Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Interesting Note


Pretty cool if it is true, but according to this binking website, for the first time ever, one of Moishe Safdie's buildings are going to be torn down.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Paul Butler needs a dictionary. (or what do you think the word 'solo means?)


Last I heard, the word solo meant 'alone,' 'by one's self,' 'without others.'

Last I heard, the word party meant 'a group of people gathered together for pleasure.'

So why does Paul Butler have his collage parties listed in the Solo Exhibitions and Installations part of his CV? Does this mean that the other people are superfluous? or is it that Mr. Butler is taking credit for their work? Or is that he doesn't expect anyone reading his CV to go beyond the Solo Exhibition section and he figured he needed to get it in at the beginning? Or is it something else?

Val Ross and Gertrude Kearns together!


Last week I was bashing Ms. Ross, this week I come to compliment her. There's a very nice article from yesterday's Globe and Mail about Gertrude Kearns. I've written about Ms. Kearns before.

What I want to know is, if "Negotiations are under way to install them in Ottawa, possibly at the Canadian War Museum or the Department of National Defence." Then how much more than the $50,000 for two paintings that I estimated she had received 16 months ago will she be getting now? And if she does end up getting more money for her paintings would this not be considered a postive side effect of the Canadian war effort in Afghanistan?

Secondly (and this is a very small nit to pick) the only reason "Kearns has become one of Canada's best-known war artists since the Second World War" is because Canada pretty much hasn't been in a war since the Second World War and it is really tough to be a "war artist" if their ain't any wars happening.

I'm undecided as to whether I think what Ms. Kearns is doing is a good thing or a bad thing. Are her paintings subject to the same censorship as those of a photographer embedded with the Canadian Forces would be? And how much is she personally benefiting from suffering of others?

Michael Toke or West Side Lofts?


The Globe and Mail writes a flattering article about Michael Toke and his response to this (funny how no one thought to ask if any of the developers were Czech). For whatever reason, no one thought to mention how the developers of the West Side Lofts were supposedly artist friendly, but still building condos, and if Mr. Toke had been one of the artists whose art was purchased.

Kirsten Johnson blogs, sorta for the National Post


They started it yesterday and this is Monday's entry, and this is Tuesday's entry, but I won't be reading Wednesday's entry because I do not see any real difference between what Kirsten Johnson writes in the National Post and Deneen's blog called Yarns and Musings. Why they think it is newsworthy is beyond me.

Monday, August 28, 2006

$1,000 airfare + $3.14/kg


An interesting article in yesterday's Boston Globe on how things work in Cape Dorset. Basically, the sculptor makes 25% of the price you pay for a soap stone sculpture. There also is this article from earlier in the summer in the Globe & Mail that has some different facts, but is remarkably similar.

If you don't feel like spending that sort of cash, or prefer to see a larger percentage of the money going to the artists, there's always, the ItuKiagâtta! and the Robert Davidson, and the Brian Jungen exhibits.

$5 million gets you what?


On Friday the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal announced that $5 million will be added to the budget of Placements Culture. Dollars to doughnuts it goes to organizations like the OSM, the GBC, and Pointe a Calliere. Or in other words them that already have.

A waste of $60,000


Apparently the city of Richmond has some money to burn. They are hiring a consultant so that they can find artists. If anybody reading this is on the west coast, I guarantee that I could find artists for the city of Richmond for under $40,000.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Chris Hand interviews Nancy Nisbet, filmed by Scott Lutes


If you'd like to download the video, click here [77 MB, 23:21, Quicktime]. Back in June, Ms. Nisbet rolled into town. We took advantage of her stay to interview her about her art project.

Scott Lutes, made a short documentary film about her project, which you have already seen if you are a regular reader of this blog. Feel free to watch it again, because it is a very nicely done film, if I do say so myself. And I'd be less than honest, if I didn't say that I was disappointed that Ms. Nisbet, thought that giving credit to Priya Ramu was more important than giving credit to Mr. Lutes (scroll down to the bottom to see what I mean).

Fall's coming, it is getting nippy


In the shameless self promotion department, if you buy your sweetie a Zeke's Gallery Hoodie like this one

Zeke's Gallery Hoodie

Zeke's Gallery gets $5, and your sweetie gets warm. If your sweetie doesn't like hoodie, there are lots of other items as well.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Maria Puente also needs some help with research


A feel good and make nice article from USA Today on artists who blog. Unfortunately, Ms. Puente and her editors decided that lines like "The result: More people are making a living as artists, more people are buying art, and more art is selling at a wider spectrum of prices" must be the truth because Ms. Puente wrote them. In fact if more people are making a living as artists I would suggest it is because there are more people alive now then there have ever been before, not because of blogging. There are also more people making a living as firefighters, and more people making a living as nuclear scientists, and we all know how popular those firefighter and nuclear scientist blogs are. Ditto for the more people buying art.

The reason art is selling at a wider spectrum of prices now has absolutely nothing to do with blogs. The spectrum of prices has become larger because there are people named Ronald Lauder who are spending more and more money on art. Ten years ago the spectrum of prices for art went from $0 to about $80 million. Today the spectrum of prices for art goes from $0 to $135 million. Bloggers had absolutely nothing to do with the spectrum becoming 68% larger, unless someone out there knows the URL for Ronald Lauder's blog.

