Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My love/hate relationship with the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal


I don't know why, but the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal thinks I am sending them spam. If you click on the image, you will be able to see the screenshot of the bounced mail.

Then add to that, they are having a press conference for their three new exhibits, I asked if volunteers (who happen to be related to me could come) they said no. This after Marc Mayer has been busting his chops all over the city trying to reach out to Anglophone Montrealers. Last I checked I wasn't related to anyone francophone.

I don't understand why it is so frustrating dealing with them. (Note to self: Breath deep, just keep taking deep breaths, it isn't a matter of life and death.)

$312,000 of your own money


Apparently it is pay to play in teh art world as well. I don't know exact details, but according to this article, David Altmejd is partially financing his entry in this year's Venice Biennale. I would also love to know how large the bronze of a bird in flight he made is.

Bad at Sports is also bad at spelling


They just released Episode 74 and in the names dropped section of the eamil there was this: "Monty Canson."

MONTY CANTSIN is how it is spelled, and he is also known as Istvan Kantor, has won a Governor General's Award back in 2004. So close... Those neoist events were something.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Props and Shout Outs to Marie Chouinard


She just got more than $750,000 to purchase a building, way cool!

Kyle Rae has some weird ideas


Mr. Rae is chair of the Toronto's economic development, culture, tourism and special events committee (whatever that is). In this article he is quoted as saying "We have turned to the philanthropic sector to finance health care, when in fact it should be investing in the arts." Or if I understand him correctly, people should spend money on art not doctors.

Weird idea number 1.

Christopher Hume, the author of the article writes "the arts have historically been considered a frill. They are seen as elitist and non-essential." Wrong-O Boy-O! From 1962 until 1971 Sears sold original contemporary art. In 1968 Andy Warhol was used as a pitchman for Braniff Airlines. That does not sound like art being elitist and non-essential, but history was never my strong point. Mr. Hume continues to shoot himself in the foot by writing 'when the corporate sector does give, it's more often because of one individual within the organization than corporate policy.' Actually, I take that back - he is completely right about that - the RBC Collection is because of one individual, G.W. MacKimmie who has been dead for 62 years.

But back to Mr. Rae, he seems to have memorized, or more maybes joined the cult of, Richard Florida. Otherwise I can't quite understand why he would say something like this: "The hallmarks of successful cities in the 21st century are innovation and investment..." After six years, he is able to identify "successful cities?" Right. I'd also like to see his list of unsuccessful cities - my guess is that Baghdad and Beirut havn't had enough innovation and investment, although last I heard the US Army had invested something like $1 trillion dollars in Baghdad.

Weird idea number 2.

Obviously the education he got in England wasn't quite the one he would have recieved here in Canada, otherwise he wouldn't confuse creativity and Culture.

Weird idea 3.

And I don't quite follow how investing in Canadian infrastructure is going to help retired Ontario municipal employees. Last I heard Hydro One wasn't a great investment.

Weird idea number 4.

And finally, 'cuz this post has taken me way too long to write, I completely disagree with 'eading urban adviser Greg Clark' and if business isn't talking to the creative people, then who was speaking about the Opera House and the two museum additions that are built or being built right now in Toronto? If Mr. Hume can't enumerate what Toronto is good at, maybe he should move. I don't think Toronto is best at anything, but I certainly know that jumping on Richard Florida's cultural bandwagon as the salvation of all urban ills is one of the most cock-a-mamie concepts I have ever heard in my life. If you would like to know what I've previously wrritten about Mr. Florida, try One, Two Three, Four, Five and, Six.

Another public plea to Louise Dery and/or Lynn Beavis and/or Michèle Thériault


While the rest of the province is getting themselves in a tizzy over the upcoming Fernando Botero exhibit at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (I wonder how much they paid Art Services International for the exhibit?) There is another Fernando Botero exhibit that is currently in San Francisco, at the University of California, Berkeley's Doe Library. It has also been seen in New York City, as well as Italy, Germany and Greece (cool article about it here, and pictures here).

The exhibit is also going to Washington DC. And I (and I am certain there are others like me) who would adore it if the art gallery at UQAM, or one of the fancy art galleries at Concordia arranged to being it to Montreal. I haven't hear anything about my previous public plea to them, but then again, everything in the art world tends to move very slowly

Monday, January 29, 2007

Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal keeping their cards close to their chest


On February 1, 2007 I will be in Ottawa, because the National Gallery is opening their version of the Robert Davidson exhibit. It played here at the McCord, but I am salivating at the thought of it the show getting more space, and I am as excited as a cocker spaniel puppy upon recieiving a new bouncy rubber ball at the prospect of meeting Mr. Davidson.

As a consequence, I will have to miss the press conference here at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal where they are going to be announcing 'the acquisition of a major collection of works by a renowned Canadian painter.' So I ask you, do you know who the paintings are by or what the paintings are?

Also in the press announcement, they refer to Nathalie Bondil as Director, the word 'interim' is no where within 50 miles of the announcement. I don't know if this is another 'soft launch' or an 'oopsy.' If it is a 'soft launch,' congratulations to Ms. Blondil and I like it very much that they have decided to promote from within.

Art Crime & Politics?! I think not - just shoddy reporting


Apparently it was a really slow news day in Quebec City yesterday. This article from Le Soleil loudly touts the geneology of the former Columbian finance minister, who has been convicited of "stealing the equivalent of almost C$600,000 from a presidential campaign." More details (albeit one sided here).

No matter how large the headline, I honestly doubt it will get any more people interested in going to see the exhibit.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Does anyone have the other side of the story?


According to this open letter by Jamie Tolagson the art gallery called The Ministry of Casual Living in Vancouver Victoria ain't doing too good.

I would hope that as they are a member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres that this is just some weird glitch, and not indicative of a larger and more serious problem.

When and where


It was an interesting career path that Scott Latham followed, but I still would like to see some proof that he was in exihibits with Keith Haring and/or Jean-Michel Basquiat before I completely believe him.

Foote, Cone & Belding belong in Toronto


My guess is that Foote, Cone & Belding want to get as much as they can out of the work that they did for free. As the live with culture website does not mention them at all, it must help that they are prominently featured in all the articles that have come out. Toronto Star one, two and three. Toronto Sun one, two and the Sunshine girl. Globe & Mail, CTV and the in-house article.

Then a couple of points:
  • They talk about $100,000 being spent in the US, and a total ad buy of $150,000. Whatever you think about the ads (and I don't think much about them at all) but $50,000 will go a long way towards helping to support the Montreal Mirror and Hour magazine.
  • Mr.s Foote, Cone & Belding themselves are woefully shortsighted when it comes to culture as well. I'm very glad that it is Toronto's films, the ones that are not seen by anyone in any country, that are compared to those coming from Hollywood.

    Toronto Culture Ad Films seen by no one
  • OK, grudgingly I'll give 'em one. I did not grimace when I saw this one.

    Toronto Culture Ad bad advertisement
Note to self: When hiring an ad company make sure that more than 25% of their ads are good. Even if they work for free.

Go! Bonnie Czegledi Go!!


Seven months ago, there was a very nice article about her in The Law Times. Now she's moved up in the world. Yesterday's Globe & Mail had another one. Last summer I wanted to talk to her, it is a pity that I'm not in Toronto, because she will be speaking for the next three Sundays. But it is even sadder that she failed to mention Alain Lacoursière or Jean-François Talbot, Canada's best Art Crime Cops.

"Art Gallery Montreal"


Right now, this blog is number eight when you do a search on Google for 'Art Gallery Montreal.' And it gets even better because, Zeke's Gallery is number four for a search of 'Art Galleries in Montreal.' However, I'm a little less happy that Zeke's Gallery is only #85 on Google Maps for the very same search.

Then if you're interested, Zeke's Gallery is the seventh result for a search on 'canadian art magazine.'
Zeke's Gallery is the third result on a search for 'biennale montreal' from Google Australia.
Zeke's Gallery is the tenth result on a search for 'montreal artists' from Google Canada.
On a Google Blog Search for 'montreal,' Zeke's Gallery is number ten as well. But Zeke's Gallery is number 44 on a blog search for 'art.'

Obviously I've still got a lot of work to do.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Vote Early and Vote Often


Now this is an art contest I really like!

ATSA make it in Vancouver


A nice little article about Annie Roy and Pierre Allard's visit to the west coast.

Marc Bell that will leave you feeling as if you have bees in your head.


Marc Bell got this review for participating in an exhibit at The Macalester College Art Gallery. Nice, eh?

Go! Terence Gower Go!!

Go! Irina Kouznetsova Go!!


Ms. Kouznetsova was named 'Best of Show' & also got something called 'Excellence in all Entries' at the Miniature Art Society of Florida's 2007 Annual International Miniature Art Show (yes, that's a mouthful).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Not a good week for the Canada Council


A couple of news outlets mentioned how the Art Gallery of Ontario is now going to run the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. All fine and dandy, until you realize that it used to be managed by the Canada Council. I've already written about the Canada Council and prizes in a not so hot light one time, two times this week. Good thing it is Friday, eh?

Steve can I introduce you to Aaron


Steve meet Aaron (if that method doesn't work, try meeting Aaron here).

Lead Specialist - Broadcast and New Media $65,000/yr


Now this looks like a cool job, but from what I've heard living in Gatineau ain't all that hot.

The Canada Council is extremely late


I don't know what the temperature is where you are. But here in Montreal, it is pretty much the middle of winter. On this page about the John Hobday Awards in Arts Management The Canada Council for the Arts clearly says 'Information on the award criteria and how to apply will be posted on this page in the fall of 2006.' I wonder what time warp Janet Riedel Pigott fell into?

And then while I'm writing about Canada Council prizes, over on this page, they give an overview of something called 'Petro-Canada Award in New Media.' Apparently it tosses off $10,000 every three years. No, I had not heard of it either.

I went looking for who the previous prize winners were and guess what, it appears that it hasn't been given to anyone since 1998 - for the math challenged among us, that is nine (9) years! Then if you read the press release for the last winnner (Thecla Schiphorst) they talk about giving it out every two years, And back when they started they were giving it out every year.

It looks to me, like they ran out of money or something. If we take them at face value, the Canada Council likes to give away about 2% of an endowment as prize money - which would mean that Petro Canada gave the Council something like $150,000 in order to fund the prize. Or was this a case of Petro-Canada giving the Council $60,000? And after six prizes were given out there is no money left?

Back when they announced the John Hobday prize in Arts Management, I questioned how and who was responsible for managing the endowment. I currently don't have the time (or the knowledge) on how to find out the who, the what and the where about the money management at the Canada Council, but from this cursory glance it looks sort of sketchy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Apologies to Outside The Artist's Studio Episode 11


I've been a bad boy. Here I have been creating alternate link logs for a bunch of strangers in Chicago, and I have egregiously been forgetting the fine, wonderful and very nice folk who studiously and seriously create the Outside the Artist's Studio Podcast right down the street from me! Profuse and overt apologies to Kevin Jenne & Randal Wark.

Episode Eleven is now available, and like Bad at Sports, I'm not going to listen to it! Kevin & Randal are locals, nice young men, but jeez! The closest they come to doing 'local' art, is they discuss a dead white guy from New York City who just so happens to have a painting in a museum in the 36th largest city in North America. C'mon guys I'm looking to hear an All-Quebecois art podcast! Or as you're local, I'll cut you some slack and All-Canadian is ok.

Conseil des Arts de Montréal vs. the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs


Conseil des Arts de Montréal - $10 million, 3,380,645 people: $2.96 per person

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs - $150 million, 8,062,027 people: $18.64 per person

Or if you prefer, lets remove the Cultural Institutions Group from New York City, the $30 million that New York City gives to the remaining Cultural Organizations (no organizations in buildings owned by the city, like museums...) equals $3.72 per person, or 26% more per capita.

What was that about there being no government funding of the arts in the United States? For goodness sakes, they are kicking our butt!

Compare & Contrast - Studio 303 vs. the average Canadian House


While it isn't visual arts, I was very saddened to hear that Studio 303 is having financial difficulties. I quite like the idea of having them here in Montreal. But I was surprised to discover that their operating budget in 1989 was $75,000 and it has now grown to $260,000. Most of which I understand comes from a variety of governments.

I also read how 'the average price of a home in Canada rose 264 per cent since 1981..' In 1981 it was $76,000 and now it is $277,000. Or if you prefer a 5.3% increase compounded annually every year for 25 years.

Interesting editorial choices by the Gazette and the Star


In today's Toronto Star and Montreal Gazette there are previews of Is it Art? a documentary which is going to be on TV tonight. The articles are written Vinay Menon of the Star (their TV critic) and Bill Brownstein of the Gazette (a columnist who also reviews comedy).Both newspapers have extremely good, if not great art critics (Peter Goddard of the Star, and Cameron Skene of the Gazette). I don't think either newspaper would send their Travel editor to cover the All-Star game because it is out of town, so why didn't they get their art critics to review the film?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jeffrey Deitch can I introduce you to Robert William Pickton, please?


Now I normally don't get offended by just about anything. And I have been known to be more tasteless, rude and inconsiderate than any junior varsity football team in existence. Thankfully, it helps in identifying similar behavior. Compare this and this.

Bad at Sports #73 - my eye! I think Duncan MacKenzie is really Rex Grossman in disguise


After all, I've never ever seen the two of them in the same room at the same time... Coincidence? I think not. And if he was really Brian Urlacher, then it is most likely that I would have been crushed by now. As is their style, they attempt to impress me and you with their list of names dropped. But if you look closely there is not a single Quebecois Artist or Quebecoise Artist in the bunch. As you might have guessed by now, I find this absolutely reprehensible.
Terence Hannum [Illinois]; Panel House [California]; Museum of Contemporary Art's 12 x 12 [Illinois]; White/Light [Illinois]; Sun O))) [California]; Lichens [Illinois]; The Locrian [Illinois]; Bird Show [Illinois]; Mess Hall [Illinois]; Hardcore Histories [Illinois]; Gwen Stefani [California]; Tori Amos [North Carolina]; Paula Abdul [California]; Backstreet Boys [Florida]; Black Flag [California]; DRI [Texas]; Emily Agustin [Illinois]; Elijah Burgher [Illinois]; Jonestown Punch [Alberta]; Skin Barn [Alberta]; Bradley Harms [Alberta]; Minor Threat [Washington DC]; Bikini Kill [Washington]; William Conger [Illinois]; Jacques Derrida [Île-de-France]; Sex Pistols [London]; Hoover [Washington DC]; Lincoln [Massachusetts]; Get Up Kids [Missouri]; The Promise Ring [Wisconsin]; Dashboard Confessional [Florida]; Elliot Smith [Oregon]; New Art Examiner [Illinois]; Ben Harben [Missouri]; Britton Bertran [Illinois]; Michelle Grabner [Illinois]; Stray Show [Illinois]; Artforum [New York]; Gallery 400 [Illinois]; David Raskin [Illinois]; Three Walls [Illinois]; Sterling Ruby [California]; Michael Workman [Utah]
If you would like to hear for yourself (personally I refuse to listen until they have an All-Quebec Podcast) click on this. And/Or click on this to email them and let them know that you feel the same way as I do.

And judging from the names dropped, I'd suggest that they try and up the art content for #74, it looks like they are gunning for Pitchfork territory.

Good digging by Val Ross


I noticed this article by Ms. Ross. where she astutely points out that
But some contributors did not realize the report was out until last week. Released quietly, posted on a website just before Christmas, two months after the document was originally filed to Culture Minister Caroline Di Cocco, and a week after several arts unions demonstrated on Dec. 14 at Queen's Park, the report's low profile has prompted some to fear that it may be shelved.
If I can add my two cents, as there is a broken link on this website leading to the report in question, I would venture a guess that there really ain't nobody who gives a good gosh darn about the report. Which is a pity, because if it did gain some traction, it probably would be easier to convince people that it was yet another waste of taxpayers dollars by government. As it stands now, nobody cares about the report, so it is unlikely that anyone is going to care about the money spent to create it.

Art makes it into the Toronto Sun, sort of


Continuing my flogging of the idea that the only thing all newspaper editors care about art is after the dollar sign, this headline in today's Toronto Sun caught my eye; Firefighters save gallery from losing $6M in art. Unfortunately, Jonathan Jenkins did not bother doing any digging. or else we would have been able to know if Beth Lippman's exhibit was still on, or if it had been moved or postponed.

Lots of reading material from Calgary


It looks like The City of Calgary just unveiled their Public Art Program. There are way too many words there for this early in the morning. But I will venture a gander later in the day.

Interesting footnote


The Musée d'art contemporain sent out their press release for the upcoming Jean-Pierre Gauthier Exhibition. At the bottom was this boilerplate text:
The Musée d'art contemporain is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as from Lichen Communications. [emphasis added]
According to last year's Annual Report, The Musée d'art contemporain received $420,000 from the federal government, and $22,748 from 'monetary sponsorships.' I've heard in the past of advertising agencies offering to work Pro-Bono for museums in order to build up an impressive portfolio. This is the first time I've heard of an advertising company paying for the privilige of working with a museum. Off the top of my head, I quite like the idea, I only wish that the museum could have received more money.

Another example of what is wrong with the Department of Canadian Heritage


While I understand and fully comprehend the importance and significance of any business (including museums) having a business plan. I find it rather wasteful, that the Huronia Museum found it necessary to pay $5,000 to what I assume is some consultant in order to come up with theirs. Or maybe they just decided to use the first website they came across.

What I want to know, is why there was no one in the office of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women who was able to suggest that the Huronia Museum use the Interactive Business Planner, a pilot project of Canada Business - or was that the one that was a waste of money?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wanna Job in Vancouver?


The Western Front is looking for a new curator of media arts who it appears also gets to be called Director. I wonder what Peter Courtemanche is going to be doing now?

Rats de ville is great, but confuses the heck out of me.


There's the Rats de ville website. There's the Rats de ville blog, and Mr. Eric Bolduc sends out an email to let everyone know when there's an update.

That's an awful lot of work.

What I find wicked cool, is that he does a lot of the same things I do. Without any checking of schedules beforehand (honest). He most assuredly does not have the same opinions and ideas about them that I do.

What I find makes me blush right down to my toes is the write up he did on yours truly.

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - art: The price of making art expensive

Wanna Job in Calgary?


The New Gallery is looking for a new Administrative Director. I wonder what Wednesday Lupypciw is going to do now?

Wanna Job in Calgary?


The New Gallery is looking for a new
Administrative Director
. I wonder what Wednesday Lupypciw is going to do now?

Wanna Job in Calgary?


The New Gallery is looking for a new
Administrative Director
. I wonder what Wednesday Lupypciw is going to do now?

Wanna Job in Calgary?


The New Gallery is looking for a new Administrative Director. I wonder what Wednesday Lupypciw is going to do now?

A different way to celebrate a Golden Anniversary


Follow me on this one, please. The path is going to get a little twisty.

For those of you with short memories, like me, you might not remember that I was fully, 100% and whole heartedly in agreement with the Canada Council's plans for celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Then, to remind you again, I also thought that The Hnatyshyn Foundation had done a wonderful and superlative job of promoting Canadian Art.

Stan Douglas, the artist to whom they gave $25,000, was such an international art star that he recently had a show in Omaha, Nebraska that got rave reviews.

Which all combines to make me think that since Canadian institutions have such an incredibly amazing amd efficent way of getting the word out about Canadian Art, especially when it comes to people in the heartland of America, that the Canada Council should not even contemplate burying a car to celebrate their 50th anniversary. After all, nobody is going to pay attention to that.

Paris to Saskatoon


Weird?!?! Paris and Saskatoon. If you will alow me to be provincial, shortsighted, insular, and xenophobic, do they even have street art in Saskatoon? How do you do graffiti on a wheat field? What's next? Crop circles and cow tipping at Agnes B?

AA Bronson interviewed in Queerty


I'm certain that if you look hard there is something interesting in either Part One or Part Two of the interview. But I've never been a big fan of Mr. Bronson or of his art, and on top of it when we went to film the Sound + Vision show at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal we were specifically asked not to film Mr. Bronson's piece called 'Felix, June 5, 1994' which is the first image in the interview. So I don't plan on reading it. Yeah, I'd call it sour grapes.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stuff Seen - Les Pastellistes



Back in November I went to Ogilvies to see the the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada's 11th Annual National Juried exhibition. (Man what a mouthful!) In a nutshell, In the program I marked little stars next to the names of Patricia Roy-Callahan, Carl Desrosiers, Christiane Plante, and Veronica Takas-Fragman. I guess that means that I liked thier work. I also think that I got a big kick out of seeing Tudor Hall for the first time, it truly is 'an amazing place in the heart of downtown.' Although I gotta admit that I don't remember too many of the 104 paintings that were hung on the walls.

Basically, they had just finished hanging the show and were running around doing last minute fine tuning. This meant that there weren't that many other people hanging around, which is always how I like to see art. On the positive side, I obviously got a big kick out of the sincerity of the whole event. Because there was an awful lot of art that not only wasn't my cup of tea, it wasn't my glass of water, nor was it my jar of pickles, nor was it my plastic container of last night's leftover chili. In fact it was an awful lot of landscapes and portraits, some of them done by artists who had a technique that could be charitably called 'grade 8 level.' But even if a bunch of it was only done at an eighth grade level, that's still about 9 grades higher than anything I could do.

However, when it wasn't done at an eighth grade level, it appeared to me that it was done at some sort of Ph D. level. There were a bunch of folk, like the one's mentioned above who really knew there way around the medium. Then on top of that I actually recognized one of the subjects of one of the paintings. Being a life drawing model still pays relatively well.

Thanks Hank...


Hankblog who is going to be getting the Bruce Nauman exhibit before we do, brought a review of a different Bruce Nauman show to my attention. I'm hoping that any reviews they get in Seattle (or elsewhere) for their show will be duly noted, and I'm also hoping that they do a Bruce Nauman artcast.

124 days and counting.

I don't understand the Montréal Biennale


On their Donors page, they list the following companies as having given money:
Galerie d'art Michel Bigué, Galerie Simon Blais, Galerie Thérèse Dion, Galerie Trois Points, Jessica Bradley Art and Projects, Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain
As they also list Pacart, who I assume is their art transporter, Imprimerie Filigrane who I assume is their printer, I have no idea what to make of these donations by mostly local art galleries. At some point I'm obviously going to have to slog through the list of artists and find out who is represented by whom. And don't get me started on the Parisian Laundry, SAJO inc, and the Tedeschi family.

While I am not accusing anybody of anything, I much prefer when there are very clearly no apparent conflicts of interest.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Jocelyne Aumont, Simon Blais, & Pierre-François Ouellette vs. Joan Griffith, Tuppi Long, and Vicki Boyce


Last Sunday I went to Stewart Hall to hear Jocelyne Aumont, Simon Blais, & Pierre-François Ouellette talk about what it is like to run a gallery here in Montreal. It made it into the West Island Chronicle. If you'd like to read what I thought about the art exhibit on the walls at the time, click here.

Two days later, Joan Griffith, Tuppi Long, and Vicki Boyce did what appears to be the exact same thing in Scottsdale, Arizona. As far as I can tell from 30 seconds of research, their's didn't make it into any newspaper, but it did get blogged about obliquely.

Obviously, I wasn't able to attend the one in the United States. One interesting difference. In Pointe Claire admission was free. In Scottsdale it cost $20, and was one in a series of seven lectures (or as we call them here, conferences). [Note to Joyce: Charging money might not be a bad thing in the future.]

The Montreal Gallerists being introduced by Joyce Millar (standing). From left to right. Lise Lamarche (moderator), Jocelyne Aumont, Simon Blais, and Pierre-François Ouellette

In her introduction, Ms. Lamarche mentioned the demise of Parachute, and how Eric Devlin (one of Jocelyne Aumont's original partners in Galerie Trois Points) now was running a 'virtual gallery' without walls, as examples of Montreal's 'art scene' and how it is fairing. Wanting everyone in attendance to think that everything was down in the dumps and that the people on the panel were 'survivors.' I think it would have been slightly better if she had mentioned Projex Montreal, Galerie Dominique Bouffard, Headquarters and Tra Ca (all of whom I visited on Friday), Donald Browne's Gallery, Galerie Espace Arts du Feu, Galerie Alternance, Art Neuf, Quartier Libre, Galerie Attakus, Anthracite Diffusion, Le Kop Shop, or any of the other gazillion and a half new galleries that have opened recently instead of the breast beating and melodrama over one magazine outliving its usefulness, and Mr. Devlin finally realizing that if one of the better art dealers in town didn't need an exhibition space, then why should he bother with the hassle of rent and business taxes?

For the most part it was quite entertaining, as I had initially thought that I was going to be the attack dog during question period. However, not only would I have had to fight in order to ask a question (and there appeared to be some tough hombres there) but after hearing a couple of questions realized I would have been laughed out of the room as being namby-pamby and just too polite.

The whole thing started out quite nice, simple and fairly structured. If you want to read how serene it was, go back to the article from the West Island Chronicle. Where it started to get wonky, was when Ms. Lamarche's microphone got passed into the audience so that everyone could (theoretically) hear the questions. As Ms. Lamarche no longer had a microphone, it became rather difficult for her to moderate anything. As most of the audience had no prior experience with a microphone, it was hit and miss as to whether the microphone actually helped. Thankfully I had washed my ears just the night before so even if someone used the microphone as a fashion accessory I was able to hear what they said quite clearly.

My guess is that some of the gallerists thought that people in the West Island who frequented Stewart Hall were going to be art collectors, or potentially some other type of consumer of visual arts. Or somehow that was the thought that had been in my head as to what the audience was going to be like - after all I was there, and betcha by golly, wow I am extremely representative of the typical person who visits Stewart Hall. Don'tcha think? So maybe the folks from the galleries had different ideas.

Anyhows, I was surprised as to how many times, and how many different ways, artists could ask "How can I get you to show my work?" It ended up sounding to me like most of the audience was made up of artists who did not have representation. At first (as one would expect) things were fairly polite and diplomatic. Terms like 'if I like the art,' and 'if I get along with the artist' were bandied about like nobody's business. But then, it became apparent that the gallerists (like most people with full time jobs) were overworked and underpaid, and not really in any position to take on new artists, and were extremely uncomfortable with the idea of being approached blindly.

To her credit, Ms. Aumont did her best to try and handle the crowd, as she takes pride in the fact that her gallery is known for starting artists' careers. M. Blais did not really talk much about finding new artists (I'd love to know more details about how he came to represent Marc Seguin) but spoke more about the ongoing relationships he has with artists. He used a term that surprised the heck out of me, when he called working with an artist like a marriage. It surprised (and scared) me, because those are the very same words I use to describe the relationship between an art gallery and an artist, and I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that me 'n' Simon Blais spoke the same way.

What I found particularly interesting was how M. Ouellette quite astutely decided to stay as far away from the fray as possible. He told the audience, with a straight face and point blank, 'I am not interested in taking on any new artists.' I think it also might be him who led me to think that they all came expecting art consumers, as he was mighty prepared with invitations for his next show and pamphlets with pictures of all the artists that he represents, almost as if he had been at an art fair. But I digress.

