Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm jealous


A) I just discovered that Jennifer McMackon got interviewed over at BlogTO. I definitely gotta thank her for the props.

"Thank you for the props."

But B) She has recieved email from Dave Hickey, and I'm flat out impressed, jealous, proud of her, and trying to figure out a way in which to weasel it out of her all at the same time.

Blogging on the AGO


According to Technorati there have been 14 posts in the last 6 days that reference the Art Gallery of Ontario. I'm not certain how or why I discovered it, but I discovered the AGO's blog, which then led me to this post about how they were inviting Toronto Bloggers to a press conference, which then led to this list:
Gehry live from the Art Gallery of Ontario
gehry models
Art Matters to Eldon
Starchitect Landing
Interviewing Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry at the AGO
FRANK GEHRY: Art + Architecture, a photo review (plus 1, 2, 3, 4)
Gearing Up For Gehry
Gehry Art + Architecture Exhibit (and the "live" blogging - oooh! Cool!)

I hope the AGO got what it paid for, and I guess tomorrow I'm going to have to check up on the Musée des Beaux Arts.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Blogging on Kiefer


The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal has a pretty kick-ass show happening now. I find it interesting that there are only five (5) blogs writing about them according to Technorati.

Out of Towners:
"public space is leaving home..."
Monster of Love

They are getting bang up attendance. So maybe they know what they're doing.

Sunday, February 26, 2006



According to Ourmedia (the site where I store all large media files), Zeke's Gallery Podcasts have been downloaded over 15,500 times - (15,872 to be exact).

So now I would like to present the Zeke's Gallery Top 10 most downloaded podcasts:
1. Joe Meno
2. Mickey Hess
3. R John Woolfrey
4. The Eric Waugh Interview Part 2
5. Beneath These Idle Tides
6. Nikita U - Set one
7. The Isaiah Ceccarelli Quintet - Set 2
8. Shawn Sage
9. Nikita U - Set two
10. Carlo Spidla and Nino Menard - Set 1

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sherwin Tjia reading here last night


The barn burner ended with a flourish. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [15:02 minutes, 14.4MB]

Sherwin Tjia has written four books. He is a medical illustrator by day and a freelance illustator by night. His latest book, The World is a Heartbreaker, is a collection of pseudohaikus and was a finalist for the A.M. Klein Award.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this was all on the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Sonja Skarstedt reading here last night


The barn burner continued. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [6:32 minutes, 6.3MB]

Sonja Skarstedt lives in Montreal and makes her living as a freelance editor and graphic artist. She is the author of three poetry collections, most recently In the house of the Sun (2005) and a play, St. Francis of Esplanade (2001). She is working on a children's adventure entitled The Secret of Tarrow Tell.

This was on the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Kate Hall reading here last night


The barn burner continued. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [9:01 minutes, 8.7MB]

Kate Hall is one of the founding editors of the Montreal chapbook publishers Delirium Press. She has read her work and been published in Canada and the United States. She is on the verge of completing her Master's degree in poetry at Concordia University.

This was on the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Katia Grubisic introducing the second set


The barn burner continued. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [1:53 minutes, 1.8MB]

I wasn't able to score a second phot of Katia either, but was able to make a collage of the crowd. For the record we got 57 people, 30% better than the average attendance for poetry readings here.

This was all on the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Josh Auerbach reading here last night


The barn burner continued. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [5:36 minutes, 5.4MB]

He wasn't on the bill, so I don't have a bio, and because it was so short I wasn't able to get a photo of him on stage (there are a bunch of things I gotta do at the same time...) If my memory still works he is the other co-founder of Vallum magazine, and probably was responsible for the inferno that was last night.

On the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Helen Zisimatos reading here last night


The barn burner continues. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [3:59 minutes, 3.8MB]

On the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Helen Zisimatos is one of the co-founding editors of Vallum. She has been a finalist for the National Magazine Awards and the Santa Fe Writer's Project.

John Lofranco reading here last night


The barn burner continues. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [11:04 minutes, 10.6MB]


On the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

John Lofranco divides his time between running, teaching, writing and eating. Old Men Crying, his first collection of poetry may or may not be published this year by Guernica Editions, depending on the mood of the publisher. Aerobic Capacity, a chapbook from Frog Hollow Press, will be published in 2007.

Angela Leuck reading here last night


The barn burner continued. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [9:14 minutes, 8.9MB]

On the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Angela Leuck is an award winning haiku and tanka poet, whose work has been published in journals in Canada, the US, the UK and Japan. She is the co-editor of Sun Through the Blinds: Montreal Haiku Today and editor of Tulip Haiku and Rose Haiku for Flower Lovers and Gardeners. Flower Heart, a collection of her own haiku inspired by flowers will be launched in May at the Fraser-Hickson Library.

Katia Grubisic introducing the first three readers


Last night we had a barn burner. Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [5:51 minutes, 5.6MB]

On the occasion of the launch of Vallum magazine 3.2 there were a bunch of poetry readings done by contributors. Scroll around and listen to them all.