Ms. Puente then goes on and quotes the guy who runs this gallery as saying 'The bloggers are just "a little blip in the art world, something that will fill a niche for those people who want to buy something real and not just a poster."' Which given the art he stocks and the types of painting he sells is the equivalent of surry maker (you know with a fringe on top) what he thinks of those new fangled aut-o-mo-bile makers. Heck! I betcha dollars to doughnuts Howard Rehs, co-owner of Rehs Galleries in New York doesn't like anything made after 1960, and still uses a rotary phone.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Val Ross needs to learn how to do research


While the Globe & Mail tries really hard to position itself as 'the paper of record' for Canada, as long as Val Ross keeps writing shoddy articles like this one about The Rooms in St. John's it ain't likely to happen.

Ms. Ross somehow thinks that Rick Mercer is a taxi driver, she writes 'One taxi driver described the building as "the box that the Basilica came in."' Unfortunately for her, in this article from June 2005 they quote Mr. Mercer as saying '"Once you see this from the inside, I can guarantee no one is ever again going to say this is the box the Basilica came in," said Mercer, referring both to the geometric design of The Rooms and the home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese across Bonaventure Avenue.'

Then, or should I say additionally, Ms. Ross wrote 'The New York Times raved about the architecture and the views...' In fact what was written in the travel section of the New York Times on July 28 of this year was 'It’s hard to miss the Rooms (9 Bonaventure Avenue, 709-757-8000; www.therooms.ca), a huge museum and art gallery that towers above the city from its hilltop perch. Opened last year and designed to resemble traditional Newfoundland fishing rooms where families processed their catch, the Rooms combines the Provincial Museum, the Provincial Art Gallery and the Provincial Archives under one roof. The spotlight is on artists from Newfoundland and Labrador and from throughout Canada. Unofficially, among its the best displays is the view of the harbor’s meeting the Atlantic at Signal Hill.'

I'm not certain in which language the word 'huge' is synonymous with 'raving.' Nor am I certain why 92 words written by a freelance writer based in Yardley, PA are considered authoritative. And lastly, it is a pity that I can't easily find a copy of the book by Wayne Johnston called The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, given Ms. Ross' liberal use of Ellipsises (Ellipsi?) I wouldn't be surprised if the three parts of the quote he uses to start her article came from three entirely different parts of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams.

Needless to say, after discovering these mistakes, I stopped reading the article.

[Update 25 Aug: I received an email from Ms. Ross with the entire quote: 'The Basilica of St John the Baptist loomed up from the cluster of the buildings on the hill. I could not believe that the city and the ice were of one world. The city looked so reasonable, so plausible, a site in which atrocities not only did not take place, but which also somehow prevented them from taking place elsewhere." As a consequence of the email (which had some other stuff as well) I have revised this post.]

Six of one, half a dozen of another


I'm betwixt and between after reading this news about Château Dufresne. While I recognize the absolute need to have art and cultural things in the most economically depressed neighborhood in Montreal, I do not like it when the government throws $65,000 willy-nilly at something under the guise of 'development.' Especially when the organization receiving the $65,000 thinks it is worth 87.5% of the Musee d'Art Contemporain (or even worse, apparently the fine folk at the Château Dufresne think they are worth 150% of the MACM if you are a student. Betcha if they dropped their admission prices attendance would skyrocket, and they wouldn't this extra special government handout to survive).

Go Rene Lemay! go!!


This is a story I like. Montreal artist, Rene Lemay not only has a show in Vietnam at a gallery called Viet Fine Arts, but he's getting it publicized in newspapers as well.

Can I get a definition, please?


Elektra, a digital arts festival (which has a site that is inaccesible to anyone running Linux, like me. So much for them being cutting edge...) is touting itself as 'the largest event of its genre in North America.' Unfortunately, I would argue that it isn't even the largest event of its genre in Montreal. Someone forgot to point out Mutek to the fine folk who write for the NY Arts Magazine.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Way more important than Nazi looted art


While it is fine and dandy for the National Gallery and every other museum and museum-like organization in this fine country of ours to spend money, time and other precious resources doing provenance research on the objects in their collections that were created before 1946 and that were acquired after 1932, that underwent a change of ownership between 1932 and 1946, and that were or might reasonably be thought to have been in continental Europe between those dates. So that they can then remove them from the public and make some other people wealthy.

I would actually like to see the National Gallery and every other museum and museum-like organization in this fine country of ours to spend money, time and all the other resources they can amass doing provenance research into the aboriginal art that they own. It is far more likely, and hundreds of times more important that situations like this one be proactively avoided, rather than relying on anonymous phone calls to band councils.

The things I learn...


I take back a tiny bit of the nastiness I showed to the Ministry of Heritage Canada yesterday. Because I discovered that they are giving The Robert McLaughlin Gallery $5,100 in order to pay the Musee des beaux Arts du Quebec to exhibit 43 paintings and drawings by Antoine Plamondon.

I initially thought that it was going to replace the Rita Letendre exhibit (scroll down slightly) that they had been showing for the past year. But as it is only going to be hanging around Oshawa for a couple of months, it is obviously replacing something else. But this is a long drawn out means to say that I downloaded the catalog for the Rita Letendre show [pdf alert], and in it there is a picture of her, and all I can say is; "Yes, her paintings are wicked cool, but I didn't know how babe-alicious she was." If anybody feels like introducing me to her, I would be forever grateful.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Wonderful & Amazing!! Although I am slow and dense


I just was told by Paul Litherland himself, that there was an article in last week's Globe & Mail about his show 'Absolutely Fabulous.' I must've been asleep at the switch, brain dead, and suffering from a general case of blindness to miss it the first time around. Besides being friends with Paul (hence him telling me) Christine Redfern (the writer) is someone I know as well.

