Thursday, March 31, 2005

Myth making, stretching the truth and baldface lies


Yesterday, while reading Greg.org I came across this little tidbit about Matthew Barney and Bjork; according to them, they are living in "Noel Coward's old house across the Hudson from Manhattan." Which, if you know your geography, translates from the Icelandic into "New Jersey."

Then a little later, while reading the wonderful Chicago Art Blog, Iconoduel, I read this little snippet from a Simpsons episode.

Why are these related? Well, ever since Bill Burns had his "Safety Gear for Small Animals" exhibit at the Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, I've been trying to verify one specific thing about the Simpsons. Mr. Burns (the artist, not the character) claims that the creators of (or somebody responsible for the) Simpsons stole his idea from the exhibit he had at Art Resources Transfer in 1998. He told it to me when I interviewed him, and it was published in the Globe and Mail when Sarah Milroy interviewed him.

Unfortunately, unless you think that putting snorkels on giraffes constitutes intellectual property theft, Mr. Burns seems to be embellishing what actually happened. And as the majority of the Canadian Art press is too darn lazy to do anything that even approaches fact checking - stuff like this gets through all the time - which annoys the heck out of me.

Now, you're probably wondering what Noel Coward and a certain Icelandic pop singer have to do with all of this. Well, it is way easier to verify Mr. Coward's bio than it is to track down old episodes of the Simpsons (even more so for me, as I don't own a TV). And as I am not tracking lies and mis-truths 24/7 it only occurs to me every now and again. Well, according to Gareth Pike of the Noel Coward Society, Mr. Coward never owned any property in New Jersey - just as I suspected. Which means that pop music critics in Britain are getting as sloppy as Art writers here in Canada.

Then finally, because it just popped up in front of my nose - If you look at Mr. Burn's CV, he lists his show at Art Resources Transfer as having happened in 1998. However, on the Art Resources Transfer website they don't list him as having had any show there, ever. Now I might be looking at the wrong Art Resources Transfer website, and as it doesn't seem to have been updated since 2003, I'm not entirely certain how much cred I would give to it, but it does raise some questions.

Which leads me to my last point - if an artist is going to lie on their CV, they gotta do better than this guy.I know for a fact that there ain't no such thing as Gallery 1320 here in Montreal.

[update April 16: Apparently "this guy" got nervous, he has now switched the original link so that it now re-directs to the New York Times. If you're interested in seeing the new and improved CV (without the Gallery 1320 show) click here.]

The question of "why are these folk doing things like this?" is a little more complicated, and probably should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. Mr. Burns (the artist) plays with the concept of reality in his exhibitions, and as such, when he talks about the Simpsons episode should be taken and understood in a context based on that. However as the Canadian Art Press doesn't quite know how to explain Mr. Burns' variations on reality to the readership well, all too often everything he says gets repeated verbatim instead of as the sly wink on modern life that it is.

Mr. & Mrs. Barney on the other hand, are doing something that should be best left to their analyst, therapist or guru. Why they would think it important to reference the ghost of a superlative playwright and composer (perhaps the second best ever), I have no clue.

And then for the poor shlub who thinks it better to falsify his CV, heck he thinks that by doing so he's is going to look better in the eyes of the world, which might work for a little while, but eventually is going to catch up to him and bite him on the ass, hard.

But ultimately, at least to me, instead of viewing writing about culture as a cushy gig that only requires an ability to bend your elbow, I'd like it very much if the arts writers here in Canada took their jobs seriously.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Who is Robert Bateman?


OK, so let me get this straight. Picasso and Chagall sell in Costco. Thomas Kinkade is a publicly traded company. And Canada's most recognized wildlife artist is selling his stuff at Wal-Mart!

Why is this news?

Gabriel Filion doesn't get any


I'm as guilty as anybody. I'd never heard of Gabriel Filion while he was alive. Pierre Vadeboncoeur wrote a very nice article/remembrance/obit about him in Le Devoir.

Since the article was very nice, I figured that I'd do some quick and easy research on him, and sure as shootin' there ain't but 56 references to him that Google can find, and most of them are because of his death.

Better Late then Never


A mere week and a half ago, Bernard Lamarche wrote a very nice article about the history of les ateliers Graff on the occasion of them getting nominated for the Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montreal. Here's to hoping that it doesn't take the city 40 years to get around to noticing other spaces for "artistes de la relève."

Othe people's Legal Fees


Sometimes you gotta just feel for people. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts just isn't getting any slack. About a year ago, their director got sued for plagiarism, which from my seat was a blatant cash grab or attempted robbery. And now they have to deal with some joker named Marei von Saher who says that they haven't returned all their Nazi Looted Art.

Monday, March 28, 2005



Some of you more observant types who have been here at the gallery might have noticed that I was collecting spare change in the water cooler bottle that looked like the picture above so as to offset some expenses that I had incurred.

Well, it has been stolen! Overall I'm not that broken up about it. I figure that there was perhaps $30 in it. No great shakes...

However, the thing that I find absolutely fascinating, is that my apartment has been broken into twice and this is the first time that something has been stolen from the gallery, but all three times the only thing that has been stolen was spare change.

Go figure.

If any of you are feeling particularly charitable, flush or just have some extra clicks left in your mouse, and would like to attempt to replace what was in the water bottle feel free to click here:

If you're interested in knowing how much gallery is going to get at the end of the day as a consequence of your generosity, click here first.

