Tag Archives: contemporary art

© BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

A dissenting opinion about selling Detroit’s public art collection

My initial gut feeling and my enduring general position is that the City of Detroit should sell off its art collection.

Strictly speaking, what the City of Detroit decides to do with its public art collection is none of my business as I’m Canadian. However, the phenomenon of large and valuable public art collections is universal across much of the world. As such there are some common characteristics that I do feel comfortable commenting on.

The problem with large valuable art collections is that they are tombs for the collected works. You the public will ever only see the very tip of the iceberg, even if you attend every exhibit at one of these large institutions during your entire life. A public art institution buying your work is most likely a death sentence for that work, but a nice addition to your pedigree. The worth through this relationship is thus largely removed from reality — conceptual and abstract for the artist and the public. To me, this is the same kind of instability produced through the financial system on perceived worth of bonds, stocks and futures. At some point, for the institution, the physical cost of housing, maintaining and documenting a large amount of work increased the value of a few works and the others depreciate because no one has ever heard of these artists or seen their work.

What selling this collection would do is allow most of this work to see the light of day again. This work could be disseminated across the world, allowing people to see it who would never have been able to see it otherwise. This is great news for the work and the artist(s) who made the work. It is not such great news for the institution that was hoarding it but how does or how should that affect our opinion? I feel it does affect most people’s perspective on this situation but I also think most people do not realize they are associating the art with an institution. An organization’s ambitions are not the same thing as important art works, though I think they want to be and we want somebody to be taking collecting art works seriously on our behalf. That’s cool but if we believe in collecting works we would be disingenuous to deny the collection of collections.

Another benefit would be the absence created by selling off an entire collection as presumably the institution would need to start collecting again. This is a great opportunity for artists and a great opportunity for cultural institution workers. Imagine the activity and spending that would happen that could be spun into economic feel good indicators.

In principle I also like the idea of demonstrating the worth of collecting art by selling it and paying off the debts incurred by business-oriented ideology. I think the US, as with many countries, already gets this idea and accepts the worth of art in society. Sadly, this last point may be a more useful albeit basic lesson for Canadian arts funding models.

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Unsafe Alighting into Audio / Visual Art [New Work]

Alighting: An audio visual textural exploration of the King Street bus lane in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

An Action-Research Collaboration between Christopher Healey & Ryan Price.

Running west on the north side from Mary Street to New St, the King Street dedicated bus lane is a pilot project for the City of Hamilton. Since it’s launch in October 2013 this project has proven to be a source of public debate among business owners, car drivers, transit riders and cyclists who depend on King Street to travel west.

We decided to research this sphere of public discourse through a series of investigations along the entire length of the bus lane. Our methodology consisted of walking the route with a sound recording device, identifying and collecting sounds that were specific to this routes space. Different sections of the route contained different audio environments: the ambient sounds of traffic near Dundurn Street could be defined as light (cars, mopeds, and motor bikes) and heavy traffic (trucks, buses, and tractor trailers), the audio space around Jackson Square was defined by community (sounds of pedestrians, street buskers, children and even a policeman on a horse), the space east of John, while less dense in terms of pedestrians, also contained less voracious audio characteristics in contrast to the Dundurn traffic (simply because it was only two lanes at that point).

After some reflection, our next cycle of research consisted of capturing visuals along the length of the route. What symbols, signs and textual objects could we identify that reflect public opinion and subsequent debate regarding the dedicated bus lane pilot project? To answer this, we captured visual elements of the bus lane itself: the buses, cyclists, vehicular traffic and pedestrians who all share this common space, the storefronts, both occupied and empty and in various states of upkeep, and bus lane propaganda. These images help support an overall narrative of the problematic nature of this street’s community history and uncertain future direction. For example, our research raised the question of who these businesses purporting to be suffering were actually serving — local communities or commuters from the surrounding suburbs?

Now that we had a soundscape and visual data to compare and contrast, we desired more layers to reveal greater insights into this dynamic space. We decided to seek out opinion from both those opposed to the bus lane project and those who support it.
We created another research cycle to repeat the last observation process with our sound recorder and camera while riding the bus along the dedicated transit lane. This resulted in a soundscape that we used as a baseline for the project. This research cycle acts as a constant throughout the entire work and defines the length and undergirds the textual fabric of the work.

Loosely keeping a narrative based on time, location and proximity to the bus lane we have layered our collected sets of audio and visual data into a holistic artwork that explores many of the dynamic and rich variables of this urban space. We observed from the whole of our work in the field and reflection of our collected resources that there are rhythms of traffic, conversations, and foot traffic. Using these elements of a busy urban street we reflected this repeated, familiar codes of traffic sounds and imagery into loops and staggered patterns. We also incorporated the two conversations (as well as some tertiary dialogue from ambient streetscape recordings) about two thirds into the work, giving each some prominent amplification and overlapping the two together to reflect the competing, noisy environment that this space reflects both physically and politically.

Next, we created an audio/visual work attempting to encapsulate many of the elements that define the community surrounding the bus lane, the inside of a bus, and the civic debate. The video displayed here was created as a real-time process, with both artists sharing the controls of a midi mixing controller, adjusting aspects of the source videos, such as speed, direction, zoom, contrast, saturation, and brightness, among other properties. Our manipulation of the video was done while listening to the soundtrack, making on-the-fly decisions based on the the actions of the the sound, the video, and each other’s actions.

The combination of layering and texturing gradually after establishing a normalized sound environment indicates for the audience a deliberate and composed work that leads to several perspectives which may be shared or not shared. Hopefully there are opportunities of discovery and familiarity embedded in the work for the audience. The artwork itself renders these perspectives in new ways allowing for unconsidered entry points into the issues of the dedicated bus lane pilot project. We’ve attempted to construct the work to peak in activity, noise and movement and eventually crescendo into a combination of all the elements, then concluding with the simple sounds of disembarking from the bus. Or, as the sign says, alighting safely.

 

Christopher Healey

Some thoughts on the art and idea of photography

One of the reasons I choose to pursue a graduate degree right now is to catch up to what the current thinking is about many of the things I have been interested and involved with in the last 20 years. Communications, new media and art are the three big ones. Some of you hear “animated ad banners on a blog” when I say that, but really I am interested in what we think we are doing in these areas and where this thinking comes from.

For example, I read some very compelling arguments about how everything from the 1939 British Monarchy visiting Canada shaped the CBC’s style, to an eccentric French nobleman from 1583 invented the way we use social media today. I have now seen an overview of communications theory that I recognize in the art world. I have researched new media art work and community projects that I never knew existed and push me to deeper into the rabbit hole of my own studio ambitions. I’ve learned new words and have had some great conversations. Sure beats making animated gif ad banners for blogs.
Research at this level is very rigorous and any sloppy or unfounded  aspects of your argument can be met with, at best, derision and mocking to, at worst, expulsion and scowls for life. Good. I mean, we must be paying all this money for exactly this sort of thing, right?
However, it is a good thing to have a blog in these cases so one can just spit out some ideas that 1) have no references or basis in demonstrated fact that appear in a lazy top 10 results on Google 2) are more speculative and initiative than even “East Sweat Sock U” would allow and 3) probably has already been written about by someone, and that someone is probably smarter, a better writer and better looking than me. Certainly slimmer. Not may giant academics out there but I imagine there are a few in Viking countries, but I don’t know why. This is an example of a statement that belongs on a blog rather than in an assignment or conference paper. Maybe.
Anyways. I have had some thoughts about photography since I am in a photography class and am hearing a lot of what photographers are telling about what photography is. Those who know me know I don’t think the experts in any field are the best judges of what they are doing or why. Forest versus the tree thing. Those who come fresh to a scene can see things others can’t, often quickly.
So with that faint justification, I’ll jot down a few thoughts I’ve had about photography recently.

1. There is no such thing as photography

We are not talking about the same thing when we discuss photography. What your grandparents had in the family album is not the same thing you see uploaded to Facebook. What Edward Burtynsky hangs in a gallery is not the same thing as the selfie someone uploads to Twitter, in the same way War and Peace is not the same thing as a stop sign. The technology, uses, functions and underlying philosophies differ so greatly, we may as well refer to anything that arrives through the post office as “mail” as opposed to what it is i.e. a cheque or a book or birthday card. Yet at one point these all arrived as the same thing (mail) through a certain frame (postal service), as do photos through a lens.

2. Imagery is primarily physical

I thought this when learning about what the fashion magazine and advertising industry does when treating photographs of models. I realized that this treatment, which is a controversial topic of oppression by unnatural body proportions, to me makes these models look almost identical, at least without closer and sustained scrutiny. Maybe this is because I am exposed to this imagery in places like grocery store check out lines and highway bulletin boards. I don’t have a TV and I don’t go to shopping malls very often. But for those who do, I think they see a great amount of difference in the subtlest of differences or adjustments. I think their physical proximity to these images shapes their relationship to this certain philosophy of lens and computer graphic work. I also think our brain plasticity is affected by what ever media and environment we are in and so people who buy into this world, which I think is most people where I live, are literally hard-wired for sensitivity to this. Or perhaps they are de-sensitized to it and simply don’t notice that there is no difference.

3. No one cares about digital imagery. Not really.

If you cared about it enough you would print it out, and print it on super fancy archival musuemy paper. If others cared about your work enough then they would do the same. Every image you have out there in the cloud will be gone in a hundred years because that is longer than our best digital archiving technologies allow for. This does not even take into account how current media that somehow may survive will be able to be viewed in the future. Have a gramophone player handy? Or how about a telegram clacking machine? Third party websites are not your fans, guardians or sponsors. They are tenuous apparatuses that at the moment are storing your shit on servers they are paying for. Not only that, but a lot can go wrong with our telecommunications platforms for a variety of economical, political and natural reasons.
Don’t believe me that only physical imagery matters? Think about this: would you rather buy 3am commercial time on your local TV station to present a slideshow of your lens based work or would you rather have show at your local gallery?

4. If you call yourself a photographer, then the imagery you make is already pre-defined.

I’ve previously made this same argument about calling yourself an artist. Just use a camera as a tool to get somewhere else, and stop worrying about an audience. Unless you want to be a commercial success, then by all means call yourself a photographer and tell people who’re looking at it that this is, indeed, photography. But if you want critical success, then you need the confidence to wait for others to label what you do.
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It’s in the BAG: Barton Art Gallery project space finally opens next week

I have a small, enclosed front porch with it’s own lighting and electrical outlet. It’s almost perfect to maintain a small gallery space so that’s what I have been threatening to do.

So, now I am. The space is still not finished and has a whack of drywall leaning on one side. I’ve been waiting for our cheap and (very slow) renovations to stop but I don’t think they will before I leave Hamilton. Sometimes, you just gotta say “fuck it” and go ahead with a project – this kind of public declaration essentially forces you to carry through with your threat of art. Sometimes it takes me years to demonstrate I was serious (and usually right) about something and the BAG Project Space is such a something.

So, no time like the present. After agonizing for a year about how I am going to work with and work around the long vertical windows on the west, east and north walls I finally came up with a practical, cheap solution that is easy to implement and just as easy to remove and without damage to the space before we sell the house: white fabric over the walls. It sure beats my previous plan to have a series of drywall panels with wooden frames hanging from the ceiling by hinges.

The 6 sheets of drywall leaning against the west wall are not going anywhere but with a white sheet draped over that, it will transform into a respectable plinth. Hey, it’s my project space and I can do whatever I want.

