Monday, March 9, 2009

Nuit Blanche 2009 Curators Announced for TO; Nocturne Date up for HFX

Well, the days are finally getting longer north of the 49th but it seems art curators in Canada are focusing in on the night.

Today, Nuit Blanche Toronto announced the curators for its fourth incarnation taking place October 3 from 7pm to 7am.

One of the biggest surprises about the announcement was the revelation that a Vancouver curator, Makiko Hara, will be curating the Liberty Village area (Zone C). Though there have been some travelling curators involved in the past (like last year's Calgary-based Wayne Baerwaldt), Hara is the farthest-flung to date, and has had few Toronto projects in the past. She's planning on showing Columbian sound artist Oswaldo Macia, Toronto's Maria Legault, Japanese artist Kyohei Sakaguchi and others to be announced. Centre A, where Hara works in Vancouver, does a lot of strong programming, which I'd say makes me excited about what she could do here. Her experience with the International Triennale of Contemporary Art in Yokohama ain't nothin to sniff at either.

Also interesting to my eyes is the selection of Toronto artist/curator Thom Sokoloski as co-curator of the Yonge-Dundas area (Zone A). Sokoloski had a hit in the first Nuit Blanche with a series of illuminated tents in a local park. The tents were later installed on New York's Roosevelt Island, and was covered in the NYT here. Sokoloski says he will be featuring works by New York's Shaun El C. Leonardo, Canadian sound artist Gord Monahan and Austrian light artist Erwin Redl.

Also curating Zone A is Gregory Elgstrand, who left YYZ Artists' Outlet last year for a more freelance-style curatorial career. Elgstrand is one of several artists and curators who formed Department of Culture, a protest group after government arts cuts last year. He also says he is trying to get a project together with Paul Butler for Venice 2009. Elgstrand's current picks for around City Hall will feature work by Toronto artist Anitra Hamilton (always worth a gander) and dance by Susie Burpee.

Finally, art/life duo Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher are taking on the Bay Street finance district (Zone B) with works from Fastwurms, Rebecca Belmore, and Iain Baxter& and others TBA. I really look forward to what Fastwurms do... hoping for a witchy performance of some kind, that would be great. Belmore made a stunning ice sculpture for the first Nuit Blanche in 2006, so I'll also be interested to see what she does here.

On an overall note, Nuit Blanche is not coinciding with the Toronto International Art Fair this year, which is bad news for the tourist trade but good news for last year's exhausted gallerists and local press.

Further east (in an area we can call "Zone M" for Maritimes?) Nocturne, a Halifax version of the Nuit Blanche event, has announced the date for its second-ever fest: October 17. No word on programming yet, but we'll keep an ear out.

No comments: