Thursday, February 10, 2011

Art Criticism + City Worries = This Week's At the Galleries Column!

As with many phenomena in my life, I tend to be a big second-guesser when it comes to decisions of what to cover in art reviews, and when. In Toronto, Luis Jacob's MOCCA show--which I listed among my local and national shows to see in the Post earlier this year--just opened last week. So when I was considering what to write about for this week's At the Galleries column in the Post, it seemed like a no brainer.

Yet... yet... I couldn't get a few shows at Harbourfront off my mind, partly because they have to do with our city, and the city budget/administration process seems to be in quite a heated place right now.

Anyway, yes, I went with reviewing the Harbourfront shows, as is evident over at Posted Toronto. An excerpt:

Plotting a City at Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W., to April 3
This small vitrine show has a big premise: to consider the task of understanding a city the size of Toronto, which clocks in at 641 square kilometers, 100-plus neighbourhoods and 2.5 million people. Most of the eight exhibitors — some of whom are my friends and colleagues — use mapping as a strategy. This includes usual urban-activism suspects like [murmur] and former @rebelmayor Shawn Micallef, who here collects some of his poetic location-specific tweets about Toronto. But there’s also some unexpected angles, such as Howard Podeswa’s rough little paintings of rooftop ducts and Sandra Rechico’s neat ball of red thread that, unfurled, spans 7.8 kilometres — the distance from Rechico’s house to the gallery, as travelled on her own red bicycle. Photographer Peter MacCallum, who’s been documenting Hogtown architecture for several years, will trigger nostalgia for many with his four prints of recently destroyed Yonge Street buildings. None of these approaches, curator Pat Macaulay admits, provides anything close to a complete picture of the city. And there’s a palpable lack of non-downtown perspectives. Nonetheless, Plotting a City offers some eloquent opportunities to quickly glimpse our town through different eyes.

You can read the rest here. (Actually, please do, there's an absolute must see in the mix.) These reviews will also appear in print in the Post's Toronto section this Saturday.

I will file the Luis Jacob review next, though, I think. (The column runs every two weeks, so that'll be end of February.) Definitely worth discussing.

(Image of Peter MacCallum's Yonge Street Losses, 2007-2010, 335 Yonge Street at Gould, 2009 from Harbourfront Centre)

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