For a moment (after the first time the question of 'how do you find artists' was asked) it became calm again. And government policy was brought up as a topic. M. Ouellette ended up sounding the suavest, as he was able to link the federal government's policy with regards to literature, and explain quite succinctly how it was discriminatory to visual artists. (Or if you don't like my attempt at suave-speak, there is no GST on the sale of books, M. Ouellette thinks it would be a good idea to remove it from the sale of art as well.) Ms. Aumont was a little bit more succinct and to the point. She wants the government (any government) to either give her more money for plane tickets, hotel rooms, and admission fees to art fairs, which can be quite expensive. (Or if you would prefer suave-speak; More help from all levels of government in order to be able to attend internationally recognized art fairs.) Which sort of led to what I think was a question (or some sort of follow up) on are there other ways of finding buyers? Because all my notes tell me is: "Other Places?" And then I have something in my notes that says "JA complains Gazette too expensive." But my guess is that there was some mention of advertising (which is not something I am a big fan of for art) and M. Ouellette pulled some study out of a hat to say that you need to see a piece of art seven times before you will buy it (umm, if that was the case with food, I would starve. If that was the case with music I'd be better off deaf, if that was the case with clothing I'd be wearing the same things I wore 20 years ago...)

And then things got messy again, there was a question about education - but M. Blais hadn't had his chance to answer the government question. So he tossed in his two cents about how art should be tax deductible. The only problem with that idea is that art is already a tax deduction for businesses. And if you donate art to a Quebecois Heritage Institution (like say, a museum) you receive a tax deduction of 25% more than the appraised value of the piece. So either M. Blais is in agreement with M. Ouellette, and just has a different way of expressing it, or he is a little bit behind the times.

As for the education question - M. Blais wants students to visit his gallery.

And then the knives came out again. All I have in my notes as the question is 'elitism.' But as you might expect, it really has to deal with elitism in contemporary art galleries. Or as I put it, 'The White Cube effect.' Basically, how you feel the need to whisper when you enter into an art gallery, and if you have a question about the art, you feel like you are not worthy of being inside the gallery.

Ms. Aumont explained it away as being a case of time management. Or 'sometimes she is too busy to talk.' Note to Ms. Aumont, Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world, they very specifically hire people whose sole job it is to talk to people as they walk in the store. No, I am not suggesting that Wal-Mart and Galerie Trois-Points are the same type of business. But there are certain things that can be considered similar. Saying 'hello' to people as they walk in, and attempting to make them comfortable sure as shootin' ain't gonna hurt sales. And while she said that she will always answer any question asked, if I'm in a gallery and someone who works there is on the phone, I'm not likely to interrupt their conversation. As the initial question was about education she ended with the pithy statement that she is in her gallery to sell, not to educate.

M. Ouellette countered that he does want to educate. He also pointed out that there are 22 different art galleries in the Belgo building (372 Sainte Catherine West) and all of them are completely and utterly free to enter. He then emphasized the difference between the artist run centres in the building (like Circa and B-312) the for rent art galleries (like Luz), and pointed out the various expenses involved in educating the public, such as photocopies.

Claudine Ascher, director of the Centre Culturel de Dollard's art gallery, and an artist as well explained how she feels entirely shut out of the commercial gallery world. Ms. Aumont piped up with sometime to the effect of 'it is my sandbox and if I don't want to play with you tough luck.' She went on to stress how it was not a French/English thing, but what I got most was her repetition of the word 'can't,' three times in one sentence according to my notes.

M. Ouellette pointed out that as itsy-bitsy (he used the word 'micro') companies there is only so much that they can do, and how they are all committed to what they are doing. Some how he then tried to make a comparison to the situation in Berlin, where according to his research there are more than 300 galleries, and the visual arts are fundamental to life there.

This is where I should have added my voice - There are 62 places that are members of the Société des musées québécois here in Montreal, 21 artist run centres in Montreal, 20 galleries that are not artist run centres in the Belgo building. For a total so far of 103 art galleries in Montreal without even breaking a sweat. Another ten members of AGAC who are not in the Belgo Building, we're up to 113. At least four galleries at Concordia University (I have never quite got the nerve to venture out to the Loyola campus), three at UQAM, three at McGill University, and at least one at UdM. 124 without beginning to count the commercial galleries on Sherbrooke street near the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (roughly another 20) or the commercial galleries in Old Montreal (roughly another 40 or so). Now the total is 184. Add in Monkland Village, Laurier and Bernard avenues in Outremont, Victoria avenue in Westmount and we are way over 200 even if each of those shopping areas averaged only had four galleries each. And then what about the neighborhoods/boroughs of Saint Henri, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, NDG, Verdun, Anjou, Saint Leonard, Anjou, Beaconsfield, Ahuntsic, etc? 30 boroughs or ex-boroughs. All they need to do is average 4 galleries each to get to 320 art galleries on the island of Montreal. If M. Ouellette honestly believes that there are less than 300 art galleries in Montreal and that the visual arts are not fundamental to life here in Montreal, then I have a sweet deal on some swampland in Florida or a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to show him.

This serves to illustrate exactly what I think Joyce Millar was trying to accomplish by programming the 'Art in the City' exhibit. Far too many people have an extremely myopic view of art in Montreal. The local art critics Nicolas Mavrikakis in Voir, Henry Lehmann in the Gazette, Rene Viau in Le Devoir review the same 50 galleries over and over and over and over again and again and again and again. Nobody reads any of the 10 magazines that the Quebec government supports who only cover the visual arts (which is why there used to be 11). Nobody seems to be aware of how much art is exhibited here in town, nobody seems to have a clue as to how many artists are here in town, everybody just follows along like sheep and says 'woe is us!'

Thank heaven for people like Ms. Millar who attempt to get suburbanites; people with mortgages, white picket fences, two car garages, 2.2 children with soccer practice on Wednesdays, and piano lessons on Tuesdays, PTA meetings, fine folk who actually shop at Wal-Mart, and The Gap without any sense of irony to come see contemporary art that isn't quite as institutionalized as the Group of Seven nor as safe as an oil painting of some kids playing hockey.

On the flip side, I wish that Jocelyne Aumont, Simon Blais, and Pierre-François Ouellette had actually pushed some boundaries instead of playing it extremely safe with their choices of artists to show in Pointe Claire. I can only think of one artist who was really expanding and questioning stuff in the whole exhibit - Nathalie Grimard. Everybody else was firmly on the Post-Modern bandwagon, which while theoretically and potentially 'new' to the citizens of Pointe Claire was about as ground breaking and innovative as Windows XP.

But enough of what I think. Back to the conference.

Someone in the audience wanted to know where the galleries found buyers for the art the exhibited. M. Blais decided to answer a variation of the question by explaining that his buyers were local, and young, and while he has a considerably larger advertising budget that either of the two other galleries he can't advertise everywhere. He feels that any and all of his international sales are completely by chance, and that companies buying art from him account for less than 10% and museums even less, although he did not specify if this was 10% of the number of pieces sold or 10% of the dollar value of his sales.

He then somehow decided to compare artists to musicians with the throw away line that 1% make it internationally. Which is wrong, the percentage is way lower. But also confuses the topic because there is no company in the art world that behaves and acts anything like a record company. ie a publicly traded multi-national corporation with a vertically integrated international distribution network that also had ties to the management, and marketing of the musicians.

Thomas Kinkade used to be publicly traded, and still has a vertically integrated international distribution network. But he doesn't care about any other artists besides himself. And Sotheby's and Christies don't care about any specific artists (actually given how much record companies care about musicians - Christies and Sotheby's might be a match...)

There was a follow up question which led me to believe that the person asking it was an artist, as they were asking about 'link making' and 'opening doors.' This unfortunately didn't lead to any mindblowingly insightful answer. M. Blais said 'All walls are good' and counseled using whatever means possible to sell one's art (ie the cynical view: the more you sell, the more you show, the more likely it is that there will be someone who notices your work and thinks that they can make a buck off of you. Or if you prefer the innocent view: the more you sell, the more you show, the more likely it is that there will be someone who notices your work and thinks that they can help you attain all your unrealized goals).

M. Ouellette then started bashing the media for the supposed lack of coverage. Ms, Aumont pointed out to him that they weren't at Stewart Hall to complain (I got a kick out of that comment). M. Ouellette also pointed out that his clients were his 'ambassadors' and that for the most part most of his clients were also artists, and some how was able to toss in the fact that he liked art being exhibited in restaurants (I think my notes missed the linking statement).

By this point there were people in the audience who wanted to make grand statements, and now in going over my notes I get the impression that after the slightly aggressive questioning, and the slightly aggressive responses, that this might have been in order to exert a calming influence on the proceedings. And it seems to have worked as I have lots of "thanks" and 'thank yous' all over the last two pages of my notes, along with 'everyone having their role' and my favorite; 'more is good, there is plenty of room for everybody.'

So as you might have expected, the conference sort of wound down and finished with everyone (or at least it seemed to me like everyone) being happy and content. After having written these 3,374 words (and counting) of doing something similar here in the future. If I do, it will probably be closer in style to the one in Scottsdale (how's that for linking the beginning and the end) although everyone from Pointe Claire is welcome.

Arts for Transit - New York Times

It is always nice having friends with excess cash


According to this article, the president of the world's largest gold producer, and also president of the Board of Directors of the Musée national des beaux-arts bought them a present over the holiday season.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A rare Guy Cogeval sighting


In today's Le Monde, talking about what he loves.

Bad CBC arts reporting. Absolutely Horrible and Pathetic CBC Arts reporting.


Today is January 20, 2007. Some absolutely brilliant and amazing person [in case you couldn't tell that was me being extremely sarcastic] working at the CBC decided that something happening at the Tate Modern in 132 days is news. Now, that's not really the problem. What shows the freakin' ineptitude of the CBC's Arts reporting, is that the very thing they think is news in 132 days in London is going to be in Montreal in 45 days. And if you're interested, it already played in France.

So, let's play pretend we're a CBC news editor; In six weeks in Montreal, or in six months in London, England, which event do I think I should write about? Man, who's responsible for hiring these people?

Feel Good Fluff (or Mathieu Beauséjour learned from Victor Pellerin)


While I like it when non-standard arts reporting makes it into regular newspapers. But, this article by Jocelyne Lepage from yesterday's La Presse has so many mistakes, that I'm not certain if I can still believe the things I know for a fact are not wrong.
1. Atelier Circulaire is not in the same building as Galerie Clark. Or if you prefer, 5455 is not the same number as 5445.
2. Dare-Dare is likely in the neighborhood for only the next six months. Last year, they were elsewhere.
3. If La Centrale is in the neighborhood, then so am I. I am not. And while not large enough to be a mistake, off the top of my head she missed Espace Perspective, Monistiraki, La Tranchefile, Mosaik Art, Galerie Espace, Galerie Borduas, Galerie D'Avignon Noël Guyomarc'H, and I am certain I missed some. All of which are much closer.
4. No it is not 'fort probable qu'une personne sur deux que l'on croise dans le quartier est un artiste...' If Ms. Lepage had bothered to do some cursory reaseach she would have discovered that Kelly Hill has done the number crunching and the number is in fact about 1 in 10.
5. Every year the programming is 'in the hands of the members.' As it clearly states on their website programming is decided by 'a committee composed of members of the Centre.'
Good job by Mathieu Beauséjour on getting the media attention, but next time you got to insist on being able to fact check, too.

What if you were to give away $25,000 and nobody noticed?


Congrats to Stan Douglas, but Barbara Janes and the The Hnatyshyn Foundation need to do something better. Headlines in only the Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun ain't gonna cut it. Maybe it has something to do with being a month late?

And it just occurred to me - What do you think would happen if the RBC Painting Competition folk got together with the Hnatyshyn Award folk and then got together with the Sobey Award folk who then combine with the Governor General's award folk to give out one award each year of $175,000 for the absolute bestest Canadian artist? I think that would attract some attention, worldwide, don't you?

Oh and before I forget, congrats to Stan Douglas, don't spend it all in one place, ok? And yes, Ms. Janes, if you hadn't noticed my views are still cynical and disheartening.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Marie Fréchette making it big in Geneva

The Musagetes Foundation is not eclectic, exploratory, catalytic, adroit, brave or humble.


You'll need the following documents:

1. Yesterday's press release in French.
2. Yesterday's press release in English.
3. The First Musagetes Foundation.
4. The Second Musagetes Foundation.

I got the press release in French, wondered what Culture Montreal was up to. Found and read the English version. In both languages there is an awful lot of multi-syllabic bureaucratic gobbledy-gook. But at the end it appears that Michael Barnstijn and Louise MacCallum are using some of their money to send Simon Brault and Jocelyn Harvey to London.

Strike one in my books. I fail to see how flying career bureaucrats to London (England) is necessary in order to "promote the role of art in contemporary society."

Then, once I got over the giggle about Kazakhstan (Borat is pervasive). I went through the other Musagetes Foundation's website. and initially really liked this quote: "the Foundation will have $2 million/year to spend." But then I went and read their manifesto (how much of the $2 million went to translating it?) where I unfortunately came across these quotes:
1. "It will encourage and take part in serious, action-focused, intellectual inquiry related to artistic creativity and its transformative effects." - My translation; we will organize meetings, take notes, and look serious while we sit around a big board room table and talk about art and how much we like it.
2. "It will operate mainly by convening - by creating living experiences, some small, some large, that bring people together to articulate social needs, generate ideas and spark action." - My Translation; in case you missed it the first time around we will organize meetings, take notes, and look serious while we sit around a big board room table and talk about art and how much we like it.
3. "Because Musagetes' mission and focus are new and radical (to our knowledge, not replicated elsewhere)..." Obviously they missed the memo about FooCamp, BarCamp and Unconferencing. And if I might note, BarCamp and Unconferencing generally don't cost a plugged nickel.
4. 'Musagetes' work will include: Definition... Fellowship/solidarity... [and] Transformative events/calls for action." Notice the distinct lack or the word 'creation' or anything approaching a synonym or conjugation of the verb 'to create.'
And that's at the root of what annoys the heck out of me about the Musagetes Foundation. They are spending $2 million each and every year under the guise of supporting the arts - without giving, spending, or offering a single cent to (red or otherwise) artists, or art. Why don't they call a spade a spade and just say "we are rich, we would like a break on our taxes, thank you very much?"

