on the subject


Everyone including the The Toronto Star is all a-twitter over the sale on Friday of the Dundas Collection of Northwest Coast Indian art [use bugmenot if you don't want Sotheby's to pry into your life] apparently $1.8 million (US) for a mask gets you some serious headline action.

However, what all the articles I read missed were that Simon Carey had been trying to sell the collection since at least 1999. And what I found most interesting in this article was the information, that it was standard practice in the nineteeth century 'when West Coast natives converted to Christianity, it was the custom for them to renounce their native religion by giving their sacred objects to missionaries.' Isn't that similar to what the Nazi's did to the Jews? Although the Nazi's at least initially forced the Jews to sell their art and other possesions. So they were able to get at least some cash. The Tsimshian and other natives didn't even get a thin dime.

So why is the National Gallery giving back Nazi Looted art? And the Canadian Museum of Civilization buying Tsimshian art? Won't they just have to give it back in 50 years?

...And there's this article, by Tristan Stewart-Robertson in the Star that parallels my concerns.

Robert Hughes on Canadian Art


Robert Hughes the art critic for Time magazine, apparently has written another book.
And as a consequence is doing some sort of promotional tour. He was in Toronto, and Peter Goddard asked him about Canadian Art. This was his response:
People don't show it in America, for Christ's sake. How am I supposed to know about Canadian art living in America?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blogging will be light


I'm attending the Future of Music Policy Summit down the street from the gallery. If you are at all interested, I will be posting details about it, over on Metblog Montreal.

With a little luck things should be back to normal, by Sunday.