Friday, December 30, 2005

OK, we gotta pick up the pace a little


I just got this email from Neal informing me of a small blog
post on Jed Pearl on the 92nd Street Y's blog. It naturally leads to a preview of the talk he is giving there in January, which then leads to a talk that Arthur Danto is giving there in January - and leads me to say "golly!"

I gotta get cracking, Peter Goddard, Sarah Milroy, RM Vaughan, Jerome Delgado, Henry Lehmann, Nicolas Mavrikakis (on second thought, maybe not) Isa Tousignant, Stephan Aquin, Guy Cogeval, Louise Dery, if I were to schedule one per month, we'd be all the way into September. Any other suggestions, ideas, hints?

And then just while I was typing this up, I get another email - this one directing me towards an interview with Chrissie Iles (50% of the Whitney's Biennale).

Oh, and by the way - the Jed Pearl thing on the 92Y Blog is way too short, given that the event costs $17! If I'm going to shell out that sort of money, I want at least 1,000 words, if not more. I hope that they will podcast the event when it is done. And the interview with Ms. Iles while longer, doesn't really go into any depth, although the linkage depth is phenomenal.

The Globe and Mail sometimes does corrections


It seems that sometimes going bonkers can work. There is a 24 word correction in today's Globe & Mail. Not exactly what I would have written, and Cruz1 still hasn't gotten his name corrected. But it appears to be a start.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Globe & Mail's correction policy


The email I just sent to a bunch of people at the Globe & Mail.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris from Zeke's Gallery
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 1:51 PM
To: newsroom@globeandmail.com
Cc: Arts@globeandmail.com; Letters@globeandmail.com;
Edward Greenspon, Editor-in-chief; Sarah Milroy;
Phillip Crawley, Publisher and CEO
Subject: Sloppy and unprofessional behavior

To the editors;

On Saturday December 10, you published an article where an artist's name was misspelled. Yesterday in the review section you published an article where Paul Greenhalgh's name was misspelled. I wrote to you on the 12th of December informing you of the mistake then, however there was no published correction - nor was the mistake fixed without a published correction. And as of now Mr. Greenhalgh's name has not been corrected either.

I can not believe that if this happened in the sports section, and you published something like "Andy Wozniweski," that it wouldn't be caught and corrected before publication, and if it was an article in the business section and you printed "Jim Balsillee," that the result would be similar. Or if they did make it into print that something would be published as soon as possible so as to acknowledge the mistake.

Why you choose to undermine the credibility of Ms. Milroy, Kamal Al-Solaylee and every other person who writes for your "entertainment" section is something I don't understand.

Chris Hand
Zeke's Gallery
3955 Saint Laurent
Montreal, Quebec H2W 1Y4
day/night (514) 288-2233
----- End Message-----

If you aren't up to date on how to spell things; on the 10th, they referred to a street artist as CRUZL when his name is CRUZ1. GREENHALGH was spelled GREENLAGH. WOZNIWESKI is spelled WOZNIEWSKI. And BALSILLEE is spelled BALSILLIE.

Nice obit


Today in Le Devoir by John Porter on Thérèse Renaud who died on December 12.

If you'd like to read more by John Porter on Thérèse Renaud, click here.

Disagreeing (part two)


As I wrote yesterday, Ms. Milroy did one of those frothy end of year things and I disagreed with most of her choices. To continue disagreeing
Best new curatorial talent: Ain't no such thing here in Montreal, everybody's playing it safe. On the other hand if she had gone about discussing the Worst New Curatorial Talent - It would be a toss up in my mind between Richard Florida and his everybody on the bandwagon cultural cities theories, and curating done by juries
Canadian artist of the moment: Without a doubt in my mind, Sarah Anne Johnson (A & B)
Notable openings: There really weren't any that I can think of off the top of my head.
Juiciest museum gift: Well, it ain't quite a done deal yet, but the $20+ million that the Musée d'Art Contemporain is attempting to give to Groupe Gueymard and Groupe Cardinal Hardy. Yeah, I know that normally it goes from someone to the museum, but jeez! I'd love to be the recipient of the museum's largesse.
Rising stars: Christina Battle, and Louise Bourque [warning: pdf file].

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

As you might have expected I disagree


Sarah Milroy writes in today's Globe and Mail about the best and worst in the visual arts during 2005.

