Lorna Mills and Sally McKay
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Miklos Legrady - The Execution of Color
[digital projection and mural prints 44"x66" / 111.76cm x 139.7cm]
Many thanks to Morris Wolfe for tipping me off to this very funny and insightful review of Brian Boyd' s On The Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction by Michael Bérubé. I'm planning to read the Boyd book because it sounds like it's in a different league from Dennis Dutton's The Art Instinct (by different I mean not ludicrous) and the suggestion that fiction is necessary for human survival is a topic dear to my heart. But I already like Bérubé's sardonic take better than either of them.
“[Richard] Dawkins points out that he could with equal validity, though with less impact, have called his famous first book not The Selfish Gene but The Cooperative Gene.”
Well, that’s nice to know after all these years, now that three decades of popular-science enthusiasts have convinced themselves that Nature herself speaks in the language of Ayn Rand. One hopes the word will get around.
Lorna Mills' top events and such for 2009 (And this is it for lists, you can now write 2010 on your cheques after you read this post. We apologize for delaying the new year.)
1. The re-enactment, using puppets, of a Top Secret Wedding ceremony, performed at an undisclosed location, by two people who shall remain un-named.
2. Daniel Barrow's Prank Phone Call to Divya Mehra that kicked off the web project REPLYall organized by Art Metropole and SAVAC
3. Joe McKay's iPhone app BIG TIME
Joe very helpfully explained that this app was all about me, more to the point, what time it is just for me, based on my exact distance from the prime meridian.
Admitedly, I had a bit of trouble downloading the app to my own iPhone, (mostly because, as an iPhone developer myself, I have been provided with one so technologically advanced that I have to get a man to help me use it.) There's a web version to clicky-click on too.
4. jimlouis' writing.
5.Oliver Laric's documentary video Versions paired with
the version of Versions starring Guthrie Lonergan as the .
(My Preview Version of Versions does not make anyone's lists, so I may give myself a top spot next year.)
6. Jon Rafman's IMG MGMT: The Nine Eyes of Google Street View for Art Fag City.
7. Ed Pien's installation at the Tree Museum
8. Emmor Ray Sperry's boardgame designs.
9. Photos from the City of Toronto Archives:
That first image is actually from my house, but don't worry I fixed that nasty hole in the wall with a Derek Sullivan piece that happened to be handy.
(I sort of regret it now since his most recent show was on Jon Davies' top ten list)
Sunday - Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
Some Velvet Morning
Sally McKay's Top Ten highlights from a course on 20th Century Canadian Art
This fall I taught a course called 20th Century Canadian Art. Here are some of my favourite thingies from our discussions.
1) Newton MacTavish: a journalist and photographer writing right at the time of the Group of Seven. His 1925 book is one of the first ever surveys of The Fine Arts in Canada. MacTavish was dubious about nationalism in art. And he starts the book by suggesting that we must look to the aboriginal Canadians for the beginnings of Canadian art. True to the opinions of his day, he goes on to dismiss Native art and artifacts as utilitarian, rather than aesthetic, but hey, at least he thought to mention it. This was a period of history when the Canadian government was doing everything it could to squash indigenous culture.
2) Colonialism juxtaposition
Above: Homer Watson, The Stone Road, 1881
Right: a map showing the Haldimand Tract (aka Grand River Territory), granted to the Six Nations Confederacy in 1784 (grey area), and the current Six Nations reserve (red area) from The Dominion.
3) Shelley Niro, a member of the Mohawk Nation, Iroquois Confederacy, Turtle Clan, Six Nations Reserve. The Shirt (2003) is a series of six photographs. See them all here at viritualmuseum.ca.
4) Great White North
Lawren Harris, North Shore, Lake Superior, 1926
In the book Beyond Wilderness, an excellent anthology critiquing Canadian landscape painting, Scott Watson suggests that the overwhelming winter whiteness of Lawren Harris' work has racial implications.
Michael Snow, Plus Tard #15, 1977
Snow made this series of blurred photographs by slowly panning the Group of Seven installation at the National Gallery with a still camera. See the rest of them here at CCCA.ca
Joyce Wieland, The Spirit of Canada Suckles the French and English Beavers, 1970-71
Wendy Coburn, The Spirit of Canada Eating Beaver, 1999-2000
6) 70s video art (yay! I love this stuff)
Lisa Steele, Birthday Suit – with scars and defects, 1974. See an excerpt here at CCCA.ca
One of the students pointed out how great and strange and creepy it is the way she rubs her scars. It's intimate but at the same time mechanical and a bit robotic. We did a time travel exercise to get in the mood for the slow slow pacing of 70s video before we watched this and Colin Campbell. In a sort of year end nostalgia reflecting on the past frame of mind, I can't help but marvel at just how different the techno-media landscape is now from when this was made. And yet this early 70s video feels very familiar and vital, part of the present conversation.
