Friday, June 25, 2010

Athletic Art: Q&A on Mixed Signals at the Art Gallery of Calgary

Athletics and art haven't always been the best of friends--after all, there's a reason Bad at Sports seems such an apropos name for an art blog and podcast. But Mixed Signals is trying to bridge the gap. It's a touring exhibition organized by Independent Curators International that's currently got its sole Canadian stop at the Art Gallery of Calgary. Today, the National Post published my Q&A on the show with AGC curator Molly Steeves. An excerpt:

Q There are also a lot of Collier Schorr's rodeo photos in this show, which evoke the upcoming Calgary Stampede. Does the broader theme of athletes and machismo have a special connection to Calgary?

A I think Calgary has a very masculine spirit, a very Western spirit--we take pride in doing business deals with a handshake, for example. I think this exhibition will be very interesting to host during Stampede, when a lot of tourists are downtown and every-one's urban cowboy comes out. In the past, we've done shows on the commercialization of the rodeo and ideas about cowboys, but I think it's also pertinent to Calgary to examine general stereotypes of masculinity. Also, I think Calgary might struggle sometimes with contemporary art. We don't have a collecting facility at our gallery, but we can bring in great shows like this one that provoke conversation.

For the record, I ask these kinds of questions because I spent most of my life in Calgary, and I think it's an awesome town. I miss it. Other stuff there that's upcoming that I would love to see there are the Sled Island Festival and the related IKG exhibition With Nothing You Starve; With a Little, You Survive. It features work by a couple of young artists who have, inverting the difficult institutional legacies of Calgary, turned their rented house into the Contemporary Art Museum. Fun stuff!

(Image of Paul Pfeiffer's John 3:16 from ICI)

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