Le Devoir ain't Sherlock Holmes when it comes to art


I don't know if you've been under a rock, but just about everybody and their mother has picked up on the story of the National Gallery of Canada returning a painting by Vuillard in oder to make a French family wealthier (ok, that last little bit was my commentary).

Well as you can see, the press release got sent out on Friday the 18th of August. Apparently around noon. Well on Saturday the 19th of August, Le Devoir published a article about a guy who does the research to 'return' paintings stolen by the Nazis to the poor and destitute offspring who are still alive. No mention, not even once of Vuillard or the National Gallery (not even the 'galerie nationale'). And while I've heard rumor that Le Devoir has an early deadline, I refuse to believe that it is before noon the day previous.

The situation was made even worse, when the sidebar article about Montreal art that had been looted by the Nazis failed to mention Vuillard or the National Gallery either.

Knowledge Exchange my elbow


I just discovered this thing called the CHIN Knowledge Exchange which looks to be something using my tax dollars to teach museum professionals how to leverage technolgoy.

Can you say "Not?"

Four clicks to discover that an interview with Stephen Downes, according to them a "Canadian expert on online learning" is only available as a Windows Media File. And somehow they've only been able to transcribe 10:36 minutes of the interview. (Or if you'd like it spelled out for you - an expert is allowing his name to be used with something that is unaccesible to more than 15% of the people viewing, and they haven't been able to complete the job.)

If this ridiculous and rebrehensible use of taxpayer money cost more than $1.50, I'd strongly suggest firing everyone involved. I'm doing more, and better for less. If anyone would like some help in how to leverage technology, feel free to ask me - I'm certain I can show you for cheaper.

And I hope that I don't have to remind you about The interviews and catalogs of Canadian Artists and people in the Arts, aka the Zeke's Gallery Podcasts, that have been digitized. I just wish I had 10% of their budget.
  1. Bertrand Lavoie Catalogue, Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery May 1998.
  2. Kelly Backs Catalogue, Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery November 1999.
  3. Philip Bottenberg, Interviewed & Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery April 2004.
  4. Toly Kouroumalis, Interviewed & Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery June 2004.
  5. Dominique Blain, Montreal Artist interviewed August 2004.
  6. Michel Hellman, Art Critic for Le Devoir interviewed August 2004.
  7. Eduardo Kac, Chicago Artist interviewed October 2004.
  8. Chris Dyer, Interviewed & Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery September 2004
  9. Marc Mayer, Director of Musée d'art contemporain interviewed October 2004.
  10. Jean-François Lacombe, Interviewed & Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery November 2004.
  11. Eric Waugh, Montreal Artist interviewed February 2005 part one, part two Audio
  12. Peter Gibson, aka Roadsworth, Montreal Artist, interviewed February 2005 Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four. Audio
  13. Chris Lloyd, Halifax Artist interviewed March 2005.
  14. Zev Tiefenbach, Interviewed & Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery August 2005 part one, part two Audio
  15. Wil Murray, Interviewed & Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery October 2005 part one, part two, part three Audio
  16. Face-Off, the public debate between myself and Marc Mayer, October 2005 part one, part two. Audio
  17. Mise au jeu, the public debate in French between myself and Marc Mayer, November 2005, part one, part two. Audio
  18. Tricia McDaid, Interviewed & Exhibited at Zeke's Gallery May 2006. Video
  19. The Missive, a film about Zeke's Gallery by Jarred Coxford Video
  20. Nancy Nisbett's Exchange Project, Interviewed outside of Zeke's Gallery June 2006. Video
  21. Stephane Aquin, curator of Sound + Vision, Interviewed at the Musee des Beaux Arts July 2006. Video

And there are more to come...

Art Classes all over the place


On Friday The New York Times wrote about life drawing classes, on Sunday,
Le Soleil in Quebec City wrote about life drawing classes, and then if you're not in Quebec City or New York, there are always these Drawing lessons.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Stéphane Aquin interviewed about Sound + Vision


[note: I made significant additions, and so I bumped this back up to the top]

Click here if you'd like to download the film [80MB Quicktime File]. Last Thursday, Scott and I went over to the Musée des beaux-arts to interview Stéphane Aquin, the contemporary art curator there, and the person most responsible for Sound + Vision. If you'd like to watch the film without downloading, click on the appropriate button below.

If you'd like to see the exhibit, it is up on the walls of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until October 22.

Then, if you would like more information, The Voir review, by he who shall remain nameless - goes for the kneejerk criticism of not enough Quebecois artists, and then shows how incompetent he is as a tourist, since he admits that 'sometimes he can't find contemporary art when he travels.' (My best guess is he thinks the MOMA is a 'contemporary' art museum - it ain't.)

The La Presse review, by he who alternates between being offensive and not admiting to making mistakes. Ignoring for the moment, the personal differences between what he likes and what I can't stand - the one piece that I find absolutely horrible, he adores. He states that the only artist missing is Janet Cardiff, except that he doesn't realize that the AGO only has one Cardiff piece that is extremely large and extremely fragile, and the two pieces that the National Gallery owns are even larger, and more fragile, or in other words they don't travel. He also forgets about Tom Dean, Jana Sterbak, Nelson Henricks, and Jan Peacock, all of whom have work that is collected by the three museums that is not fragile.

The Gazette review by Henry Lehmann, a reasonable review, except he lets the MBAM off the hook, with regards to artists from the Maritimes, because he did not realize that three quarters of the exhibit comes from the National Gallery, And he mistakes the sand (ie 'sands of time') in Rheinmetal/Victoria 8 as snow.