Colin Campbell, Sackville I'm Yours, 1972. See an excerpt here at CCCA.ca.
The following quotes are from a wonderful eulogy, "The singing dunes: Colin Campbell, 1943-2001" that John Greyson wrote for C Magazine, no. 74, summer 2002
He's the only person I've known whose friendships (deep, profound, intimate, long-term) were truly transgendered. Which meant that he resolutely refused to let gender define anyone. Which of course made him a very queer enigma that neither Church Street (gay town) nor College street (trendy town) could fathom. (Queen Street — the art scene — did him somewhat better).
7) Vancouver's sublime banal & engagement with small moments of daily life
N.E. Thing Co. Ltd, Territorial Claim - Urination, 1969
Jeff Wall, Mimic, 1982
Ken Lum, Melly Shum Hates Her Job, 1990 (installation view, Rotterdam)
8) Collectivity, collaboration, and suspension of disbelief
Mr. Peanut (Vincent Trasov) and the Peanettes (Kate Craig is far left), video still from The Mr. Peanut for Mayor campaign, 1974
Kate Craig, Flying Leopard 1974. Photo: Hank Bull
General Idea, The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion, c.1977
Fastwurms, Blood Clock (installation view), AGYU, 2007
9) Rebecca Belmore and Richard Hill
Rebecca Belmore, Ayem-ee-aawach Ooma-mowan: Speaking to the Mother, 1991-6
AGO exhibition curated by Richard Hill, Speaking about
Landscape, Speaking to the Land (installation view), 2005
In Richard Hill's 2004 essay "Getting Unpinned" he makes a solid muesological case for displaying works by First Nations and Aboriginal artists in dialogue with works by Europeans and Colonizers. In this exhibition he hung together a whole pile of landscapes from the AGO's permanent collection, from mutliple time periods and placed Rebecca Belmore's big megaphone for speaking to the land in the middle of the room. If you go to the JS McLean wing of the new AGO you will see a similar curatorial strategy (including a work by Rebecca Belmore and one by Kent Monkman), only this time its not a temporary exhibition. Good trend! Art museums don't have to suck ass.
10) First Nations contemporary art
Nadia Myre, Indian Act (detail), 1999 and 2002. Yep, she got together with groups of people and they beaded the whole darn thing. See more images here on Myre's website.
Kent Monkman, Group of Seven Inches (film still), 2005
Terrance Houle, Terrance Houle, Urban Indian, 2004
Murray Whyte has published his top
Also, check out Art Fag City's Best of the Web 2009, Paddy Johnson invited Sally & I to submit our faves.
Chris Ashley's Top ten List
1. Goodbye Bush!
Joe McKay - Top ten things that have been missed or overlooked in 2009.
1. South Park Tower Defense Game. This Xbox dlc is a great twist on the Tower Defense genre. Southpark silliness combined with a pretty solid game. Good for a larf, and way better than the super easy plants vs zombies game that everyone loves so much.
2. Party Down. the best show on tv that nobody knows about is a free "play now" if you have the netflixs. The show is centered around a dysfunctional caterer in LA with a great ensemble cast. It's on Showtime or something so there's loads of "adult situations" and swears. (They cater the adult film awards in one memorable episode).
3. Organic Olives. "Normal" olives should be relegated to pizza and martinis only. If what you need are olives, spend the extra, just like you already do with avocados.
[The olives should also only be picked by virgins, at night.]
2. Taken. Liam Neeson is a serious badass in this underrated action movie.
3. Google street view online road trip across America ... live. The documentation is good , but the real fun lay in participating while they were on the trip. It was a blast.
- Dude in the back of a truck spotted on GMRT
[b/t/w interesting numbering system there, Joester, is it special? Do we not like the number 4? or 6?- L.M.]
5. Shoot em up: the movie. Yeah this goes back a couple years, but you've been overlooking it all year so it still counts. Bloody hilarious gun porn that gets no respect.
7. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Here's the thing - yes of course it sucks - but if somehow you managed to miss all the other Harry Potter books and movies and didn't know the story at all and just watched this one you would think it was the weirdest most crazy-assed shit you'd ever seen. Starting in the middle is almost always a good idea and doubly true here. If you've never heard of Harry Potter this is the place to start. If you have, skip it and hope for an amnesia inducing blow to the head.
8. There are two time travel comedies coming soon (joy!) a British one and a American one. Both look, oh I don't know ... perhaps you've heard of a word called ... "awesome"?
9. The app store. Seriously, if you have an iphone how great is the myriad of free or cheap apps you can get? The Iphone is over priced, at&t (iphone carried here in the USofA) is horrible, and they are environmental disasters - but you have to hand it to them with the app store. There's a zillion free or cheap things and yet the store is still easy to navigate and apps are easy to install. Here's a mini top ten of the apps on my phone right now. AroundMe, Attendance, BigTime, DodgeDot, Dragon Dictation, Drop7, Galcon Lite, Geared, geoDefense Swarm, iResist, Mosquito Repellent, Moviefone, NYC Subway Map, TowerMadness: 3D, Traffic Rush, UkuTune, and Word Scramble by Zynga
10. Subtle self-promotion. In the facebook/twitter age the art of crafty yet casual self-promotion has gone by the wayside. These days if you have some project you want people to see you blurt it out like a twelve year old announcing his farts. As video killed the radio star so too has Facetwitter killed subtlety.
Sigh, Twitterface is gone too :(
Jon Davies' 20 Favourite Art Experiences in Toronto in 2009
(with no regards for conflicts of interest)
1-2. Noise Ghost: Shuvinai Ashoona and Shary Boyle (curated by Nancy Campbell) and Funkaesthetics (curated by Luis Jacob and Pan Wendt) at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Left: Shary Boyle, Iceberg, 2007. Right: Shuvinai Ashoona, Monster, 2003-2004.
3. What It Really Is (curated by Nicholas Brown, work by Kristan Horton, Liz Magor, Kristi Malakoff, Kerri Reid and Jennifer Rose Sciarrino) at Red Bull 381 Projects
Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, Supposed Stalactites (Purple and Green Pendants), 2009
4-5. Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva: Magnetic Resonance on Abissologic Experiments (with Images Festival) and Street Poets and Visionaries: Selections from the Ubuweb Collection (curated by Kenneth Goldsmith) at Mercer Union
Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva, Magnetic Resonance on Abissologic Experiments, 2006
6-8. To Die Like a Man by Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Trash Humpers by Harmony Korine and Phantoms of Nabua by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (with MoCCA) at the Toronto International Film Festival
Harmony Korine, Trash Humpers, 2009
9-11. Talking Points + Talking Ponies by Ben Coonley (with The Power Plant), In the Room 3 by Sung Hwan Kim, dogr (aka David Michael DiGregorio) and Byungjun Kwon (with Gallery TPW), Siting Cinema (curated by Jacob Korczynski, film/video by Oliver Husain, Emily Wardill, Isabell Spengler, Steve Reinke and others) at the Images Festival
Sung Hwan Kim, dogr, Byungjun Kwon, In the Room 3, 2009
12. Satellite by Redmond Entwistle at Gallery TPW (with Pleasure Dome)
Redmond Entwistle, Satellite, 2009
13. Drag Holes by Produzentin and Mary Messhausen at Pride Toronto
Produzentin and Mary Messhausen, Drag Holes, 2009
14. Micah Lexier: Two Parents and Three Children at Oakville Galleries
15. Candice Breitz: Same Same at The Power Plant
Candice Breitz, Still from Factum Kang (Featuring Hanna Kang and Laurie Kang), 2009
16. Stephen Andrews: As Above, So Below at Paul Petro Contemporary Art
Stephen Andrews, The View From Here, 2009
17. Derek Sullivan: Waiting Game at Jessica Bradley Art + Projects
Derek Sullivan, # 47, The Whole World 2009
18-19. Ming Wong: Eat Fear at Trinity Square Video (with Reel Asian Film Festival) and Learn German with Petra Von Kant at the Art Gallery of York University (with Images Festival)
Ming Wong, still from Angst Essen/ Eat Fear, 2008
20. That Night Follows Day by Tim Etchells at Harbourfront Centre's World Stage
Tim Etchells, That Night Follows Day, 2009
So, yes, a good year.