Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rounding up Arts News: A Highbrow Herding of Canadian Cats

I think it's been a couple weeks since my last news roundup, so here goes:

Re: Venice The Post's Shinan Govani, as usual, gives great gossip, this time on Canadians in Venice. Most cogent observation: "Like in so many instances, when [we Canadians are] harder on ourselves than outsiders are, I found others in thrall of both [Mark] Lewis and us." The Star's Peter Goddard also dishes Venice gossip, as in the Canadian delegation's luggage going missing and the planned party for the Rialto fish market being nixed by Venice officials at the last minute. (I have to say I was less impressed by Goddard's statement in a later article that "Feminists will likely be cheered by a Biennale "special mention" going to the late Brazilian artist Lygia Pape, whose lengthy, beam-like structures tilting up from a darkened floor in a pitch black room suggest spotlights displayed over top of a city." Right... because only feminists would care for Pape's work or something? It reminds me of when I saw him do a public chat with Judy Chicago and he implied that only lesbians would care for feminist work. What-ever.) Goddard's colleague Murray Whyte did a better job on Reverse Pedagogy, a hipster-party-riffic Canuck-canoe art project in Venice. My sorta-boss Richard Rhodes also did an interesting report on the Punta della Dogana for The pictures I helped put up there are society-y but fun too, I think. And one Venice aspect that was way underreported: three smaller Canuck art mags, C Magazine, Fuse and Hunter & Cook, teamed up to do a launch in Venice—a first, or the first in a long time, for all three. Good on ya.

Re: Luminato Though hopes were high for Tony Oursler's work for Luminato, it seems to have been a bust both technically and aesthetically, at least according to the Globe's Sarah Milroy and Torontoist's Amanda HappĂ©. Milroy also points out in a separate review that she admired Luminato art by David Rokeby but not that by Germaine Koh. It seems Sarah Lazarovic's Tweets-as-handpainted-art, a one-day show, got a better reception as evinced by shout-outs from Murray Whyte and the Post's Adam McDowell. Kurt Perschke's RedBall project seemed to have a warm reception, as indicated by this Spacing post. In fact, it seems that low-tech was the better way to go for Luminato art installations, as the Globe's James Bradshaw rounded up a few projects nixed at the last minute due to technical concerns. (Artist/curator/critic Sally McKay also expressed annoyance with the fest's aggressive social media schmoozing.) The Post's Ampersand blog has being doing daily updates on the fest and has helpful recommendations for enjoying its final day today. My verdict: Luminato is getting better at vis-arts programming than in its past couple of years—but still no cigar, given the cancellation of so many projects at the last minute. Proper curatorial planning would have prevented these snafus.

Re: Koffler controversy Murray Whyte rounds up the artist-rebellion fallout surrounding the Koffler's abrupt termination of its Reena Katz project. Torontoist's Jonathan Goldsbie also wonders about the situation from a perspective of Jewish identity and community politics.

Re: Video revelations Twitter has proved a great source of nice art-related video links of late. Toronto gallerist and DJ @Vaneska pointed me in the fun direction of Artstars TV, a project by TO writer Nadja Sayej and TO artist Jeremy Bailey that documents the cattier side of Toronto artworld events. Hogtown media critic Marc Weisblott (@scroll) pointed out, a forum for curating online video which counts Sheila Heti and Mary Gaitskill amongst its contributors. The site is the brainchild of writer Erik Rutherford. On Facebook,'s Heinrich Schmidt also led me to an interesting video interview with Pharrell Williams regarding his$2-mil Takashi Murakami collaboration in Basel.

Re: Miscellaneous Somehow, even though it ditched its most art-centric director in less than a year, the Glenbow scooped "Best of Calgary's" art gallery category. Vancouver artist David Wisdom teamed up with old pals like Rodney Graham for a new exhibition. Critic Amy Fung continues to argue that a lot is wrong with Edmonton's art scene. Maritime-associated artists including Emily Vey Duke discussed environmental issues in art with The Coast. Coast critic Sue Carter Flinn also previewed the bathhouse art show there. TO Blogger Jennifer McMackon/Simpleposie, who tirelessly follows parliamentary and political debates of cultural import, promises a paper version s0on. BlogTO shows that Worn Fashion Journal's museum show and funder auction of pimped out Keds looked pretty damn great. And how the hell did I not read this article on NY artist Swoon and her rafts sooner? (Not Canadian but definitely a competitor to Reverse Pedagogy's canoes, as was the Russian art sub.)

Ok, that's all I got! Now to the sun and a few galleries.

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