Monday, March 1, 2010

Upcoming: Sandals-riffic talk at the Artist Project, March 7

Last year around this time I visited to the Artist Project, an newish art fair in Toronto. There wasn't a lot that impressed me on that outing, though I did list a few highlights here on the blog. Overall, I found the offerings were quite uneven.

This weekend, as the project recurs, I'm again not sure what to expect. This fair is a bit of a strange bird for organizer MMPI—it seems like they're trying to find some hybrid between its home-designy-and-wide-appeal-oriented One of a Kind Show and its cognoscenti-laden and fine-arty Armory Show (which actually runs on the same weekend in New York).

Nonetheless, I will be going to see the show, and even talk at it a little bit about different ways of valuing art—personal, emotional, social, and financial, among other takes. My "Art Chat" will take place from 1 to 2pm on Sunday, March 7, at the fair, which is in the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place. The talk is free with fair admission, which is $12 at the door, $10 if you buy online, including free readmission all weekend. For more details visit

Image of a work by one of my Artist Project/One of a Kind Show faves, Wendy Walgate, from


planforamiracle said...

Thanks for the heads-up! I'll be sure to make it; sounds like an interesting counterpoint to last week's critics panel at the Drake.

on that note... I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on how the panel played out!


Leah Sandals said...

Hi Elena,

Thanks for your comment.

I really enjoyed the panel at the Drake. I spend a lot of my time in relative isolation, dealing with objects and keyboards more so than people. So I have to say I really welcome opportunities like this, particularly when the audience is so engaged.

I'd also never seen RM Vaughan give something talky, so I was pretty excited about that.

I think I might have been happier if we had timed each person's offerings more evenly, but I also wish it had been just as it was because that allowed for some interesting wanderings along the way.

I think Andrea has posted a few comments and assessments on her blog, VoCA, where others have responded:

If I think of anything else, I'll let you know. Oh! Maybe I wish I had considered my choices of work more deeply. But that's life, I guess.

What did you think?

planforamiracle said...

After the panel I felt really gripey about the dominance of "big personalities" as Andrea put it (thanks for the link!)

In the days following I was able to form a more considered opinion (good to have our views challenged, to be exposed to the views of others, etc) but I stand by my original frustration with the lack of balance— something I feel could have been remedied by more active moderation.

I've had this feeling about other panels at the Drake (Curation panel in May with Sophie Hackett, David Liss, Maia Sutnick) and it's not too surprising— in a public forum it's very easy for a discussion to become derailed by a handful of peoples' focusing on their own areas of interest and expertise.

this creates a difficult cycle, because others are often intimidated to comment on something they are not well versed in— I would have liked to chime into the discussion at times, but since we spent most of the time talking about gender-related art practices, which I don't know much about and thus don't feel like I should speak about...

anyway, I should stop whining because these kind of panels get better with practice, and I'm certainly glad they exist and that I can attend them. Kudos to the Drake and Mia for offering this forum, and kudos to you, Andrea, and RM for keeping it breathing.

Leah Sandals said...

Hey Elena,

Thanks for elaborating.

I have to say I understand your disappointment and I think it's valid. I also appreciate you expressing it.

(We're critiquing stuff all the time as critics, need to expect people will fairly criticize events we're involved with as well! And your comments are certainly fair.)

I think in general it's hard to find good panel and group moderators, whether in the art realm or elsewhere. Is there any panel or event you have been to that you think handled these things well? Like, a model you'd like to see emulated?

I'm asking sincerely because part of me tends to chalk up these types of failures/disappointments to the kind of thing you alluded to -- "well, at least the event is happening" or "hopefully over the long term (eg. several events) some interesting material will come out" or "better than nothing".

But it would be good to know how to improve events in future. Maybe part of it is people are looking for different types of events -- some are looking for a chance to participate, while others are hoping for more of a conveyance of expertise.

Dunno... glad you raised these issues, though!

planforamiracle said...

I can't think of a specific time when I witnessed a moderated discussion run especially smoothly, all i can think of are the following 3 possible remedies:

1- more intervention, or at least an initial structure, laid out by the moderator— how much time will be spent on each segment.
I actually have emailed Mia with this constructive criticism; I'm not disparaging what she does, only offering my opinion.

2- a timer would help with the above; we used one in my thesis crits when we had two days to get through a full class of about 50 bodies of work..

3- some kind of reminder to all those in attendance at the beginning, about good participation practices?! maybe a little on the condescending side.. just a thought.

Leah Sandals said...

Hi Elena,

Those are all good suggestions... I'll try to remember for other events I'm involved with as well.