Vtape does not understand


I read someplace that Vtape (a thing-y about Canadian Video Art) was going to launch today. So I went to take a gander. It is horrific. A text based website for the winner's of the Bell Canada Award for Video Art they present excerpts from a bunch of videos.

1991 winners Robert Morin and Lorraine Dufour get 4:46 min. excerpt from the 19:00 min. original and 5:57 min. excerpt from the 77:00 min. original. Paul Wong won it in 1992, he gets a 5:06 min. excerpt from the 89:00 min. original. I'm not slogging through the rest of the site in order to give you a list of how long the excerpts are.

If Vtape gets "on-going support from The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council" then why can't they stop with charging for access to the videos? Or if they get significant cash from the government, why do they need at least another $67,870 in order to create a horrible website that doesn't help further the education of anybody about Canadian Video Art (can you imagine learning Moby Dick only by reading the Coles Notes version?).

If everybody and their mother can upload videos and art videos and bad videos to Google (and other places) for free

And, heck even embed them here, then why isn't vTape? And what cost so gosh darn much?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Revised Edition live at Zeke's Gallery last night (set two)


Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [53:43 minutes, 51.6 MB]

This set Jared, Ben and Sean played Fall of Fall, Question, Sinkin' In, Lake Michigan, Will Comply Over Radio, Running, In the New South Africa, Hunting Me Down and an encore.

Revised Edition live at Zeke's Gallery last night (set one)


Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [39:20 minutes, 37.8 MB]

Jared, Ben and Sean played Artificial Eyes, Orange Sky, Where They're Going, Gaining Ground, Shivered Knees and King of Silence. And in case you were counting this is Volume 224 in the Live at Zeke's Gallery series.

Still a ways to go


In the most recent issue of the Musee des Beaux Arts magazine, they tout how in 20 years they've published 200 Catalogues which total 30,000 pages. It made me wonder how it compares to this blog. So a tallied up the number of words in it, and was not surprised when they only added up to about 415,000. If the museum catalogues average 500 words to a page, then they're pumping out 750,000 words/year. I only do about 184,000 words/year, Or 25%.

I wish I had 25% of their staff, or better yet, 25% of their budget.

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics doesn't get it.


On Monday, Jim Dine is going to be talking at The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. They've figured out how to broadcast a lecture by David C. Lindberg called "The Florentine Heretic? Galileo, the church and the cosmos." But they haven't quite figured out that they should do so for Mr. Dine as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My how times have changed


A very nicely done article in today's New York Times on the impending auction of Jack Vettriano's "Dance Me to the End of Love." I particularly like that someone was able to cull articles about Mr. Vettriano and pull some very choice quotes.

For what it is worth being populist has absolutely nothing to do with being a "significant" artist.

Or can someone explain to me how Mondrian and Picasso are lousy artists because they sold their work through the Sears catalogue in the 1960's?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Les Poules at Zeke's Gallery last night


Click here to hear, stream it, ogg vorbis [48:33 minutes, 46.6 MB]

Les Poules in action

You don't want to mess with Joane Hétu

Diane Labrosse making wonky noises and looking good

Danielle Palardy Roger banging away and having fun

If you hadn't quite figured it out, I thought that last night's performance by Les Poules was the coolest thing ever (and it wasn't even cold outside) download and turn up the volume, ok?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Usual Suspects: Labrona & HVW8


Emily Raine is back at it. It appears that she is doing a series on specific Montreal street artists over at Reading Montreal. Yesterday's entry at Reading Montreal was about Labrona. Today's is on HVW8. Yo! Emily, some requests - Stare, ATSA, Zilon, and the dude doing band-aids on buildings, please and thank you.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I'm honored...


Obviously, I've become a tad more respectable (or at least less bizarre) I just got tagged with my first ever weblog meme I'm blushing right down to me socks, and want to thank Aaron for thinking of me.

Four jobs I've had:
  1. Gallery Guy
  2. Operations Director at a wholesaler
  3. Waiter
  4. Bartender

Four movies exhibits I can watch over and over:
  1. Jonathan Borofsky at the Whitney in the early 80's
  2. The Permanent collection of African Art at the Brooklyn Museum
  3. BGL: à l'abri des arbres
  4. Les Cent jours d'art contemporain, 85 or 86

Four places I've lived:
  1. Saint Laurent Boulevard
  2. Laporte Avenue
  3. Bourgeoys Street
  4. Ontario and De Lormier

Four TV shows pieces of public art I love:
  1. Maurice "Rocket" Richard by Jules Lasalle & Annick Bourgeau
  2. Les Leçons singulières (Part One and Part Two) by Michel Goulet
  3. La Joute by Jean Paul Riopelle
  4. Stare's work

Four places I've vacationed:

Four of my favorite dishes:
  1. Jambalaya
  2. Cuban Sandwiches
  3. Half-sour pickles
  4. Noodle pudding

Four sites I visit daily:
  1. New York Times
  2. The Obits
  3. ni.vu.ni.connu
  4. Google Video

Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. MassMOCA
  2. DIA Beacon
  3. The Getty
  4. Musée de Musique Mécanique

Four bloggers I am tagging:
  1. Jackie
  2. Chris Willard
  3. Cedric
  4. Craig

I was wrong


Last Tuesday I bet dollars to doughnuts that Sarah Milroy's review of the Anselm Kiefer exhibit at the Musée d'art contemporain was going to be published tomorrow. You should've taken me up on it. Her review got published today.