And yes, the Musagetes Foundation has exposed itself to being mocked. But unlike what they call themselves I don't think they are being eclectic, exploratory, catalytic, adroit, brave or humble.

I gotta get me into the restoration of artwork biz


Last July, the city paid $42,000 to restore a sculpture. Two days ago they authorized spending $57,000 just to administrate the restoration of a sculpture.

Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument created on the orders of King George V by George Hill photo by Denis Jacquerye

Yeah, it's a big one, but...

Must be in my other pair of pants...


Last year at about this time the silly art news story of the week was how a 38-tonne (84,000 pounds) sculpture by Richard Serra had been misplaced. One of a number of sculptures that had gone missing. Well, now I have heard something even sillier.

Somehow, the MacLaren Art Gallery can't find 510 sculptures that they bought about ten years ago. The cops have been called in to help. Five Hundred and Ten, more than half of a thousand!

A public plea to Louise Dery and/or Lynn Beavis and/or Michèle Thériault


I was reading this article in the Whitehorse Star about Scott Marsden's move from Whitehorse to Nanaimo, and discovered that this exhibit (which sounds phenomenal) is only going to be seen in Whitehorse, Windsor and Oakville. All of you have spaces which could easily accomodate the show. Would it be possible to bring it to town, please? Thanks in advance.

And while I'm at it, props and shout outs to Mr. Marsden, from what I've read and heard it appears that he has done a phenomenal job at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Not a pretty picture - Los Angeles Times

M. Christine Castle - Home

Stuff Seen - Art in the City


Ungraded due to way too many conflicts of interest. (I am good friends with the staff at Stewart Hall, I know a bunch of the artists exhibiting, one of the gallerists was on a jury that awarded me the only Canada Council grant I have ever received in my life, one of the gallerists dislikes me intensely, and I am certain that there's something in a closet somewhere with the third gallerist that I just can't remember.)

On Sunday I was quite nicely picked up and driven out to Stewart Hall in order to see their exhibit called 'Art in the City.' An exhibit based on the rosters of three of the more important galleries in Montreal. They were also having a conference with all the gallerists (or as I would call myself Gallery Guys and Gals, or as they would call them slightly further south Dealers) my comments on the conference are right now in the 'soon come' stage.

Anyhows, one of the things that I was quite struck by (of a bunch of things that I was struck by) was that I have always held as an assumption near and dear to my heart that any and all galleries tend to exhibit art that is, while not exactly the same, sufficiently similar that there is an obvious thread running through their choices of art and artists to exhibit and represent.

Well, Pierre-Francois Ouellete, of Pierre-Francois Ouelette Art Contemporain despite having the most coherently thought out plan as to which and what artists to represent (technical/New Media stuff) also had a bunch of really big (and wicked cool, too) Ed Pien paintings or drawings. Or more explicitly, when looking at a collection of artists represented by one gallery (any of the three galleries) my initial idea that there is some sort of thread was as wrong as wrong can be.

Looking around, I realized that pretty much everything that was from Simon Blais' gallery was beige - I don't know what it is about beige, but it is getting mighty popular. Last year I had a show here that was all beige. But beige no matter how popular it is currently does not make for anything approaching a consistent concept or idea. As it turns out, I also saw for the first time in my life some work by Marc Seguin that I liked! I had to pick my jaw up off the floor I was so surprised.

The exhibit was set up so that each gallery had their own section, although there were some spaces where there was overlap (imagine Stewart Hall as a Venn Diagram) Simon Blais and Jocelyne Aumont at the ends and Pierre Francois Ouellette in the middle. Down at Jocelyne Aumont's end it was equally tough to find a common thread, which proved to me that despite how old, fat and in the way I have become (don't even get me started on the gray hair!) I always need be able to learn something new, and recognize as quickly as possible when I am wrong. Ms. Aumont was the only gallerist who would not let me take any pictures, as a consequence I only have sort of fuzzy memories of a couple of pieces, and a list of artist names' and titles. From that all I can figure out is that most (but not all) of her artists have only two syllables in their last name.

But to get down to brass tacks - First I never ever like it when a gallery or curator takes more credit than the artist. In this exhibit it is completely debatable as to whether the gallerists or the artists are getting more credit (I did not have a tool to measure the size of the letters) but due to the nature of the show, I'm willing to let everyone have a free pass this time. Basically, since most of the folks who show up at Stewart Hall are not all that familiar with art made as recently as last Tuesday (ie Contemporary Canadian Art) that this was an attempt to bring everyone up to speed. As such it succeeds tremendously. There are three previous Prix Pierre Ayot laureates (and while I have some very serious and specific problems with the prize, how it is managed, how it is awarded, and what it is attempting to accomplish, it is meant to impress neophytes to Contemporary Canadian Art, and as such it does – one of the reasons why the show succeeds).

But instead of writing about prizes, galleries, or concepts about an exhibit, how about writing about the art? I'd seen Mike Patten's Palm Pilot drawings before (aka the Lost Thought series) and a friend of mine has participated in his group drawing thing that he is doing with the PDA. The Palm Pilot drawings are a bunch of blown up black pixels on white paper. I recognize the process is a significant part of his work and how there is a long and extremely logical line from which he is coming from. But... When I got my first computer, it came with a program called 'Paint' and I did the same gosh darn things - except I had 16 different colors. Mr. Patton was about 50% younger than he is now. One of the things I always say to the cliche about contemporary art of someone's kid being able to do that, is that their kid didn't do it first. Unfortunately, I did do it before Mr. Patten, and if you've been a long time reader, you'll remember this piece by Diamonster, using pretty much the same tools as Mr. Patten.

That all being said - he beat me to the punch with his green paint roller (aka Mondrian's Garden). It is a piece of his that I quite liked and enjoyed. Both pretty and conceptual at the same time, a one-two punch! In a nutshell, it is a big rectangular canvas with a large piece of green masking tape descending from the upper right side to the lower left side, where there is a paint roller on a broomstick that is wrapped with the same green masking tape. (extra bonus points if you can name the three footnotes that would have accompanied that previous sentence if I wrote like a standard issue art critic or art historian). Mondrain's Garden also served as a green foil for Mr. Pien's drawings. Pretty much black leaves on a very green background with a pink sketch hanging out having a grand old time. Nothing terribly brow furrowing, my guess would be that the new media stuff that Pierre Francois Ouellette likes to exhibit was that they were archival ink jet prints or something like that. There were way too many people there to talk to, and I forgot to ask for a list of the works, so as a consequence I'm gonna look sorta foolish as my notes don't tell me if something was acrylic paint, or a color inkjet print, or something else. Mea Culpa. [note: Joyce Millar, the director of the Stewart Hall Art Gallery saved my butt. She graciously forwarded a list of the works to me after the fact, and Mr. Pien's work is 'ink on 2-layered glassine paper.']

Continuing along with Pierre Francois Ouellette's roster of artists, John Latour had two different types of work, one type I was previously familiar with, and the other that I had never ever seen before. Basically in the type of work that I was unfamiliar with, Mr. Latour had taken some pages from some books that I assume had (or still did) hold some significance for him. He then proceeded to white out most of the words on the pages, leaving only one sorta surreal sentence left. Vaguely haiku-like. He wasn't much of a help when trying to get a handle on the whats and the whys of the piece, as the full and complete title of the piece is 'various works from an untitled series.' None of the sentences were sufficiently strong enough on their own to smack me upside the head, and as you might have guessed I did not write any down. Can you spell S-U-PE-R S-T-O-O-P-I-D? But making my own handle where there is none, I realized a little later on that Mr. Latour's work is very similar in style and concept to another Montreal artist I know. Sherwin Tija, and I figure at some point I should introduce Mr. Latour to Mr. Tija – another wicked cool local artist, author, performer, and possessor of more creativity in his little finger than any four people I know. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that there would be some pretty cool collaborations that could happen.

Mr. Latour also had these cute crippled chairs and stools. A much deeper shade of brown than the biege of his book objects (there it is again). I could probably riff off for about 1,000 words on accessibility in art, and the sculptural differences between various congenital bone deformities. But how about I don't and we just leave it at that? ok?

My sincere apologies to Marie-Josee Laframboise, I liked her stuff, but as I've already written over 1,500 words and there are still 12 more artists who have work that I should write about, as a consequence she's getting the short end of the stick. Next time, ok? I promise.

Over in the Simon Blais section of the show, beyond there being an overwhelming beige presence, what struck me most were Marc Seguin's pieces. As I've said elsewhere and before, this was the first time I had ever seen anything by him that I actually liked. And then I was told that they were named after some terrorists that were wanted by the FBI or something like that. Nothing like a little gossip in order to whet the appetite, eh? My guess is that he used pictures of these supposed terrorists to paint (or perhaps transfer) their faces onto the canvas. He then added a female body in a fairly loud (or as loud as you can get in beige) print dress. The heads not really quite attached to the bodies. In a weird sort of way I got a big kick out of how light, airy, dainty, ghostly, and subtle they were.

On the right hand side of the picture you can see a bad picture taken by me of one of M. Seguin's paintings. One of Louise Robert's pieces is on the right hand side of the photo. Same deal applies to both of them as it did to Mr. Pien. I should've written down what her paintings said. That way I could've sounded maybe half intelligent, instead of saying "I like." (umm, actually I take that back. With the Louise Robert paintings there ain't no way in heck I can avoid looking dumb. One is titled 78-292, and the other one is called 78-287. I wonder if they were made in 1978, and she was trying to do a painting every day of the year? October 14th & 19th, 1978 what happened?)

More apologies, but in an attempt to keep this from getting even more unwieldy than it already is, I'm going to cut it off rather abruptly before all of you go tl;dr on me. So, in a nutshell; Nathalie Grimard, Paul Lacroix and Clint Griffin were the artists who I mentioned in my notes as having work that I liked from Ms. Aumont's gallery.

As per normal, I would've hung things differently, but nobody asked me when they were hanging it, so I guess I'm going to have to live with it. I also was left wondering how each dealer gallerist chose the specific art and artists that they did, but obviously I'm going to have to save that question for later, and ask people in person.

The exhibit is up until the 28th of January. The address for Stewart Hall is: 176 Lakeshore, Pointe Claire. And if you want to speak to them, the phone number is (514) 630-1254

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Woo-Hoo!! Museums and the Web 2007: Best of the Web


In April there is this conference that is going to be happening in San Francisco, called appropriately enough Museums and the Web. As part of it, they have some super serious committees (all committees are super serious) to decide on the Best Museum Websites.

Well, the Zeke's Gallery blog has been nominated in the Innovative category. Besides the Zeke's Gallery blog, I know the folk behind the Brooklyn Museum Graffiti site (go Shelley!), I've listened to the SFMOMA podcasts, and Parliament is parliament. I don't know the others, but I wish 'em all the best of luck.

The Sobey Art Award vs. the Great Canadian Video Game Competition


This is Canadian, but still submitted without comment.

The Canadian Video Game Competition vs. The Sobey Art Award. Ten $50,000 awards for being shortlisted with a $2 million Grand Prize vs. one $50,000 prize.

Spencer Tunick vs. Daniel Dancer


Not Canadian art (sorry) but worthwhile none the less. Submitted without comment.

Daniel Dancer vs. Spencer Tunick.

Victor-Lévy Beaulieu is moving


I don't really think this is newsworthy. But when it comes with this picture, I can't resist.

Beyond the beard, the pipe and the sunglasses, M. Beaulieu is a Quebecois author, and is moving from Trois Pistoles to Lanaudière.

[Note: Obviously I missed the memo (or something in translation) Victor-Lévy Beaulieu is big news here. Just about every network in the province has picked up on the story. Apparently it is not all about the beard, the pipe and the sunglasses.]

Piaras Chauvin should demand a recount.


They announced the winners of the manhole design competition in Toronto yesterday. The reason I mention Piaras Chauvin is that I got an email from one of his (or her) parents complaining about the post I had written when they announced the short list. They completely ignored my dig at Daina Augaitus and thought I was making fun of their child. Well I wasn't, and I am still making fun of Ms. Augaitus calling a manhole cover competion a mark of sophistication.

None the less, Piaras Chauvin did not win, and that is why he (or she) should demand a recount. If you are interested these are the three winners.

Xin Xu, for sanitary cover design

Rene Zamic, for water valve cover design

DeMuth Flake, for storm cover design

More sophistication than I have ever seen in one place. Each of the winners get $1,800, congrats and don't go spending it all in one place.

one of the youngest artists ever" to have work acquired by the National Gallery

Christian Fleurent should go talk to Yves Laroche


Over in Drummondville there's this exhibit of photographs of graffiti by Mr. Fleurent. From what it sounds like he should go talk to Yves Laroche.

I like the Christian Science Monitor


I don't know of anything that could have made this review of Once Upon a Time Walt Disney better. But it certainly looks like Guy Cogeval is going to be remembered quite fondly.

Lousy News makes newspapers become poetic


According to this article, last Sunday Jean-Paul Lapointe died. Personally, I like the first two sentences, 'Le peintre de la lumière a terminé la toile de sa vie. Désormais, il faudra lever les yeux vers le ciel pour le voir rivaliser avec les étoiles.'