My votes:
Most overrated event: The Sam Borenstein exhibit
Dubious acquisition award: I actually concur with Ms. Milroy
Brain-drain hall of fame: Umm, I would suggest renaming this - and some serious fact checking by the Globe & Mail - a) it is spelled Paul Greenhalgh, not Greenlagh (notice the "HA"). b) Mr. Greenhalgh is as Canadian as I am (ie not a whit) and only spent 5 freakin' years in Nova Scotia - Brain Drain? How about upwardly mobile? Second, while Canadian Visual Art might have been better served by them staying here, what about Graham Larkin coming home to roost? And if I had the time I could come up with three others exactly like that. ie Canadians coming back to Canada.
Best contemporary-art shows: I only gave two "A+'s" this year for exhibits (Add in one more for an article by Matthew Woodley in January, and another for Jean-Marc Mathieu-Lajoie's contribution to Apparances) Claude Tousignant at the Leonard et Bina Ellen Gallery and Pierre Gauvreau at Loto Quebec. I'd give my eye teeth to have the travel budget Ms. Milroy does.
Best historical exhibitions: The only one I saw was Edwin Holgate.

I'll fill in with the rest tomorrow - when I have more time.

Maybe Contemporary Art is relevant...


Pretty darn cool! MoMA got Slashdoted. Yes, it appears that their servers can handle the extra load, but I'd love to see the percentage change - and if it will affect their ewb behavior in the future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Blogging will be lite

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Nice line


In today's New York Times' article about Robert Rauschenberg. "How many times do you get a show at the Met?"

Friday, December 16, 2005

Barry Schwabsky seems like he has his head screwed on straight


This review of Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism by Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois and Benjamin H.D. Buchloh was written by Mr. Schwabsky and published in the Nation.

He starts off pointing out something so obvious that even I had managed to miss it (for my entire life!) "A [Art] historian is assumed to be a credentialed academic, a professional, while a critic may be something else altogether--what the art theorist Thierry de Duve once nicely described as someone 'whose profession it is to be an amateur.'" I very much like that description. Unfortunately, it has not been in use for a while. As he points out Art Historians haven't written criticism for a good long time.

He then proceeds to take apart, piece by piece, the 688 page tome. Some of the better points, his story about Lynda Benglis's advertisement in Artforum, and the story about Philip Guston at the end. I also quite like his lines like "...this hardly makes for a trustworthy textbook" and how he uses his personal recollection to disassemble the book. Blah, blah, blah. I for one won't be getting it.

MAeX Podcasts


Onajídé interviews Odili Donald Odita during Art Basel Miami Beach in two parts and releases them as podcasts.

Wicked Cool!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Ewok Folk Sessions, last night. Set Two


Click here to listen (stream it) [33:33 minutes, 32.2MB]

If you'd like more info about the band, click here.

The Ewok Folk Sessions, last night. Set One


Click here to listen (stream it) [35:58 minutes, 34.5MB]

Last night Dan Kiely, Marc Kiely, and Shanthi Minor, aka the Ewok Folk Sessions played here. If you'd like more info about the band, click here.

I like Peter Goddard, but today I like Julia Dault better.


It is always fun to compare and contrast things. Today Mr. Goddard (art critic for the Toronto Star) and Ms. Dault (art critic for the National Post) both chose to review On Kawara's exhibit at the Power Plant called "Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the hills." Mr. Goddard's and Ms. Dault's. I wasn't able to get through three paragraphs (and they are short paragraphs, too!) of Mr. Goddard's, but relished every word of Ms. Dault's.

Natasha Aimee Hall - Getting better


The last time I wrote about an article by Natasha Aimee Hall in the Gazette, it was a combination of black and white. Black because of numerous factual errors (none sufficiently large enough to do anything but gripe), and white because I quite like it when the Gazette (or any other media outlet for that matter) expands it's arts coverage. In today's newspaper, she writes an article about public art in Old Montreal; the same color combination applies.

The White:
Talking to Marie-Justine Snyder
Getting the names of the artists right (not as easy as you would think)
And mentioning the stuff in the underground passageways

The Black:
She's in the CDP Capital Centre building, she walks across Place Jean-Paul Riopelle to the Palais de Congres and somehow she misses La Joute (yeah, it's winter, but those must've been some pretty big blinders she was wearing). It is the second best sculpture in the whole city.
There's a whack more art that she doesn't mention (but that might not be her fault, due to space restrictions)

If you'd like more information (both about the art she mentioned, and the art she didn't mention) you might want to check out Artexte's database of public art in Montreal which somewhat corresponds to the city of Montreal's database of public art (weird huh? Some pieces are in one, some pieces are in the other, some pieces are in both, the city sometimes has some pictures, and Artexte has a lot of bibliographical information) and then there's the folderol foisted upon an unsuspecting event manager by the Palais de Congres itself (don't miss the pdf file at the bottom for a big belly laugh).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yves Deschamps thinks like me!


