Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Sunday Art Review Round Up


Lots and lots and lots of things this week. In no particular order, ok?

La Presse: Jerome Delgado writes 804 words about the Henri Venne exhibit at the Musee d'Art Contemporain. I haven't seen the show, but from reading Mr. Delgado's reporting, it sounds like Mr. Venne does stuff that is similar to what Philip Bottenberg is doing here. I've heard from people who have seen the exhibit that they were disappointed, but I figure I should get my butt outa here and check it out for myself. After all, they were tourists expecting MOMA.

La Presse two: Two weeks ago it was all Cocteau all the time, this week it seems as if it is all Oceania, all the time. Pointe a Calliere (the history Museum in town for you out of towners) is doing something on things down under. Predictably, the press goes gaga. 186 words from Canadian Press.

La Presse three: Nathalie Petrowski writes 1,235 words about the thirty-fifth anniversary of John and Yoko's bed in for peace. Now this ain't specifically something Visual Art, but what intrigued me was that this "event" is being covered from here to tomorrow like nobody's business. It seems that Donald Tarlton was able to round up some Quebecois vedettes and they are going to do a cover version of the song, give some money to some worthy charity and gets lots and lots a publicity. Everybody feels good and goes home happy. However, last year (the thirty-fourth anniversary) Yong Soon Min and Allan deSouza recreated the bed in at Oboro and got pretty much no press coverage at all. Watch it here.

Now the obvious question, is what differentiates these two things (other than a year)? One is "Performance Art" and gets forty people in the door to check it out. The other is "An Event" and millions of people check it out. Yet, they pretty much are the same damn thing, which is rehashing some stuff that happened a bunch of years ago. I pretty much don't get it. Or is it just a matter of Donald Tarlton having a better PR company than Oboro?

Le Journal de Montreal, gets into the swing of things (I told you it was ALL Oceania, all the time) with a 384 word article that scans pretty much like the article from La Presse, just longer.

Radio Canada: Claude Couillard writes 329 words about the Oceania exhibit, but this time with, couut 'em four pictures! Only one of which was used by Le Journal. You'd figure that the person in charge of publicity at Pointe a Calliere would have been able to give out two different sets of pix.

My personal fave (and the one that both media outlets chose to use).

Radio Canada two: Mr. Couillard uses 309 words to rewrite the press release for the journee des musees on May 30th. Actually I gotta take that back, I'm wrong. The press release is 1,021 words and way more informative. Stuff like Quebecor being the title sponsor and Alcan, Archambault, Omer Des Serres and whacks of other companies jumping on board. I wonder how much they all paid for the honor.

Radio Canada three: Small blurb of 99 words about the possibility of a strike at the National Gallery in Ottwaw. Maybe that will be reason to get Canada in Artforum again.

Radio Canada four: 291 words by Claude Couillard and three pictures about the Richard Purdy, Ron Noganosh, and Willie Cole exhibit at the Musee des Beaux Arts in Quebec City. This exhibit does look like it would be very cool. following some of the links seems to prove it to me.

Ron Noganosh, Shield for a Modern Warrior, or Concession to Beads and Feathers in Indian Art
1983 - Metal, beer cans, feathers, fur, hair, suede, and pearls. 125 x 65 x 15 cm
Ministère des affaires indiennes et du nord canadien / Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Photo : Patrick Altman, MNBAQ

And maybe this picture will prove it to you. If that doesn't then how about this? At UQAM they have this interdisciplinary group called "Le Soi et L'Autre" which organized the exhibit. Way too much brain power there. Literature in three languages, history, art history, sociology and a whack of other disciplines all hanging out together, cool, eh? I can only hope that it makes it to Montreal (but somehow I don't think this is gonna happen).

Le Devoir: Guy Taillefer writes 798 words about the exhibit at the Chateau Ramezay. While not exactly Visual Art, it does sound very interesting. To help cross promote the twentieth anniversary of the Tour de Ville, Chateau Ramezay is presenting a history of the bicycle in Montreal. Again, a piece of reporting not a review, but informative as such.

Le Devoir two: Not available to the public they did some timely (read that VERY sarcastically) reporting about the Sothebys/Ritchies auction It was published on Tuesday, a full week after the viewing had happened here in Montreal. Like, who was editing? Wouldn't it have been a tad better to have run the article before the viewing?

Le Devoir three: Still unavailable to everybody, an article about the Musee des Beaux Arts in Quebec City announcing that there will a Rubens exhibit there in October. Oooh, I gotta mark that one down in my calendar.

Le Devoir four: I wonder who decided to run this article about Les Modernes extending the Clemence DesRochers exhibit there.

Le Devoir five: Stephane Baillargeon jumps into the all Oceania all the time pool. Yawn.

Le Devoir six: Michel Hellman writes about the Garry Neill Kennedy exhibit at Articule. This is something I'd like to be able to read. Pity the people at Le Devoir don't want me to.