And the Le Devoir review by Stéphane Baillargeon, where he too, for the most part gets it right (for some reason he thinks the Kevin Schmidt piece is good as well, and uses it as the foundation for his review).

[note to Jennifer McMackon, I would consider this post more like a lambast.]

The Rubberbandance Group makes the New York Times


As you might suspect, I always get a big kick when anything from Montreal, such as the Rubberbandance Group gets written up in the New York Times.

Frédérique Doyon is getting sloppy


On Friday Ms. Doyon wrote this article about the Guggenheim scoring $1 million. She basically, translated this entry from Artdaily.com, which unfortunately is this Press Release from the Guggenheim Museum.

While it is all fine and dandy for Artdaily.com to republish press releases - and is the primary reason why I never, ever read what they publish, I find it a little worisome when Le Devoir decides to use what little space they have to republish PR flack from a museum in a foreign country.

At least if they are going to give over their space to communication departments of museums, they should give it over to museums in this country, don'tcha think?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quebec in the New Yorker, kinda, sorta, maybe


Back when I was merely a blogette, and had written only a couple of thousand words, Alex Ross' blog, The Rest is Noise was daily reading. As I wrote more and more words, it got relegated to once/week status, and then once/month status. Nothing wrong with the blog, or Mr. Ross, more due to changes in my priorities. So I found it wicked cool when I was reading The Rest Is Noise this month (which is made very easy, because Mr Ross is sprinting to finish his book, so the blog is, shall we say, sparse). And he linked to what he called an "5) Amazing YouTube video of Alvin Lucier's Music for Solo Performer." So I clicked. And boy oh boy was I surprised to find out that in fact it was a performance by Maxime Rioux that had been videotaped by César Saez, or in slightly plainer language two local Montreal artists. Mad props and shout outs to both of them for blipping on the radar of one of the best writers out there.

Ben Hammond Live at Zeke's Gallery, from back in June


If you'd like to download this video, click here [26 MB, Quicktime, 7:42]

It took a while but I finally was able to post Ben Hammond performing his songs 'No History,' and 'Lemme Know' here at Zeke's Gallery in Montreal on June 29, 2006. If you'd like to hear the entire show, click on these: Set One, Set Two & the Theremin Interlude

Cool Call (or $20 gets you $113)


The Varley Art Gallery has a call out for artists who have lived in Canada for less than 10 years. They want to have a show on and about immigrant art, and they pay CARFAC fees as well.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Not a good weekend for Montreal artists


And I just discovered that Stanley Lewis died on Monday. If you'd like to see an example of his work, try this. My condolences to his family and friends. Yuck. And double yuck.

The Halifax Chronicle Herald should know better


There's this very silly article written by Paul Pickrem, where he states at the beginning of his article, "Internationally renowned painter and sculptor Rita Torlen has found a little piece of paradise right here in Nova Scotia."

Mr. Pickrem, a) Exhibiting in one's place of residence, even if it is in Mexico, does not make an artist internationally renowned. b) I don't know how far Paradise, Nova Scotia is from Halifax, however, if you are looking for an Internationally Renowned Sculptor, I suggest you give a call to this person, I'm fairly certain Digby, Nova Scotia could be considered on your beat as well.

The Arts Report, getting better


I quite like getting scooped, and especially by Joe Cummings of the CBC Radio program The Arts Report, because there have been many times when I have busted on his chops, and I always knew he could do good work.

I was extremely saddened to hear, that Philip Iverson died over the weekend. No cause of death was given, and it worries me that he was only 41. If you'd like to see reproductions of some of his work, his website is here. My condolences to his family and friends.

A Very Slow News Day - Boats & Art


Some woman named Lita Solis-Cohen rehashes the pipe dreams of David Lester. I found pretty much the same article in The Art Newspaper from February, back when it might have been news, and a slight variation from back in May. I also came across another article about a previous pipe dream of David Lester.

Personally, if you're going to write an article about boats and art, I think you should choose to write it about artists and art that is actually in the freakin' water already. And if you happen to be reading this and within spitting distance of the Mississippi River, The Miss Rockaway Armada could use some Cookies, chocolate and ice cream.

Know how to draw?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Still More Pix from Mark Garland's Vernissage


I think this was the whole reason behind the show. The piece is called The Evolving Spine (Laid to Waste) .(Man it is so nice when it is spelled out for me!)

And then there are the pictures that show how much fun was had by all.

Mark Garland.


If you would like more information about Mark Garland's art, click here. And Once again all the pictures were taken by Donna Diraddo.

More Pix from Mark Garland's Vernissage


Back in June or July (my memory is a little fuzzy on this one) we hauled out to the Dorval Cultural Centre to see a show of Mark Garland's kick-ass creations. He graciously sent me some pictures that were taken by Donna Diraddo during the party. A fun and fabulous time was had by all, and I strongly reccmmend that you get your butt to the Sarto Desnoyers Community Centre this weekend to see Mr. Garland in action. Then for those of you hoping for a review, because Mr. Garland is a friend of mine, I can't. Sorry.

I wish I knew the names of the pieces, but I don't.

Now I feel just really dumb.

And dumber.

If you would like more information about Mark Garland's art, click here.

