Lately, I've been wondering what happened to the Toronto biennial report that was due to be released months ago by the MOCCA and the Power Plant.
The report was due to be released on the heels of the biennial-themed symposium that MOCCA and the Power Plant sponsored way back on April 17. In a MOCCA press release dated April 27, these same institutions promised to make the report—a summary of the day penned in large part by critic/panel moderator Peggy Gale—available by the end of May.
Yet there's no sign of the report six months later. Nor any sign of the video footage of the daylong event that they had also promised to put online. At least (isn't this always the caveat with Unedit My Heart?) as far as I can tell.
I have inquired repeatedly with the press people at these institutions, who have politely said "we'll tell you when the report is available" and I asked Gale herself in October, when she told me she had filed her part of the report some time ago.
I have also asked the institutions' press folk what the status is of a potential Toronto biennial event. Many I've spoken with in the wider art community believe the biennial to now be a "done deal," with the "community panel" in April, as well as any promises of further dialogue or reports, simply window dressing. But the institutions, as far as I can tell, are still mega-mum on this point.
The result is a bit of a disappointment for those who want to have some faith in our publicly funded art institutions. I know planning takes time, and institutions have their reasons for embargoing upcoming show information. And I have enjoyed a lot of the shows at these institutions, and respect a lot of the curatorial work that happens there.
But when you promise to make a summary report—basically meeting minutes—available online after a day where the community has come out in good faith, it's really nice to see that followed through. Same goes for the video footage. This isn't rocket science. And the longer these institutions delay posting the report, the harder it is to tell whether the cause is incompetence, subterfuge, disregard/contempt for audiences or some combination of all of the above.
So--Murphy's Law being what it is--I have a sneaking suspicion that I will publish this post and then immediately will receive a press release to the effect that the report is now online. A collary to this is that tomorrow I will look through the paper and someone will have published a big scoop on "Toronto biennial 2011." But this roadblock to information has persisted for so long, hey, I'm willing to play the fool to point it out.
If you are wondering what happened at the panel in the first place, feel free to consult my (noncomprehensive) take from earlier in the year as well as that of Richard Rhodes.
For some opinionated background on the much-tortured issue of whether a Toronto biennial is in order, also check out Murray Whyte's piece on the subject from last year.
Also of interest: Terence Dick reflects the views of many when he writes that the biennial is a foregone conclusion.
Anyone with questions, insides or psychic hunches on the matter, feel free to comment.
Image from Ragtimepiano.ca
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Posted by Leah Sandals at 10:20 PM