I missed it the first time around, but in today's Le Devoir, he doesn't think it is such a hot idea for Grain Silo #5 to be transformed into a museum/condo development. Way cool to discover that I'm on the side of the academics.

Sandra Goldie is the new Tupperware


Knoll Christmas Party Invite

Last night I went to a Christmas party. "So what" I hear you say. Well, what made this one stand out was that it was a Christmas party for a office furniture company. What made it different was that as the invitation states, it was a "discover art evening." Basically, Sandra Goldie's gallery had, shall we say, placed 51 pieces of art around the office of this company. Then as each guest walked in, they were handed a $100 coupon good for any purchase at Sandra Goldie's gallery and a price list of all the art on display.

Interesting to say the least. I know that at least one piece sold, and I'm fairly certain that there were other sales as well. Basically, if you can't come to the art, the art will come to you. What I want to know is who paid for the party? A post modern variation on the Tupperware Party.

Playing catch up again


Way back in October I read this article by Momus making fun of Biennials. While vaguely entertaining, I'm sorta on the fence about it because while someone in the visual arts world will get the humor, for someone outside the visual arts world it furthers some rather simple cliches.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Musée d'Art Contemporain, Groupe Gueymard and Groupe Cardinal Hardy


First off, Esther Baliz must have been celebrating over the weekend. On Thursday, the Port of Montreal, announced (pdf warning) the short list of folks who might be able to get Grain Silo #5 for a song. The Musée d'Art Contemporain then sent out its own press release (basically, a public thank you letter) restating what the port said, but not mentioning the other two short listed candidates. I discovered all of this, this morning, when Sarah Milroy of The Globe and Mail chose to run a story about the announcement.

She got some facts muddled, which is to be expected when you send an art critic to do a reporter's job. Namely, missing Groupe Cardinal Hardy as being one of the companies involved in the project, secondly, she swallowed a new figure for the percentage of the permanent collection that is displayed by the museum (I've heard that there is currently space to display 5% or 10% of the permanent collection, it seems to have shrunk dramatically to 1.5%, now) without asking for any data. She also got a wonderful quote from Mr. Mayer; "The Montreal modernist painters were the first to insist upon the international aspirations of Canadian art."

A couple of things that jumped out at me, upon reading the article were; why do two of the directors of Groupe Gueymard live in Japan? (If in fact, I got the right Groupe Gueymard - there are two entries in the Quebec registry of companies that could fit the bill.) Secondly, while I realize that the museum's focus and goals are not exactly aligned to dealing with Contemporary Art made here in Quebec next Tuesday (or more explicitly, as they are a museum, they tend to focus on art that has already been elevated to a certain level, and by definition stuff made "next Tuesday" - or right now can't be at that level, according to them). I find it a tad unsettling that the other company they have chosen to include in the project, Cardinal Hardy, are in fact the same people responsible for kicking out a humongous number of artists making art here in Quebec right now. They are the developers/architects of SLEB1, a building at 10 Ontario West that used to house hundreds of artists, until they decided to turn it into condos. Previously they did the same thing (although not as shamelessly) to a bunch of other artists at the Redpath Lofts, which surprise of surprises was funded by Groupe Gueymard! And finally, while everyone went gaga over the new EVA building built by Cardinal Hardy for Concordia University, according to the scuttlebutt that I've heard, when they chose Nicolas Baier's photograph as the winner of the $40,000 competition for art in the building, they forced him to change the image

Courtesy Concordia University

into something that they thought was more palatable to the public - warning: As this is scuttlebutt, and I have no way of proving it, it might in fact be wrong. If you know of any of the details, please don't hesitate to let me know, thanks.

Then, to deal with the project itself: I don't have any pictures, nor do I have any details as to what exactly the Port of Montreal was looking for when they made the call, but there are two things that scare me right down to my toenails.