You're gonna make me blush!


Les, over at Fictional Art posted an extremely kind and generous description of his visit here over the weekend.

Thanks Tons!

Getting out and seeing other people's art - version 03.25


On Friday we attempted to go see the Jocelyne Alloucherie exhibit at Universite de Montreal. Unfortunately, it is only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays - from noon until 6 pm (so much for making it easy for people to see art).

So we ended up going to Galerie de Bellefeuille. They had an exhibition of Carmelo Blandino's work up. Now, for the uninitiated - de Bellefeuille is probably the most successful commercial gallery here in town. It hardly ever gets any reviews, but the stuff that they hang on the walls regularly sells, and sells out. My best guess as to why is due to a very good combo of location - timing (they've been open for 25 years) - and an eye towards quality. All the artists that I've seen there, know what they are doing when they pick up a paintbrush or a chisel.

On the other hand, it is going to be extremely difficult to find any art there that could be considered sharper than a butter knife. Whether this is due to them responding to a need dictated by their clientele, or their judgment on the true nature of Contemporary Canadian Art or (most likely) some combination of the two is open to discussion.

But, back to the issue at hand - Mr. Blandino's art. Overall I thought it wasn't half bad. The flowers really didn't turn my crank, but his landscapes did, and I think it partially had to do withe size of the canvasses more than anything else - but then again my taste in art has been called anything from capricious to strange. If I were to give the exhibit a grade I'd say something along the lines of a strong B. More having to do with the number of red dots on the wall tags than the actual content. If you're interested, I'd also give a Stephen King novel a "strong B."

But while we were there the thing that really caught my eye was the show that they're going to be doing as of April 14. It's called "Figura" and as far as I can tell I ain't ever seen anything like it happen here in Montreal.

And then lastly, I should thank Dominique Toutant for his time, 'cuz he definitely went above and beyond the call of duty with the amount of time he spent with us.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Old Stuff - #5


There's something out there for wannabe millionaires called The Forbes Newsletters. One of the suckers designed to part you from your money is called The Forbes Collector. It only costs $39/year. And apparently if you read it, you can learn such things as:
  1. According to London's Art Market Research, prices for the top 2% of contemporary artists have risen 72% over the last three years.
  2. A study at the New York University Stern School of Business revealed that the art market outperformed the S&P 500 over the most recent three, five and 50-year time periods by the annualized rates of 18.2%, 8.0% and 1.2%, respectively.
  3. Many financial advisers recommend allocating 10-15% of your portfolio to investments in art.
If you have that much excess money to burn, give it to me, and I can tell you things like:
  1. A three year comparison of market prices in the art world or elsewhere is the equivalent of buying a breakfast cereal because it says "New & Improved" on the box.
  2. If over a 50 year period the art market only outperformed the S&P 500 by 1.2% then unless you have scads upon scads of cash that you don't care about anymore, it ain't worth the chance.
  3. All art consultants insist that you love a piece of art before buying it, and if there is any appreciation in value, that's gravy on the cake.

Interesting Juxtaposition


The Canadian Government awards the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts every year. Six artists and one arts affiliated person get $15,000/each for surviving a sorta long time (it appears to be about 20 years or so, judging from the previous winners). It gets covered by just about every darn media outlet in the land. Françoise Sullivan said that because of the award that she won this year (sometimes it takes way more than 20 years to win it...) that she wouldn't have to teach this summer. Or in other words it ain't all that big of a deal.

In comparison, the Québec government hands out what they call bourses de carrière [Career Prizes]. One is specifically designated for Visual Artists, it's called the Riopelle Prize (duh!). The provincial government gives the good folk who win this sucker a cool $60,000/each. And while it basically got diddly-squat as media coverage, I'd venture a guess that if Ms. Sullivan won it (so far only Charles Gagnon and Gilles Mihalcean have won it, although René Derouin won something similar just without the title) that she'd be able to do an awful lot more than just "not teach this summer."

Old Stuff - #4 The Netherlands vs. Canada


Taxpayer support for artists: too much of a good thing? from the Christian Science Monitor. An intersting take on something that should be near and dear to the hearts of Canadian artists.

It's not long on nostalgia, and it is upbeat about the present, and given the current "dire" situation (or at least what some people are calling "dire") with regards to the proposed changes I'd say the future looks bright.

Old Stuff - #3


This time from the London Telegraph and article entitled: Market growth: quest for new collectors.

The interesting line:
"Almost everyone in the art market is now trying to crack the puzzle of how to attract wealthy new buyers. Some are getting involved in the lively contemporary market..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Old Stuff - #2


Still in February The Guardian published an article talking about attendance figures and incidental stuff. Big name shows boost gallery figures by Richard Jinman. While I'm not at all interested in the quotes, or analysis that they use to try to soften these sort of articles, I am very interested in the figures themselves. The survey is done every year by The Art Newspaper. If you're interested you can get copies of the 2004, 2003, 2001 and 2000 just by clicking on the numbers themselves. (Sorry I wasn't able to find the 2002 figures easily.)

