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
We got together with @aydengallery & @LFTMCollective to bring you a great event! EAST vs. WEST | In-Store Art Exhibit http://t.co/ylOS0P1u
— Mike Casali (@Mike_Casali) May 15, 2012
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.
Another piece I quite liked was the group piece on the bottom of one column in the store, judging by their facebook photo album it was done by at least Mr. Ricq and Guillaume Blackburn. probably due to them copying the En Masse style.
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