So the first exhibit “slower: advice for the economy” (a projection about the industrial skyscape) opens up next week on Friday the 13th from 6-9pm. Yes, I am aware of the symbolism of both sets of numbers. For local readers, you will also no doubt recognize that my gallery is open during the exact hours of the ArtCrawl.  You will also note that I live in a poor, some would say “scary”, area of downtown Hamilton not know for arts and culture. Well, consider this new gallery space as a response to that – I’ve criticized designated areas for arts and culture in a city before. Now I believe independence for an artist is the most desirable goal to achieve – more than funding.  No, I don’t believe in the BS that anti-arts advocates spout about not funding the arts. I believe the arts should be so integrated and integral as part of our society that we would have trouble even distinguishing where support ends and begins.

So. I have a humble and independent space for exhibiting a series of exhibits by others and myself. I have some really exciting ideas to materialize in this space, and in many way culminates my work about and in Hamilton over these three years. I have not listed the address because I want to encourage people to explore this community in order to find. I want people to explore this community because that is the way to improve any neighbourhood – go walk through it. Lots of people out walking through a place is a very powerful device. I know many people will probably not bother coming to find it at all, especially if I keep the exhibition hours the same as ArtCrawl and I don’t pander to the usual agencies for promotion. I don’t care if anyone shows up or not – I care about the projects and the documentation. The reason we were able to buy a house here was because of the negative impressions people have of this area – and they don’t come here so the houses were affordable. Why should I now conduct my business on my estate grounds with any different formula?

However, I care if the local community here engages with the projects. I do care about people coming here to engage with the projects too. This space is simply part of this neighbourhood though the act of a pop up art space should be universal.

Contained therein this act and through this upcoming series of projects is my final dialogue with Hamilton.

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The next level evoluntionary stage of artists

There are a lot of artists out there. Some people say anyone can be an artist – all you have to do is try hard enough. Other people say whatever you happen to be doing can be art, if you do it well enough. Artists without art school say labour is the defining element of being an artist, and artists with degrees and diplomas will lament all of the above and write about it as their differential. People with little or no empathy for the arts will simply shrug and mumble something about the free market dictating who are artists.

They’ll probably also complain that no one paints like the old masters anymore.

Reminds me of when internets was taking over during the 90′s and Architects and Engineers where shocked – SHOCKED – that their professional designation was being co-opted by fly by night IT school. Instead of taking 6 years to become an Architect, you could become an “Information Architect” or “Software Engineer” in six months. You still can, but becoming an artist is even easier and more exploited (Hello sandwich artists).

So being an artist is simply not enough to distinguish the top of the industry anymore. The industry as we fantasize about it is gone (if it really ever existed at all), and all that is left is a series of merchants selling marketing to this dream of a profession – and that’s fine. I waive my claim of being an artist and leave the fields of this empire of dirt burnt sienna to the political and social mob that chases wall space, status and art supplies with fervor and passion.

I abandon this title of being an artist because I want to be more – I want to evolve to the next stage of being an artist: media.

Media artists is not a new concept and most of you will be familiar with it. However, I am not talking about being a media artist, which is still bound to place and time but rather becoming Media.

Ai Wei Wei has done it. So has Damien Hirst and Banksy. All of their work, and the artists themselves, could disappear tomorrow and it would not affect their influence for most of us. They transcend place and time and manipulate our very mediums of communication with whatever art in whatever way they wish.

That’s pretty bad ass and just obtuse, obscurantist enough and without immediate practical merit (“How do I buy and sell this?”) that it should work as a mechanism to keep the art barbarians outside the gate and provide a historical measurable to strive for.

I want to become media.

This post is follow up to two previous musings about media and artists: Great art is 1% substance and 99% media ~and~ Reject being called an artist – when making art, be a somebody

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The Consultant @ Supercrawl 2013

This is the 3rd performance intervention at the arts festival in Hamilton, Ontario and perhaps my last here.

My recurring character for these enactments is the Consultant persona – a outside critical eye from an outside theoretical framework, and not always welcome. This series of my work is not meant to settle as part of a landscape (the Consultant may describe the same concern as “becoming a monument”) but a slight affront to it, and three times in the same context is probably approaching a demystified state of local cultural interpretation.

The first intervention was a interpretation of the local concerns of gentrification of an area, and took the form of evaluating the worth of gallery spaces, but outside of considering the cultural worth but the physical shape and other detached values. The second was in collaboration with a poet and performance artists and we adopted a social theory induction approach that was more aloof of our immediate surroundings, but drawing our “data” from it.

This, the third time, was based on my earlier concerns about the presentation of the role of the visual arts as a brief form of entertainment in a carnival context that would lead to expectations of public art’s function as almost purely theatrical. I reject the notion that art is entertainment, and worry about the political economy interpretations of art as function for entertainment. This is the crux of the criticism.

To enact this, I designed the performance to skirt around the edges, the fringes, of the festival as a sort of walking “Salon des Refusés” of the curatorial process for these kind of brief public constructions of precious arts funding. Being a closed ecosystem for artists outside of property owners and the jury, all others participation of serious contemporary creation are, by definition, an intervention.

I’ve been interested and incorporating elements of popular myths into my performance interventions for well over a decade now, starting with UFO mythology as embraced in the group performances of The UFO Research Group collection (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto). The Consultant incorporates common reports of behaviour and situation as reported in Sasquatch reports.

Specifically, some of the elements I am researching through this practice are:

Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film
Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film

1. Just outside of civilization (the border of the art festival).

2. An aloofness; a sense of purpose, value and priorities unknown and unknowable to the observer (projection my own “art” onto objects that do not normally warrant close or equal scrutiny).

3. A reaction of confrontation, hiding, and moving away into darkness, i.e the bush (hiding in doorways, behind signs).

4. A reliance, a faith in, a tertiary media (social media, photos, oral retelling and interpretation) to substantiate the documentation of the event.

I am happy to report it worked – someone told me of the “creepy guy” they saw. What a great opportunity to find out why! I learned from him it was my “odd” behaviour and the confusing costume (he couldn’t see “where the face was supposed to be”) that prevented meaningful interpretations based on the immediate cultural / ceremonial context.

In other words, I was out of place and not cooperating by providing instant meaning in an entertaining, accessible way. I was creepy. Most people keep their distance. I’ve had groups follow me for awhile, almost as if they are waiting for something to happen. Sometimes I get trapped by a group of people circling around. Believe it or not, sometimes people get really mad and confrontational when I don’t acknowledge or interact with them. You’ll see an example of this in the video below.

This time, I incorporated a catcher’s mask with an iphone displaying an animated swirl (as did my papered (bureaucratic) costume). These are “null” symbols – the swirl is universal enough to be without any set cultural meaning other than usually meaning something. They broadcast an intent, but not my meaning. They aren’t meant to as tools to decode, but to establish questions in a public sphere.

I had a second iphone mounted on the frame in front of my face, but this one was with the camera facing outwards and recording whatever I was looking at. It was very shaky and poor quality – perfect media for an imperfect experience. I wanted to document the experience of being … different in a crowd. The quality of alientation and intrusion are very present, I think. I’ve included a three minute clip. It’s very shaky, grainy, inconclusive and heavily processed with anti-shake and anti-wobble algorithms – just like a number of media fragments surround the Sasquatch mythology. Thanks to my support team, Jen and Cedric.

 

Ai Weiwei and me

Ai Weiwei & me: A study of his perspective

Ai Weiwei and me
Ai Weiwei and me and you at the Whitehouse.

I went to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the AGO this weekend and came away with a new perspective and some re-enforced old perspectives.

You may remember I covered the 1001 Chairs artist protest in Toronto a bit when he was detained by Chinese authorities for being right about the Chinese authorities being typical authoritarian dicks.

I’ve become even more aware of his work since – count me in as a fan. However, I was not a fan of how this exhibit was put together by the AGO.

As my friend remarked, it looked like some sort of “sampler pack” and left us slightly … unsatisfied. They seem to have taken a bit of as many different series of his work as they could and crammed it into as few rooms as they could. If any art deserves lots of white cube space, it’s his work. Weiwei often works on an industrial scale and the AGO reduced his art series to a sort of token participation.

42 bicycles in this installation. During Nuite Blanche, there will be 3000.
7 different (truncated) series in this room. Really?

He is one of the giants of our age and will be a central figure of contemporary art history. If the AGO was ever going to clear as much as possible for an artist, then this was it – but they blew it. They did however have $25 dollar tickets for two hours of viewing, so that part of their machinery is well oiled. Oh, and the Ai Weiwei gift shop in the middle of the exhibit took up probably at least 15% of the total space…really?

One cannot help but think if his passport was not currently revoked, then he would of been able to be here to ensure they curated the work better than this. Then I kinda of realized that for me and many a retrospective at the AGO would be the height of professional achievement, but internationally maybe it’s more a provincial gallery.

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My pique aside, I was sincerely moved – almost to tears at one point – by his work to acknowledge child victims of the 2008 earthquake in the Sichuan province. The underlying political and social critique of labour, economy + government ambition that feeds into corruption in the construction industry strikes a cord that transcends borders. Montreal is dealing with a corruption probe and there has long been the stink of such practices where I live as well. And probably across Canada.

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What really moved me was the rebar that he collected from the disaster scene and then painstakingly straightened. Holy fuck. The poetry of this is reverberated in my brain pan and my eyes started to mist up. I’ve seen a lot of art in my time and I’m a bit jaded and desensitized at this point but this cut right through all that. The material, the process and the presentation are inseparable from it’s content and concept – and it’s simple. This guy is the real deal.

Another revelation for me occurred at this point: As an activist and artist, I understand that an incredible and obvious amount of labour is a way to communicate a powerful message a government authority. It becomes undeniable and that at the end of the day is perhaps the most powerful tool available to a contemporary artist in this day and age.

I also understand that the media is the art and my posts of my own work online is powerful and significant and valid. For Ai Weiwei’s, his social media presence acts as a herald for his work and bridges his universal themes into real spaces around the world. Again, his process and presentation is inseparable from his concept and contains an resolvable tension both conceptually and formally i.e. his studies in perspective. For me as an artist, this validates my own concepts and practice.

A few more photos of the exhibit are posted below – that the public is allowed to take photos at this exhibit is a rarity for the Art Gallery of Ontario and I think is due to the influence of the artist. He understands the power of media more then most artists and galleries.

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It may not appear so, but this is an acknowledge of respect for Ai Weiwei.
It may not appear so, but this is an acknowledge of respect for Ai Weiwei.

_landsc_APE_: 2012 text work

_landsc_APE #3
_landsc_APE #3 2012, pastel and charcoal on Arches rag paper 30″ x 40″

Visited the Art Gallery of Hamilton today and it’s always worth it.  There’s usually a good selection of text work too, and this time I saw “not wanting to say anything about art”, a multiple plexiglass pane square object with eroded text by John Cage that was very inspiring.

I know that is a confusing description and I wish was allowed to take a photo of it – unfortunately the AGH seems to be one of those places that doesn’t yet put much credence in art bloggers despite my efforts here over the last few years. They don’t send me press releases or media preview invites so I don’t cover their exhibits (yes, I did ask but never heard back. Oh the humiliation).