The "most popular show" in Canada in 2004 was Eternal Egypt at the ROM. It averaged 3,465 people per day for a total of 346,534.
Second was Turner, Whistler, Monet at the AGO with an average of 2,630, and a total of 210,000.
Third: Art Deco, 1910-39 ROM with 1,921 and 205,505.
Fourth: Cardiff, Kikauka and Kormeling at the Power Plant with 1,640 and 112,700*.
Fifth: Superflex, Kelly Wood, Christian Jankowski, at the Power Plant with 1,214 and 56,350*.
Sixth: Richter, Delvoye, Boyle, Isaac, Tony Romano at the Power Plant with 885 and 44,100*.
Seventh: Global village at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with 810 and 108,154.
Eigth: Jean Cocteau at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with 709 and 70,627.

As Eternal Egypt is at the MBAM right now, it'll be interesting to see how the attendance here compares to when it was in Toronto.

Also, the reason for the * on the Power Plant's figures is that the figures that they give are combined - in other words they are three or four separate and different shows that they run concurrently and then just count the gross figures instead of for each individual exhibt. As the Power Plant is a one price gets you in to everything sort of place, they obviously don't think that there's anything wrong with combining attendance figures like that. I, however, do. They should propperly title their shows as Summer (instead of Cardiff, Kikauka and Kormeling), Fall (instead of Superflex, Kelly Wood, Christian Jankowski - and what happened to "Seven New Denmarks?") and Spring (instead of Richter, Delvoye, Boyle, Isaac, Tony Romano).

Then (and almost last) where the heck are the figures for the Musee d'Art Contemporain? If the Power Plant averages 900 to 1,600 people/day how many does the MACM do?

And, finally. Zeke's Gallery's attendance figures for 2004:
Kristi Ropeleski, Blood Harmony Total of 738, average per day of 19
Janice Tayler, Gestures of Fragmental Shifting Total of 727, average per day of 23
Phillip Bottenberg, Ocean of Intangibles Total of 830, average per day of 22
Toly Kouroumalis, Lucid Dreams in a Winter of Death Total of 1,104, average per day of 16
Chris Dyer, Metaphysical Boarding Total of 1,018, average per day of 32
Jean-François Lacombe, Above, Below, Center and Ether Total of 1,278, average per day of 28

And for those of you that are math challenged, that's a total of 5,695 over the whole year.

Old Stuff - #1


Way back in February I came across this article about an an artists resale rights levy that is going to take effect in the UK in 2006.

Interesting how they handle things over there, eh? Although the study about the levy says that it is going to hurt British artists, if I was an artist, I'd adore it. And then try and figure out a way to make people flip my art as fast as possible.

Some other interesting notes from the article: Britain apparently has about 24% of the contemporary art market. The US has about 46%. I'd bet that Canada doesn't even break 1%.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Marc Mayer on Porte ouverte


Last one of the day. Marc Mayer was on the Radio Canada show Porte ouverte last night. Ostensibly to talk about the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, but as with any live interview it went all over the place. You can listen to it by clicking on the links below.

Part One - 11:20 [Windows Media Player File]
Part Two - 9:40 [Windows Media Player File]

And in going through their archives it looks like I should change my listening habits - They have interviews with Mathieu Beauséjour, Rose-Marie Goulet, Laurent Pilon, and Michel Goulet, among others in the visual arts. 40 over the last eight months, or slightly more than one per week. The CBC has a similar program called The Arts Tonight, the only thing you can find on their website is a list of the music that they played on previous shows. Which is extremely helpful when the show is an interview show, right? How long is it going to be before the CBC figures out the internet?

Me or them? Stupid? Or just clueless?


A small and quick hit. On artnet.com they have an article written by Charlie Finch called Mad Money. The first sentence reads "Last Saturday we journeyed to Greenberg Van Doren Gallery's gorgeous Fifth Avenue space for a breakfast viewing of Lane Twitchell's sold-out show." Which is illustrated with the picture above (courtesy artnet.com and I assume the Greenberg Van Doren Gallery). Now I for one am a big fan of windows in galleries and natural light. But I find it interesting that they would choose to use a photo with a shadow across the painting to illustrate how "nice" the exhibition is - which is more important, the art, or the skylight? And, isn't the first rule of preservation No Direct Sunlight?

Really Good Article, eh?


Just a quick pointer to a very nice article in today's The New York Times by Margo Jefferson. The reason I think it is so kick-ass should become evident if you read this conversation I had with Jerome Delgado (a writer for La Presse).

If you want me to hit you over the head with my point - Ms. Jefferson's final paragraph is:
Happily, institutions and individuals are deciding to throw out the old debates about the relative values of art designated fine, folk, high or utilitarian. The point is to understand each tradition. The point is to open one's eyes to any artist who, as Joseph Conrad said, can make us hear, feel and above all see.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Gettin' out and seeing other people's art, this week's version


On Friday I was able to get my butt out of the gallery in order to see work by some other folk. The short version:

Barry Allikas, Les Fleurs du Mal at Sylviane Poirier - B
Tracking the Traces at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery - D
Diluvian Lure by Janet Bellotto at MdC Plateau - B+
Angélique 1734 by Guy Giard also at MdC Plateau - B-

Now for the longer version... Tracking the Traces, was extremely disapointing, despite getting an inordinate amount of press, there really wasn't an awful lot there that was interesting. Jean-Pierre Gauthier's Marqueurs d'incertitude came the closest. Over at MetroBlogging Montreal, I asked the rhetorical question as to why Nicolas Mavrikakis did not mention three of the artists taking part in the exhibit. Over here I can answer that question; it is because their work wasn't particularly good. (Standard Operating Practice dictates that when a Montreal reviewer doesn't like something they don't mention it, somehow everybody thinks this is more polite. I don't.) The one that I was really annoyed about was Martin Tetrault's part of the show. Ostensibly Tracking the Traces was done in order to "draw attention to the act of listening. It focuses on the documentation. transmission, flow and evocation of sound." Well, M. Tetrault has taken a bunch of old Beatles records that were obviously not in mint condition and pretty much destroyed the covers. He erased or ripped out all the references to John, Paul and George. Oooooh! Cool! eh? How original. When is M. Tetrault gonna stop being the pur laine version or Christian Marclay? Like Mr. Marclay is an artist worth copying. Heck, you can go over to Mingering Mike's website, and see the same thing done better.

Beyond that the only other really crappy one worth mentioning was Ian Murray's "Top Songs, the artists has recorded the first ten seconds of each of the top 100 pop songs from the 1960s to create a 17 minute medley." - link he also then added a boring black and white video of what I assume is himself playing along on drums. First off, he used some Maritime radio station's list of the top songs, which is sorta like using this blog to determine what the best art in Montreal is. Second there was no coherent rationale for the choice of songs, he pretty much just picked 10 from each year at what appeared to be random. And I can go on and on and on - if anybody is interested, I have the Top 100 songs of 1969 as chosen by WABC (the number one Top 40 Station in the world at the time) on one CD, and it does rock out like nobody's business, swing by the gallery and I'll give you a copy.

Barry Allikas on the other hand is a quite accomplished artist, and while his exhibit isn't going to be accused anytime soon of breaking new ground, it still is quite nice. There's some bafflegab and gobbledy-gook in the handout at the gallery that attempts to riff off of Baudelaire. But you don't need to read it unless you really have time to kill. His paintings most just black and red thing-ys are pretty darn imposing. It might have to do with the size of Ms. Poirier's gallery, but I prefer to think that it has more to do with the jagged lines and angularity of the paintings. You know, sorta keeping you on your toes and off balance. While not as mind blowing as an explosion from Rocky & Bullwinkle, nor as ironic as the graphic of a fist to the face in Batman, they strike me as sorta ominous versions of how Hanna Barbera might have done a bad opium trip (do opium users get bad trips?). I'm also fairly convinced that if I had read Les Fleurs du Mal back when I had an opportunity, that I would be able to write something attempting brilliance and succeeding in sophomoric humor about his choice of titles and the actual angles. But I didn't so you're gonna have to come up with them on your own.

Then over at the Maison de la Culture, Plateau there are two shows. Janet Bellotto's is quirky and fun, Guy Giard's sorta somber and intellectual. I've always been fascinated by lenticular photos, and it appears that Ms. Bellotto is as well. The collage of the smaller ones is the bestest of the lot - as everything is always shifting in front of you - instead of the larger versions where you have to walk or move you head to get the full effect. A one trick pony versus a multiplicity of ideas. I think that the video could have been put to better use, especially as it is not entirely obvious that it has sound. I just wish that I could've come up with the idea myself because I'm getting pressure from certain quarters about a trip to Italy.

Then finally, I almost missed it, but before you enter into the main exhibition room at the MdC Plateau Guy Girard has a different version of Angélique 1734 hanging in the hallway. Standard issue photos with text, riffing off of slavery in Montreal using a made up correspondence. Thought provoking and interesting, although when I was there, a little too much so for my head at that time, I'm glad I got an opportunity to see it, although I should've given it my full attention instead of concentrating on my companion.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Nice article by Sarah Milroy


On the occasion of his retirement Ms. Milroy interviews Jared Sable in an article with the headline: Tales of an artful codger. I imagine that the stories could be lifted and put in a wide variety of different voices and different gallery guys and gals. Or in other words they aren't too original, and they are fairly clichéd, but they're still fun to read.

If I ever get quoted as saying something along the lines of new stuff ain't worth the time (see Mr. Sable's quote about the Drake Hotel) then I, too should retire.

Welcome to all the readers from the Gazette


While the article about blogging in the Gazette is not available to everybody. I'm certain that there are some industrious types who will actually type in the letters required to arrive here. For those of you, reading this here blog for the first time, you might want to scroll down and check out some previous posts, and/or you might want to click on the links below and read some of my favorite recent posts.
My interview with Marc Mayer
My Interview with Dominique Blain
My Interview with Michel Hellman
My Interview with Toly Kouroumalis
My interview with Eduardo Kac
The Roadsworth controversy and some more Roadsworth
About the CBC's Arts coverage
About William Kentridge
About Art in Montreal and a second report
My discussion with Murray Whyte, of the Toronto Star
About the Super Easy Guide to Buying Art
About James Prior
Besides this one, there are two mighty fine and tasty Art Blogs here in Montreal. I highly recommend ArtTwit written by Cedric Caspesyan, and Mike Patten's blog. Both are wonderful additions to the Art Blogging world.

The calendar of events that are happening here at the gallery is over on your right hand side, there is also a long list of kick-ass blogs and websites a little further down, and the archives are all the way at the bottom.

And finally, if you're ever in the neighborhood, please feel free to stop in anytime, the gallery is open from about 10 AM until about 8 PM, seven days a week. The address is up and to the right.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Self-Referential posting is fun!


Last week I got a new toy. One line of code to let me know what links you folks clicked on the most. So, without further ado, here's the top ten linky-love on this here blog since the 11th of March.

