Thursday, March 04, 2004

Lots and Lots of Stuff


First off; the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts were announced yesterday. Iain Baxter, Eric Cameron, Istvan Kantor, Garry Neill Kennedy, John Oswald, Ian Wallace, and Tom Hill are all $15,000 richer and going to be in Ottawa on March 10. Perusing the headlines of the various Canadian on-line offerings is an exercise in what could be called "name the political leanings of the owner."

Calgary Herald: "Shocking artist wins $15,000 federal prize"
CBC: "'No-holds barred' artist among Governor General's award winners"
CTV: "Seven visual artists honoured by Canada Council"
Le Devoir: No Article:
The Globe & Mail: "Arts scene veterans finally get their due"
Journal de Montreal: No article
London Free Press: "Visual artists honoured"
National Post: "Artist who paints 'X' with his blood wins $15,000 award"
Ottawa Citizen 1: "Dangerous artistic ground"
Ottawa Citizen 2: "The 'artist' who has Rideau Hall on guard"
La Presse: No Article
Radio Canada: "Sept artistes visuels primes"
Toronto Star: "Blood-splashing artist among GG's laureates"
Vancouver Sun: "Controversial performance artist wins $15,000 government prize"

Now to be completely fair, Paul Gessell wrote one article for the Ottawa Sun that got picked up (duh!) by the Calgary Herald, the National Post and the Vancouver Sun. They are all owned by CanWest Global. CTV and the Globe and Mail are also owned by the same company, in this case Bell Globemedia Interactive. The CBC and Radio-Canada pretty much dance to their own tunes, As do the London Free Press (who are using the CP article) and the Toronto Star. The lack of coverage by the hometown press is in my opinion entirely due to the fact that the $105,000 the federal government is giving away is going to blokes from out-of-town.

Maybe tomorrow I'll write about the winners, but then again I also want to write about Michael Govan's talk at the MACM - so we'll see.

Then, speaking of out-of-towners, in La Presse, they have this little tidbit - "Du tourisme considere a la lumiere des beaux-arts" which on the face of it seems fairly innocuous. But in the subhead there is this bit of text: "Tous les directeurs de musee du monde vous le diront : ce sont les grandes expositions temporaires qui attirent le public." Or for the blokes - All the Museum directors worldwide say it is the really big temporary exhibits that get the fannies in the seats. My eye! John Porter goes on to say that Parisians don't go to the Louvre to see the permanent exhibition as his rational behind this particular piece of nonsense. Well, either Mr. Porter doesn't know what he is talking about, or the headline writer at La Presse didn't bother to read the article. Because, last I heard Parisians going to the Louvre ain't considered tourism, more like checking out the neighborhood, or a school outing. And while I grant that there are a number of people in the world who will design their vacation plans around the latest Eugene Delacroix exhibit, a larger number of people will say "I never knew the charm of spring, I never met it face to face, I never new my heart could sing, I never missed a warm embrace, Till April in Paris. Chestnuts in blossom, Holiday tables under the trees, April in Paris, this is a feeling, That no one can ever reprise... (Words & Music by EY Harburg & Vernon Duke, 1932)" And THEN say "hey! What's up at the Louvre, wanna go?" When I get my hands on a copy of the study that caused this article to be written I'll add it to my list of things to write about. OK?

Then lastly, Pierre Theberge, in what seems like a blatant attempt to curry favor with Cirque du Soleil founder and latest entry into Forbes' billionaires club, Guy Laliberte, is setting up the latest and greatest touring show from the National Gallery. Believe it or not, it is going to be a collection of clown paintings. I think he'd do better aiming to legitimize the Ripley's Believe of Not museums. (You know, something along the lines of a folk art, history smorgasbord of how civilized we've become in the past 50 years - the shock, the horror! that people would have subjected such indignities on people with disabilities, all the while re-showing the same stuff in a much more dignified and respectful manner.) Because Jim Pattison is four times wealthier than Mr. Laliberte.

But Jerome Delgado, in a rare display of emotion, says that "Jean Clair, du musee Picasso de Paris, agit encore comme commissaire, appuye par Constance Naubert-Riser, de l'Universite de Montreal, Didier Ottinger, de Georges-Pompidou, et Mayo Graham, du MBAC. Une equipe, doit-on, croire, gagnante, a qui s'est joint Ann Thomas, du MBAC aussi, pour le volet photographique, un art souvent neglige dans les expos historiques. (Although the Babelfish translation is hilarious: "Clear Jean, of the Picasso museum of Paris, still acts as police chief, supported by Constance Naubert-Riser, of the University of Montreal, Didier Ottinger, of George-Pompidou, and Mayo Graham, of the MBAC. A team, must one, to believe, gaining, with which joined Ann Thomas, of the MBAC also, for the photographic shutter, an art often neglected in the historical expos.")

No, I won't make a bad pun about baseball, I will restrain myself.

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