A) According to Ms. Milroy, "The proposed museum would be housed on the 10th and 11th floors..." Which by definition means that there are going to be at least 9 other floors which will not be used for the museum. If the museum only can exhibit 10% of its collection in those two floors (or 5% per floor) why couldn't they have used the other 9 floors to house another 45% of the museum's collection? Actually, I know the answer - so that those 9 floors can be turned into condos which will be sold for at least $100,000 each. Now doing some quick and dirty math, currently the museum is 40,000 square feet in size. About 25% is used to exhibit the permanent collection (or 10,000 square feet). To make the math easy, let's call it 1% of the collection per 10,000 square feet. So it means that the museum gets 100,000 square feet of the silo, or 50,000 square feet per floor. Extremely large condos are 2,000 square feet in size. Extremely cheap condos are $100,000. You see where I'm going? 25 condos per floor, 9 floors, equals 225 condos, or at least $22,500,000. And who makes that money? Groupe Gueymard and Groupe Cardinal Hardy. It ain't chump change. And it sure as shootin' ain't gonna cost $22 million dollars to build. By using the museum's reputation to secure the site, Hervé and Andrée Gueymard are looking at a very nice payday.

B) Again, according to Ms. Milroy's article "in addition to the revenues from the condo development and the projected ticket sales for the museum, the development would include a number of rentable event locations that look out over the city." Sounds to me like they are going to be turning it into some sort of place where they charge you for everything, sorta like Disneyland. Touting Quebecois cultural heritage and then turning around and charging for access to it, ain't something I'm particularly fond of. If the museum needs for it to be "financially self-sufficient," then how's about not using $9 million dollars of my tax money each year in order to be "financially self-sufficient."

Here's to hoping that all the details of the plan become available very soon, so that it is possible to know that it is in fact, not a cash grab by certain select individuals using the museum for their own interests, and that the Quebecois heritage that the museum is in charge of does not become accessible only to people who have enough money to afford it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Nice idea, need pictures


Then, also in the Globe and Mail, but from Saturday, a report on how Bell Canada is dealing with their utility boxes. On first blush, it sound like a good idea. However, Kamal Al-Solaylee shoots himself in the foot by mispelling Cruz1's tag (I wonder if the Globe and Mail will publish a correction and then undermining the credibility of his main source, by quoting him, and then detailing stuff that contradicts the quote. If you'd like to see pictures of work by the artists involved,

What I was able to find by Phresha

Or click here for Cruz1, or here for Norman Yeung.

Monday must be the new Saturday


Over at the Globe and Mail, Sarah Milroy writes about a recent trip she took to Buffalo and the exhibit she saw. I don't quite understand her habit of writing about a show that opened a month and a half ago. Nor to I understand how she managed to miss the fact that it had shown in China before coming to Buffalo, however Pierre Theberge and his colleagues must be happy, as she uses two paragraphs to detail a piece by Cai Guo-Qiang (everybody else gets only one) and he is getting a solo exhibit in Shawinigan this summer, which would make me assume that she's going to cover it. We'll see if it gets as prominent coverage as this show does, then.

I think I still prefer it when regular reporters cover art, Ms. Milroy's open ended questions "What does it mean to be part of a nation of 1.3 billion people? What happens to the perception of the individual in such a state? Does such profusion produce a sense of liberation (in anonymity) or alienation? And what kind of bold possibilities are opened up by the presence of such a collectivity?" and "Are they supporting these structures or are they oppressed by them?" don't strike me as being particularly helpful in understanding anything about the art, but then again, I don't write for the Globe and mail.

Monday morning art review


Donna Nebenzahl writes a very nice review of the McCord Museum's latest show. I like it when they send a real reporter to covers a show. The only three syllable words are in the quotes from the curator.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wicked Cool Job


Now this has gotta be one of the cooler jobs I've ever heard about.

There is a nice interview with Robert Wittman who is the equivalent of Ed Platt in the FBI's Art Crime division, and a cool article about one of their cases, which uses lines like:
That meeting, which occurred three years ago, set the Hagensiekers on an unexpected adventure into the art world, where they've encountered intrigue and scandal, outsized egos and million-dollar deals; and a cast of characters who, according to court records, have triggered an investigation into the book by the Italian version of the FBI.
In looking for information about the Rapid Deployment National Art Crime Team (isn't that just the coolest name ever?) I also discovered the Douglas Art Prints blog which reveals yet a different type of case. And this wonderful website and this cool blog all of which go into way more detail about arcane things that don't ever appear above the surface. And finally, if you want to be thoroughly aware of Art Crimes, you might want to subscribe to this mailing list.