1. [2289-montage.jpg] from 16.3.05
2. [14hirs2583.jpg] from 14.3.05
3. from here from 14.3.05
4. 2 comments from 11.3.05
5. 811 words from 11.3.05
5. 4 comments from 14.3.05
6. [Page 1.jpg] from 4.3.04
6. The Basquiat show from 11.3.05
7. Baby, I Want Your Art from 16.3.05
7. Gagosian Gallery from 14.3.05
7. Art and the Greater Good by Emily Vey Duke from 12.3.05
8. writes a puff-piece 14.3.05
9. [btn_nextblog.gif] from no date specified
10. Richard Florida from 10.3.05

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Nightland by Dana Velan


As I've said before Ms. Velan's show is the mostest kick-ass thing happening in town right now. She graciously sent me this shot. Click on the picture so you can see it as large as it gets.

Installation shot of Nightland - Domaine nocturne by Dana Velan.

It's up until the 24th of March, don't miss it.
2550 Ontario, better than gallery hours, Tuesday to Thursday 1 to 7 pm, Fri to Sun 1 to 5 pm. Metro Frontenac. (514) 872-7882

New blog on the block


In attempting to catch up with the backlog can I direct your attention to BlogTo? One of these group blogs based on one city. The wonderful thing, is that they take the arts very seriously. Try these two posts, and let me know what you think, ok?
Robert Storr @ Harbourfront Centre.
The Canadian Art Foundation's Symposium.

Only 2 weeks late...


Cedric went down to NYC and came back with this kick-ass post. Baby, I Want Your Art. As I've been busy recently, go read it, and get off my back!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Damien Hirst does Roseanne Holland and I have some questions


I realize this ain't local, but I still find it interesting. Apologies. In today's New York Times, Carol Vogel writes a puff-piece about the new Damien Hirst show at the Gagosian Gallery.

What I found interesting was the picture that they (Ms. Vogel?) chose to illustrate the article. A series of paintings (I'm unclear if they are a polyptych or individual paintings) called:

The Devastating Impact of Crack Cocaine.

- courtesy Gagosian Gallery, via the New York Times.

Why I found them interesting is that they were part of a campaign by the Metropolitan Police Service (London) to "drive drug dealers out of London's communities." The pictures are of a woman named Roseanne Holland taken by the police in Florida over a 9 year period.

Roseanne Holland Nov 1979

Roseanne Holland July 1980

Roseanne Holland August 1980

Roseanne Holland Mar 1981

Roseanne Holland June 1982

Roseanne Holland May 1986

Roseanne Holland April 1988

Roseanne Holland June 1988

Roseanne Holland Time unknown 1988

Roseanne Holland Jan 1989

All the pictures of Ms. Holland are lifted from here.

I have a couple of questions.
1. Did Mr. Hirst license the images from the London or Florida police? And who owns the copyright to the images?
2. If there were ten images originally, why did Mr. Hirst only use six? Was it because he didn't know of the other three, or some other reason? Or did the New York Times only choose to use six?
3. Given what one would assume is his stance on crack cocaine, do you think that he is going to donate any of the $250,000 to $2 million the painting(s) cost to either Ms. Holland (or her heirs, as nobody is certain that she is still alive) or some organization like the London police or an anti-drug organization?
4. As Ms. Vogel refers to the painting as "a haunting series of a crack addict deteriorating as her addiction grew." Does the Gagosian Gallery not give out background information to the press?
And if Jennifer doesn't mind, to play Simpleposie for a minute, What questions would you ask of Mr. Hirst?

*Extra special thanks to OptimusCrime for help in tracking down the pictures of Ms. Holland.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Canadians get reviewed internationally!


I'm starting to like Circa Magazine more and more. They let Tim Stott write 796 words about a Royal Art Lodge exhibit at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, in Dublin.

Mildly poetic, with seven pictures, I'd give the review a B+.

If you know of any other international reviews of Canadian artists that are available on line, bring 'em on, please.

Graffiti all over the place


Forward Retreat posted a nice summary of what's happening in Melbourne with regards to graffiti, that I've already mentioned, briefly. However, there's more... Last Tuesday, Anna L. Conti, posted about a two part series about graffiti that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle (Part One here, and Part Two here). And then you're likely to want to read what and how New York City is dealing with graffiti. Which looks suspiciously like what and how they handle things here in Montreal.

I've long advocated (not here, but with the SDB Saint Laurent) that if graffiti is encouraged and helped, than the destructive tendencies of graffiti will be muted. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case might be) nobody has listened to me, yet. If you click here, you can get yourself a copy of Melbourne's proposed graffiti strategy[148 KB pdf file]. The SDB Saint Laurent has even gone so far as to hire someone (who probably is earning about $30K/year) to try to eradicate grafitti. She stopped by the gallery on Friday, and refused point blank to do anything to help Roadsworth. Nothing like making a good first impression, right?

The thing that makes Melbourne's proposal so exciting, is that it "recommends that tolerance towards the presence of graffiti vary according to where it is located. The rationale behind this aspect of the Strategy is that graffiti art has a place within the municipality and that in any case it is not possible to totally eradicate graffiti from the municipality. Therefore a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ across the municipality has no credibility."

Or in other words, "encouraged and helped." You also might want to read some of the Interviews, Articles, and Research about graffiti at Art Crimes. Also, I'm going to be forwarding copies of the Melbourne proposal to a variety of politicians here in town, and see if something similar can be done here.