As an aside, it gets the least amount of space on the front page of the review section of any of three shows that have been reviewed in the three weeks.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Hhaka Ensemble at Zeke's last Thursday (second set)


Click here to hear it, stream it, ogg vorbis [41:39 Minutes, 40MB]

Charity Chan (accordion), Jonathan Keeley (Guitar), and half of Carley Mellan (Carmel?)

It was the first time anyone had played a harp here, and it was pretty darn cool!

Sarah Page (Harp)

The Hhaka Ensemble at Zeke's last Thursday (first set)


Click here to hear it, stream it, ogg vorbis [41:41 Minutes, 40MB]

Kris Covlin Sax player par excellence who was responsible for organizing the whole gig.

Sorry for being such a lazy sod, but it's the weekend! Last Thursday the Hhaka Ensemble played here. This is the first set

Carley Mellan (Bass Clarinet), Simon Angell (guitar), and Sarah Page (Harp)

Not getting your money's worth in Toronto


I just ran across the contents of Live From Harbourfront Centre a podcast by a "Multi-disciplinary artistic and cultural focus showcasing works in contemporary visual arts, crafts, literature, music, dance and theater for adults and children." I don't know how large their budget is, and how much of George Rodaro's budget is dedicated to podcasting, but 5 since November 30, 2005 ain't good. For comparison purposes Zeke's Gallery has completed eight, and by tomorrow I'll have a ninth one up (apologies all around, I've been lazy).

What matter whose painting?


A very nice article in today's New York Times that I used to contemplate broader issues. Fun, eh?

Daniel Johnston meet Norval Morrisseau


They share similar (in very broad and general terms) histories, their art (if you sorta squint) looks vaguely siliar, too. Does anybody out there know how much a "dashed-off drawing" by Mr. Morrisseau goes for? If you would like to know more, click on these: Daniel Johnston, Norval Morrisseau.

Good Quote


I don't know much about Philippe de Montebello, and I would have assumed that if we were in a room together the liklihood of us getting along would be slim. But then I read this game of 20 questions with him, and maybe he ain't such a bad guy after all.

Good Quote #1: "I can't see how a Greek vase is the identity of a modern-day Italian."
Good Quote #2: "Can you imagine if every Rembrandt were in Holland and every Poussin in Paris? It is safe to diversify a stock portfolio; it is also safe to diversify the shared heritage of mankind."

Friday, February 17, 2006

This time Robert Spickler and I agree


A little over a year ago I called Mr. Spickler weird, rereading the post, I'm not certain if I had been taking too many drugs - it ain't exactly my best piece of writing. I think I was trying to say that since Mr. Spickler worked at the CCA and the CCA was only doing one exhibit a year, that he wasn't exactly the best person to tout cultural stuff here in town.

What a difference 403 days makes... Mr. Spickler, now the president of the Société des directeurs des musées montréalais comes to the defense of his organization which was unfairly attacked in and by Le Devoir last Monday. This time Mr. Spickler writes a piece called a "Libre opinion" which goes into detail about the backroom shenanigans that happen when museum directors get together. As he has held the job for less than a year, he, too completely forgets about the fire there in November 2003 and how nothing got damaged. While I'm someone who is 100% for gossip and tongue wagging, I always find it very helpful when writing in newspapers to take the high road.

Agnes meet Dominique


Yesterday's small bit of news was that The Canada Council gave The Agnes Etherington Art Centre $20,000 to puchase these.

Or from a slightly different prespective $400 for each one of those doo-hickeys knitted to look like a mine. It's a good thing that land mines are small, imagine how much the Canada Council would have need to shell out if they had been sea mines?

But I digress, it is a very nice piece, even if it is incomplete, and I hope that there is some clause in the contract that allows Barb Hunt to increase the price of the 200 not-quite-made-yet pieces at least in line with inflation.

However, it is obvious to me that inflation or no, the Agnes Etherington Centre's collection of Canadian political fiber art is woefully incomplete, because Dominique Blain designed a persian carpet (and then had it made by victims of antipersonnel landmines, too!) that uses life sized images of landmines.

(Sorry about the bad formatting of the picture, someone at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery decided it would be a great idea to have a large white border on the picture.)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Tsar(ina) is Born by B. Cappellini


Last review of the Catherine the Great show at the Musee des Beaux Arts, as it says up top this one was written by Bianca Cappellini.

I went to the press preview on January 31st with the Zeke’s gang. The MFA pulled all the stops out for Catherine: bangin’ breakfast buffet, extra personnel tushes to fill the press conference seats, and a good dose of gushing gung-hoism about the exhibit. To paraphrase the curator, Danielle Champagne, ‘zis is ze best! ze biggest! ze most expensive- pleez buy tickets or we’ll be broke.’

Going to this press release made me realize they involve a lot of pageantry. The function included a high concentration of colored square framed eyeglasses and unconventionally tailored ladies’ designer wear. Let me name drop some local art scene celebrities present: Guy Cogeval, director of MFA, the art critic for Le Devoir, Pierre Landry from CBC Radio’s “Daybreak,” and the Zeke’s gang, of course. We helped bring down the average age of attendees.

I digress to the exhibit- There is some wicked stuff in the exhibit you’ll never see unless you go to the Hermitage. Firstly, the gilded coronation carriage is one of the finest examples of an 18th century French carriage. It’s so frail that it will never leave Russia again. There is a lack of such carriages in France, as the French Revolution left few, if any, behind. In contrast to the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks were smarter cookies. They preserved tsarist Russia’s palaces and booty therein. Then they pawned it when they were broke.

Now, I subscribe to the belief that Empresses (like princesses) should be surrounded by glittery things at all times and furthermore, their mundane everyday items should be fashioned of impractical materials. Like a john made of gold. Well that’s what the Diamond Room is all about. The micro precious stone mosaics, jewel encrusted snuff boxes and the steel and glass bead pillow (looked supple enough to me) are the tangible kick-ass evidence of the Russian Empress’ power (“Take this jewel encrusted broche and stick up your trade policy’s %$#”) Apparently Catherine’s personal apartments were covered floor to ceiling with crystal glass- I’m talking furniture, walls, door paneling. That seems like a disaster waiting to happen for temperamental inbred nobility.

Also, the issues of politics being played out on the Empress’ body was fascinating. It becomes obvious [-----Yada Yada------ feminist theory blurb -----blah blah-----] dichotomy inherent in the paradigm shift of post-modern discourse on the ‘body’ politic.

Keep a look out for all the great films and lectures offered at the museum that pertain to the exhibit themes. I was pumped for the free screening of L’Arche Russe (dir. Sokourov), but disappointed when two busloads of seniors ambushed the lobby and maxed out the available seating 20 minutes before showtime. But there is lots more good stuff to come, just take the retirees into consideration when time managing.

If you'd like to read other views on the Catherine the Great show, try these:
  1. Grace Morgan's take
  2. Art in Montreal: From Russia, With Bedazzled Snuff Boxes by Jacquline Mabey
  3. The Vanity Table and accessories at Catherine the Great (pictures}
  4. Snuff Boxes at Catherine the Great (pictures)
  5. The cool stuff at the Catherine the Great exhibit (pictures)
  6. Compare and Contrast at Catherine the Great
  7. Catherine the Great Press thing-y
  8. Catherine the Great ain't so bad... my impressions

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ex-Centris is weird


Last week I got an email from Layil at Massive Black, apparently they or she is trying to organize something here in Montreal for about 750 folk. In order to do so, they needed a space that could handle that many people at one time.

She told me that she had emailed Ex-Centris asking for details of how to go about renting the space. She also told me that she had not had a response. She asked me for help. As this was the second time that someone had told me they were not able to get in touch with Ex-Centris, I called up Mark Brennan, the only person I had ever spoken to there who could do anything. After I asked to leave a message his secretary told me he wasn't available (evidence of brain dead behavior #1) then asked me if I wanted to email him (evidence of brain dead behavior #2) and then when I repeated that I wanted to leave a message took my details.

Ten minutes later she called back, explaining that Mr. Brennan was still not available, but could I give he details? I said yes, proceeded to give her details and asked for Mr. Brennan to call me back when he was available. At which point I was getting annoyed because I had a couple of better things to do instead of talking to Mr. Brennan's secretary.

Ten minutes later someone else from Ex-Centris called me and asked for details, she then got rather defensive when explaining how everything was a-ok and that nobody had emailed her about rental of the space. How she would know this, I still can't figure out. And then while I'm scratching my head, I can't figure out why Mr. Brennan is scared to speak to me.

Another view on Catherine the Great


This one was written by Grace Morgan.

At first glance, one may find it hard to believe that the persona behind this fine collection is the source of so many scandalous rumors. But upon examining the exhibition more closely, one may find her decadence betrays her. Upon entrance to the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,

the marble staircase is adorned with a regal red carpet which leads the walk up to the enormous adorned gold coach, which truly creates a grand first impression. Secondly one is to meander through the small hall of portraits surrounding the staircase. From these portraits, I was struck by the very steady and confident stare of the Empress. The room that follows on walk-about through exhibit is one that displays Catherine’s intellectual character, featuring a series of busts of artists and thinkers of the time, including: Diderot, Voltaire, Etienne Maurice Falconet, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and of course a central bust of Catherine herself. This room also displayed Catherine beautiful, classical inspired Mahogany and Bronze cylindrical desk, where she is said to have sat, armed with two brand new pens every morning, to attend to state affairs.

These first two spaces equally demonstrate Catherine’s excess and decadence, followed directly by her more astute side. A perfect example of the marriage of these two halves is displayed by a series of illustrations that depicts the moving of a 1800-ton granite stone from the Gulf of Finland to Saint Petersburg to form the base of a monument she commissioned in memory of Peter the Great, topped with a heroic bronze sculpture of Peter gesturing towards the Baltic Sea.

I was also quite impressed by Catherine’s dizzying array of jewel and gold encrusted snuff boxes. Though they were adorned with gold and enormous and numerous precious and semi-precious stones, I was disappointed when the audio guide informed me that snuff is not cocaine but a tobacco derivative. Under my misconception, I had always found the idea of the European nobility being all sketch-out and insane of gross amounts of drugs absolutely hilarious and I had always used that idea as explanation, but by no means a justification, for many of the egotistical and brash actions of European monarchs.

However, I find the historical factor almost surpassed the sheer splendor. When speaking to my friends about Catherine the Great I was impressed to find how many people were in fact interested in Catherine II, former empress of Russia. One friend remark which stuck out to me was, “Any woman who died making love to a horse is fine by me!” This set off my curiosity, as I personally had never heard this story.

I attempted to do a little background check into the life of Catherine to see if this story could actually, possibly be true, and I almost considered that it could be as I found many introductions to her biographies almost a bit too defensive. For example: “One of the most interesting, industrious and powerful personages to grace the pages of history during the eighteenth century is Catherine II, Empress of all the Russias. Historians have not always been kind to her memory, and all too often one reads accounts of her private life, ignoring her many achievements. The stories of her love affairs have been vulgarized and can be traced to a handful of French writers in the years immediately after Catherine's death, when Republican France was fighting for its life against a coalition that included Russia.” Though this is most likely true and I agree that she sounds fantastic and so does Musée de Beaux Artes; however, mention Catherine the Great in a bar and people still become excited recounting bizarre erotic tales, which today portrays her as an impressive woman as opposed to degrading her image as it was supposed to in her time.

But, unfortunately, I was dissuaded from believing this story after reading a few documents which claimed she died from a stroke at the age of 67. An age at which I strongly doubt she would have the vitality for a more spectacular death.

If you'd like to read what I wrote, click here. If you'd like to read what Jacquline Mabey wrote, click on this.

Le Devoir misses one very significant point


There's an interesting article in today's Le Devoir by Stéphane Baillargeon that basically outlines the complaint of the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec that they can't afford the price of storage at Le Centre des collections muséales de Montréal [pdf alert].

And while generally the quality of articles about art and culture in Le Devoir is better than the other newspapers that I read, M. Baillargeon, in my estimation, was sloppy and lax in his reporting that the prices of $2.79/square foot were excessive.

There ain't no such thing as insurance for any of the objects stored there. Yeah money is nice if stuff gets destroyed, but when you're talking heritage cash is very cold comfort. In May 2004, the place in London designed to do the very same thing burned to the ground while in November 2003 Le Centre des collections muséales de Montréal had a fire and not a single piece of art was damaged. I'd love to know what the how much the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec pays in insurance fees before I start writing about them not being able to afford state of art storage facilities.

In answer to your question, Sarah...


I think I'm only going to read the first paragraphs of articles on Canadian artists published in Canadian newspapers from now on. After reading a bunch of them this week (see my entries below) I really can't see why there is any point to continue reading any further. In the latest case of absolutely brain dead writing (hey! Maybe if Ms. Milroy was in Quebec she could have been a automatiste?) Sarah Milroy starts her article in today's Globe and Mail with a question: "Who were the other native art stars in Canada that one could name, she asked, her pencil poised?" She then writes that the curator of the Brian Jungen exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery refused to name any, thereby leaving the question open.

Unfortunately, last Tuesday (exactly a week ago) they published this

A rather large article touting Norval Morrisseau as the 'original' native art star. Why leave the question open ended? Does Ms. Milroy (and all the other editors at the Globe & Mail) think that their readers have absolutely no memory? For the record the one's I can come up with in the five minutes I alloted myself were:
Jessie Oonark, who is dead thereby guaranteeing Art Star staus... Kenojuak Ashevak and Nadia Myre.

And as the Morriseau exhibit opened on the 3rd of February, and the Jungen exhibit opened on the 28th of January, I betcha dollars to doughnuts that Anselm Kiefer gets the big picture treatment next Tuesday, because today's newspaper looked like this...

Sorta similar in layout, eh? And just as an aside, how do you think they're going to work in the word "shaman" for Mr. Kiefer?

The Globe & Mail could use a fact checker, too!


James Adams writes a piece of fluff so missing in content and ideas that I'm surprised it wasn't published on a cotton ball. In a nutshell he writes as his lede (or lead, or first line, I'm not a journalist so I have no freakin' clue what the difference is): "Cape Dorset, an island hamlet of about 1,100 people off the southwestern shore of Baffin Island, is 'Canada's most artistic municipality,' according to a statistical study released yesterday in Toronto."

Umm, if he had bothered to read anything, he would have remembered how the very same person (Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies) touted the Plateau as Canada's most creative neighborhood! In that press release Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Hill wrote "Nunavut’s X0A region is the most creative rural area in Canada. This area, encompassing Baffin Island (Iqaluit, Cape Dorset, etc.), has 230 artists among 6,700 total workers, for an artistic concentration of 3.4%. This is over four times the national average of 0.8%"

Notice how significantly that sentence is different from this one penned by Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Hill yesterday "Cape Dorset, Nunavut, with almost one in four labour force workers in the arts, is the most artistic municipality in Canada. The artistic concentration in Cape Dorset (23%) is: ... almost triple the concentration of artists in 'Canada’s most creative neighbourhood' – the H2W postal area on Montreal’s Plateau (8.0%); and almost 30 times the national average of 0.8%."

I don't know who pays for the things that Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Hill writes, but I can save you some money; in June Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Hill will write that according to data published in the 2001 census Montreal is the most creative large urban centre in Canada, or it might be that PEI is the most creative province, or it might be that Canada ranks 14th in a list of most creative countries. Whatever it is could you please refrain from throwing your money willy-nilly at Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Hill, and instead go buy yourself some tickets to see a dance company, or a painting, or a couple of books, or heck just go see a freakin' movie instead. The artists in Canada are woefully underpaid, desk jockeys like Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Hill making money at the expense, and in place of artists should be forced to live in Nunavut without any income, training, or prospects and we can then watch to see how creative they get.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The National Post needs to hire me as a fact checker, soon.


I like it when the National Post covers art. I don't like it when they make sloppy errors. Contrary to what Ms. Dault writes in her second sentence, it is not "the first North American retrospective of the German artist's work," it is in fact something like the eighth. He has had shows Marian Goodman and Mary Boone in 1981 and 1982, across the US from 1987 to 1989 (which interestingly enough does not get listed on this CV) at the Met in 1998 a couple at Gagosian in 2000 and 2002.

Contrary to what she writes in the second paragraph the show is in fact going to four (not three) museums in North America, "Initially presented in fall 2005 in Forth Worth, it will next travel to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In the third paragraph she somehow forgets that Kiefer had a show at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, that according to the catalogue traced his development as an artist, or sure as shootin' sounds like "a major showing." According to my "checklist of works" furnished by the museum there are only 37 pieces in the show, not the "more than 50" that Ms. Dault claims still in paragraph three.

Four errors in three paragraphs, not a good track record.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Another view on the Catherine the Great exhibition by Jacquline Mabey


Things are starting to creep out of the woodwork...

Art in Montreal: From Russia, With Bedazzled Snuff Boxes by Jacquline Mabey

If I had to describe the current exhibition at the Musėe des Beaux-Art de Montrėal, “Catherine the Great: Art for Empire,” in just three words, dear readers, those three words would be: de-lightful, de-lovely, de-dictatorlicious. And that’s not just because I got a free breakfast out of the press preview. Truly, one can surround one’s self with beautiful things...

when one is a totalitarian sovereign who rules the peasants with a bedazzled iron fist. Don’t get me wrong, folks. I give mad props to any woman who overthrows her creepy and ineffectual husband in a bloody coup and goes onto rock the Kasbah - or, should I say, Crimea - during her rule. I just found it funny, the narrative that the museum presented, about how learned and enlightened Catherine the Great was. Granted, she chilled with Diderot and Grimm, and counted Voltaire as one of her homeboys, and she seemed to have a touch of that neoclassical antiquitiesmania. But all that enlightened thinkin’, all those pretty deep thoughts, never seemed to make it down to her subjects, the people who could have used it the most. But, you know, if you tilt your head to the left a little and squint all those nagging ethical dilemmas seem to disappear.

But first, let’s talk about the press conference. Tuesday morning I splashed on some Channel and tried to make myself look presentable for all the art mucky-mucks and potential benefactors. My hope is that if I start attending the fancy vernissages, not just the ultra hipster hanging-out-under-a-bridge-with-hobos type vernis, that my spunk and intelligence will charm a rich older man/ woman/ transgender who will decry my lack of financial solvency and pay for grad school. Less Anna Nicole, more Dickens… oh, who are we kidding? If some old dude offered to pay off my student loans and finance grad school I would learn to play shuffle board in a heartbeat. They should really work out an equation for how, as one’s student debt increases, one’s moral standing decreases. The MBAM did a really great job filling up the place with, I am assuming, gallery staff grabbed at random from their tasks and ordered to make the press preview look like the new Buona Notte. But really, all smarminess aside, there really is nothing like franglais and free croissants in the morning. It thrills me in a special place. The show itself is the result of the hard work and cooperation of the fine folks at the Hermitage, the AGO, our fair MBAM, and the Canadian Friends of the Hermitage. Or so they think. The Hermitage, like, told me something totally different.

Representatives from each institution were neatly lined up, keen and eager to edify and assert that Canada and Russia are united in spirit because both countries are crappy and cold. Right. Solid foundation to build a whole show on. The Hermitage dude was like the sage, curmudgeonly, vodka chugging grandfather I never had. Example: One reporter questioned him on the many upheavals in Russian history, and dude was all like, “One crisis to the next, you know how we do, son!” Oh, snap! He also made an interesting assertion, that Catherine was “the greatest feminist of many centuries.” Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know that- given the current state of the Russian nation- she’d probably be doing porn now or be a mail order bride and end up in Wisconsin or something. And though I may be just a godless, recalcitrant sensualist, the thought of working at the Hermitage is enough to induce art history-gasam. Totally worth dragging my overtired body to Musėe des Beaux-Art. But the questionable hair style of Dennis Reid, the guy from the AGO, raised a serious and I think important question: why is it that curators, who’s job it is to be arbiters of beauty, so often look like the folks time forgot? Seriously, curators should know better than to sport ponytails! Maybe it’s a low blow, but it is so (seemingly) incongruous a phenomenon that I would contend it requires serious study. But that’s just me.

But back to the dreamy art. The show is a mix of paintings, sculpture, furniture, jewellery, clothes, etc. The first object that you see when you walk up the stairs is the ornate Romanov Coronation Coach. Made from oak, ash, beech, walnut, silver, iron, copper, bronze, steel, glass, leather, silk, cloth and gilding, the coach is rather similar to what most of get around in, and I imagine was once pulled by unicorns. The thing is so darn impressive I almost turned around, for fear that the rest of the show could only be a let down. I think it sets the tone of the show: let your eyes glide down the surface, folks, ‘cause that’s all she wrote. From the gorgeous flesh tones of Meng’s Perseus and Andromeda, to the seductive handling of drapery folds in a portrait by Vigee-Lebrun, to the temporary blindness inducing luminance of the jewel encrusted snuff boxes, the Catherine the Great show dazzles the eye and blinds the mind to significant thoughts other than, “Wow, that’s frigging cool!”

Actually, the show itself is not unlike one of the complimentary films, Russian Ark: the storyline is kind of lame - in the film, I feel employing the whole “Is it a dream?” thing is kind of weak, and this is paralleled in the exhibit with the evasion of Catherine’s crappy record when it came to helping the people- but it’s pretty as hell to look at. So if you take it at face value, I am pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

But who knows? Maybe you’re more a William of Orange type. We can take this out side if we have to.

And if you'd like to read more about thge exhibit, try these:
  1. Catherine the Great ain't so bad...
  2. Catherine the Great Press thing-y
  3. Compare and Contrast at Catherine the Great
  4. The cool stuff at the Catherine the Great exhibit
  5. Snuff Boxes at Catherine the Great

Friday, February 10, 2006

Kris Covlin live at Zeke's Gallery last night (second set)


Click here to hear it, stream it, ogg vorbis [24:10 minutes, 23.2MB]

Mr. Covlin during the playing of Responsorial, I was the only one with their eyes open.

He played Sonate en arcs by Francois Rosse, Pardon by Luis DePable, and Responsorial by Cornel Taranu. The second saxophone was played by Sebatien Schiesser and the Trombone on Pardon was played by Courtney Wile. Then as there are people in the government who get a kick out of things like this, the Rosse and the Taranu were Quebec premieres! Woo-Hoo!

Mr. Covlin has a very good profile

Kris Covlin live at Zeke's Gallery last night (first set)


Click here to hear it, stream it, ogg vorbis [13:44 minutes, 13.2MB]

Mr. Covlin in action!

He played Chant-son by Stefan Niculesu, Dialodia by Bruno Maderna, and Hamiltonian Cycle: Saxophone by Robert Morris. The second saxophone on Dialodia was played by Sebastien Schiesser. The Niculescu was a Quebec premiere, and we think, but are not certain if the Morris is also. If you happen to know, please pipe up.

A slightly different view of Mr. Covlin

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Folks can't do math in Edmonton


In today's Edmonton Examiner Stuart Elson adds $8.5 million, $15 million, $6 million, and $10 million together and then gets a total of $38.5 million. Looks like someone already is skimming some cash from the capital campaign for the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Art History in the Globe & Mail


Weird, Kevin Temple does some Q&D analysis of Jean-Paul Lemieux's Charlottetown Revisited (top of the fold, too!). While I'm certain that he got some art historian to vet his line "the two silhouettes in top hats on the right appear to depict the Atlantic Provinces, representatives of which were meeting to consider a Maritime union. On the far left, the solitary Province of Canada waits as the Maritimes discuss the new proposal of a larger union of Canada." Most likely Jon Tupper the guy who runs the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. I'm not certain I'd be talking to the guy who runs Place des Arts if I wanted an analysis of some art that was there, but I digress.

Given that it was painted in 1964, by a dude from Quebec, on a commission from the feds - what if in fact the two figures on the right are considered to be the French and English sides of Canada discussing the inclusion of the Atlantic Provinces (the figure on the left)? Since at the Charlottetown conference there seemed to be a done deal that included all four of the Atlantic Provinces and when the talks shifted to Quebec all heck broke loose and Newfoundland and PEI bolted, could not the orange sky (what Mr. Temple calls an "ominous, blood-orange sky") actually be foreshadowing not only the Quebec Conference, but also the Quiet revolution? On top of it, while Mr. Tupper correctly points out that the Confederation Centre faces south, what he misses is that the grid on which Montreal is based is just a tad askew, and as a consequence the summer sun sets in what most people would consider "Montreal North," and as M. Lemieux was living in Montreal at the time his painting would be correct from a local perspective.

Then again, I could be wrong. I need to get me a history textbook.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Stuff Seen - Jean Paul Ripoelle



68 prints (if I am to trust the invite) hanging out at 4289 Notre Dame O. versus 146 that were on display in Quebec City (if I am to trust the catalogue). Free versus $10. At some point I'm gonna have to find out how many prints Riopelle made. Never the less the prints rock, it's in town, and it is $10 cheaper than the fancy version down river, what more reasons do you need? Get your butt down there now. If you're dissapointed I'll refund your money, ok?

Stuff Seen - Avenue Art



I always like it when I can contrast and compare. On the same day that I went to Hollinger Collins Art Contemporain I went down the street to another art gallery that didn't have a full blown show up and ready. Unlike when we showed up at HCAC, we wandered in to Avenue Art after 5 pm on a Friday, and then to make things worse the door was locked when we showed up - but as I was sorta determined to prove that there were in fact a bunch of galleries on Sherbrooke west around Victoria ave I knocked on the door and Marina Cutler (and the other person there who's name I've completely forgotten, sorry (now that I look at the card, maybe Mary Vanaselja?)) not only answered the door, but invited us in, offered us drinks, and talked to us for at least 30 minutes.

And while for the most part the stuff that was displayed wasn't exactly my cup of tea (if I trust my memory about 60% was standard issue landscape and still life, deliberately non-offensive and way easier to hang than wallpaper) they did have some pretty kick ass stuff as well. Specifically Ronda Diamond. As a consequence I'm sorta looking forward to seeing a show there. We had a delightful conversation about art, art in Montreal, and other stuff that made the visit entirely and thoroughly fun.

Now if I could only figure out when La Fabriq was open...

Stuff Seen - Exhibition of Jack



Absolutely brilliant and wonderful. And now let me tell you how I really feel.

Patricia Pink has been running an Art Gallery for gosh, I don't know how long, maybe 20 years? Maybe more, maybe less, but longer than I'v been running Zeke's. I've been meaning to get down to her place for the longest time, and had always been putting it off (being without car does have its drawbacks). Last week I finally made it down (thanks to someone with a car) and I've been kicking myself ever since as to what I must've missed.

Basically when we were there, it was a show dedicated to her father. Jack Pink (who I never met) had dabbled in painting, but more importantly touched a whole whack o' folk who were and are very artistic. Ms. Pink (Pat to you and me) got artwork by twelve people who had been touched by Jack and put 'em up.

Obviously in a show such as this, the absolute quality of the work is going to vary greatly, but just as obviously in a show such as this, it ain't being done because of the quality of the art work. It is being done because of the sincerity, earnestness and absolute depth of emotion in each and every piece. And that sincerity, depth of emotion and earnestness came through loud and clear here.

I had previously joked with friends and family about what I wanted once I was dead. And for the most part it varied from the most ostentatious and humongous mausoleum (when I was but knee high to a grasshopper and feeling particularly anonymous) to a full blow Irish Wake (even though I have not a drop of Irish blood in me) to insisting that I was going to live forever or die trying. However after seeing what and how Pat did for Jack, I now have decided that there ain't no way anybody can top something like that, so I have become even more convinced that I need to live forever.

But to talk about the art, which is to talk about Jack, which is the point of the whole gosh darn exhibit is something that you should do. If you're like me, and didn't know Jack, then you're gonna have to talk with Pat about the art. And each piece has its own special story, the one I remember right now is Darren De Genova's Puzzle of Jack. Although later today I could just as easily remember the story of Gregory Loudon's Lying in a Bed of Roses or Sara Day's Jack (in the Kitchen). Whatever you do, be certain to ask Pat about her pieces, I screwed up when I was there (because I was so blown away) and from looking at Pat's stuff, I am fairly certain that even though everybody else's stories (and by extension their Art) about Jack is good, given that her Art is better, I betcha dollars to doughnuts her stories are too.

Despite the invite saying that the show closed last weekend, when I was there, Pat said that she was going to extend it, I don't know for how long, and I don't know if she in fact did, so I suggest you give her a call before heading down. But you better head on down.

[Update February 9: I just heard from Pat and she says that the show has been extended until March 12, now you have no excuse for missing it.]