Monday, October 26, 2009

Bought: Art!

Seeing as how the Toronto International Art Fair, which wrapped today, put the focus on the purchasing of art, I thought I'd use this opportunity to review my most recent art-collection addition: a ceramic bird-form from Creative Works Studio, seen above. It ran me into the mid-single digits, and I absolutely love it, for some unknown and mystical art reason. I partially blame the Harold Klunder paintings I reviewed earlier in the month, which I think attuned me to a similar colour palette. It's that, or, you know, my childhood or psychic compost or something.

In any case, I bought this work at the Creative Works Studio booth at the Queen West Art Crawl this summer. My friend Marlena Zuber, a talented illustrator and artist, works in a support capacity at the studio, which "offers healing and recovery through the creative arts" and "provides an oasis from the daily rigors and challenges of life for people living with a mental illness."

CWS is a pretty great place and I swear that every time I drop by there, I see something I want to own. Though I usually have to stick with the small stuff.

In other art-purchasing news, the Art Gallery of Ontario bought three works at TIAF:
Suzy Lake's Are You Talking to Me? 1979 from Paul Petro Gallery
Cal Lane's Love Rug 2008 from Art Mur
Elizabeth McIntosh's Untitled (Sale Flags and Crowns) 2008 from Diaz Contemporary

I am really glad to see the AGO purchasing these strong works by Canadian artists who, er, happen to be women. I think they are all pretty solid. If I had more cash money, I might have bought them too.

In terms of other sales figures for the fair, I'm not really sure what the situation is. (I think I may have to go to a few more fairs before I have the sales radar--saydar?--that those hardnosed international art-market reporters have.)

I do know that overall the best TIAF elements from my perspective (as I tweeted earlier on the weekend) were the Next Dealers section (which seemed to bend the rules a bit on "up and coming" criteria this year), the Castor Design lounge, which was made of bubble wrap and resulted in hours of delightfully obsessional popping activity, and the AGYU booth featuring the Buy-Sellf Collective. A lot of the rest of the fair was so-so.

Most disappointing/sad was TIAF's Heartland exhibition, which was supposed to feature Canadian art through the ages (and maybe make up for a lack of Western/regional dealers?). It was quite disappointing--a lot of the works were super, but the installation really bit the dust, a fact highlighted by the appearance of my mega pet peeve, horribly crafted and installed exhibition labels! A higher quality of installation and wall texts is really needed if this kind of thing is to be undertaken again. Kind of shameful, really.


Alison said...

When I saw the labels for the Heartland exhibition I immediately thought of you! Really, there is NO excuse to put such shoddy labels next to good artwork. Looked like the person didn't know how to cut a rectangle either. Or did you like the pencil scrawl marks as a label too.
It completely rubbed me the wrong way and definitely did not make a good first impression as it was directly across from the exhibit escalator entrance.
I wonder if details like this are why we are so often ignored on the world stage. AWFUL!

Leah Sandals said...

Thanks for your comment, Alison! I'm glad/sad to know I'm not the only one who was put off by this.

Internationally speaking, I think there's a lot of factors at hand--Canada is just pretty small fry market-wise and population-wise to be considered heavily in the international game.

But amateurish installations like this sure don't help our cause, I certainly agree!

Misty-Dawn. said...

Am I mistaken, or wasn't Jeffrey Spaulding the curator of that little ditty? It takes 5 minutes to print proper labels. I agree; it was embarrassing to even look at.

Leah Sandals said...

Hi Misty-Dawn,

Yes, Jeff Spalding was the curator -- while I expect his heart was in the right place, the show really, as you noted, didn't follow through. Would love to find out what the behind the scenes was on that.