And as a side note, in going through the city of Melbourne's reports, it does look like an awful lot of things are way cheaper there. They spend $200K removing graffiti, Montreal spends $1 million. They spend $35K on their jazz festival, Montreal spends $500K on ours. And the currency difference is minute.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Emily Vey Duke rocks like nobody's business


Mr. Timothy Comeau is very good. He reads an article in a magazine, he writes to the author and the magazine. He then republishes that article on his website, so that folk everywhere can read it. I strongly urge you to do so as well. Art and the Greater Good by Emily Vey Duke.

Another wonderful review Roberta Smith piles it on Gregory Colbert


Roberta Smith knows how to write. 992 words in today's New York Times about Ashes and Snow, by Gregory Colbert.

The highlights:
"Sometimes it takes a temple, a big awe-inspiring chunk of architecture to give art a proper aura. Sometimes such a setting makes matters worse. A case in point is "Ashes and Snow," Gregory Colbert's spectacularly vacuous exhibition..."
"Mr. Colbert's domain, is Anne Rice by way of Pottery Barn..."
"This exhibition pulls out all the stops to sensitize us to the natural world, but mainly it reveals that selfless sincerity is often close to overweaning egomania and that the path between them is unconsciousness."

To give credit where credit is due - Ms. Smith does point out that the building housing the whole sucker is made with recycled materials. Perhaps it should be Shigeru Ban who should be the headliner when it goes to Los Angeles.

Melbourne is likely to find a gazillion Roadsworths


It looks like Australia is the place to go if you're going to do Grafitti.The Herald Sun published an article last week about how Melbourne is going to handle grafitti. From a quick reading of the article, it looks like a mighty fine idea. "Deputy lord mayor Gary Singer said the strategy recognised graffiti writers contributed to the diversity and social fabric of the city." I wonder if Culture Montreal, Richard Florida, and Montreal's policy on Cultural Development would agree?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Peter Goddard's wonderful review


Peter Goddard continues on his quest to be known as the bestest Art Critic in Canada. Today he tears a strip out of Bruce Mau and the Art Gallery of Ontario. 811 words ripping just about everything in the show (I haven't seen it, so I can't vouch if it is in fact everything... but it sure as shootin' sounds like it).

Some of the highlights:
  • "Here's a room with junk hanging from the ceiling"

  • "Feels like pre-teen spirit to me."

  • "Boy, does it fail and not just visually or aesthetically. It fails intellectually and imaginatively — it's not even much fun"

  • " (On second thought, to call this Grade 8 is an insult to eighth graders everywhere.)"
  • A real reason to go to NYC


    For a variety of reasons, some political, some not, The Basquiat show at the Brooklyn Museum is a serious reason to go down to NYC.

    In today's New York Times, Roberta Smith hedges her bets, leading off with a comparison to the 1992 Whitney retrospective, but writing "The exhibition is not necessarily better; it may even be slightly weaker in selection and display."

    The only other review (as of now) is from the New York Sun, written by Lance Esplund, Mr. Esplund does a nice overview of Basquiat's career (as does Ms. Smith) but avoids writing anything about the exhibit, keeping his criticism to the paintings.

    As more reviews come on line, I'll be sure to track 'em.

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Not bad work if you can get it


    I'm slogging through the various Richard Florida [if you click on the link notice me in the picture on the lower left] - public consulations on creative policy for the city of Montreal, and I hope I'll have something chunky by the weekend or next week at the latest.

    But it just occurred to me, by my best calculations (and I've always been bad at math) Dr. Florida got paid $16.14/word for his report. Or if I wanted to calculate it another way, almost $6,000/page.

    According to Blogger, I've written 133,548 words in this here blog. That would translate into a cool $2 million - I'm obviously in the wrong business.


    Some of the The Quebec Art Mafia: Luc Courchesne, Claude Chamberland, Claude Gosselin, Pierre Ayot, Madeleine Forcier, Yolande Racine, and Serge Tousignant. The picture was taken 19 years ago, and I found it on the Canada Council's website where they give credit to CIAC.

    Wicked Cool Book


    Dana Velan and Daniel Canty have come up with a super spectacular book. It's called Nor, and it truly is wonderful.

    As they put it:
    20 artists and 8 writers from across Canada are invited to embody their « ideas of north. » Their works are compiled in a unique, portfolio-style art book. nor is a portable exhibit and the imaginary map of a place where we live.
    The artists participating are: Patrick Beaulieu, Nancy Bleck, Philippe Corriveau, Benoît Depelteau, Rachel Gareau, Guillaume Lachapelle, Jacky Georges Lafargue, David Liss, Alain Massé, Ed Pien, Alexandre Saint-Jalm, John Scott, Rafael Sottolichio, Diana Thorneycroft, Marie-Hélène Turcotte, Dana Velan, Nicola Woods, Jackie Wexler, Myriam Yates, and Juno Youn.

    The launch is tonight, at librairie Gallimard, 3700 Saint-Laurent, at 7pm as it says in the picture. Swing by, it'll be great.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Tempest in a


    It's always fun to see stuff live.

    I first came across Raid Projects here. Mat Gleason edits Coagula, I've been meaning to get a subscription for a while.

    Mr. Gleason pointed out this website, created by a disgruntled client. Compare it to this website, the real one for Raid Projects.