Pix from Mark Garland's Vernissage


Back in June or July (my memory is a little fuzzy on this one) we hauled out to the Dorval Cultural Centre to see a show of Mark Garland's kick-ass creations. He graciously sent me some pictures that were taken by Donna Diraddo during the party. A fun and fabulous time was had by all, and I strongly reccmmend that you get your butt to the Sarto Desnoyers Community Centre this weekend to see Mr. Garland in action. Then for those of you hoping for a review, because Mr. Garland is a friend of mine, I can't.

Everyone having a grand old time, can't you tell?

Me, trying to explain to Mark the interationality inherent and self-evident in the emotional movement of his sculptures.

Mark pointing out the naughty bits in his sculpture.

Cool, eh?

Everyone still having a grand old time, can't you tell?

If you would like more information about Mark Garland's art, click here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Greg Curnoe is pedalling ferociously in his grave


Peter Goddard, the normally well informed and very good art writer at the Toronto Star strikes out swinging with This article about a Bike sculpture built for 300. He pans it by writing "Toronto's Bike Arch isn't likely to enter the pantheon of bike-related art-objects..." after having mentioned Marcel Duchamp, and Claes Oldenburg (where he gets the name of the piece wrong, and forgets about this one).

But what really gets my goat, is that he should know better, and have at least mentioned Greg Curnoe. There aren't many opportunities to get Mr. Curnoe's name in print these days, and missing one as self-evident as this is a pity.

Then if you'd like to see the arch,

Originally uploaded by chesh2000pro.

Originally uploaded by alfredw.

Wicked Good News - Mad Props to Marcel Tremblay as well


If Sterling Downey wants to become a politician, he'd get my vote. He invited M. Tremblay to Under Pressure, and M. Tremblay took him up on the invitation. So yesterday they talked. Talking is good, don'tcha think?

Vancouver taking over the world


Currently here in Montreal, there are three exhibits that are being toured by Vancouver museums and galleries, now I find out that Rachel Harrison & Scott Lyall's show called When Hangover Becomes Form is at some place called Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Which because of this article in the LA Times made me think it was LACMA. So maybe I should just redo the headline to something like "Vancouver, moving south."

And people thought I was nasty!


Heck! At least I sign my name to everything I write. This article about this exhibit pulls no punches. Unfortunately, I don't quite understand why "Paul Clerkin, an Irish web developer" would go to Winnipeg in order to see the show, which leads me to think all sorts of conspiracy type of things about whomever really did see the show and write the article.

Nothing Canadian


I saw this article about this artist, and said to myself, 'wow! pretty gosh darn cool!'

More on how bad the CBC is


There's this article which attempts to show how "Marc Galipeau's paintings will be displayed at the prestigious Caroussel of the Louvre during a show this December." Except that the Caroussel of the Louvre is not prestigous, because it is a shopping mall. I wonder if TV5 calls an exhibition at the Galeries d'Anjou 'prestigious?"

[update 3:30 pm: I am guilty of a mistake as well, the Carousel du Louvre is not a shopping mall, it is in fact a convention center. And as far as I can tell, Marie-France-Lou Lemay wrote an article for La Voix de la Est that was completely correct, it got picked up by Presse Canadienne because it is a slow news day, which then got translated by Canadian Press (badly) which led to the CBC article embellished as only the CBC can do, and then broadcast nationally as part of the Arts Report.]

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"You will never get hecklers in Montreal."


Submitted without comment from this article.

Another waste of $20,300


I saw this press release annonoucing that the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre in Southampton, Ontario just scored $20,300 to "digitize its military collection and make it available online through a specially developed Web collections portal." On top of this waste of money (because the digitization can be done for about $20,000 less) they show how badly they understand digital culture when the press release states "(This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Media Room.)" If you go to www.canadianheritage.gc.ca they don't have any links to anything that even approaches 'Media Room."

There's no dancing, and it looks like everyone is illiterate in Hamilton

Mad Props to Sterling Downey


Mighty nice article in yesterday's Gazette about Mr. Downey's response to Marcel Tremblay's idea about banning spray paint sales to people under the age of 18.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Patience is a virtue


Now this looks like a grant that all art bloggers should apply for. Mark September 17th in your calendar ('cuz that's the day before the deadline). Unfortunately 100% Canadians aren't eligible, but I will entertain offers for marriage if anyone is interested in applying...

A week later Istvan Kantor gets some ink


Thank goodness for Linda Dawn Hammond, she writes a pretty colorful account of what went down at the AGO last Friday. Still nothing in the Globe & MAil.

Nazis, Indians, what's the diff?


Now this is news I like to read, according to the article Kansas University "has returned a sacred mask to a tribe in Ontario, Canada." I'd like to know the details, but so far no dice. Combine that with Wednesday's release by the Association of Art Museum Directors of their report on Sacred Objects and we can at least see some movement in a good direction. Now, I would like to know of all the aboriginal art in museums in Canada, how much of it has had its provenance checked?

Got Clay?


Someone wants a Potter.

25 € gets you 60.000 €


I'm never a big fan of competitions where you have to pay to enter. But this one looks sufficiently large that I'm willing to reserve judgement. On top of it, if you make it out of the first round Franz Ackermann, Barry Schwabsky, and Karen Wright all are guaranteed to at least have a glance at your work.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Go Edward Katz Go!

Wanna give Katherine Crum $350?


She organizing something called The Directors Forum. Basically it looks to me, like a bunch of medium sized museum administrators get to use their expense accounts to visit New York City, and call it work. Last I heard there weren't many medium sized museums who had all that much excess cash. Add in $200/night hotels, $100/day to eat, and we're talking a minimum of $1,250. All for the opportunity to listen to a woman who advertises for exhibits on the internet talk about increasing the size of an audience. (I've also just written to them asking what annual attendance has been for the past four years - if I get a response, I'll post it here). Personally I still think that this conference is the one to be at.

