Since I’m on the topic of sellable art, I should mention that I also went to see the East vs. West exhibit at Three Monkeys. I don’t think anyone has ever done a study on it, but I would venture a guess that if you own a store, putting art up on the walls and hosting exhibits is a cheap and effective way to market and promote the store. On the other hand, wall space is valuable real estate for merchandising, and if it was truly effective than there probably would be more stores that did it, right?
Anyhow, either way by presenting the show, it succeeded in getting me into a clothing store, which is no mean feat. According to the folderol that they put out on Facebook and Twitter
the show was organized with the help of the Ayden Gallery in Vancouver and some clothing company called Lifetime Collective. My guess would be that the folk at Ayden put some art in the mail, and the folk at Lifetime sent a check – but I could be wrong. The large majority of it is arranged grid-like on the back wall of the store. There are a couple of other places as well where they have managed to hang some stuff, but as it really and truly is a clothing store, the art is not quite as front and center as I would have preferred.
It’s a fairly large group of artists, thirteen to be exact, six from Vancouver and nine Montrealers (Peter Ricq was identified as being from both Montreal and Vancouver). Other than the geography, there isn’t really anything linking the art together which depending on where you sit could be a good thing or a bad thing. Bad in that anytime you try to start making links between art it is unlikely to work as well as you think, and there is a strong chance that someone like me will come along and question just about everything. Good in that it does give the viewer some kind of hook on which they can hang their hat. The geography thing does work as the hook in this case.
But since there was nothing on the tags to identify who came from where, and I didn’t really go from one end of the store to the other to double check against the list that was written by the door, I didn’t really get any sense of regional identity for any of the artists. It was much more like, “here it is, look at it.”
So I did. The quality of the work was uniformly pretty good, there wasn’t anything that really jumped out a beat me over the head with how great it was. The closest would have been the double exposure portrait by Andrew Young, either because it was centered on the back wall, it was a larger piece, because of its unusual canvas, or more likely all three.
Overall, as you might have guessed, I’m quite fond of shows like this. A sort of pop-up gallery if you will, furthering the idea that art should be an inegral part of everyone’s life. It especially helps that there wasn’t any heavy theory behind it, and that the quality of all the work was above average. I hope that the people who attended the vernissage bought some clothes as well as some art, so that more exhibits like this can be done.
If you want to take a gander at it, Three Monkeys is on the Metcalfe side of Les Cours Mont Royal right next to the fountain, and the show itself is up until the end of the month.
Description of show
Mention of NYTimes article
I don’t think I particularly noticed when he got a show at the Musee d’art de Joliette (and shouldn’t an artist with a career that’s going places first have a show in Joliette and then in Montreal? And not the other way around?) nor was I expecting to see his work when I went to Art Mûr – I had trucked up there ostensibly to see something else, more on that later. Anyhows, I was quite impressed.
One of the sensations I kind of remember from his show in 2004 was some kind of meditative spin on things, him trying to paint (I think they were paintings) the space in between dozing off and a full sleep. That kind of trance you can end up in if you repeat the same word, gesture or action over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over (ain’t copy/paste grand?!). As far as I can tell there are lots of people out there who believe that those trances are good. I’m not one of them, which is why I probably lumped him in the same space as Boom Desjardins.
This time however I was very impressed at the shininess of his current work. Where the work of his in my memory was kind of flat with a subtle texture (again, I think) from the brush. Which kind of aided to at least understand the Zen-like sensations I felt I was supposed to feel. These photographs are shiny to the point where if they were laid on the floor, you could almost dive right in. All of them are photographs roughly two feet by three feet that are mounted underneath a very thick piece of plexiglass.
I accidentally forgot my measuring tape in my other pants when I visited Art Mûr so I can’t tell you if it’s ¼” or ½” or something even thicker. But great gosh-a’mighty that plexiglass made them shiny as all get go. Now I kind of have this hate/hate relationship with shiny contemporary art. I tend to look at it as a extremely facile and simplistic method to make otherwise unremarkable art extremely sellable. Normally it’s done with multiple layers of varnish which requires some (not much) skill – as an aside it’s because of the varnishing that here in Quebec we call an art opening a Vernissage. Back in the good old days, once a painter finished some paintings for a an exhibition, he’d invite his friends over to help him varnish them so that they would be suitable for display. Since varnishing a painting is a fairly tedious job, he’d (back in the good old days 99% of your professional artists were men) have to bribe them with bottles of wine to keep them happy. As a consequence, these varnishing parties could get quite boisterous, and it was only a matter of time before a vernissage became synonymous with the opening of an exhibit. But I digress…
M. Venne’s work in this show is eight nearly monochromatic, nearly featureless, photographs (there are only seven pieces of art, because one of the pieces, I’ll Keep You There… So Long is a diptych). As simple as rain on a window, the most prevalent feature of these photographs is the color. They are for the most part gradients of primary color (gradiented primary color? Primary color gradients?) – there is one that is orange – and look pretty much like what I would imagine the world looks like if you were severely myopic.
Extremely simple in concept and form, it’s the sort of thing which makes me gnash my teeth. Instead of using new and improved tools to make new and improved art. M. Venne uses new and improved tools (in this case a fancy-ass digital camera, and fancy-ass digital printer, and a fancy-ass laminator) to make the same old, same old. While I probably should applaud him for being consistent with his art, I can’t help but feel a little bit cheated, because the picture itself is meaningless. Without a title and the title of the show itself all they are are shiny contemporary versions of medium sized colorfields. They aren’t breaking any new ground nor they aren’t earth-shattering, and while all art doesn’t have to be ground-breaking or earth-shattering, when you are using current technologies it helps, a lot. Because if your art isn’t ground-breaking and earth-shattering then it runs the risk of being mundane. Being mundane isn’t a good thing.
It’s the kind of work that I am used to seeing from artists at Galerie de Bellefeuille or Simon Blais. While I am not against the commercialization of art, there are certain times when it hits me that something “art-like” is much closer to being a commodity, and this is one of those times, right down to the fact that he does not bother to mention to size of the print run for each of the pictures.
Despite the bafflegab and gobbledy-gook in Art Mûr’s magazine about pensiveness, and reflection, to me M. Venne’s work is all about sellability. There are some times when shopping can cause a sensation of bliss, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. So I really shouldn’t be raining on anyone’s parade. Especially, since I think that M. Venne’s work is incredibly sellable. They’re priced appropriately, in that region that will make the buyer instantaneously recognize that the work is serious, while at the same time not being outrageous. Or if you prefer, about 57¢/cm2 a pop or $3.59/in2. (66¢/cm2 with taxes. If you’re buying Quebecois art, you can save some serious change by having it shipped either out of province or out of the country).
At that price, don’t forget that it probably would help immensely to bring both a swatch from your couch and a paint chip from your wall color so as to make sure that they match the picture.
Henri Venne: Somewhere in Between was exhibited at Art Mûr from April 26 until June 16, 2012
As per usual I have no details as to when it was stolen, where in Quebec it was stolen (if in fact it was stolen in Quebec), who it was stolen from or how it was stolen, or how much it is worth. Nor can I even tell you what it was made out of, because all they say is “mixed media.” So it could be anything. They say it was made in 1985 which not only means that she made it while she was a student at l’Université du Québec à Montréal, but also it’s too far back to even appear on her CV. More information on Ms. Landry can be found here, and as usual, if you happen to see the work, call 911.
Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, but yesterday I noticed that they are tearing up the travertine inside Westmount Square. As far as I could tell, it was just the entry on Greene Avenue, and I have no idea if they are going to replace it once whatever repairs have been made.
Then, to further the fiasco that is Ontario street in between Jeanne Mance and Saint Urbain, I also noticed that they city has created a second bicycle path along Ontario that parallels the one along de Maisonneuve, because the Quartier des Spectacles refuses to allow bikes. I wonder how much it cost, and who was the bright wag that signed off on the bike path through the QdS in the first place? Again, apologies for the lack of pictures, but you’re just going to have to take my word.
I don’t know what it is, but Charles Daudelin isn’t getting much respect these days. Beyond the fiasco that is Square Viger, there’s also Allégrocube. Completed in 1973 as part of the 1% art integration law for the building of the Palais de Justice two sides initially moved on hinges, opening and closing like a clam-shell. But they have been busted for at least a dozen years, if not more. It’s made of something called Muntz Metal which is like brass and made of 60% copper, 40% zinc with a trace of iron.
Initially, when a friend told me that it was supposed to move, I thought that they were pulling my leg. But nope, the city just let it break and then decided not to fix it.
It was my first visit inside the Maison Symphonique which still is not completed (anyone want to take bets on when it will be done?) I will continue to wait to comment on the building until it is finished. But that’s not going to stop me from commenting about the concerts. The first one, on Saturday evening was of Symphonies One and Two. Then on Sunday afternoon they performed Symphonies Three and Four along with Brahms’ Violin Concerto. For the most part I’ve been concentrating on the Symphonies. No slight intended to Benjamin Beilman, he was very good, but the majority of this piece is not going to be about him. It was also my first time in a long time, something like two or three years, seeing an orchestra. For whatever reasons I’ve been concentrating on chamber music recently. After seeing the Orchestre Métropolitain, I’m going to have to get back into the habit again.
It appears that Maestro Nézet-Séguin is on some kind of Brahms streak right now. In going back over his concerts since September 2006, he performed Brahms’ symphonies eight times with four different orchestras prior to May of this year. Then from May 11 to August 31 of this year (as far in advance as the calendar on his website goes) he will be performing them fourteen times with all three orchestras that he directs! Although we are lucky here as we are the only city to get to hear the third symphony. Rotterdam is getting One and Two, and Philadelphia is getting One and Four. In doing the research for this article both the Rotterdams Philharmonisch and the Orchestre Métropolitain made promo videos (I guess the Philadelphia Orchestra isn’t quite in a position to be able to afford to make promo videos just yet).
The Rotterdam promo
And the Orchestre Métropolitain promo
All nice enough, nothing terribly earth shattering, although it’s kind of cool that Maestro Nézet-Séguin has a favorite conductor. Also, as long as I am talking about the stuff in advance of the concert, I must, respectfully take exception to what Arthur Kaptainis wrote. While his logic was reasonable, he was completely and thoroughly wrong. None of the symphonies Maestro Nézet-Séguin conducted were particularly slow. I would also presume that the performances with the different orchestras will be as different as the orchestras themselves.
I also came across this interview with him from twelve years ago. I wonder how long it is going to take for him to shake the “young conductor” label. I know that when I was 37, I certainly didn’t think of myself as a youngster.
But enough of the rambling. I really should get to the meat of the matter. For the first concert we were seated right beside (if slightly above) the orchestra. They were definitely entertaining seats, as we had a clear view of Maestro Nézet-Séguin conducting and were almost on top of Jean-Guy Plante. I can remember one other time being that close to an orchestra, and while I can understand the allure of being further back so that the sound (theoretically) is better, given that a concert is a live performance, being that close gives you a lot of things to look at. As I said, highly entertaining. Being that close also enabled me to see my favorite violinist and viola players, Celine Arcand and Jean Rene. I wasn’t close enough to make out their playing individually, but I know that they were great.
Maestro Nézet-Séguin mentioned that the set up of the orchestra was Viennese, which as he pointed out meant that the Double Basses were behind the brass section, however the trumpet players were also using rotary-valve trumpets which is particular to the Vienna Philharmonic. My ear isn’t good enough to know if they tuned to A443 or if they used any other techniques, specific instruments or ideas from the Vienna Philharmonic, but I would venture a guess as to yes. It would be interesting to see if he got his other two orchestras to do the same when they do their Brahms gigs.
As I mentioned earlier, Maestro Nézet-Séguin’s tempos weren’t particularly slow. I was able to get my hands on a bunch of different recordings and for the First Symphony it sounded to me as if he was leading them at pretty much the same tempo as Antal Doráti‘s recordings from the late 50s and early 60s. While it would have been nice if I could have identified the tempos of the other symphonies, my sense of timing is not quite as good as my sense of tone, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.
The one thing that I was able to pick up on was that in comparison to the recordings that I heard, the Orchestre Métropolitain did not have as much of a dynamic range. However I do not know if that was due to where I was sitting or if it was in fact due to the orchestra. Given that they were a small bunch to start with (about 58 musicians onstage) it might have been a case of not being large enough to get really loud, and therefore the quieter parts didn’t sound as dramatically different.
In the first concert I completely missed the First Symphony’s transition from the third to fourth movement, and then when paying particularly close attention during the Second Symphony understood why. In the Second Symphony the pause was incredibly short, barely enough time for the musicians to turn the page in their scores. I would imagine that it was similar in the First Symphony as well – or perhaps I just fell asleep at the wrong time.
The music itself was very nice. In my notes I refer to it not being syrupy at all, and in certain parts being extremely fluid. If you’re really interested, when I have finished Walter Frisch‘s book Brahms: The Four Symphonies I’ll be in a much better position to describe what was happening as the music was playing, but for the time being you’re going to have to put up with things like “it sounds like they are skipping through a field,” and “kind of like suspended in amber.”
I couldn’t understand, nor did I really like or appreciate that during the intermission there were some children sawing their way through Vivaldi right beside the bar. Afterwards I discovered that there had been some kind of community outreach by the orchestra and Maestro Nézet-Séguin to a local high school. That’s all fine and dandy, but playing inappropriate background music where there really shouldn’t be any is not the way to do it. Working with musicians from the orchestra and being conducted (is that the proper way to say it?) by Maestro Nézet-Séguin definitely fits the bill, and as long as I am at it, I also think they should have been invited to both concerts, not just one. After the intermission, it was back to our seats for Symphony Number Two. In the program they mentioned how “Brahms’s Concerto for Violin displays features that make it almost a companion piece to his Symphony No. 2.” Which made me wonder why they didn’t play them on the same night.
Of the four symphonies I heard them play, the second was, to my ears the weakest. Which is not to say it wasn’t good, just that the other three were better. Specifically in the third movement where they seemed to be alternating between being sloppy and being sludgy. Of the four it was the one that sounded the least emotional to me. Not robotic or mechanical, but more “rote” than “with feeling.” I don’t know where the thought came from, but it occurred to me that it might a=have been a case of not having enough practice time. Maestro Nézet-Séguin tweeted that they only did seven rehearsals which means that one of the symphonies only got one rehearsal. If that was the case, my money is on the second.
On Sunday we returned to the still unfinished Maison Symphonique. This time our seats were one row back and on the other side of the orchestra. I definitely know that being one row further back is not a good thing, but I’m undecided as to which side is better. Ultimately when given a gift of tickets, it’s exceedingly difficult to request specific seats. Although I was able to see Mr. Kaptainis from the Gazette sitting fairly far back, on the floor, towards the left. In your standard issue critic’s seats. I think that maybe the ones directly behind the orchestra might be pretty cool. But at some point (once they have completed the building) I’m going to have to try out a variety of different seats to see which ones sound best – after all they have been touting about how great the acoustics are in the building.
The usher in our section wasn’t particularly well trained. We had accidentally entered on the wrong side of the stage and were making our way through the seats to get to the other side, when he stopped us and tried to make us go the opposite way through a large crowd of people walking through a small doorway. Kind of like swimming upstream through quicksand. We didn’t pay him any attention, and hopefully someone will give him some training on how to seat people properly. Then also in looking around at the crowd, the Orchestre Métropolitain really needs to do some work on getting people with different colored skin to show up to their concerts. It was quite easy to see how they had made very good progress in getting a younger crowd to come see them. But I was able to count on my fingers and toes the number of people in the audience whose skin was darker than mine. Next year when they tour the island of Montreal they only play in one neighborhood with a significant recent immigrant population. If anyone is interested, I’d suggest that they play in Montreal North and St. Michel as often as they play in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Saint Laurent and Pierrefonds.
The Third Symphony seemed to me to be slower than that of the Dorati version I had been listening to. And I think that I made a mistake in listening to it before the concert. Instead of using the concert as my baseline/benchmark and comparing everything I heard to it. I ended up with the Dorati version being the baseline/benchmark and unfortunately comparing the concert to the recording instead of the other way around. Overall it was very light, in a good way. I noted that at various points it almost seemed as if Maestro Nézet-Séguin let the musicians themselves set the pace, which to my ears seemed like a good thing.
We then got the Violin Concerto, and Mr. Beilman acquitted himself very well. I can’t find anything on YouTube of him playing any Brahms, and after all the reading and listening I did for the symphonies, I just wasn’t able to find the time to get to the Violin Concerto, sorry.
The Fourth Symphony started out like a large boat cruising down an even larger river, at various points it sounded to me like some graceful nymphs, tip toeing and very lyrical. But the thing that most impressed me was the fourth movement, where I was incapable of writing one word down – I was just that riveted by the music. While the third movement of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony is the famous one and always reminds me of some B-movie western from the 50s in technicaolor
What Maestro Nézet-Séguin did with the fourth movement was better than particularly nice, it was downright gorgeous and very pretty (I should also point out that Marie-Andrée Benny did an awesome job as well). If I could make it down to Saratoga in August to hear him perform it with the Philadelphia Orchestra I would. If you can, you should. And don’t forget that Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain will be playing Brahms’ First Symphony again on July 22 at the Domain Forget and are playing two free concerts at Theatre de Verdure on July 20 and August 4.
Then to wrap things up (this has become rather large) I noticed in the program that Maestro Nézet-Séguin donated more than $50,000 to the Orchestre Métropolitain. Which confused the heck out of me, wouldn’t it just be simpler to reduce his salary? It’s quite the gesture and should be done by many more people, but made me realize that conductors are a little bit like NASCAR drivers. The way they earn their money is vary opaque and coming from a variety of very different sources, and as a consequence isn’t exactly clear. Overall though I’m very happy to see that he is making enough money to donate such a large chunk of change.
Overall I’d have to say I was quite pleased with how things turned out. I’m not sure I’d always be interested in doing a sort of marathon of music devoted to on composer, but this one worked out well. Whatever the reason, it was very good to see an orchestra again, and finally get to see Maestro Nézet-Séguin in action. I’m looking forward to the next time. And then lastly (if you’re still reading this far) you should take this quick, easy and very silly test.
It seems that Charles Daudelin isn’t getting much respect these days. He died about a decade ago and it seems that everywhere I turn there’s another one of his works which is being being neglected. Last month I was down at Square Viger and took some pictures of his Agora and Mastodo, both of which have been consigned to junkies and other marginal members of society.
There’s a new and updated list of restaurants to try, and worth going back to on the right over there. Not an awful lot of change from May, because there isn’t an awful lot of space. For whatever reasons, I’ve been going to old and familiar places recently and as a consequence not trying too many new places.
I freaking hate it, when I ask if I can take pictures at an exhibit, and some person who doesn’t know any better starts spouting about copyright and uses that as the excuse why they won’t let me take a snapshot. Listen people, the Canadian copyright act is right here. In it there’s a paragraph, number 29 to be exact, that talks about Fair Dealing. If I am writing a review of your show, I can use pictures that I took to illustrate the article and not impinge, infringe or otherwise step on your intellectual property. So folks, how about this? Next time I show up and ask to take pictures, understand I am being courteous and polite and be courteous and polite in return and say, “yes.”
I bring this up, because last weekend, I went to Galerie Mile End, and asked to take pictures. The woman who was there, didn’t know copyright from a hole in the wall, but insisted that was the reason why I couldn’t take pictures. She then proceeded to watch me for five minutes (there was no one else in the gallery except the two of us) until I realized that the only reason she was watching me was that I had not put my camera away (like I’m going to surreptitiously snap a picture and copy someone’s art and call it my own! Gimme a break!). So I put away the camera, she went back to making art, but then to make matters worse insisted on coming out once every five minutes for the next 15 minutes with some supposedly helpful suggestion (“the artists’ have their business cards over here, if you take them, you can call them and ask them if it is ok to take pictures,” “the artist who did these pieces is going to be here at 2:30, if you wait you can ask her if it is ok to take pictures of her work,” “if there was any of my work in the show, I’d let you take pictures of it”).
Suffice it to say, I was not in a good mood, and slowly got more and more annoyed at her as time progressed. Instead of snapping and throwing or shouting something. I gripped my pen and clipboard even tighter still, took a couple of deep breaths and did my best not to let my foul mood cloud my judgement or opinion of the work on the walls – but man, oh, man was it tough. All the way home I was contemplating some kind of savage ripost or 10,000 word screed. Or just spiking the whole darn thing. But when I got home, I put on Brahm’s Symphony #1, took a nap, and when I woke up, everything was much better. Thanks Johannes.
OK, now that I got that off my chest, some background. Galerie Mile End is an offshoot of the Park Avenue YMCA. It’s a kind of community centre/art studios/gallery/collective type of thing. You know, one of those places where people with day jobs that aren’t quite as fulfilling as they hoped, go after work to do creative things. Paint, Sculpt, Draw, etc. As a consequence a small supportive community arises out of and around them, and the people making the art don’t get driven crazy by their jobs/commute/relationships/kids, etc. Just in case yo9u thought I was being 100% literal, sorry, I over simplified things – it obviously isn’t that easy in real life, but you get the point. I’d like to say that I have followed the members of Galerie Mile End closely for the past 14 years and as a consequence can say with authority, that none of their members have ever gone on to make the jump from day job to full-time artist. But I haven’t, so I can’t and that’s just the last little bit of frustration leaking out of me, pay it never no mind. Things start looking up from here on it, I promise.
The reason I was interested in going to see the exhibit was because En Masse has kind of been taking over the city. It seems that everywhere I look, there is some very large black and white cartoon-like mural made by something like 70 dozen different local artists. It seems to me that Black and White is the new black – or maybe the new Friday, or something like that. Anyhows, I was curious to see if En Masse had had any influence on the fine folk at Galerie Mile End. In short no. While the exhibit at Galerie Mile End was a group show, it was not collaborative in the least. While there was something approaching thematic unity based on the title, I did see some greens, and a couple of other colors that were not black or white – and there was quite a lot of gray as well, which technically I figure is alright, but if I wanted to get all nit-picky about it, I could. But I think I have gotten rid of all the frustration I had over the weekend (I actually listened to the Brahms #1, something like four times…) so we’ll let it slide.