    But then, E-flux, a email advertisement company for art galleries sent out this.

    It'll be fun to watch the fur fly.

    Bienvenue a tous les lecteurs de La Presse


    If your coming over here after reading the article in La Presse about Montreal Bloggers, and this is your first time reading this here blog, you might want to scroll down and check out some previous posts, or you might want to click on the links below and read some of my favorite recent posts.

  • My interview with Marc Mayer

  • My Interview with Dominique Blain

  • My Interview with Michel Hellman

  • My Interview with Toly Kouroumalis

  • My interview with Eduardo Kac

  • The Roadsworth controversy and some more Roadsworth

  • About the CBC

  • About William Kentridge

  • About Art in Montreal and a second report

  • My discussion with Murray Whyte, of the Toronto Star

  • About the Super Easy Guide to Buying Art

  • About James Prior

  • Contrary to what it says in the article, there are two mighty fine and tasty Art Blogs here in Montreal. I highly recommend ArtTwit written by Cedric Caspesyan, and Mike Patten's blog. Both are wonderful additions to the Art Blogging world.

    The calendar of events that are happening here at the gallery is over on your right hand side, there is also a long list of kick-ass blogs and websites a little further down, and the archives are all the way at the bottom.

    And finally, if you're ever in the neighborhood, please feel free to stop in anytime, the gallery is open from about 10 AM until about 8 PM, seven days a week. The address is up and to the right.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Governor General's Awards in Visual Arts


    Props and shout outs all around, Montreal scores big in The Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts! Of the eight folk who won, 50% or four of them live in Montreal.

    Claude Gosselin, Françoise Sullivan, Roland Poulin, and Lynne Cohen.

    I might have some quibbles with who they picked, but I'll save those for later. In the meantime I think it is absolutely wonderful that Ms. Sullivan has finally gotten some recognition. And I hope that she gets as much press because of this as Istvan Kantor did because of his, last year.

    Why math is important


    Over at Modern Art Notes, Tyler Green posted something way too early in the AM (and likely before he had his first cup of coffee). In the midst of a rant about attendance figures at the Guggenheim Museum, he writes this: "That's why their permanent collection shows draw more people than shows of Matthew Barney, Brancusi, Jeff Koons or Brazil." Unfortunately, according to the figures he states, the Barney and Brancusi shows were better attended than the Permanent Collection show they had on Bill Viola.

    My best guess on looking at the numbers is that people prefer group shows to solo exhibits. Although since their figures are rather tightly grouped (all in between 3,346 per day and 2,849 per day) I would also hazard a guess that there isn't that much of a diff between them all, and the dates (which ones were the "Summer Blockbusters?") would be a more significant reason why people go or don't go to the Guggenheim Museum.

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    Roadsworth - goin' international


    In case you've been under a rock for the past three months, Peter Gibson, the Montreal artist known as Roadsworth has been arrested and is threatened with jail time, for doing his art.

    Well, his case seems to be picking up steam (or at least momentum) and getting heard across the Atlantic. The Irish Art magazine, Circa has picked up the story. Claire Flannery writes a 739 word article that even has four footnotes.

    Maybe, Modern Painters is next?

    Stuff to do this week


    Shamelessly lifted from Instant Coffee Montreal.

    A) Liberace's Closet
    Photographies de Shari Hatt
    Du jeudi 10 mars 2005 au dimanche 17 avril 2005
    Shari Hatt nous offre un aperçu de la vie privée de Liberace. En photographiant ses costumes, tous plus clinquant les uns que les autres, elle s'insinue dans la façade scintillante d'un artiste de variété fascinant du showbiz américain. Ouvert de 10h00 à 22h00, du lundi au dimanche.

    Liberace's Closet, work created with the cooperation of the world-famous Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, provides an intimate glimpse of the star's stunning collection of costumes. The glittering façade of this showbiz legend challenges our continued fascination with the private lives of the very famous. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week.

    Bibliothèque publique Eleanor London
    5851 boulevard Cavendish
    I find this interesting because it got some press the first time it was exhibited here in Montreal. I'd be interested in seeing if it gets more press, and if so, do they pick up on the fact that it was shown here once already?

    B) Exhibition celebrating the Hans Christian Andersen bicentennial 1805-2005
    A selection of works from the McGill collections by and about Danish author Hans Christian Andersen on the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth.
    Exhibition curator: Dr Hans Moller.

    Tue., March 1, 2005 to Sat., April 30, 2005
    Sponsor: Rare Books and Special Collections Division
    Location: McLennan Library Building, 3459 McTavish Street, 4th floor lobby
    More information: David McKnight, 514-398-1568
    This one I like, just becasue I have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Andersen.

    C) Is there Life After Art School?
    Friday, March 11, 2005, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
    Event type: Workshops
    Sponsored by: Art Matters
    Panel discussion. Distinguished artists Marc Seguin, Israel Charney, Tom Hopkins, Julie Keller, Marie-Josee Laframboise and Maria Torres discuss the art world beyond Concordia, followed by an individual question and answer session.

    SGW Campus, Room VA - GALLERY
    Visual Arts Building 1395 René Lévesque Blvd. W.
    Will it be bafflegab and goobledy-gook? Or cold hard facts? I dunno, guess I'm going to have to be there to see.