But it has motivated me to post one of my text works from my new series “_landsc_APE_” – you can see another one here.  I have lots of stencils and vinyl lettering and big stack of rag paper waiting to be worked on, and look forward to completing this series (hopefully) after my shoulder surgery. Hope you enjoy.

p.s. Posting about another current event to lead a relevant online audience to your own content is a type of digital marketing called “Newsjacking”. For example, people searching for the “Play” Exhibit at the AGH in Hamilton, Ontario and with an interest in text art might find a link to this post in Google’s organic search results.  I’ve newsjacked that large and well funded endeavour to capture some relevant eyeballs. I’ll post a couple of more examples of this SEO method for artists soon.

Another X composition to mark a spot

Sanford Avenue School with X and R and Andreanne
Sanford Avenue School with X and R and Andreanne

My Montreal artist friend, Andreanne, told me my recent photo collage artwork gives her a “headache” when she looks at it. She also introduced me to her roommate as a “really good drawer”.

I get the sense she doesn’t prefer most of my work.

That’s ok, because she gave me feedback, and she doesn’t pussyfoot around – that’s all an artist can ask. I also kind of like the idea of my work giving someone a headache. That’s more powerful and tricky to do than perhaps making someone coo with how pretty a work is ;)

I also don’t mind criticism from Andreanne because she shows up to my exhibit anyways – and offers to help with any art installation or performance going on. Again, what more could you ask for?

So I got her help with another “Landscape with X” work – this time at a demolition site of a heritage building in my neighbourhood. I have a series of paintings I finished with the letter “R” repeated in it (sort of a reference for corporate involvement in my subject matter). So I used that in this work with Andreanne holding a piece of paper and I used my pocket projector, on site and at night. I think it turned out really well, and it gives me a little thrill inside that I had an artist who is not crazy about this work participate in helping to create it. Hopefully, someday this will be an interesting footnote in an art history textbook – because when you’ve involved two artists, you’ve doubled your chances of this happening.

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mountain path – the movie

Christopher Healey
From Feb 13, 2013 in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

This is a work I am experimenting with by presenting it as an “Online Exhibit”. Though there is nothing new or experimental by having an exhibit of digital works on the web, I wanted to show the work in many different forms (i.e. photos, slideshow, collage, movie) on many different platforms (Blog, YouTube, physical gallery space) throughout 2013.

Process notes:

It is important to note that this work is entirely captured, rendered and output through a mobile device and on location during one session.

Artist Statement:

For me, there are several classical and contemporary themes in the work, such as: the supernatural; a formal approach to landscape; a questioning of political / social issues involving digital topographical mapping; a spiritual journey reflecting on death. There are many other contemplations that are evoked for me when I engage the work, and hopefully there will be for the viewer as well.

I enjoy the compositions of the shadows and the rocks, as well as the idea of a digital shadow cast on real objects through a challenging process of documentation for both the tools and the artist. The stresses of this effort on the image and the human traces archived in the process are a very important part of the production philosophy for me. I welcome comments and questions in the discussion field below where this conversation can continue.

You can see the original posting with the work as a series of photos and a collage at:

http://chrishealey.me/2013/02/10/online-exhibit-mountain-path-2013/

#Hamont Art Crawl explosion: “Fuck your little art festival – I’m from New York, baby!”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ This Ain’t Hollywood

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion played a concert here in Hamilton, Ontario on Friday and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended in all of my life.

I saw these guys at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto and it was good, but not like this – they were giving the S’aint crowd something special that night. It was crazy. They didn’t stop playing at all, they just kept going. So much so the crowd had waves of people seeking some relief on the patio from the heat and sheer volume, and then coming back for more.

So why is this concert review on an art blog? Because this music legend mentioned Hamilton’s monthly “Art Crawl” taking place that same night on James Street North, right beside the concert venue. And he told the Hamilton arts community exactly what they needed to hear.

“I took a little walk through your art festival tonight – is it every Friday?” He rasped into the microphone as the band played in a holding pattern, “Well, I took a walk there around the corner and saw all the art and your stuff for sale – and it’s shitty. Fuck your little art festival, I’m from New York, baby! The center of the fucking art universe!” And then they launched back into music awesomeness.

Oh my god, I laughed and clapped. Not because I think he’s completely right, but mostly because this is rock’n’roll and this “Fuck you and whatever you do” attitude is part of the real deal.

But I also think he is right in that we needed to hear this – this art community needs to know they have a long way to go, and are not there yet. And, perhaps most profoundly at all, we need to recognize that attracting a bunch of suburbanites into the core of Hamilton for one night is not artistic success – it’s simply pandering to people who are too chicken shit to think outside their subdivision boxes otherwise. Art Crawl is like a mediocre themepark where a couple of thousand people may shuffle by some work and judge it in 1.3 seconds based on it’s mass entertainment appeal. Some buy things. Small businesses and other areas benefit.

That’s great, but at the end of the day we are still left with a shitty little art festival for a bunch of local Canadian suburbanites who don’t really give a shit about the arts (as is the way with Canadian culture. Almost the worst in the world this way).

We have long, long way to go to truly impress anybody beyond our borders, much less New York. I don’t think we ever will here as this festival is headed firmly in another direction at this point, as is the glossy brochure version of the festival “Super Crawl” which is really just a bunch of corporate sponsors, bands and average art installations*. We’ve traded that for some sort of bullshit “vibrant” metric that funding agencies like to see written about this kind of stuff.

Nope, this is not the place anymore for serious artists and serious works. Art Crawl is now just background noise for contemporary art as the gentrification cycle is now in full swing and developers are loading their families into the minivan and scouting out the area. Perhaps while enjoying an ice cream and noticing a few paintings that look like the group of seven.

Thanks for speaking the truth, Jon Spencer. It *is* a shitty little art festival in many ways. It needs to keep growing, to spill out of James Street North and for their to be a genuine art scene based on ideas and talent and hard work – not a package to sell like some t-shirt to tourists. It needs wow. It needs to leave no doubt as to it’s high caliber and it needs to be so awesome it doesn’t give a shit if you show up or not. We need to do better. The arts is not a gift shop, and I am concerned that the overwhelmingly dominant “We love art crawl don’t you?” crowd is ensuring the demise of Art Crawl before it ever truly got a chance to be something more…

…We need more art explosions, baby! And all the other kinds of art money won’t buy. That’s why many serious artists moved to Hamilton in the first place.

*I believe any programming by committee will be result in an average selection – the best and the worst submission tend to be eliminated through this process.  Like Toronto’s Nuit Blanche official programming, having an curated art project aspect to Super Crawl and not a completely open arts festival component that is still listed is criticized by some.

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A visit to 10 Montreal Galleries, in Photos

I was at a cottage in the Gatineau Hills last week. Surprisingly cool and misty weather, so I decided to “pop” into Montreal for a few days and check in on some of my favourite galleries and artists. I was sure glad I did, not only to be able to hang out with my friend, artist Andreanne Hudon but got to meet and eat Taiwanese food with artist and curator Edwin Janzen. I also happened upon many exhibits for the “Extreme Painting Festival 2” – during my time at CA I discovered this school of work and saw some amazingly lush and layered surfaces. This stuff was a bit more street art styles I think, more figurative in a way.  See what you think below.

The Franco Follies were going on when I was there - look at this beautiful pedestrian only downtown street. They open it to cars in the winter, then hold many festivals because there is no more hockey.
The Franco Follies were going on when I was there – look at this beautiful pedestrian only downtown street. They open it to cars in the winter, then hold many festivals because there is no more hockey.
I was told this is a changing, curated space with projections at night. I was also told the text was poetic, confusing and sexual. Ah, Montreal.
I was told this is a changing, curated space with projections at night. I was also told the text was poetic, confusing and sexual. Ah, Montreal.
I was super glad to have seen this, the second installment of an amazing exhibit at UQAM Gallery. However, it was one of those rare spaces I was not allowed to take photos for posting, but rather could request "Peer reviewed documentation." Fair enough, and that's why I ask. They had a policy, it was fair and clear and had options.
I was super glad to have seen this, the second installment of an amazing exhibit at UQAM Gallery. However, it was one of those rare spaces I was not allowed to take photos for posting, but rather could request “Peer reviewed documentation.” Fair enough, and that’s why I ask when composing a post. They had a policy, it was fair and clear and had options. So, no photos of this particular exhibit, though I’ve seen great photos online since. Just google it – it’s worth it.
This is a rather iconic building in downtown building because it's so small and isolated - and has some popular clubs and seedy shops surrounding it. Trust me, this was a common kind of landscape when I was living in Montreal in the 90's.
This is a rather iconic building in downtown building because it’s so small and isolated – and has some popular clubs and seedy shops surrounding it. Trust me, this was a common kind of landscape when I was living in Montreal in the 90′s.
Aside from art, the other half of Montreal loves car racing. And this is their artwork about it.
Aside from art, the other half of Montreal loves car racing. And this is their artwork about it.
3D printing and the north! This was a great exhibit to wander into at 372, rue Sainte-Catherine O., where a good mix of arts and culture industry and most of the good galleries seem concentrated these days.  Many have never left.  suite 507  SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
3D printing and the north! This was a great exhibit to wander into at 372, rue Sainte-Catherine O., where a good mix of arts and culture industry and most of the good galleries seem concentrated these days. Many have never left.
suite 507
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
What an drawing! Amazing find while browsing through La Galerie Trois Points at Unit 500
What an drawing! Amazing find while browsing through La Galerie Trois Points at Unit 520 – not sure who did this but I posted the signature below… any ideas what the name is? Love to tumblr this one. UPDATE: The Gallery got in touch with me and confirmed the info for this work is:
Natalie Reis
Crawl Space
2009
Acrylic on paper
56 x 76 cm | 22 x 30 in
Another Galerie Trois Points open storage score - beautiful cloud painting. Again, not exactly sure the artist name but below is the signature.
Another Galerie Trois Points open storage score – beautiful cloud painting. Again, not exactly sure the artist name but below is the signature.
UPDATE:
David Gillanders
Floating #5
2010
Oil on canvas
35,5 x 46 cm | 14 x 18 in
Pudlo Pudlat (1916 - 1992): glad I discovered this important inuit artist's work. He'll be rediscovered again and again I'm sure.
Pudlo Pudlat (1916 – 1992): glad I discovered this important inuit artist’s work. He’ll be rediscovered again and again I’m sure.
Fantastic drawings.
Fantastic drawings.

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Mario Côté - a remarkable hard edge pop painting with censored text.
Mario Côté – a remarkable hard edge pop painting with censored text. UPDATE: Received a clarification from GTP about my comment and Mario’s painting. Here it is – “Mario Côté’s paintings do not include “censored text” : I know there is a similarity in the way he paints it, but the black lines represents the interval of indeterminate sounds that he is not able to identify. Mario Côté is interested in transposing sounds and music with painting to make them visible for the eyes. “

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La Galerie Trois Points is by far one of my favourtite galleries, both by email newsletter and in person. Always worth a visit to at 372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Espace 520
La Galerie Trois Points is by far one of my favourtite galleries, both by email newsletter and in person. Always worth a visit to at 372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Espace 520
http://galerietroispoints.com/
Vicky Sabourin at CIRCA
Vicky Sabourin at CIRCA: For me, this gallery has been a cornerstone of the Montreal art scene since I attended Concordia University in the 90′s. Still showing some of the best contemporary artists in Canada too – I always feel like I’m getting a sneak peek at future art history here.
http://www.circa-art.com/En_cours_files/depliant-VSabourin.pdf
372 Ste-Catherine Ouest. Espace 444 – Montréal.Québec H3B 1A2
You can't see it with this photo, but this is a small dark room with a platform and objects like stones, papers, cups and fronds. I think this was the artist, and she walked about a bit and wrapped what appeared to be a loaf of bread into her apron. I could of watched this all day but there were many shows to see, including the rest of this one.
You can’t see it with this photo, but this is a small dark room with a platform and objects like stones, papers, cups and fronds. I think this was the artist, and she walked about a bit and wrapped what appeared to be a loaf of bread into her apron. I could of watched this all day but there were many shows to see, including the rest of this one.
A view of Montreal from CIRCA's corner window.
A view of Montreal from CIRCA’s corner window.
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA Really nice feel with these works, with an explorer / surveyist meets steam punk feel to them, but with far more yarn. In the background stand artist Andreanne Hudon, kinda making this a league of extraordinary artists.
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA Really nice feel with these works, with an explorer / surveyist meets steam punk feel to them, but with far more yarn. In the background stands my friend & artist Andreanne Hudon, kinda making this a league of extraordinary artists.
Detail of this crazy art - organic or industrial references? Both? This is such good work..
Detail of this crazy art – organic or industrial references? Both? This is such good work..
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
montreal laParyse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
I repeat: This is such a good show. Every bit of this form and surface is considered.
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
http://www.circa-art.com
http://www.circa-art.com
Galerie Lilian Rodriguez
Galerie Lilian Rodriguez
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com
Gabrielle Laforest
Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
This work is by -not clear on the gallery website – Gabrielle Laforest and it was one of my favorites on the entire trip. This one work is a successful painting and sculpture.
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
This drawing / collage / installation is breath taking and successful close up and far away. Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
I could probably earn some sort of grad degree on researching this remarkable installation. A fleeting crush via a blog post will have to suffice.
Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Carlos Ste-Marie
Carlos Ste-Marie’s painting – “Extreme Painting”? I’m not sure because I am still learning what that means, but it’s a brilliant work no matter how you look at. My friend Andreanne has some similar work, probably because she’s brilliant too.
This composition is so fantastic – look how there is so much energy as you are drawn in and stopped by the hands, which draws you in again. A successful composition in painting is often considered to be a circle of some sort. The best ones I think extend the circle of the composition beyond the surface.
Carlos Ste-Marie
Carlos Ste-Marie
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
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montreal lac sam 111Carlos Ste-Marie Another terrific painting. Maybe I l just ike this entire Extreme Painting thing.
Carlos Ste-Marie
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Carlos Ste-Marie
Carlos Ste-Marie
Laroche/Joncas
Laroche/Joncas – Terrifically approachable gallery and one of the best in Canada with an alternate slate of Canadian and international contemporary artists.
http://www.larochejoncas.com/

Laroche Joncas

EXTREME PAINTING  June 19 - August 31, 2013  Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Étienne «NIXON» Chartrand @  Espace Robert Poulin www.espacerobertpoulin.com Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
Wow … very confident. I like this work more everytime I look at again.
«NIXON» @
Espace Robert Poulin
http://www.espacerobertpoulin.com
Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
Étienne «NIXON» Chartrand @  Espace Robert Poulin www.espacerobertpoulin.com Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
«NIXON» @
Espace Robert Poulin
http://www.espacerobertpoulin.com
Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
Nathalie Savoie
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
A really good painting exhibit by Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com

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John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
Very happy I discovered this artist during this visit – superb paintings both formally and for relevance to media + right wing political + military day and age.
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com

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That concludes our visit to 372 St. Catherine in Montreal - this is a shot of the empty store next to it.
That concludes our visit to 372 St. Catherine in Montreal – this is a shot of the empty store next to it.
Still some grit and run-downess in downtown Montreal... someday, for better or for worse, somebody will sell this dirt lot to a condo developer.
Still some grit and run-downess in downtown Montreal… someday, for better or for worse, somebody will sell this dirt lot to a condo developer.
Next we headed off to the Parisian Laundry in Montreal's west-end St.Henri neighbourhood.
Next we headed off to the Parisian Laundry in Montreal’s west-end St.Henri neighbourhood.
http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre – love the idea of this work and why it’s here. Just not so sure about it though… just not sure.
http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Area shot of the 2nd floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Area shot of the 2nd floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Projection installation in the basement - confusing and dark down there! Loved this space.
Projection installation in the basement – confusing and dark down there! Loved this space.
Olivia Boudreau
Olivia Boudreau was the artist in the basement space. Worked really well – very quiet.
We were guessing this industrial building, and it's basement, is about a hundred years old
We were guessing this industrial building, and it’s basement, is about a hundred years old
Back to the main floor of the Parisian Laundry. Look at this terrific drawing / sculpture! By Fabienne Lasserre. This I am sure about.
Back to the main floor of the Parisian Laundry. Look at this terrific drawing / sculpture! By Fabienne Lasserre. This I am sure about.
Fabienne Lasserre
Fabienne Lasserre
Derrick Piens
Derrick Piens
Derrick Piens
Derrick Piens
Celia Perrin Sidarous - I really, really dig this work. Another favourite artist added to my list...
Celia Perrin Sidarous – I really, really dig this work. I feel like I can learn alot from this series. Another favourite artist added to my list…
Area shot of the 1st floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Area shot of the 1st floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Parisian Laundry always has great shows. They know it too ;)
Parisian Laundry always has great shows. They know it too ;)
Found this gem of a public art dedicated to Dino Bravo in St. Henri.
Found this gem of a public art dedicated to Dino Bravo in St. Henri.
This old warehouse building is really interesting visually as it undergoes restoration. Hamilton could learn from Montreal that you can be corrupt and still keep your heritage buildings.
This old warehouse building is really interesting visually as it undergoes restoration. Hamilton could learn from Montreal that you can be corrupt and still keep your heritage buildings.
Andreanne has it easy - back when I was her age, we had to locate galleries by using a piece of wood and some chewing gum.
Andreanne has it easy – back when I was her age, we had to locate galleries by using a piece of wood and some chewing gum.
Back to the tree-lined streets of the NDG neighbourhood.
Back to the tree-lined streets of the NDG neighbourhood.

              Well, that was the big art day in Montreal. Was it worth the almost 2,000 kilometers and 20 hours of driving? Absolutely. It’s Montreal. I can’t think of many people who have lived there and wouldn’t want to again. Many of the artists are very inspiring and I really lucked out seeing much of the extreme painting festival. When I am able to paint again in the studio for a sustained period, I know this trip will affect my work.

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Pop-Up gallery exhibit one for the books

Open Book Group Exhibit at 21 Rebecca Street.

Hamilton purportedly has a DIY culture and attitude and that reputation has attracted many arty types like myself to this quirky rust belt city. Sometimes, the perception is not really the reality and many of us have been yearning for empty buildings downtown to be bought and turned into impromptu exhibit spaces – and only three years later, have I finally seen this happen the way many of us have been daydreaming it should happen.

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Book Club Gallery.

Located on Rebecca, just off of James Street North and in the shadow of the Jackson Square monstrosity, the Book Club Gallery was never a Book Store. It was a wool broker office, and a print shop, and a hair salon – it is currently a pleasant austere space with art by some of Hamilton’s best artists. At least for the next few weeks – who knows what the owner, Cameron, will do with the space next but having a pop-up exhibit is such a great way to fill the space in the meantime. There are a lot of empty storefronts in Hamilton, and their owners could learn a thing or two about fostering community from people like Cameron.

(Unfortunately, Hamilton has many empty storefronts because of their owners are slumlords who don’t want the “expense” of the space being used for anything. They just want to flip the property at some point in the future after people like us creative class types put in all the hard work to improve the community and thus the real estate value. The City councilors here are, in turn, kinda meta-slum lords because the home crowd in this small city all know each other and look out for their “buddies”. But things are changing because there are so many new people arriving , and we’ve see that things are better elsewhere and so things will change here. This is a kind of hostile cultural takeover. But enough of this issue at the moment..)

Back to the show – the participating artists in this exhibit, one of the best so far of 2013, are Donna Akrey, Sarah Beattie, Andrea Carvalho, Margaret Flood and Svava Thordis Juliusson.

There was a small amount of people who attended the opening, but it’s slightly off the Art Crawl beaten path. A couple of sandwich boards would address this problem nicely. Such a good show – Cameron, please consider keeping it open for the next art crawl!

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Donna Akrey’s work is sprawling and subtle. Go ahead and try to find this bear. You’ll be glad you did.
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Donna Akrey
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Andrea Carvalho – this work really takes advantage of the space, I think. These sculptural installations look like “Office Ghosts” to me. Love this.
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Margaret Flood is making some multiples of the HOV lane on the highway – the car pool lane. She’s communing to work in Toronto and making art about it. Like I did when I was commuting. This is a very real part of the landscape. Maybe there should be a group exhibit of commute art…
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Donna Akrey’s secret storage space…
321
Donna Akrey
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Donna Akrey
318
Donna Akrey
317
Svava Thordis Juliusson – Toronto’s loss, Hamilton’s gain.
315
Svava Thordis Juliusson
312
Donna Akrey
310
Andrea Carvalho, Margaret Flood and Svava Thordis Juliusson
309
Svava Thordis Juliusson
308
Svava Thordis Juliusson
306
Donna Akrey
303
Andrea Carvalho, Margaret Flood

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The Mona Lisa by DaVinci

Great art is 99% media and 1% substance

If you think about some of your favourite art you then you might note that you have probably actually never seen the work in person.

Take the DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, for example. You know what this painting is, I know what this painting is and we can discuss this painting with a reasonable amount of familiarity – but chances are, like me, you’ve never seen the actual, physical painting.

The Mona Lisa by DaVinci
The Mona Lisa by DaVinci

In a more contemporary timeline, think about Damien Hirst’s Dead Shark or  even his Spot Paintings. Love them or hate them, these works transcend their physical location through the media’s reproduction of them. They are well know outside of contemporary art circles now and they will be part of art history classes for many generations to come. Am I saying that controversial work is media friendly? Not exactly, because no one would of cared about these controversial art works if they were not intrinsically “media friendly” already.

This is not an aspect of great art that is isolated in the last century – it is an enduring characteristic of art history for all peoples since the very beginning of time. Cave paintings were seen and reproduced by different artists of that era. Manuscripts and their illustrations were hand-copied by monks throughout many centuries. That Mona Lisa painting was copied by artists as a drawings, prints & paintings so patrons in many cities throughout Europe could view the work without having to travel. Damien Hirst’s Dead Shark appeared in hundreds of magazine and newspapers, and countless websites and blogs.

A work that is easy to reproduce does not become great work because of this characteristic, but it is an essential ingredient for whatever elusive formula for greatness is out there. A work can be a masterpiece, a subtle and delicate work that defies proper documentation or description (and isn’t that the point of art, many would argue) but if it’s not easily reproducible as a quick sketch then it won’t be immortalized by media. It’s stays mostly substance and less media. In this sense society’s most common experience of art history is essentially that of a collection of rock stars who appeal directly the masses both commercially and aesthetically.

This has led me to wonder if when we see and identify with a reproduction of a work of art, if in fact we are mislabeling our experience of what we are seeing – this reproduction is no longer a reproduction but a stand alone work of art on it’s own. There is not one Mona Lisa or Dead Shark – there are millions of them.

Side note: This insight was supposed to be a blog post four years ago, but I didn’t have a blog. So I started this blog and decided I needed a few other posts to put this into context – and now here we are.

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[online exhibit] Mountain Path, 2013

Instructions:

*update: I’ve added a stand-alone montage version of the work. The instructions below are for viewing each slide individually.

1) Click on the first (top left) thumbnail below to enter fullscreen slideshow mode
2) Scroll (to the right) through the slideshow until you reach the end of the path. Get comfortable: there are 170 slides, including the entry and the eventual destination.
3) You can of course jump in and out anywhere along the path you choose, at any time, but then you might miss the journey inside the experience.

Process notes:

It is important to note that this work is entirely captured, rendered and output through a mobile device and on location during one session.

Artist Statement:

For me, there are several classical and contemporary themes in the work, such as: the supernatural; a formal approach to landscape; a questioning of political / social issues involving digital topographical mapping; a spiritual journey reflecting on death. There are many other contemplations that are evoked for me when I engage the work, and hopefully there will be for the viewer as well.

I enjoy the compositions of the shadows and the rocks, as well as the idea of a digital shadow cast on real objects through a challenging process of documentation for both the tools and the artist. The stresses of this effort on the image and the human traces archived in the process are a very important part of the production philosophy for me.  I welcome comments and questions in the discussion field below where this conversation can continue.

Why exhibit online?

This series works well online I think through the intimacy of scrolling through the series of horizontal based documentation. I enjoy the ideas of creating a work while mobile and exhibiting almost immediately after production, without interference or influence – qualities in art which are actually rare to achieve and I believe warrants further practice.

Though much worthwhile art only works online, this particular show would translate well to a physical exhibition environment and I hope to mount multiple instances of Mountain Path around the world. Please contact me if you are interested in a hosting an edition/ installation of this work.

_______________________________________________

MOUNTAIN PATH (2013)
Christopher Healey

 

Mountain Path
Mountain Path

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[Studio] cow skull study #13

Some collage photo work, in lieu of not doing enough drawing and painting … Sigh.

Hope to have more of this series done soon.

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Hey thanks everyone for the likes, I really appreciate it. So much so I’m doing a whole bunch more today, so here’s a fresh one. More will have to wait to my return to my photoshop computer in Canada. I like this first ones that i pulled off entirely on the iphone.

photo(1)

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Some Art PR Wire & Art Listings Professional announcements: all things that post must pass

It’s close to four years since I launched artprwire.com and artlistpro.com.

Both were projects to research the growing online presence for contemporary arts. I am very proud that I was one of the first to explore social media as a platform for curating contemporary art stream , and I have learned a great deal that has influenced my career and my life – namely through the people and art I have connected with as a result.

At the heart of these two websites was my desire to re-invigorate my passion for contemporary art both locally and internationally. I wanted to expose myself as much as possible to current and past exhibits and see as much as work as possible from my limited geographical footprint. I ended up curating a “daily dose of contemporary art” on ALP to the tune of almost 7,000 posts so far. That number is the tip of the iceberg for how many posts, websites and submissions I considered over the years. At some points I can truly say, with pride, that I was totally sick of looking at art!

Also, with pride, I am very happy with the online audience I have built for both sites. They extend beyond the local and even national to a community without borders but unified by a love of looking at good work everyday. Like me. As an artist, I wanted to build a context to release my own work online and feel like I have managed to do that – as well I have become a fan of several artists and online curators I would never of known about otherwise.

But life changes all plans, as my success online has translated into career opportunities elsewhere. Below are some announcements for both sites.

ART PR WIRE

I started this free service as a basic art list that artists and galleries that lacked a marketing budget could utilize to make sure their invite info could be found online. It was and still is a problem for many to be able to effectively send out a press release that is fairly considered for it’s merit and not necessarily for the paid service it is using. In Canada especially, the arts scene is dominated by a commercial monopoly that has limited room and frankly a limited scope – a classic arts administrator mindset of marketing to each other instead of marketing to a wider audience. More about that below.

I actually used to phone up galleries and museums and invite them to submit PR to my website. I was met with a great deal of suspicion and derision, to say the least, and it was a little surprising. I stopped being so proactive and handed out cards at some art galleries and fairs, and as social media evolved beyond doubt then the arts started … later than almost every other industry… to accept that this was a valuable tool. Now I have international exhibits from a wide variety of professional venues and many of the PR submissions I post “go viral” – they get tens of thousands of views I get very good feedback from the galleries participating. This kind of international popularity is, in my view, a very valuable service and a unique channel for local Canadian artists and organizations.

Did I mention it was free? I may develop a paid component for some extra services but I am after the huge market of galleries that don’t engage paid services. The value is the audience data I collect, and the industry expertise I have in publishing such a service. I get gigs now with art magazines and galleries, and that’s what I wanted.

Announcement #1:

I have decided to abandon completely efforts to include local arts organizations. For example, I have lived in Hamilton, Ontario for almost three years and have, on numerous occasions, approached some local public arts organizations and galleries. As I do, I asked to be put on on their media list for PR and opportunities to cover events on my blog. To date, I have received absolutely nothing of the kind from these places. I also cannot access the usual media opportunities to cover these events for my blog and websites. I am invited to many large scale media events in Toronto, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles (for example) but not in Hamilton, Ontario.

I think it’s fair and fine to not utilize a service, but these organizations actually receive public money to operate and to not bother simply adding an email to your email list raises a lot of questions for me. I think what bothers me the most is the disservice this does for the artists involved.

Anyways, my new policy on this is that I will not cover local publicly-funded events unless I am invited as media – though I may still attend. I hope that sounds fair.

Announcement #2:

I am moving away from Tumblr as my primary platform for Art PR Wire and have switched to WordPress to host my content (check out artprweb.com). The reason is that Tumblr took down a post because of a DMCA complaint – one that was so blatantly frivolous and baseless I was shocked. They don’t have their communities interest at heart and I don’t trust them anymore with my content. It took a team of lawyers to get them to re-post the censored content, with an apology to me, and the associated image with that photo format post was forever  lost due their actions. Pretty disappointing and frightening that an intellectual copyright mark against me goes on a permanent record so easily and quickly . There is an opportunity to file a counter-notice against such a malicious complaint, but Tumblr demanded my personal address and full name so they could send it to this weird person harassing me. VERY disturbing and potentially dangerous for someone with a stalker or abusive ex, for example.

Announcement #3:

Though I strip the hyperlink in email addresses as a courtesy, my policy now is that what you email me is what I post on the website. I don’t have time to edit or format submissions. If you don’t want your phone number on a website, please do not include it in your submission.

Art Listings Professional

Announcement

I have enjoyed being an editor and publisher of a pioneering social media powered magazine about contemporary art. Somedays, I have posted as much as 20 works as a considered group in a curated stream. But now I feel ready to concentrate on my own studio work and consolidate my reviews, interviews and art postings onto my wordpress blog here at chrishealey.me. I am closing down ArtListPro as it currently functions and merging it with Art PR Wire. I believe this enhances the value for artists and galleries posted about on this network – but my giant online curated art stream project is coming to an end. It’s no longer as fun as it was and for the reasons mentioned above I am now deeply mistrustful of Tumblr’s ability to protect it’s community members and their legitimate content.

I will have other projects online, but ALP was special and I want to thank my fans and subscribers over the last few years for their encouragement and feedback. I hope you enjoy the format change to the best submissions of current art exhibits and events from around the world.

map of location auras

reminder: Oct 13th artist talk & tour 1pm @ Barton Village, Hamilton

Join artist Christopher Healey for a talk and guided tour of the project starting at Woodlands Park on Saturday, October 13th, from 1pm to 2pm.

“(Project)ions of Community” A augmented-reality mobile device art installation throughout Barton Village

[Hamilton, Ont] New media installation projects scenes and sounds onto neighbourhood from another urban village – Parkdale, Toronto. Artist offers free public talk and guided tour of the work starting at Woodlands Park on Saturday, October 13th, from 1pm to 2pm.

Using an internet connected iphone or android mobile device installed with the free app “Aurasma Lite”, certain areas and angles throughout this neighbourhood will activate a work by local resident and artistChristopher Healey. For example, standing on the north-east corner of Wentworth and Barton and facing west is a “trigger image” that will bring up a video overlay of Parkdale from a similar vantage point. The contrast between the two communities can be disorienting.

More about Aurasma technology can be found via this presentation at TED Talks. Though a mobile device is not required for attendance, those who want to participate fully in the experience are advised to download this free app beforehand from your App Store or Google Play.

Maps, trigger images, a video demo, download links and more information is available at http://www.projectionsofcommunity.chrishealey.name

See the original press release here.

Media contact:
Chris Healey
email

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projections of community invite
map of location auras

invite_poc

Augmented-reality art “(Project)ions of Community” unveiled in Barton Village


[Sept 20 2012 Hamilton, Ont]  New media installation projects scenes and sounds onto neighbourhood from another urban village – Parkdale, Toronto. Artist offers free, public talk and guided tour of the work.

Using an internet connected iphone or android mobile device installed with the free app “Aurasma Lite”, certain areas and angles throughout this neighbourhood will activate a work by local resident and artist Christopher Healey. For example, standing on the north-east corner of Wentworth and Barton and facing west is a “trigger image” that will bring up a video overlay of Parkdale from a similar vantage point. The contrast between the two communities can be disorienting.

The work is about the perceptions of this neighbourhood  - one of the poorest in Canada. Many strongly associate Barton Village with elevated levels of danger and violence, and consider it an area to be avoided entirely, if possible. By designing a location based interactive experience that encourages walking and careful consideration along Barton Street, the work offers to engage participants in a wider discourse about notions of community and transformation.

Healey states: “This work is not about the people who live in Barton Village – it’s about the people who don’t live here. Projecting expectations on a community is a powerful force, perhaps as powerful as taking a walk through it. My work addresses this by contrasting the shared experience of one neighbourhood, The Village of Parkdale, with the expectations of another area, Barton Village. Hopes, aspirations and critiques are examined through the spaces and architecture of these two areas.”

Join artist Christopher Healey for a talk and guided tour of the project starting at Woodlands Park on Saturday, October 13th, from 1pm to 2pm.

Maps, trigger images, a video demo, download links and more information is available at http://www.projectionsofcommunity.chrishealey.name

More about Aurasma technology can be found via this presentation at TED Talks.

Media contact:
Chris Healey
email@artlistpro.com

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Irene Loughlin @ Performance Art & Punk

A performance work dedicated to Pussy Riot. Taken at This Ain’t Hollywood, Hamilton, Ontario at PAP #1, a fundraiser for local arts organizations.

http://www.ireneloughlin.com/

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socialMFA

socialMFA is participating in the Visual Fringe Festival, Toronto, July 4-14th.

socialMFA

socialMFA is the collective I have formed with Dawn Buie for the purposes of this festival – and the theme of volcanoes has emerged through the process of putting this together. It involves visual work and performance – live interviews with underpinnings of marketing, social criticism and propoganda. “Volcanoes create jobs for our economy” and that sort of thing ;)

Live art creation as well based on helping members of the public visualize their dream volcano. socialMFA thinks that Toronto needs a Volcano – perhaps with a casino.

Please help us help you and complete this survey:  http://tinyurl.com/82o696n

Heather Goodchild @ Hamilton Artists Inc

THE WARDENS

Heather Goodchild’s installation gives one a feeling of being in a cloister or some sort of a ritual labyrinth. She designed this exhibit specifically for the gallery space at the inc, and all by hand. That’s no small feat considering the varied materials – rubber, ceramics, weaving, sewing, silkscreen, sculpture, drawing, audio. Her work moves effortlessly between between these mediums to support her mythology based installation. It works so well the show, well, just works.

I won’t give away too many of the elements of the work because I was so pleased at being surprised a few times.

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My best picks of the Hamilton Artists Inc. member’s exhibit

Last chance to see this show Dec 16, 17 and 18th December 2011 at The Inc.

Waiting on three two more artists to get back to us on publishing photos of their work, but in the meantime Here is work from Fiona Kinsella, Kearon RoyTaylor, Jack Butler and Linda Joyce Ott. I love Kinsella’s painting … or is it a sculpture? One of those works that makes you wish you thought of that … but it is inspiring me to try some stuff.

Taylor has a real connection to the glitch / infographic trends in contemporary art right now. Linda Joyce Ott’s character construction works as well close up as it does far away and I’m giddy to be staring a real Jack Butler work in the face. Even if it is a freaking Dr.Moreau-esque experiment.

Maureen Paxton contributed, what is to me, a painting about painting. She’s just that good. Seriously – one of the best I know.

This painting on plywood by Abena Asomaning looks like a bubble gum and classic mythology mash up and just makes me smile.

Frances Locs @ Loose Cannon Gallery

December’s Art Crawl in Hamilton featured a couple of exhibits that were as good as any I have seen yet – including Frances Locs’ “the consumer”. Very refreshing after seeing the slick and consumer-friendly open studios of 401 Richmond a couple of hours previously.

the consumer by Frances Locs
the consumer by Frances Locs

Loose Cannon Gallery

open studios @ 401 Richmond, Toronto

Frolic 

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The second annual open studios in the upscale arts building in downtown Toronto. Some of my favourite galleries are here, but I had not had a chance to see the few artist studios that exist side by side with offices and mixed use spaces throughout the building. Here are some of the best that I saw on my walk through.

Interview with artist Otino Corsano @ p|m gallery

Interview with Otino Corsano – this is one the best exhibits I’ve seen in 2011 so far. Thoughtful, skilled and conceptually kick-ass, it seems sparse at first glance then you quickly realize you could spend 6 hours pouring over the drawings, watching the slickly produced videos and listening to the soundtrack from another dimension.

The ambient lighting from the TV played havoc with my iphone video – this video is still very much in my interview happy place though.

excerpt from the press release below:

Otino Corsano: Happiness — Part 1.

p|m Gallery

1518 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario M6K 1T9

November 3 — 26, 2011

A collection of images culled from online social media sites, these moments of repose were then carefully rendered as ink drawings and finally further expanded into video. The storyboard drawings are organized into three sets of sixteen images each for the basis of the three videos.

The three 30-second “commercials” were produced by: Caroline Ryan, Paul Weeks and Peter Darley Miller (Editor: Ting Poo). Composer John Mark Sherlock provided the supernatural, ambient score for each video.

Accordingly, the work comprising Happiness — Part 1 progresses Corsano’s practice of collaborating with professional, commercial creatives to produce his art.

http://pmgallery.ca/exhibitions/2011/otino-corsano-happiness/press-release

http://otinocorsano.blogspot.com/

Ruben Komangapik @ Art Toronto 2011

Slightly obscene and alien – then snaps into a focus as a child-like assembly of stuff that’s laying around. The presentation here is superb.

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Jon Sasaki

At the Gallery Hop Gala – glimpsed best chandelier ever

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At the Carlu last night for Canadian Art’s big gala of the year complete with auction and site-specific work – including this Jon Sasaki installation.

None of the photos turned out great but interesting to see these together to get a sense of the work. I think this chandelier-esque work was supposed to be “reframing” the northern lights and working with images of typical northern Canadian environments but really I think you could project anything in this contraption and it would look awesome.

I would love to have watch it more but I had a fight club appointment in the basement.

See more of the auction works here

the truth about art – it’s a fucking pain in the ass to go to an exhibit

You know it’s true.

It’s like shopping in a mall, walking and standing on hard floors looking at things while people and security look at you. Somewhat taxing as you are in a space that is supposed to look like you are looking and not know you are being looked at by salespeople, security and the occasional admirer.

Same pressure I think as standing in a gallery space where it’s only purpose is for you to look like you are looking at something. The attendant always knows if you get it the art or not, even if they aren’t looking at you. They know.

Getting to even few shows can involve significant travelling logistics. It’s a fierce lifestyle to visit a gallery even once a week.

Problem is much good art does not function outside of this kind of white cube space, and the kind of people and organizations that exhibit this kind of work will take the space where they can get it.

Problem is looking at pictures from home just does not cut either after a while. I’ll have to blitz the galleries next weekend.

What a pain in the ass but as with many things, often we don’t feel like to doing it but end up loving it.

One artist current; boos to the rest of Moos Gallery – a review

Triptych Sockets by Kagame Murray

I was not offered an  hors d’œuvre, and that was the second most disappointing aspect of the current exhibit on at Moos Gallery’s M2 project space on Queen and Bathurst.

I was mostly disappointed at least because I was expecting all the work to be as interesting as Kagame Murray’s work. His close up camera work is a careful study of important junctions, or extensions, of human communication. A kind of anthropologist morphed into artist with healthy dose of rock star (“I spend 16 years in New York” he explains), Murray is a virtual Justin Bieber compared to the creaky and tired old work that surrounded him.

But back to the hors d’œuvres … there only seemed to be one small square white plate of food cubes available. As I understand myself to be of no importance within a crowd of rich and aimless art patrons, I sat back and watched as what seemed to be potential buyers or friends were spotted by the host and she stomped across floor and missioned through the crowd on a sortie to deliver a snack to that particular person. Then she would stomp straight back to the safety of being behind the bar with most of the plate intact and safe from the hungry mouths of the great upper-middle class that swelled the ranks of the crowd that night.

And another thing that set off my alarm bells about this place – the beer cost $7 a bottle. This is not an airport or intermission at the opera. It’s an art opening, and you need to be buzzed in from the street and go up an elevator to even get in – it’s not like some rugby team is going to pour in and you need to discourage drunken hazing by setting prohibitively expensive prices for your beer (at least for independent art bloggers). Maybe they don’t realize that trying to sell bad $10,000 paintings kinda means you should have free drinks and accessible cheese cubes otherwise you are sending a message that $7 is a lot of money therefore you should think twice about spending $10,000.

There are a lot of galleries to visit in Toronto, so I don’t think I will bother with M2 again – unless Kagame has a solo show and I can bring my own food and drink.

http://kagamemurray.com/

you, me and victorian dandies – a review

Sadko Hadzihasanovic
Sadko Hadzihasanovic

Since moving to Hamilton I’ve been going to the art crawls and visiting galleries trying to get a sense of the visual arts scene – and I have two places in particular so far that have captured my fancy for being “authentic” avant-garde, independant artist-run galleries. One is the artist co-op Hamilton Artists Inc., and the other is you me gallery.

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Art Toronto 2010 photo walk through : day 3

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Here are some galleries and artists that I found striking on this Halloween afternoon.

http://www.tiafair.com/

Art Toronto 2010 – Day 2 photoset

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Some images from the art that greets visitors as they enter the fair. Labels were not always there to identify work, so here is an assortment of images of some of the art I found … fetching.

Parkdale loses four galleries

When I first moved to Toronto about a year and a half ago, I was determined to discover and befriend the galleries in my neighbourhood. Who were these amazing people who managed, in the face of overwhelming odds and prohibitive costs, to run contemporary exhibition spaces in the heart of arts on Queen Street West? Turns out there are an amazing amount of amazing people opening cool spaces because since I have been here, I have seen literally dozens of galleries come and go. I have been directly involved with starting up four galleries and only one still continues today – but that is a student gallery and is well supported by the school it is located in. The others were completely independent – no funding or free spaces. I am very proud of these “projects” and respect very much the four galleries that defied the odds and provided excellent shows to the community of Parkdale but are now gone or exhibiting their last show this month. Each one is closing for a somewhat different reason, and each is based on a different model.

1. DK Gallery: This was a professional photography group that has a neat and small space with big windows.  Most memorable perhaps for the derelict industrial architecture photography and their Bravo! TV show “Photo Xplorers”. Always interesting exhibits from the members of this collective as well as guest exhibitors, and they shared their window shelve for other gallery invites and publications. They also were kind enough to be the first Art List Pro video interview (I cringe watching it now!) and I really enjoyed promoting their exhibits and were one of my main reasons for extolling the virtues of Parkdale.

2. Gallery 47: Got the low-down from a friend that this aspiring to be a high-end contemporary installation gallery space was closing down to revert back to being a studio space for the artists who own the space. A big, beautiful and rough space with a yard, the space reeked of potential and had a very well-developed intern program and academic sensibility to all the exhibits. The exhibits were wonderfully crafted installations.

3. culturshoc gallery: This is the gallery that invited me to take the position of curator and I enjoyed the experience immensely. More of an emerging artist space, I was very intrigued by the idea of the boutique “gift shop” in the back of the galley that helped support the exhibitions in the front. Not a large space but very well designed, everyone who came in enjoyed the experience and we had a great sound system to boot.

4. Snowball Gallery: In my mind, this is most “genuine” and earnest gallery model and effort out of all of them – and probably because it was run by one person, Alison, who is very resourceful and industrious with communications and curating really interesting exhibits from students and emerging professionals. Located on the very western edge of Parkdale it probably suffered from a lack of walk-in traffic as well and I know how burdensome it can be to be the only one responsible to keep open hours for the space. Always interesting shows  – but the good news is there is one last exhibit to commemorate the one year “project” that was Snowball Gallery and I highly recommend attending it, at least to show support for this kind of quixotic artist-led effort that provides great opportunities for so many artists.

So what went wrong?



Daily Art Beat | AGO banks on “eduartainment”

Art Gallery of Ontario spares no expense in charging expensive entry fee

Read today in the Globe and Mail how the AGO is banking on the upcoming “Maharajas: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts”  show to make up for the lackluster attendance for a “Drama and Desire ” theater & artists themed exhibit.  I suspect many people figured if they are paying $18 to see theater props they might as well attend a live theater production instead and get more bang for their buck.

This does nothing to assuage the very real criticism that the AGO a) charges way too much for visitors because b) they need too in order to pay for all this cool stuff that they spent so much on in the first place so you would be willing to pay way too much to see it.

I’ve worked as an installation designer for museums and a common term for designing a display or exhibit to be more entertaining than educational to attract more people (so it incorporates lots of bling and interaction and pop-culture references) is termed “edutainment”.

However, the colossal resources behind the AGO have enabled it to take edutainment to a whole new level by planning exhibits that are brilliant and rare collections with an equal dose of marketability and international appeal – eduartainment.

That’s super-cool, but the problem here is that I (and many others) would also like to see a gallery in the GTA full of local, national and international contemporary artists that is free to go to whenever I wanted to.  Any ideas what we should call it? Probably should not call it a “museum” as those seem host broad, international cultural exhibits and place more of an emphasis on architecture than galleries. Public galleries are called “galleries” because they obviously focus more collecting, archiving and exhibiting talent from the city, province or country they are mandated to represent and can generally move to new locations and spaces when needed.

Right?

tip: last time I checked, entry to the AGO for an adult is $18.  Anyone over 12 is considered an adult. You can pick up free AGO family passes at your local GTA library, and Thursdays after 6 are free

Interview with artist Paul Elia, an artist based in Hamilton, Ontario

ALP’s choice for
ART TO SEE THIS WEEKEND:
RustBelt: New work by Paul Elia
September 10-24, 2010.
Socald Studio Gallery
244 James Street North
Hamilton ON

Having met Paul a year ago at one of his Queen Street W exhibits, I was new to Toronto and excited to ask him about Toronto’s art scene. What I got was a tip-off about a little place nearby called Hamilton and a good sense of how passionate this digital print artist is about architecture and community.

