Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reviews: Jens Haaning's Sunshine Girls, Adam Harrison's Digital Romantics, Thaddeus Holownia's Good-Lookin Book

For my at the At the Galleries column in today's National Post, I visited three exhibitions that seemed to depend a lot on context. (What aren't art doesn't, of course... but with these three—Jens Haaning at Guelph Goodwater, Adam Harrison at Clark & Faria, and Thaddeus Holownia at Corkin Gallery) the factor seemed extra-present. An excerpt:

1. Jens Haaning at Guelph Goodwater
234 Queen St. E.
Copenhagen artist Jens Haaning often presents texts, such as highway signs, that are foreign to the country they're exhibited in. Here, his 33 Page 9 Girls continues the practice, albeit with a (rather distracting) twist: The texts are pinup-girl interviews from a Copenhagen newspaper [Ekstra Bladet], and yes, pictures accompany. One of the most fascinating things about this show -- nudity-friendliness of European journalism aside -- is the range of ways these women present themselves. Asked what their best feature is, answers range from "my ass, of course!" to "my brainy head." Some go full monty, while others are relatively demure. Overall, this feels like an anthropological document of Western womanhood -- a realm that has many possibilities, but many prescribed limits, too. Though some of these women work in auto-body shops, and others plan careers as teachers, the fact is that each receives media attention because of her relatively nubile body and her willingness to bare it. While that reality is reflected in local "Sunshine girls," geographic distance and a gallery setting prompt viewers to consider that, er, truth with more seriousness than they might usually. To May 22.

Image of Copenhagen newspaper Ekstra Bladet from

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