Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please Don't Stop the (Montreal Museum) Music

How delighted was I this week when I found out Toronto's favourite anonymous art critic, the Artfag, had posted his latest online "cahier of criticism and witticism"? The answer is very.

Sadly, however, at least for me, Hogtown's hypercritical homosexual directed his sights in this edition mainly to the much-vaunted Quebec Triennial. Basically, I didn't get to see the show myself, so I'm missing out on some of the sarcastic fun. Still, this show won very rave reviews so it's fresh to see something a little less adulatory—even if the show does stand as quite an accomplishment. After all, as has been recorded here, the Triennial's creator, MACM head Marc Mayer, can be quite critically pointed himself. It's good to see someone dish right on back.

Now that the Triennial has ended, however, I'm struck by the upcoming slew of fall viz-arts shows in Montreal that have to do with music. These include Warhol Live opening September 25 at the Musee des beaux arts de Montreal, Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll since 1967 opening October 9 at the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal, and Replay: Christian Marclay opening November 30 at the DHC-ART Foundation.

Has the whole town gone Arcade-Fire-model-of-success crazy? Should the major galleries rebrand themselves with the word "Wolf" somewhere in their name, as has been taken up by Montreal bands AIDS Wolf, Wolf Parade, and We Are Wolves? (Granted, the Wolf Montreal AIDS Art Parade Museum does have a certain ring to it...)

Or are these galleries simply recognizing that, in many ways, music is a more powerful, popular form than visual art will ever be?

I've been thinking about this issue lately for various reasons, and I can trace those thoughts back, surprisingly, to a documentary on Spencer Tunick that I saw some years ago. Though, like many folks, naked or otherwise, I'm less impressed by Tunick than I used to be, I remember the documentarian asking him which art form he thought was the most powerful. And Tunick said, quite sensibly, that the most powerful art form was music, simply because it was the most immediate, the most enjoyable and the easiest to distribute. Or something like that.

In general riffage on these thoughts, I'm closing this post with two things I've wanted to yoke together for a while: a video from Montreal-originated band Chromeo, and some paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Kadar Brock:






Here's another pairing of same; I think of these pairings as equivalents, though this one's a little more of a stretch:





Dang enjoyable regardless!