Friday, December 09, 2005

YuppiePunk | Adventures in Middlebrow


What do David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Paul McCartney, John Mellencamp, Chris Mars, Jon Langford, David Byrne, Marilyn Manson, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Mickey Dolenz, Robbie Krieger, Tony Bennett, Robert Smith, Jon Anderson, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Ron Wood, Eric Burdon, John Entwistle, Ron Asheton, Janis Joplin, and Grace Slick all have in common? Besides singing and being pop stars, they also dabble in the visual arts.

Edward Burtynsky in the Washington Post (only 1½ months late)


David Segal writes real nice review.

Catching up


Back in October I came across

This interview with Arthur Danto, kick-ass read. Some of the better lines:
It was like Lana Turner being discovered at a soda fountain.
To reform society one must reform the art
But not all important art is especially lovable.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Peter Goddard agrees with me!

Julia Dault's favorite galleries


In today's National Post, Ms. Dault writes short promo blurbs about six art galleries in various parts of the country, and one internet-only gallery.

In order:
  1. The Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver
  2. Skew Gallery, Calgary
  3. Cream Gallery, Winnipeg
  4. Katharine Mulherin Art Projects, Toronto
  5. Centre d’art et de diffusion Clark, Montreal
  6. The Khyber, Halifax
  7. and The Other Gallery, the internet
Congrats to everybody on getting the purple prose. I just wish that Ms. Dault had actually done some leg work, here in Montreal there are at least a dozen new galleries that have popped up in the past twelve months, I can't imagine that the situation is different in other cities

These are the one's that I can find easily.
La Fabriq
Joyce Yahouda
Galerie Orange
Balcon d'art
Parisian Laundry
Brigitte Desroches

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Better then a kick in the pants


Raymonde April just got $35,000 richer. Pity it was announced at the same time that the winner of the Turner Prize was announced, but it probably goes a long way to making Christmas that much more enjoyable. Congrats to Ms. April.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Reading Montreal's series on Street Art


I just stumbled across Reading Montreal's series written by Emily Raine about Street Art here in Montreal.

Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Overall, they are nicely done - there are some minor quibbles I'd have with her sense of history (where's Zilon? Among other points) however as it reads mostly as opinion, and I like opinion, hence why I'm suggesting you should read it.

The best part by far is today's installment, where Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet interviews Francisco Garcia (look here and here). Well worth the time.

Stuff Seen - Adele Chong



The final instalment (if you've been keeping track this is the 18th exhibit, as I said, there is a bunch of stuff at the Belgo Building). In short, some dirt, spread along the edge of a wall, which then leads into a small room with some more dirt in plastic bags with some drawings on the walls of the small room. I was tempted to poke a hole or two in the bags, but didn't.

For those of you who want a synopsis, the grades were distributed this way:
A = 2
B = 3
B- = 3
C+ = 1
C = 4
C- = 3
D- = 1
Not graded = 1

Stuff Seen - Genevieve Chevalier



Coming into the homestretch of the all the art we saw at Belgo building last week. Ms. Chevalier's stuff was thought provoking but not too much, easily digestible without the benefit of some lecture (both a good thing and a bad thing). Basically, a bunch of canvasses set up on the floor designed to look like a nature walk that she took. Included were some videos and some of the equipment that she used taking the actual nature walks that inspired this piece.

That's one mighty fine computer...


The city of Victoria apparently has some cash to burn. Charles Campbell just scored $12,000 in order to make three (3) hours worth of podcasts! That's $4,000/hour. Even if it takes him ten (10) hours to record, edit and manage each hour of podcast, that's still $400/hour of work. I'm apparently living in the wrong city.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Stuff Seen - George Zimbel



I like Mr. Zimbel's work an awful lot. I learned tons of stuff from the Stephen Bulger Gallery's website. Unfortunately the show was at Therese Dion's gallery. Matted only, the presentation didn't do the photographs any justice. Pity.

Stuff Seen - Galerie Roger Bellemare



Again, no paperwork. Some sort of group show, the only thing I can remember is how it seems that Maclean has now gotten into "enhanced" photography. Basically he takes one of his pictures of his "Art" signs (hence the picture above - as per usual with M. Bellemare there was no paperwork) paints on it so as to enhance it. Promises to only make six (although because they are all hand painted, each one is different) and you too can have one (perfect for under the Christmas tree!) for only $1,600. I don't remember any of the other art exhibited.

Stuff Seen - Stephen Schofield



Some sculptures of guys in various states of undress. Despite what the paper says, they actually were ⅓ size, not ⅔ size, and the things that are supposed to be cats, do not look like cats. I got a kick out of the ⅓ size Hardoy chair 'cuz it brought back memories of my childhood.

Stuff Seen - Jean Pierre Aube



This is what I hate about artist run centers, conceptual art, and writing grants in order to get funding for the visual arts. Basically, M. Aube got himself a refrigerator, he stuck something inside it, that had some wires running out of it. Those writes led to a box, which then led to a drakened room, where there was a humongous screen that for the most part was dark, but had some falshes of light happening in a corner. The only thing I could figure out about the whole sucker was if I turned off the switch on the power bar then everything should come to a grinding halt. So I hit the switch, and it did. I turned the switch on, and everything was back to as it was.

There was nobody there, to explain anything, and the paperwork that was around talks about M. Aube's fascination with things that hum at 60Hz, specifically his old fridge. OK, so what? However, it is obvious that M. Aube can write a mean grant application, next time I hope that someone is around to explain why this is supposed to be so wonderful.

Stuff Seen - Marie France Briere



This one required a closer look. My friend almost took a glance, yawned and then walked away. But thankfully, I asked them to take a closer look. Marble and felt hanging on the wall, in such a way that I wasn't quite certain what the heck was happening. If I ever get a fireplace, I want Ms. Briere to build the mantlepiece.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Stuff Seen - Betty Goodwin



A mix of drawings that I wasn't too fond of, some sculptural things that were quite nice, and some sculptures with brass rails that were exquisite. All at Rene Blouin's gallery which is the whitest of the white cubes in town. I get a weird thrill out of the fact that the invitation doesn't even to bother to mention the name of the artist or the gallery. I don't have enough background to figure out what Ms. Goodwin was trying to do with the drawings - hence my lack of fondness. But the sculptural stuff hit me in the gut and the brass railings followed up the hit with a body slam, no need for background required.

Stuff Seen - Sylvain Cousineau



One of the rooms smells at Ms. Rodriguez's gallery, I don't know why, and it has smelled for a while. But with regards to the art, if I remember correctly there were some large blotches of color that intrigued me for the five minutes I was in the gallery.

Stuff Seen - Danilo Max Charles



Normally, after going to see art, we end up at some hotel bar. Always a nice easy way to sort through the acculumated paperwork, reflect on what we saw, and in general unwind after a tough day looking at art. Last week we got a double edged sword, at the hotel we chose there was a vernissage happening for Mr. Charles. (If you'd like to see what he was showing, click on this.) Double edged, because the hotel bar was exactly what we were looking for, however, we didn't expect to run into more art.

Danilo's stuff was not close to being standard issue hotel art. And while I really dug his process (using one really really large canvas and then cutting it up and stretching it as smaller pieces) it was his use of color that I particularly enjoyed, unfortunately not everything was as colorful as it could have been.

Stuff Seen - Francine Lalonde


Holy Smokes! And Awesome!! Ms. Lalonde takes the concept of the white cube and flips it on its ear. Or more precisely, turns its ear into something vaguely floppy like your dog's ears. Flexible space indeed. Wicked Cool and tons of fun. She only misses getting the "+" because there were only two, and a white cube has six surfaces. Pity there weren't six. But then again the small room at Circa is small.

Stuff Seen - Ross Birdwise



Three very large video screens rotating looped two second headshots of people that then switch positions on the walls - yawn.

Stuff Seen - Dominique Toutant



A very bad Led Zeppelin music video, that looks way better on paper (honest, there is a framed piece of paper on the wall that is a better piece of art than the video).

Stuff Seen - Michel Daigneault



I can't stress strongly enough the importance of having something, anything like paperwork freely available for anybody to take without having to ask. After a week I can't for the life of me remember what I saw, and if I can't remember the art I saw, I gotta assume that it wasn't all that life changing - maybe if I had some sort of mnemonic aid, but then again maybe not. The only way I was able to remember that I in fact did see it was by going through the listings. And even that wasn't easy. Some galleries are only listed in Voir (like Trois Points) and some galleries are only listed in the Mirror (like Studio Jenia) and some galleries aren't listed anywhere (like Lilian Rodriguez) why can't anyone do a comprehensive list?