Paul is a heritage whisperer of sorts, and his civic vision is super-simple and super-detailed – urban decay brings artists, and artists renew neighborhoods in neglect. I guess that’s why he convinced me to move to Hamilton.

artist website http://www.wrecovery.com/

Socald Gallery Facebook fanpage http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=116045891768654&ref=ts

Another goofball art review video, part 1

Footage and commentary from the August 26th edition of Toronto’s Art Spin gallery bicycle tour. This is part one of two, as 20 minutes straight is probably too much to watch all at once, so the next installment will come out next week. I’ll keep careful track of how the vistor trends for staggering the release of the video – especially interesting as the next Art Spin is later this month.

In this video we visit the Edward Day Gallery, n/a space, a C1 art project and AWOL Galleries’ Square Foot Exhibit.

Over 200 people showed up for this one, as compared to the one last year where there was about 30 participants. I’m a little more critical of this, naturally since it is becoming a lot more popular – they need to split it into two or more groups who meet at the end. Being part of a large group was almost unmanageable at times and you’ll see that reflected in the video. As well, most of the time at each stop is spent on parking your bike, not hearing anything the artists or gallery staff are saying and then herding back out … slowly.

However, on the bright side, it is always terrifically interesting stops and art we are seeing, and meeting fellow participants is a lot of fun. I am constantly discovering new spaces and venues with this tour as well as some back-alley bike routes that have awesome street art tucked in them. Plus, it’s free so all in all it is a wonderful event and there are worse problems for organizers to deal with than becoming popular.

http://artspin.ca/

ArtSpin comes full cycle – anyone want to co-host video with me?

I went on this last year and it was a LOT of fun – and a great way to get me oriented in the Queen Street West art scene.  Rui, who runs the event, has really developed the activities and participants over each tour. To me, this is an excellent opportunity to create another “mini-art-documentary” with minimal organizing effort. This means more time to put into actual editing! Yep, after about 300 video reviews and interviews, I think I might be developing a vision for ALP, and it includes editing…. sometimes.

Anyhoo, I would, as always, prefer to have a co-host through the adventure but can be a goofball all by myself if need be. However, if anyone out there is interested please do show up at the appointed time and place above and we’ll just do it.

I posted below last year’s dark and shaky interview with Rui while careening through the streets.

Top ten weirdest food served at art openings

Been a fan since I was introduced to the seemingly obscure but brilliant 1932 The Futurist Cookbook by Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. With dishes like a peeled hardboiled egg floating in bowl of milk by an open window, it inspired a few terrific artist dinner parties in my time with mixed results. The story of the cookbook and the famous artists and writers who contributed to it is really fascinating, btw, so check it out if you can get a copy.

So – some art openings really do offer some bizarre concoctions, and the food served can be a direct reflection of the art exhibit, or part of it or a performance unto itself. Often it is a tray of stuff from the grocery store which can be appropriate or jarring. I would love to hear from some of my blog readers their stories of some crazy foodstuffs from openings and events.

To get the ball rolling, I present to you a list of the top ten weirdest food served at art openings … well, some of them are true and some of them are jokes. Please add some in the comments and I’ll try to guess. Maybe some food combination of horror and delight will arise from this.

  1. little pieces of cooked steak frozen in ice cubes with toothpicks.
  2. vegetables cut into uniform rectangles to make your nation’s flag.
  3. vegetarian food made to look like puppies.
  4. jello.
  5. untoasted chunks of bagels with frozen cream cheese.
  6. rutabagas still raw and waxy with a hatchet.
  7. Artist bites head off of chicken in front of his paintings.
  8. Food was not allowed until everyone watched the entire film.
  9. it was not actually fruit – it was a super-awesome still life painting!
  10. chili.

What if I ran my gallery more like British Petroleum?

Been thinking a lot about the business of running a gallery, and especially the business of being an artist. Typically, a gallery will keep 50% of the sale and the artist the other half. The gallery has a community of people it fosters to promote artists and help people develop their collections. You pretty much are able to expect to walk into a gallery and look at the art. If you want to buy it you can, and if not you can walk back out. Openings are open invitation and you are welcome to have a drink, some nibblies and meet fellow art lovers and artists.

But what if we changed things up a bit so running a gallery was more like how different organizations, corporations and associations run things?Let’s compare a few, starting with BP….

1. What if I ran my gallery like British Petroleum?

First of all, I would set up shop in the heart of the cultural and economic center of a large urban area where there are lots of other galleries. Then I would build a gallery out of, say, asbestos and dynamite because these materials work fine as long as they are not on fire. No time for safety inspections. After stuffing the building with priceless art, I would then ignore and belittle the staff who are nervous and complaining the building is unsound. Ideally, I would never have seen or visited my own gallery. Why would I? Anyways, when the building catches fire and kills and maims my staff and a bunch of the artists I would claim the fault is with the building material company. Being an art fire, I have to design a special fire truck and have it shipped from the other side of the world to put it out in a special way so as to allow me to build another gallery in the same spot. Don’t bother me with the details of other galleries, business and homes nearby also burning down in the meantime. In fact, I will publicly comment on how hard this has been for me personally. My whole life is upside down! Perhaps that is the biggest travesty of all.If the mayor complains about me, I will claim he or she is being anti-arts and is a culturaphobe. I may even sue for libel and slander. In the meantime, don’t worry, my gallery will be profitable again. Ow… I think I hurt my finger. I need a vacation.

An interesting model to consider. Perhaps in Hamilton.

2. What if I ran my gallery like an Airport?

First of all, I would make it very easy to get to. You can spend 40 minutes driving to it and park for only $8 every half hour. Or for the more economical conscious art viewer, you can take the gallery shuttle for $16 each way.  Once you get to the gallery you will be welcomed with a $15 gallery construction fee – to serve you better in the future. Then you have a few options to view the entire art show – you can pay a $100 to view the work in a comfortable chair pod with warm, moist towelettes and classical music. Or you can pay $30 and sit in a room with 50 other people on wooden stools and see one painting of your choice. Take heart in the fact the security guard who searches mostly visible minorities entering the international art section is an owner as well. We serve wine and cheese of course, but these extra frills are 10$ for a glass of wine and $8 for a portion of cheese.

At this point, I don’t really care about selling the art anymore, but if you do want to buy a work then there will be tax on it – not the usual modest 13% but an equally modest (in our task force’s official opinion) 53%.

Time to leave? Thanks for visiting, and don’t forget there is a $15 departure tax for the art visitors. Oh, and we have taxis lined up to take you back to the city, but for a set price of $45 each. Don’t forget to tip.

3. What if I ran my gallery like a Bank?

First of all my gallery has the right to make money more than your right to see art. It is a very delicate entity and is very sensitive to any sort of criticism – in fact, criticizing my gallery might collapse the entire world art zeitgeist, and that includes my 33 million dollar bonus as curator. So back off. Wait – times are a little tough so maybe you should leave a 33 million dollar cheque and in return we will promise to stop financing black velvet paintings of bullfighters for poor people. We thought we were providing a valuable service by lending money to buy mass-produces sweat shop kitsch with a modest 27% interest rate. Well, I kinda knew that was a little risky so I took out insurance that would pay my gallery more than the paintings are worth should poor people default on the paintings. I don’t want to give the impression that these people are allowed to keep the art works! No, no – rest assured the paintings are left to rot where they hang, and if anyone tries to come back to look at them then the police will arrest them for aesthetic trespassing. In no way does this mean these poor people are off the hook for what they owe either – my gallery has a right to make money! Look, it’s all very complicated financial matters that are best left to gallery owners like me so don’t worry about it. Rest assured, if you let my gallery go out of business then people will be eating babies in the streets and Mel Gibson will move in next door.

For god’s sake, keep building houses to hang my new line of black velvet paintings in and don’t forget to blame the poor people when you drive to my gallery in your SUV – with the doors locked, of course.

4. What if I ran my gallery like the Toronto Police Force?

There is a strong and imminent threat of young, privileged white kids from Rosedale coming to my gallery exhibit about the future of the world. I need at least a billion dollars to ensure they get nowhere near the artists or art work. I know having my gallery smack-dab in the middle of your neighbourhood may be slightly inconvenient but you should actually leave town. You must have a cottage in the Muskokas right? I do, and sometimes I need to shop at Old Navy instead of American Apparel because of it. Times are tough for all of us. Anyways, it is very important to impress my rich clientele with fences, empty streets and snipers everywhere. Then they will get a true taste of what our culture has to offer.

I formed a gallery committee to pass a law that no one is allowed within 5 meters of the art. Well, actually I didn’t but really you have no business being near my gallery, or in the city that my gallery is located in. You were warned there was an art exhibit going on so if you get searched and arrested because there might be a law somewhere applicable to something you may or may not of done so it is your own damn fault.

Still want to see the art? Ok, we’ve set up an interactive educational museum tour consisting of small cages and cheese sandwiches. It’s not exactly near the gallery but what it lacks in quality it makes up for in quantity – please enjoy the facilities for a minimum of 16 hours. If you get lonely, your loved ones are probably concerned with your sudden disappearance as you headed off to your job and with absolutely no communication from you they have appeared at our off-site programming exhibition. Our staff will go outside and bring them in as well! For the safety of the art installation all persons of differing opinions must be locked up inside the art facility. Our male uninformed art interpreters will also be available to threaten to assault female participants. If you think this is too harsh then remember that somewhere at sometime someone destroyed something. If it was not for people, then there would be the need for art installations so you must accept the blame, being persons.

Any criticism of my gallery and off-site programming is naive and ill-informed. Thousands of art lovers from elsewhere who watched clips of the exhibit festivities on TV agree with me. There is no need to investigate or criticize my curating any further as I have asked my employees to recommend ways that the experience can be improved for the next time I have an exhibit in your city. Certainly two billion dollars will help ensure that absolutely no one gets anywhere near the art show even in the densest of urban areas.

Wait – I think I just described the AGO.

Anyways, I think I will stick with the current model of running an art gallery. Free art shows, friendly conversation and a little wine, cheese and grapes. It may not interest you, and I may be poor for the rest of my life but at least I know I’m not a complete asshole – except to the people mentioned above.

Art squirrels, strangers and social media: a performance project

Last night was the opening for Andreanne Hudon‘s THE WALL OF SQUIRREL at culturshoc gallery – a terrific series of sculptures of 32 individually crafted squirrel heads on hunting plaques that references the myth of the big game Canadian wilderness.

As curator and social media and the arts guy, I was concerned that our new and small gallery on Queen Street West does not have the critical mass of members yet to provide satisfactory numbers of attendees to an opening of an emerging out-of-town artist. As any marketer worth their branded salt will tell you – this is not a problem but an opportunity.

So I decided to make a performance out of the evening, to attract new people and to create media to use in the promotion of Andreanne and my gallery in the future. After all – is media not the most valuable assets of exposure for an  artist? It is if you are concerned with grants and applying for exhibits for a living.

Anyways, it has always been fun here to have sort of impromptu fashion shoots with friends and visitors, so I decided to offer “free photo portraits with art” – a takeaway value for participants. I even stood on the street corner with a camera beside our sandwich board sign and asked people walking to come in. Afterwards we offered them a drink and a snack and they hung out. A group of friends smoked in front of the gallery, adding to the interest and spectacle of the show and event.

I met some really interesting artists and people! I also frightened some people – maybe they thought I was a freelance porn producer. I learned that a technique to say “no” is to “yes, ok” but keep walking. But generally, I had little trouble in obtaining individuals, couples and groups to stop in. I set up an old projector to light the wall work strongly from one side and this contrasted nicely with the natural lighting from the front windows.

Some people hung out and bought stuff from our boutique in the back. I gave a card to each participant and told them they could download their portraits off of our facebook group – our page has resulted in spike of memberships and activity, and these photos are popular already. Which is good for Andreanne, and good for the gallery. Oh, and my ego.

This supports my assertion that the best method for social media marketing for arts and culture with local relevance is to meet people and shake hands. Please find some photos of strangers below.

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10 tips for blogging art on tumblr

Hi tumblr – 1,000′s of posts later, and perhaps 10,000′s of views of art of all sort, I would like to point out a few practices I maintain on my tumblr blog. In other words: tips and tricks for blogging /re-blogging/finding contemporary art on social media.

10. No accreditation = no re-blog | Don’t do the artist / designer a disservice if there is no name or source attached. And trust me, nine times out of ten there is none to be found even if you perform a forensic link trace to find a name. I now move on – even if I really, really like the image.

9. Link up to a twitter account and auto-tweet your tumblr posts | The advantages of this should be obvious if you are interested enough in social media to be reading this post. Linking up with Twitter is an option is right there in the preferences section of each tumblr blog. *Tip – make sure you manually verify the content of each tweet from your tumblr posts, as sometimes this option will only show a shortened url with no description. However, the “Share on Tumblr” bookmarklet does a good job inserting the title into the tweet.

BTW – a tumblr / twitter combination for galleries and artists is a terrifically powerful, agile and simple communications tool. I highly recommend it, and you can embed both into a wordpress blog later on if you want to expand even more.

8. Cut and paste tumblr sources for reblogs into the bottom | I do this to make the information of the post more coherent when my content is shared on twitter, facebook and RSS. Having it at the top, while gallant and fair, confuses people (myself included) as to the title and artist name, etc, and can lead viewers away from your blog.

7. Ignore tumblr’s submissions email function and get a gmail account | If you are thinking of having a cool submissions based site like eat sleep draw, art PR wire or illustrativo, then beware the email that tumblr gives you for submissions. The /submit function straight of the tumblr blog works great but I found most emails to me never arrived in my submissions queue, and those that did most were truncated severely. Get a gmail account, and get submissions email there and then send that to the auto-post email that tumblr gives you in the goodies section for administrators to publish with.

6. Use the queue function to drip out content | Silly me – when I first started I published posts right away. The result was a massive block of immediate postings with long periods of inactivity in between. People are on and off tumblr at various parts of the day and if they are anything like me then most tumblrs will most likely view your post if it happens to appear in the stream in the dashboard. Right now, I have mine set to post one at a time every three hours between 8 am and 9pm – when most people are on the computer, period, and maintains a reasonable presence throughout each day.

5. Vimeo rocks, but Youtube is King | I appreciate Vimeo greatly when I have a video that is over ten minutes to post. Also, when I see a posting with a video on the Vimeo platform I tend to initially take it more seriously than Youtube.  However, what Vimeo has in quality it lacks in sheer traffic quantity and thus you should also be posting on Youtube. Also, facebook video is surprisingly robust and embeddable but does not have the sheer “find-ability” that uploading to videos on Youtube has, of course.

Did you know that the second most popular search engine in the world is Youtube?

4. Post about popular exhibits are less popular than posts about less popular exhibits | Confused? I’ll give you an example – I post about exhibits in Toronto all the time, and when I post about big exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario there is some interest and traffic with it. However, when I post about an exhibit at a small gallery with an emerging artist my traffic and reblogs spike. Why? Because the news about big shows with big ad budgets is everywhere, including with reviews by the somewhat lazy mass media art critics out there. But by posting unique, niche content such as smaller, more avant-garde artists and galleries is more valuable and rare comparatively and generates more interest – not to mention your tumblr blog URL being sent to everyone on that artist and gallery’s list.

3. Don’t follow everyone – follow the best sources | One mistaken approach to tumblr is to treat it as a social network – it is more of an exchange of postcards than a conversation. I followed lots of people at first, but got visually bogged down rather quickly with all the non-art postings. Now I am very strict about who I follow – generally people who go find, document and post interesting art from their areas or do some valuable research and writing about culture I will follow. You have to keep an eye on some people’s posts – often they blog a lot of art then slip into more personal posts. Keep your numbers manageable.

2. Permission-based blogging is actually flatter marketing | I have never had a problem with permission for posting people’s work. I always ask, or reblog with what I must assume has been permitted to be on the web. Artists work very hard on shows, and when somebody with a blog comes around and wants to post about it (like me) then almost always the artist is thrilled. Even though I am not a huge art media mogul (yet) it makes me feel good to validate such work and talent – sometimes some artists who are control freaks and do not understand the value of social media marketing will say no. That’s fine, because there are a thousand brilliant artists lined up behind them who desperately want their work and names to be shared.

For art listings professional, I post a lot of historical works and artists such as Picasso, Dali, O’Keefe, etc. When you post a review of a local artist’s exhibit in between names like those, then you add a bit of context for that artist and they usually are pretty happy to have such company.

I also work hard to not just post but “curate” the experience for the blog visitor. Posts, per block, are related to each other either formally or thematically and this seems to a be one of the keys to building a relationship with a larger and more serious online art community.

1. Post original content | If you reblog, then comment and add a some unique value to the post and reward those who come to your blog instead of where ever else that post is up at. More importantly, add original photos, videos and listings of art shows around your area and your tumblr blog will be picked up far more often in local searches. Those following you will greatly appreciate it and you will be re-blogged far more often as well. If you simply reblog, then your arts-based tumblr blog will never get noticed by very many people. Plus, you are more likely to be forming connections with people and being linked to is the foundation for high rankings on google searches.

Being ground zero for original content is the golden rule in the age of re blogging.

Let me know if you have more suggestions!

ALP is expanding – call for art critics who embrace social media

ArtListPro is looking to expand its media footprint over the Toronto area with quick, positive and snappy video / blog posts of gallery exhibit reviews and arts interviews.

We are seeking 4-5 people across the Toronto area who are keen to do video reviews of art exhibits and post them on youtube and vimeo.

The selected ALP art critics will choose what artists / events / galleries interest them for review. They will video and upload their videos and this will be posted on Art Listings Professional.

The selected candidates will own their own reviews and can / should have their own blogs & contact info that ALP links to with each post.

We are looking for people who understand what we do is free and always will be, and do not seek ownership or licensing rights or any of that nonsense. The value of ALP is in the popularity, community and uniqueness of the service.

Ideally each critic would do 4-5 video reviews each month, and each should be between 1 minute to 10 minutes in length. There should be no editing and video from a cell phone or flip camera is perfectly acceptable.

Art Listings Professional is permission based and we only review work that is implied or expressly allowed to be reproduced onto the web.

You may do interviews with any “co-host” you choose or even apply as a team.

Look forward to working with a group of dynamic and outgoing art lovers! Our plan is to expand into TV / Print as well as garner sponsorship interest so we are looking for committed individuals.

-comfortable with “live” reviews and interviews (no editing afterwards)

-owns own digital video/audio device

-comfortable with uploading videos to youtube or vimeo

-gift of the gab

-passionate about the arts

The ideal candidates will be outgoing, have a keen interest in arts and culture and enjoy interviewing artists and seeking out independent venues for review. Becoming an Art Listings Professional critic / host will be of great benefit to anyone seeking experience and exposure as a personality for art criticism, journalism, improv, comedy and social media.

You do not have to be an “art expert” to be considered – you just have to have fun and not be afraid to talk about art shows. ALP’s vision is to attract people to their local galleries who otherwise may be intimidated until they see our casual and somewhat goofy art critic style :)

check it out at http://www.youtube.com/artlistpro or http://vimeo.com/artlistpro

our main site is http://www.artlistpro.com

Art Listings Professional is an arts blog based in Toronto, Canada. Developed to take advantage of emerging channels in social media, ALP has made a mark on the arts scene since it’s inception a year ago with video reviews, interviews, maps and blog posts.

ALP was also created to help market smaller but worthy galleries that may not have the advertising budget that larger galleries and museums do.

contact us here. This is a volunteer position – a labour of love.

thanks!

Another glib list: 10 ways to be a contemporary artist without knowing how to draw

10: tilt-shift photography (oooo, the city / horse / waif girl looks like a toy!)
9: words mechanically produced on an image (it cost at least $50 to do this, so you better pretend to be interested by it)
8. dilapidated architectural photographs (it’s like a new building, but more ironic)
7. buy 500 of the same object and arrange it in a grid (“the artist challenges our preconceptions of everyday objects by transforming them into new realities …. “)
6. take a map and mess it up with some random information (“the artist challenges our preconceptions of everyday places by transforming them into new realities …. “)
5. a) find old photographs of whatever b) stick them in a lightbox! (hello 70% of MFA thesis exhibitions)
4. pay a shop or team of people to make art for you (“the artist challenges our preconceptions of everyday art by transforming our expectations into new realities …. “)
3. collect electronic equipment, motion sensors and projectors and apply open-source software to make them do things when people walk by (designed to impressed Luddite art writers for grant-worthy reviews)
2. make long tonal audio art works on your PC (sorry, probably a mac) at home with whispering sentences that are very personal and intimate. broadcast softly in whimsical installation that is site-specific.
1. get very good at writing and apply for public art commissions by referring to obscure French philosophers, mathematical formulas and complementing the hell out of the architect who is making the building. the resulting art should be a series of coloured squares that do not offend anyone.

… a combination of the above techniques will result in highly innovative work. apply with caution.

A glib list of the top 10 cliches in Contemporary Art right now

So, I figure I have seen about 5,000 works of art in the last year (most of it online, mind you) and have been to about 500 exhibitions (no word of a lie) so of course I notice trends and directions. However, there are some cliches and degraded mimicry going on that needs to be pointed out. Not that some people doing some of the stuff below is not very cool or worthy, but unfortunatly most of it is not. Some of the cliches below have been haunting rental galleries for decades, others are propoganda of the trendiest galleries in Toronto.

10. Grainy polaroid photographs of skinny girls with tabbit masks. goddamn hipster douchebags. urgh.
9. Nude in a landscape somewhere. watch out for the cheeseball avalanche. blerk.
8. Drama masks on a canvas with paint splatterd on it…. burn after seeing. bwah.
7. Photo transfer on canvas …are you trying to be the new Robert Bateman? idiots producing and buying this shit.
6. Neon lighting words – proof some can be just as bad writers as artists. pfft.
5. Hudson Bay blanket & colours – try to stand out on Queen Street West, not blend in. whatev.
4. Vinyl cartoony flowers and characters on walls. pokemon is hokey art.
3. Victorian era style images of animal and people … but… omg.. with surreal elements! oh no!…. yawn….
2. Architects doing site specific work. Golly, would you like more whitespace? Could you possibly be more boring?More de-humanizing? More mini-institutional… yes you can.
1. black and white photographs of your damn family history. oh look! here’s my mom and dad on vacation somewhere! here’s a locket of hair! it’s in a lightbox! …. please shoot me in the foot so I can feel alive again.