[update, 3:00 PM: I just heard from Amy Kleinert, SBRMA Marketing Manager that attendance is "Approx. 50,000 annually." So it doesn't sound like it is increasing, I wonder what they are going to talk about.]

Wanna work in Delaware?


Out of work? Wanna curate but can't find an organization? Try the University of Delaware! they're looking for something they call a Curator of Exhibits!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shirley Reiff Howarth is a nice person


Over a year ago I discovered that I missed a lecture in May, 2005, and then in looking around the website, I realized that Ms. Howarth knows her stuff.

A tale of two conferences


First off there's something called City Art Technology co-hosted by Champ Libre and Parachute magazine, it costs $75, and of the 13 speakers worthy of receiving a bio, 46% of them are locals. I'm not so certain I would agree with them that it was an international symposium, but whatever... Second off the Symposium on Contemporary Canadian Art. 50% of the speakers are from out of town, %50% are from other parts of Canada (notice how there is no 'international' in any part of the title) and it only costs $25.

Don't even get me started on the titles of the talks... the Champ Libre/Parachute one has something called The Sensitive City, but somehow they forgot that the CCA has been running, for a full year an exhibit called "Sense of the City" and it appears that no one from the CCA was invited. The MBAM on the other hand has a talk called "Moving into the 21st Century: Curating and Collecting Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada" and it will be given by Kitty Scott, Curator of Contemporary Art, The National Gallery of Canada.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006



I recently signed up to MuseumBlogs.org and discovered that this here blog is pretty gosh darn old in comparison to other museum blogs. I then went through the list ('cuz there are 60+ blogs listed) and some of them are 'museum related' and realized that there still aren't all that many blogs from real live museums with buildings, non-profit status, and art exhibitions. By my count, not even a dozen, including this one.
  1. American University Museum at the Katzen
  2. Museums Australia Education Group
  3. Victoria and Albert Museum
  4. Smithsonian American Art Museum
  5. Goldwell Open Air Museum
  6. Lauren Rogers Museum of Art
  7. Mendel Art Gallery
  8. National Museums Liverpool
  9. The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts/Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
  10. The Walker Art Center
Although my favorite of the 'related' has got to be this one.

Can you touch your toes?


Because you need to be flexible to apply for this job teaching art.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A question of priorities


I don't understand the Globe & Mail or Sarah Milroy. They are acting like TASS instead of a newspaper that used to be run by Canada's most whatever art collector. In today's Globe & Mail Ms. Milroy writes about an artist, who as she writes "discourages... the giving of explanations to the press." So, if the artist doesn't want any press or publicity, why is she not respecting Mr. Sehgal's wishes? Or does she think she's bigger and more important than any artist? Especially since on Thursday she and her newspaper have been deliberately spiking an art story [spiking for those not familiar with the newspaper business means not publishing a story]. And what I find even weirder, is that I just found out that one week before Istvan Kantor got down and dirty with the AGO the Globe & Mail published three articles (one and two and three) about his desire to donate blood to the reconstruction of the AGO. So it ain't like it's not newsworthy. Maybe they just never follow up on an article? Whatever, it just looks like sloppy, shoddy and irresponsible journalism from what used to be generally thought of as the best newspaper in Canada.

Looks like New Zealand Artists are going to be the next big thing


I read this reprint of a press release about something called the Walters Prize which sounds vaguely similar to the Sobey Prize, the Governor General's prize, the Pierre Ayot prize, or any number of ther prizes offered in art. But the thing that caught my eye were these lines: "She published the first monograph on the work of South African artist William Kentridge" and "the first monograph on Canadian artist Janet Cardiff." Or in other words it does appear that Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the judge for the Walters Prize (and the reason for the press release) could be called a king maker. I'll try to remember to check out who wins the prize.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sometimes good things come from bad things


I've mentioned before that I really like the idea of audio guides by cell phones, and how it is not expensive at all to set up. Well, according to this article in today's New York Times the Guggenheim Museum (an institution that I am not particularly fond of) is doing the exact opposite and leveraging extremely old school technology, something called conversation. They have trained their guides to be guards or their guards to be guides. Strangely enough it sounds pretty much like what I do here when people walk in the door. Cool!

Clint Burnham can write a good story


I'd never heard about Joe Average before I read the article about him written by Mr. Burnham, good thing, too. 'Cuz if I had merely seen the Joe Averaqe website I would not have given Mr. Average the time of day.

Interesting, but...


Interesting thing this Movement Movement, except for one small point. Last I heard the idea was to slow down, look at, and try to appreciate the art, not run right by it. And I wonder if they would apply for funding from the Dance division or the visual arts division of the Canada Council? More here as well.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Horay for bloging culture!


And specific and humongous props and shout outs to Ron Nurwisah, Boy Reporter at Torontoist. If he hadn't written this post about Istvan Kantor's latest feat, I never would have known about it. There are four English language newspapers that publish daily in Toronto, The Globe & Mail has nothing, The Toronto Star has nothing, The National Post has a 135 word space filler about it, which somehow fails to mention that Mr. Kantor won the Governor General's Award for Visual arts in 2004. It got reprinted in the Ottawa Citizen as well, still without mention of the Governor General's Award (and Paul Gessell should know better). And finally, as expected there is nothing in the Toronto Sun (although come to think of it, with blood and nudity it should have). So what exactly were Sarah Milroy, Gary Michael Dault, Peter Goddard, whoever replaced Julia Dault, or for that matter any of the numerous people who call themselves journalists who work at those fine publications doing before during and after Mr. Kantor's performance? Last I heard getting busted by the police pretty much was the classic definition of news. And while I'm at it, isn't there this cliche about newspapers 'if it bleeds, it leads?'