Voir: It seems that Nicolas Mavrikakis couldn't get gas money from the big boys, so they got Nathalie Guimond to write 489 words about the Fu Ji Tsang exhibit at the Galerie d'art événementielle Richelieu. As this is the first time I've ever read anything by Ms. Guimond I can't really get a sense of her style. Pretty much a straight report about the show. Nicely done given the space limitations. The three comments are much more over the top in their praise of Fu Ji Tsang's work.

Voir two: Mr. Mavrikakis writes 499 words about Espace Vox, their recent move, and the current show, a little bit late. (They did it earlier this month.) It seems that Mr. Mavrikakis might have adopted a new style of writing, or at least a variation. There is no name dropping, but he does inform the reader in a rather bombastic style about his opinions on Marie Fraser, Mark Lewis, Isabelle Hayeur, and Mary Kunuk. And then he goes on to slag them! Jeez! Maybe if he went in without any preconceived notions about what the art should be, he'd be more open to it (like he is with regards to the work of Ms. Kunuk). This piece garners five comments from the readers, of a more tangential nature.

The Gazette: Someone named Kristine Berey writes 465 words about the Dawson College illustration and design graduating students exhibit. A pretty puff piece about a very neglected (but important and respectable) program at Dawson. The thing that I find annoying has nothing to do with the article, but the exhibition started on Thursday, and closes today. Like that's giving anybody enough time to get down there to see it. I just might write a letter to program chairperson Lucy Trahan.

The Gazette two: Mike Boone writes 517 words about a Guy Lafleur cash grab. While Mr. Boone and Mr. Lafleur might have "laughed off suggestions that art would make him [Mr. Lafleur] rich." If they do succeed in selling each and every last one, there will be more than a cool million bucks to split up. I assume that the artist who did the prints (hey! Mr. Boone doesn't get around to mentioning him until the ninth paragraph, I can delay mentioning him for a little bit) Mario Beaudoin will get some. Just so I can be snarky, Mr. Boone thinks that because Mr. Lafleur apparently always says what he thinks, Mr. Lafleur would make a good art critic. Maybe Mr. Boone should have asked Mr. Lafleur what he thought about the prints.

The Gazette three: Small blurb of 78 words about the upcoming Dollard-Roxboro Artists Association's exhibition and sale.

The Gazette four: Arthur Kaptainis write 334 words about the CBC-McGill Concert series finale of what they called "A Music Gallery: 3 musicians, 6 composers, and 12 painters!" Mr. Kaptainis could easily write for Parachute without missing a beat (but I betcha that the Gazette pays better). He uses "lapidary clarity," "conventionally dyspeptic," and "luminous." All with a straight face.

The Gazette five: It seems that Henry Lehman is on vacation, they gave Steven Howell 486 words to jump on the Oceania bandwagon. Double Yawn.

The Montréal Mirror's Matthew Woodley waxes eloquent in 571 words about the Studio xx fundraiser at Quartier Ephemere. I was there last night. I'll leave it at that. No sense in getting catty or pissing off people needlessly.

The Montréal Mirror then has a second piece this one by Vince Tinguely about the Perpetual Motion Roadshow that happened here last night along with a nice bit by Christine Redfern about the Diane Obomsawin exhibit at Usine C.

The Hour: Isa Tousignant seems to have had a bad day last week when she went around to see what the local galleries had to offer. She writes 650 words about the shows at Art Mur, La Centrale (which she did not see) and Champ Libre's Eaux-arts Electroniques (which as it happened when she wrote the article, hadn't seen). Ms. Tousignantgets points for writing about under covered galleries, but loses some points because I'd much prefer to read what she has to say about the art, instead of masquerading as a publicity flack.

The Hour two: Meg Hewings writes 229 words about the benefit art auction for The Bookmobile Project. Now, last week Catherine Osborne wrote in the National Post that there was a dearth of Contemporary Art Auctions here in Canada. This might be one of the reasons, the average price for a piece at this auction was by my estimate (yes, I was there) $70. Ain't nobody gonna get rich making art for that sells for $70 to the general public. Much better selling it to the Art Bank for a couple of grand, right? And is the Art Bank gonna have an auction? Didn't think so. For that matter does the Art Bank make headlines? No, they're all nice and polite. And you wonder why Canadian Contemporary Art is not on the map.

As an aside, since it ain't really a local paper, the Globe & Mail gives Gary Michael Dault 205 words to try and make a lame joke at Andrea Szilasi's expense. If he didn't like the exhibit I would've preferred to know in slightly more detail why, instead of attempting to toss off one liners. If I'm looking for a comedy writer, I'll go to Hollywood, thanks.

As I'm at 1,870 words (I told you there was a lot!) I'm not going to go look in the regional weeklies, I'll catch up with them next week.

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