There were about three dozen different artists involved. Some of them showing multiple pieces (alright), some of them showing multiple pieces in very different media (not so hot). Anytime I look at any type of collection of art (or for that matter a collection of anything else) I try to make some sense out of it by looking for connections. When I am introduced to an artists’ work, it is extremely difficult to be able to grasp what they do, how they think, why they create or the thoughts behind their creations if their output goes from one extreme to another – especially with artists that I am unfamiliar with. It’s all fine and dandy for Picasso to sculpt, paint, and draw, he’s been dead for almost 40 years and his art is fairly well known in the Western world. He is not trying to impress anyone with his art anymore. However, some artist who isn’t quite as well known as Mr. Picasso ends up confusing the heck out of me if the first time I see some of their work there’s an abstract sculpture, a painting of some flowers and a cliched photograph with some kind of motivational text on it. I’m left wondering if the artist thinks that these particular objects are in fact their best work, or if in fact they think that absolutely everything they make is worthy of being exhibited? While I realize that people have many different facets to their personalities, trying to group the three pieces together into on e larger understanding of the motivation of the artist is not exactly easy. From where I sit, it would be better to have a show of just abstract sculptures, then another show of flower paintings a third of cliched motivational photography and only then have a show combining all three media. But that’s my personal preference, your may be different.
So as I can get it out of the way, and not have to try to remember to do it, these are the names of the artists participating in Blanc et Noir at Galerie Mile End: Anne Salomon, Bouthaina Bouzid, Celine Landry, Claude Lépine, Claudette Seguin-Beaulieu, Emily Wai Yee Leong, Esther Kanfi, Gaby Orbach, Henri Enfant, Josée Laurion, Laila Maestari, Louise Rousseau, Marcia Campillo, Michelle Bonneville, Monique Corbeil, Myles Johnston, Olga Maksimova, Paulette Dufresne, Pierre Foret, Rachel Dionne, Sandra Glenns, Thibauld Lelievre, and yves vaillancourt. By my count I think I liked four pieces (or at least that’s how many I starred in my notes). Not a good percentage in any way shape of form.
However (at some point I am going to have to either drop the use of the word “however” altogether, or start using it even more) that is not to say that the other works were not good, just that they weren’t up my alley. Using a different method of scoring, I would say that that about 90% of the works exhibited were technically good, proficient. That the artist making the work knew how to use their tools properly. That’s a much better percentage, don’t you think? But either way an exhibit is only as good as the worst piece in the show. And no matter how you cut it, there was some stuff in the exhibit that was weak both on a technical level and personally on an aesthetic level. If you’re going to use something as vague as “Black and White” as a unifying theme the quality of the art by definition needs to be of the highest caliber. I don’t know who was responsible for picking and choosing the art, but somehow I get the distinct impression that there was some kind of call made, and anyone and everyone who responded (including the people with art that included green) was accepted.
The show was hung, not so much with an eye to balancing the works. Nor did it seem to me as being hung in order to create (the dreaded) dialogue between pieces. The way that I saw it, the show was hung in an attempt to maximize the number of pieces that could be shown while for the most part trying to keep everything at eye level. As a consequence I either would hate to see the work that wasn’t accepted or I strongly suspect nothing was turned down.
Initially, in my outline this was where I was going to write about “The Good Stuff.” But now, I realize that really wouldn’t serve any purpose other than to piss people off – and given that I was pissed off over the weekend, passing it on doesn’t strike me as being particularly useful. As I said there are good pieces in the show, and there are even pieces in the show that I quite like, a lot. But the instant I make that division, someone is not going to be happy. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like the show itself. By now, that should be obvious. To me it was kind of like going to a restaurant where there was one dish that was amazing and wonderful, the rest of the meal was acceptable but the service was horrendous. An art exhibition is more than just slapping some art on the walls and serving some cheap wine at an opening. There needs to be something holding it together. There needs to be some focus and while there doesn’t need to be some theory behind it, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Then finally there should always be some threshold of what is acceptable to exhibit. It’s all fine and dandy to be polite and diplomatic in person and with people. Art (for the most part) is made up of inanimate objects that do not have feelings that would be hurt if they weren’t exhibited. Someone needs to take charge and draw that line when organizing an exhibition. That and let me take some pictures as well.