So is it political, and there is some unwritten rule that no one will write about Mr. Kantor's performance or do they all have their heads up their asses?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Stuff Seen - Pascal Grandmaison



Back in June I went to the Musee d'Art Contemporain to see Pascal Grandmaison's start turn. I wasn't impressed. It wasn't horrifically bad, nor was it mind boggling great. It was just sort of there. For the most part some fairly large, fairly plain pictures (does anyone know what a “light jet print” is?). The catalog has a bunch of pictures and some big words – I haven't read it yet, because I prefer to write what I think about the show before I contaminate my memory with someone else's thoughts.

Three videos, 18 pictures, all for the most part dealing with an edge. Unfortunately they aren't edgy, more like a statement of fact, you know those vaguely modernist or minimalist picture frames (Ikea RIBBA) that are designed just to make you glom onto the idea that the picture has finshed.

As with most of the museum exhibitions here in town, the sound reverberated much further from the piece (in this case videos) than I felt it should, I can't quite understand. A throbbing bass line emanating from that sorry ass excuse for a tricked out car which then causes all the parked cars' alarms to ring out is at least comprehensible when you see that the driver is some 18-year old begging for attention. I've already committed to paying attention when I walk in the freakin' museum, I don't need individual pieces screaming out at me when I am no longer in eyeshot.

For whatever reason let's start with his video Diamond. 8 minutes and 40 seconds designed to make the viewer go away faster than 8 minutes and 39 seconds. There are long black scenes – what are you supposed to do when there is nothing on the screen? You sorta wander off to see the next piece, right? Especially when the way it is presented is as something you're supposed to only glimpse while passing. If they (the artist, the curator, the museum, whoever) want you to watch the entire video, then the entry and exit from the place to see the video should have whatever you're supposed to sit on in between. If you make the path from the entry to the exit a straight line, and then present a video that has long stretches of nothing on the screen don't be surprised if people walk right by it. I wrote in my notes “Longest 8:40 I've ever seen.”

Furthering my idea that M. Grandmaison doesn't give two hoots about his audience or the people who go look at his work is that in the second video, called My Shadow, he makes a motion with his arm that is dangerously close to the Umbrella Gesture. Although I don't know how many people in his audience are Italian. On the positive side I got something written down that says “nice shirt.”

Then we get to the third video, called Air (although in reality there are a whole whack of pictures you gotta look at to get to the third video). As with all his videos, the background music or soundtrack is not done as well as it could be. I don't know if this is a museum technical problem (sorry we just don't have the equipment) or if this is an artist technical problem (I want this equipment, and will accept no substitutes). Most likely it is a little bit of both, but if you're going to add sound to an art video you should pay attention to how it is played back.

While everyone and everything says that in the video Air, it is M. Grandmaison's chest that is going up and down, it looks to me more like his arm. Whatever. Basically there's a bunch of sort of black (more like a hairy gray) stuff that moves up and down against a white background. The hairy gray never quite makes it all the way to the bottom and off the screen, nor does it ever make it to the top. What you follow as you watch is the edge between the hairy gray and the white. That edge can also be interpreted as a wall, you know one of those things that makes neighbors good? I'm certain that there is a specific reason why he stuck in the eye and face, but I can't figure out anyone that makes sense to me. I would've cut them out (or not filmed them) and called the whole sucker an endless loop.

Now what do you do with an artist who deliberately makes it real tough (or impossible) to approach the work they make? If you're 18 years old and alienated, and someone has said “it's cool” you soak it up like a sponge, wait 20 years and then tell everyone you know you were there then. I guess I'm going to have to go back and see M. Grandmaison's show once more to see if there are a disproportionate number of alienated 18 years olds spending inordinate amounts of time watching his videos. Somehow I don't think so.

Now that we got the videos out of the way (besides myself, how many other people do you think have watched all 28 minutes and 18 seconds of M. Grandmaison's videos?) we can go onto the pictures.

The Glass series of pictures (currently showing at the Musee des beaux arts, Marche Bonsecours, and Cafe Cherier as well as the MACM) furthers the idea that M. Grandmaison wants to distance and alienate his audience. Normally if you're taking a picture of someone, a portrait if you will, you do not put a barrier in between them and the camera. Even if that barrier is transparent, it still pushes the audience further away than they need to be. I'm not quite certain why M. Grandmaison wants to push his viewers away, but he sure as shootin' doesn't want them getting close.

In the Ouverture series he continues on this theme by photographing the back of everyone's head, and then futzing around with the contrast settings so that each of the pictures is a silouette on a gray-ish brown background. Once again that edge that puts up a barier so that the viewer cannot get anywhere near the image.

In the Manner and Upside Land series of pix, M. Gransmaison stops with the pictures of people, and goes for inanimate objects, specifically shoes and drum heads. I was going to try and concoct a story about the drum heads (the Manner series) where I would be able to prove by his choice of skins that M. Grandmaison had, earlier in his life been a drummer in a Loverboy tribute band. However, by the time I was halfway through the story, I realized I had made a mistake and in fact it was Chilliwack and not Loverboy who had performed the song “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” which would have tied together nicely as M. Grandmaison seems to be pushing everything away. No such luck.

Which leaves us with the sneakers... the less said the better.