    D) Conférence : «Dessiner l'actualité. Quand la bédé se met au reportage»
    Participant(s) Conférencier : Julien Orselli, doctorant en études littéraires, UQAM
    Période mercredi 9 mars de 12h30 à 14h

    Lieu: AB-9120
    Adresse: Saint-Denis (AB), 1290, rue Saint-Denis (Métro Berri-UQAM)
    Personne ressource: Caroline Désy
    Responsable: CELAT-UQAM (Centre interuniversitaire sur les lettres, les arts et les traditions)
    Renseignements: (514) 987-3000, poste 1664
    Adresse électronique: desy.caroline@uqam.ca
    Comix go academic, hmmmm.

    E) Lattakeuse Dimages
    Lattakeuse Dimage présente: "Le rapport d'impro"
    Le collectif d'artistes montréalais compte à son actif quelques événements majeurs qui ont suscité l'intérêt du public et des médias. Vendredi 11 mars.

    Le public est invité à participer de façon active lors de cette soirée qui sera un véritable match d'improvisation où les tableaux sur grand format sont à l'honneur.

    L'équipe de Lattakeuse dimage et leurs invités; le Kops Crew, un collectif d'artistes multi-disciplinaires, s'affronteront en peinture, dans cette joute aux accents des plus urbains. La désormais célèbre d.j. Mini assurera la portion musicale de la soirée.

    Pour toute informations: contact@lattakeusedimage.ca ou Justin (514) 376-7118

    O Patro Vys
    356 Mont-Royal est
    I had my interview with Eric Waugh last week. Saw HVW8 perform on Saturday, and have been thinking about Peinture-en-direct.

    Friday, March 04, 2005

    Zeke's Wedding All-Stars Do Carmen & Martial


    Page 1 of the "return or destroy" letter. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask 'em. If you have a copy, please return it, or destroy it. Thanks

    Zeke's Wedding All-Stars Do Carmen & Martial


    Page 2 of the "return or destroy" letter. The French version is way more understandable, this is a translation of it.

    Zeke's Wedding All-Stars Do Carmen & Martial


    Page 3 of the "return or destroy" letter. En Francais.

    Zeke's Wedding All-Stars Do Carmen & Martial


    Page 4 "en Francais." I've mailed out 477 copies, but this might be an easier and faster method to get the word out.

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Interesting Juxtaposition


    Discovered this little tidbit, which made perfect sense to me about why Contemporary Canadian Visual Art is so far down the international ladder that you need binoculars to see it.

    There's this thing I just discovered called db artmag. It looks like a very nice little internet art mag, something that could take days to read fully, and then by that time you'd be hopelessly out of date, 'cuz they update it every gosh darn day! The best thing about it is it is run by this firm called Deutsche Bank. A nice little German company with total assets (as reported in their 2003 annual report) of € 148,227,000,000 Euros. Judging by the magazine, I would hazard a guess that promoting Contemporary German Visual Art is something sorta important to them.

    For comparison purposes, The RBC Financial group is the Canadian bank that has decided that they are going to promote Contemporary Canadian Visual Art. They have this very nice competition that they run every year, the competition gets headlines in Canadian Art Magazine, and that seems to be it. The RBC Financial Group has assets of $412,519,000,000 Canadian Dollars (using their 2003 annual report). Or roughly twice what Deutsche Bank has.

    It would be nice if they spent at least as much as the Deutsche Bank promoting Canadian Art, dontcha think?

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    Roadsworth Update

    The picture says it all.

    Catching up on some old(er) reviews


    Last month Nicolas Mavrikakis foamed at the mouth and pretty much raved about Ondulations (at the MACM until March 6). He used 480 words without name dropping once. Hmmm, what happened? I find it particularly interesting that given his tendencies, he did not mention the Silophone, or the Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers, both of which were previously done by two-thirds of the folk involved in Ondulations. I still have problems with the length (but that's not M. Mavriakakis' fault). I'd give the review a B.

    Also published last month, Le Devoir's review (by Michel Hellman) of the Surrealism show at the National Academy Museum, in New York. 289 words - what's the point? Also, while I appreciate Le Devoir's attempt at going international, somehow I can't help but think that a review of the Mark Lewis show at Triple Candie, or an interview with Gregory Colbert about his upcoming show ashes and snow might have been better. Not graded, because it is too darn short.

    Then finally, it isn't old, but I figured I should give props where props are due, especially when it comes to the CBC's coverage of the Arts on line. They have this thing that they've decided to call the Alternative Canadian Walk of Fame. And while I'm not quite clear on what it is an alternative to, I always like it when John Oswald and people like him get press. Today Andre Mayer wrote 389 nice words about Mr. Oswald. There are only a couple of mistakes: 1. Mash-ups are two or more songs in the same key played at the same time - plunderphonics is as many songs as is physically possible edited together using a razor blade. recording tape, and scotch tape. 2. Rubaiyat is spelled with two a's. 3. And I've never heard mention of anything like "many Elektra artists hated the results and the label never released Oswald’s portion." From my memory (granted, not entirely reliable) it was released as a promo only CD for Elektra's 40th anniversary, and other than the cover, nothing was changed or prevented from being released. And is currently available all over the place as part of the plunderphonics box set available from Seeland. Also, given that the CBC's art website is on line, it would have been nice to at least see one link to Mr. Oswald's site, and maybe perhaps a mention of his winning the Governor General's award last year, eh?

    [Update, 4:00 pm: It appears that the powers that be at the CBC have corrected the typo]