Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cool School: Feature on Art School (Dismissed) Now Up at

"We don't need no edjumacation!" That's the way I feel a lot of the time if I'm surly. The other lot of the time—well, a lot of a lot of the time—I tend to hold education and all its trappings (classrooms, teachers, notebooks, text, etc.) pretty close to my heart.

Sooooo. My teacher's pet self was excited about the opportunity to explore Art School (Dismissed), a three-day, 52-project exhibition that happened in a long-closed public school this past spring. The result is a cover story for the Winter 2010/11 edition of Canadian Art, which focuses on the theme of artists who teach.

The article looks pretty nice in print given all the snazzy images by photographer Christopher Wahl. But you can also read the full text online at in a slightly less snazzy format. An excerpt:

It’s a perfect spring Sunday in Toronto—17 degrees, with sunshine and a mild breeze. Trinity Bellwoods Park, Queen West’s de facto backyard, is full of playground-clambering youngsters, pasty-skinned picnickers and Bugaboo-pushing couples. Clearly, it’s a day for outdoor R and R—a time to forget the salt and slush of winter, and to anticipate the lazier, hazier days of summer to come.

But just a few blocks away, people are lining up to get into—of all things—a school. Granted, it’s a looker: a stately, three-storey, red-brick-and-sandstone behemoth, with expanses of gently rippled vintage glass windows. But it seems faint competition for a little déjeuner sur l’herbe.

Why are so many people—kids and adults—eager to go to school on a day like this? It could be the paper airplanes flying out of a second-storey window, launched by smiling, fold-happy hordes. It could be the eerie tones emanating from a basement bathroom, where a soprano’s song sends light beams twisting. It could be the topsy-turvy classroom where horizontal lines spill from a blackboard, ricocheting in a thousand directions. Or it could be any number of other lovely surprises—a sick-room cupboard lined with primary-coloured crayon drawings, or (on the other end of the sensory spectrum) a small, Gollum-like figure frozen mid-step in a janitorial closet.

The answer is all of the above, but most of all it comes back to the person who has brought these wonders together: a wiry, brown-eyed woman with silver-streaked hair—clad for the moment in headmistress gear—who campily addresses a crowd in the school’s grand, 15-foot-high foyer. She’s the curator and producer of “Art School (Dismissed),” an exhibition of 52 projects that have taken over this long-closed public school for three days—and she’s got a few lessons for exhibition-makers across Canada.

You can read the rest here.

You can also view six extra pics here.

I feel bad about a lot of great stuff that couldn't make it into the article. Hopefully I can post a bit more on that in the weeks to come.

Image of the winter cover of Canadian Art featuring Art School (Dismissed) installations by Monica Tap and Gordon Hicks from Photo: Christopher Wahl


shannongerard said...

ooh, can't wait to see this leah! this topic is on my mind so frequently. i looooved the gordon hicks piece and his amazing artist's statement. that was my favourite part of the whole show.

Leah Sandals said...

Hey Shannon!

Cool! Chris' pics are really nice. There's also a few updated on the art school dismissed official website:

Click on "images"

I also loved Lyla Rye's piece. That's the one with the chalkboard lines spilling over into the rest of the room. I see she has install shots up now on her site: