Thursday, July 22, 2010

Architectural Aspirations and Municipal Letdowns: Empire of Dreams Review out Today in NOW

In my last post, I talked about how Adaptation at the Power Plant is getting enough reviews in Toronto media and elsewhere to achieve the statistical critical mass required for a Rotten Tomatoes-style aggregate rating. Also potentially harvesting enough reviews for an actual Tomatometer stat this summer is Empire of Dreams at MOCCA. (Eye, the Globe, Akimbo and Art Fag City are just a few of the reviews that come to mind so far.) My review gets thrown into the mix too, as it's published today in NOW. An excerpt:

Empire’s best artworks play off the architecture of the museum itself. These lend physical immediacy and real-life cred to the show’s jargon-bleary tag line, “Phenomenology of the built environment.”

For instance, Dan Bergeron’s terrific trompe l’oeil storefronts on MOCCA’s exterior demonstrate how streetscape facades communicate power, hope or despair. (They work a lot better in this public context than in the indoor Lisgar show of a few years back, where the effect was more hipster Disneyland.)

Inside, on the gallery walls, Josh Thorpe sands through several years of paint layers, creating appealing abstractions from the space’s history. Jade Rude and Bruno Billio’s sculptures go from floor to ceiling, sometimes held in place by same. They make overlooked volumes of “empty” space feel very concrete.

Later on, I also talk about the disappointments of the show. You can read the complete review here.

Image of Dan Bergeron's Defunct Front from NOW (photo by the artist)

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