Stuff Seen - Alexandre Castonguay



Once my friend discovered the touch screen we went to town! Man was that fun. Unfortunately, it was hidden in the back and there was nothing around suggesting that the screen in fact could and should be touched. There was also some other stuff around (I think the invitation is part of the photograph that was on the wall) but I can't remember it for the life of me.

Stuff Seen - Jennifer Hamilton



No grade due to conflict of interest on my part.

Ms. Hamilton had previously approached me about having an exhibit here at Zeke's Gallery. Because of her background and education in the fashion industry most of her paintings have a strong textile sense to them. I really got a kick out of the things she was doing that were based on quilts. The paintings that she chose to exhibit here were not the quilt based stuff, but more patterns as blobs (as you can see from the invite). Due to my prior knowledge I ended up spending most of the time talking with her, and precious little looking - my loss.

Stuff Seen - Paryse Martin



On the other hand, Ms. Martin's stuff was pretty darn cool. While she makes use of garden gnomes and other kitsch to make her art - the thing that sent me over the edge was the cardboard. Man, what cardboard! She rolls it up tiny, pokes it so that it develops a third dimension, paints it, makes absolutely breathtaking designs with it, in general looks like she has a lot of fun with it (although I also gotta assume that she has an awful lot of patience, too). I didn't quite get the gnomes, hence her not getting into the rarified air of an "A" grade. But kick-ass none the less.

Stuff Seen - Francine Desmeules



Last week we ended up at the Belgo building, more due to convenience, than anything else. By my count there are fifteen (15) galleries at 372 Sainte Catherine West, and I find it very telling, that when he is asked where to go see contemporary art in Montreal, Marc Mayer, sends people to Vox. I can understand why, in that with such a large number of galleries in all three major categories (Commercial, Artist Run, and For Rent) that it is always hit and miss. You never know what you're likely to see when you go there.

Ms. Desmueules being a perfect example. B-312 is an Artist Run Centre. Nice enough, but with this particular exhibition, nothing did anything to my eyes, my brain or my heart. In the press folderol they make mention of something having to do with landscape, but I didn't get it. And the only lasting impression I have of the show, is that they did not list anywhere what materials were used to make the art.

Take that Atlanta!


Last week it was announced with a fair bit of noise that the High Museum in Atlanta was gonna be exhibiting stuff from the Louvre. Although I am fairly certain that this news had not been secret, the fine folk in Atlanta took full-advantage of their fancy new addition to tout all sorts of other stuff (such as this, too) and arts editors all over sat up and took notice. Well, apparently this relationship ain't so exclusive as Michael Shapiro would have you think. In today's La Presse there is a Presse Canadienne repint of a Government of Quebec press release about how John Porter snagged a bunch of stuff from the Louvre, too. Given the vague details of what exactly is going to be exhibited in Atlanta in 2006 and Quebec City in 2008, and the chronic misuse of the word "exclusive," I'm a tad confused about what exactly is going to be exhibited and where. But it sure as shootin' sounds cool. Oh, I'd also love to know how much money changed hands in order to get stuff from the Louvre, and if there was any discount for being able to speak the same language.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I want to know who is Blim's publicist


Today the Globe and Mail copies an article from Wednesday's Vancouver Courier. Maybe Sarah Efron and Cheryl Rossi are just really good friends who share everything. Well, it isn't an exact copy, as the Courier refers to a new art gallery on Vancouver's Main Street as "Avant-garde," while the Globe and Mail calls the gallery "quirky" and tosses in some other similar spaces in the neighborhood. But jeez! Talk about seeing double. Both of them quote the imaginary animal kingdom of Yuriko Iga, and feature tea drinking prominently. Props and shout outs to Blim's PR person, they definitely earned their money this week.

Canadian Art doesn't even get respect in Canada


Sarah Mailroy falls over herself in today's Globe and Mail gushing about Candice Breitz. Leading with the sentence "One of the top picks of last summer's Venice Biennale was the multichannel DVD installation Mother/Father by South African artist Candice Breitz."

Umm, Ms. Milroy, wouldn't it have been nice if you had at least mentioned in passing, that Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Toronto artists in your neck of the woods have been doing similar stuff for the past five years? Or Marc Couroux's Rockford Keep on Rolling? Not quite as local, being from Montreal, but as applicable.

And to think, that the Canadian entry in the Venice Biennale was Rebecca Bellmore. Man, once again, juries know jack.