PS: After the fact, I just finished reading the catalog. I'm confused as to why Reid Shier did not refer to a single piece that was in the exhibit. And I'm not altogether too happy to discover that under the title of "textes dans catalogues et livres' the catalog for this here show takes up three lines, because there are three different authors. I also don't quite understand how they could have missed him taking part in Sound + Vision at the Musee des Beaux Arts, and not included it in his CV, and finally I am also quite excited to be listed in forthcoming Pascal Grandmaison CVs since he decides to list this 574 word article by by Nicolas Mavrikakis in his CV (which in fact uses six words to deal with his work) and at last count, I was somewhere up around 1,200 words, all dealing with his art.

Wanna be a curator?


The Barbican in London, England is looking fo rBhire a new curator. $72,000/year at current exchange rates, not bad. Although what impressed me most about the job offer, was how it clearly laid out exactly what a curator of contemporary art does. For the most part, it is not that transparent.

Wanna write about art?


Julia Dault, the art critic for the National Post wrote her last column today. I imagine that despite my headline, that in fact they have already found someone to replace her. But you never can tell.

Canadian in LA


According to this post at art.blogging.la Paul Butler is having a grand ole time on the left-coast.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Canada Council is not doing its job


I just discovered that SweaterLodge is being sponsored by Aeroplan for more than $50,000. SweaterLodge is Canada's represientative to the 2006 Venice Biennale of Architecture. According to the press release "the sponsorship agreement is fundamental to the success of the Canadian exhibit, providing travel for the SweaterLodge design and installation team and shipping of the exhibit." Which then leads me to ask, why didn't Greg Bellerby, Commissioner of the Canadian Pavilion and Pechet and Robb Studio of Vancouver apply for a travel grant?

Are you available at 4:45 this afternoon?


You can learn about the art world from inside the belly of the beast. Sotheby's is holding a conference call to discuss the $72.4 million they made from April to June this year.

James Adams falls for it hook line and sinker


Yesterday, Mr. Adams wrote an article about the ongoing court battles between Andrew Federer, his siblings and the East Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice. In the article Mr. Adams writes '"It's not a terribly valuable painting," Federer observed, "so the deal probably was, 'Let's throw them a bone, give them that one back.' " (A Czech news agency placed its value in 2004 at $15,000.)' Unfortunately he forgets to do the math, 20 times $15,000 does become an awful lot of money. And then on top of it, Mr. Adams forgets to ask Mr. Federer what he wants to do with the 21 paintings he claims are his. My guess would be, since he is an 'investment banker,' that he wants to sell them. Personally I think having paintings in a museum, where they are and where they can be seen by the public is a really good idea. Ripping them out of a musem in order to sell them so that they can hang on someone's living room wall is not such a hot idea.

Congratulations Sheila Heti cool honor but...


Ms. Heti just got something that honours Toronto's cultural mavericks, I'm not entirely certain if she gets a medal, a plaque or anything other than being mentioned on the pretty website. What I do know, is that 'funding for "face the arts" has been provided by the City of Toronto, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and the Government of Canada through the Cultural Capital of Canada program. Toronto Life is a presenting sponsor of this program.' Which leads me to believe that there is something more than $10,000 going to the people who run the pretty website. I hope that Ms. Heti was able to score some of it.

Terry Graff meet Lawrence L. Reger


The Mendel Art Gallery and the Heritage Health Index probablt have a lot in common even if hurricanes don't make it to Saskatchewan all that often. For folk who want an easy explanation without having to click on the links, Mr. Graff is the director of the Mendel Art Gallery. Mr. Reger is president of the Heritage Preservation. Mr. Graff is trying to figure out ways to separate people from their money in order to preserve a fancy painting he is responsible for from cracking further. Mr. Reger runs an organization that explains how to separate people from their money in order to prevent paintings from cracking.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wanna job?


Get your CV's in order because the Power Plant is seeking a Curator. It's probably a nice enough job, but I wouldn't want to live in Toronto.

Where are the Riopelle Paintings?


I assume that they are still at the Hermitage, but as the Hermitage was robbed over the weekend, and the BBC only writes 'jewellery and precious enamels were amongst items stolen' and do not list the 200+ things that were stolen, I'm not 100% certain.

1,151!! The video statistics for the month of July


Well it seems to be working, if you haven't noticed, with the amazing help (ie the photography, the editing, the directing, and the putting up with me) of Scott Lutes, I have been able to post videos of things that have happened here at Zeke's Gallery, such as The Exchange Project, a film by Scott Lutes. They have been posted to a bunch of different places such as Google Video, iFilm, Ourmedia.org, Blip.tv, MySpace, and YouTube.

If you are at all interested, according to these various websites, the six videos that have been posted have beeen viewed a total of 1,151 times! For an average of 165 views of each one. Not bad for some fairly esoteric material, if I can say so myself. The breakdown is below:
  1. The Missive, a film by Jarred Coxford - viewed 358 times
  2. GorePuter Live at Zeke's Gallery - 195
  3. Michael V. Smith reading at Zeke's Gallery - 178
  4. Jennica Harper reading at Zeke's Gallery - 149
  5. Tricia McDaid, A Heart Full of Buckshot, the interviews - 118
  6. Elizabeth Bachinsky reading at Zeke's Gallery - 112
  7. Nancy Nisbet's Exchange Project a film by Scott Lutes - 41 (in three days, looks like we have another winner)
Thanks to everyone who has seen them already, and by all means, please tell anyone you think might be interested that they should watch them too!