Seems like a number of the Hogtown colleagues I talk to these days are intrigued by an upcoming symposium that promises not only (a) Matthew Teitelbaum's first public appearance since the disclosure about his $1-million yearly pay (and related "King Glut" Sun cover) but also (b) simultaneous appearances by key stakeholders from Toronto's major art institutions, the AGO, the Power Plant and the Mocca, as well as the AGYU and the Barnicke--and not for a party! Nay, for panels!
I have to say I'm intrigued as well, as a number of the presenters have quite a history in the Toronto and Canadian art scene. (Peggy Gale seems a semi-legendary figure, for instance.)
Part of me, I'll admit--you know, that petty side--is interested mainly in what conflicts or historical psychodrama might flare up. But another part is truly wondering about what folks want to say on this whole biennial issue. The lack of a Toronto biennial personally doesn't keep me up at night; I really just wish existing institutions would, um, y'know, maybe organize, program and market themselves better overall. Still, it's an idea that does serve as an emotional departure point for some (see this Murray Whyte piece, for instance) so why not?
One thing that seems a bit strange to me, however, is the lack of representation from historical artist-run centres on the panels as presently listed on the Power Plant site, and reproduced below. I respect the innovative and relatively recent contributions of Toronto Free Gallery (and am doubly appreciative of same, having shown there back in my artmaking days), but it seems a bit strange to me that there's no other ARCs listed. Maybe this will change?
In any case, some details of the event, cribbed from the Power Plant site, are below. Maybe I'll see ya'll there? (UPDATE On Friday, April 9, the Power Plant sent out a revised and expanded list of panellists that includes more dealers, educators and independents - it can be found at http://www.thepowerplant.org/panels.html.)
FORUM - FROM THE GROUND UP
A biennial platform for international contemporary art in Toronto
Saturday, 17 April | 10:30 AM–5 PM, followed by a reception
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen Street West
There has been much talk about the idea of a Toronto biennial or triennial in recent years, particularly as these events have proliferated both in Canada and around the globe. Presented by The Power Plant and MOCCA, this symposium is intended to focus the discussion and to reflect on why and how Toronto might host such an international platform for contemporary art practice and discourse.
We intend to address such questions as: Given the plethora of large scale contemporary art exhibitions across the world, why would such an event be relevant in Toronto? What would define such a project and how could it make a critical contribution? What would its relationship be to the art community as well as to the art market? How would such an exhibition address local, national and global concerns? Who would fund, curate, participate in, and attend such an event? And why should it happen in Toronto? What distinctive qualities could the city offer to the international art world?
10:30 AM David Liss, Artistic Director/Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
10:35-11:00 AM Gregory Burke, Director of The Power Plant
11:00 AM-12:30 PM Histories and Opportunities
Moderated by Peggy Gale, Critic and Curator
Barbara Fischer, Executive Director/Chief Curator of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto
Philip Monk, Director/ Curator of the Art Gallery at York University
12:30-1:30 PM Lunch Break
1:30-3:00 PM Propositions
Heather Haynes, Founder and Executive Director of the Toronto Free Gallery
Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, Founders of DisplayCult curatorial collaborative and Associate Professors at the Ontario College of Art and Design and York University respectively
3:00-4:00 PM Open Forum
Moderated by Helena Reckitt, Senior Curator of Programs, The Power Plant
4:00-4:45 PM Where Do We Go from Here?
Moderated by Peggy Gale
Gregory Burke, Director of The Power Plant
David Liss, Artistic Director/Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
Matthew Teitelbaum, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario
UPDATE On Friday, April 9, the Power Plant sent out a revised and expanded list of panellists that includes more dealers, educators and independents - it can be found at http://www.thepowerplant.org/panels.html.
Image from Ragtimepiano.ca