GG_sm Lorna Mills and Sally McKay

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Lorna Mills: Artworks / Persona Volare / contact

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Anthony Easton's Twelve Events 2010:

1. The weird fleshy exuberance of Gustave Caillebotte's dead pigs, esp in a room full of late renoirs.

photo by Jerry

2. Rachel McRae's difficult absorption and wrestling with the aesthetic and social potential of the monumental.

Rachel McRae, I Always Arrive At These Things Too Late, at Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects

3. Pae White's delicate balance between the traditional and the digial, in how she attempts to eff the ineffable, esp her witty and meta wall hanging wall hanging and the hauntingly moving smoke tapestry.

pae white

4.The graphic design of 70s gay porn, esp. Honcho and Drummer at the National Leather Archives


5. Johns' Catenary series (From the Lagoon, 2003). ( Often this series is talked about formally or even mathematically, and it does bring of elements out of the formal plane. But the catenary is also the muscle that raises the testicles, and in this late work, the limpness has a pathos, compounded by the grey tones and the funerary seriousness. In a post-Viagra age they are oddly brave. (The one I saw in Philly was in a room of about 7 Johns, and it was a very small room. Next to the piece was Painting with Two Balls. That said, Philly had more than its fair share of cock art)


6. Jeff Thomas and Shelley Niro, contemporary 6 Nations artists who respond to the history of colonial portraiture, in a show about the politics of representation—v funny and v smart. It was part of the National Portrait Gallery, and this proves how much of a loss that gallery was.

7. This

8. The collapsing of homo-social and homosexual boundaries, as a broad chest pushes against white cotton—in this painting by Eakins:


9. Super Cross!

super cross

10. El Antusi's Peak Mountain: at ROM. first thing--why this show isn't at the ago, and the ethnographic history of that is a problem, but this one peice, a group of mountains constructed out of the gold lids of peak canned milk, has everything. it is beautiful, and it is redemptive, and it is easy enough for a five yr old to say shiny (& one did), but it is also about how Ghana was once an empire of gold, and ghana was the place where gold was made from slaves--the push and pull of commerce, acculmated into carefully constructed piles of detritus, has an intensity that rises and falls, like an undertow, never breaking the surface.

el antusi

11. Ryman at Beacon, an entire 6 rooms of them, but my favorite was a set of creamy grey white works on paper in a room of dusky grey lite.


12. Will Munro: his show at Paul Petro was vital, his show at the AGO was perfunctory, but the night he died, as facebook and email fired up I wrote this in an email a week after he died: “i went to his impromptu memorial a few days ago, and will go to the dancing party next Wednesday the memorial was profoundly moving, because it was unstructured... there was talking, and hugging, chatting, and casualness--fireworks were lit, there were candles and flowers--the touching that occurred came from our collective mourning, the collection of bodies emerged from a deep and profound feeling....happens...

will munro

- sally mckay 12-15-2010 4:22 pm [link] [27 refs] [add a comment]

Emails from mjean:


- L.M. 12-14-2010 1:30 pm [link] [10 comments]

Gabrielle Moser is running an interesting series on her blog, an "informal archive of Canadian curated moments put together by Canadian curators from across the country." She's invited curators to list 5 curated shows that had an impact on them. I decided to do one of my own. So here goes...

free parking

1) Free Parking Gallery (1996-1997)
curators: Michael Buckland, Jill Henderson, Anda Kubis
artists: Heather Allen, Julie Arnold, Louise Bak, Alan Belcher, Adrian Blackwell, William S. Brown, Peter Bryne, Michael Buckland, Neil Burns, Patriciu Calimente, James Carl, Roger Carter, Corinne Carlson, Carlo Cesta, Dave Clark, Don Collins, Reid Diamond, Rebecca Diederichs, Jerry Drozdowsky, Same Easterson, Pate Ellis, Kate Farrell, FASTWÜRMS, Bud Fujikawa, Eric Glavin, Lee Goreas, Janice Gurney, Sarah Hartland Rowe, Ken Hayes, Sue Havens, Greg Hefford, Jill Henderson, Karen Henderson, Alexander Irving, Luis Jacob, Luis Jacob & Andrew Power, Maura Jasper, Lisa Johnson, Susan Kealey, Robert Kennedy, Jinhan Ko & Gillian Frise, Nestor Kruger, Anda Kubis, Carter Kustera, Stacey Lancaster, Olga Lysenko, Daniel Lui, Kristin Lucas, Patrick Macaulay, Euan Macdonald, John Marriott, Dave McFarlane, Greg McHarg, Joe McKay, Sally McKay, Jennifer McMackon, Matt Meagher, Shanna Miller, Lorna Mills, Regan Morris, Lisa Neighbour, Jack Niven, Nathalie Olanick, Daniel Olson, Laura Parnes, Holly Polly, Marina Polosa, Coman Poon, Andy Patton, Heather Raymont, Brent Roe, Liz Rosch, Mario Scattaloni, Brian Scott, Dave Shrigley, Molli Simon, Carl Skelton, Matthew Sloly, Ben Smith Lea, Andrew Szatmari, Ho Tam, Laura Teneycke, Kika Thorne, Hendrika Sonnenburg & Chris Henson, R.M. Vaughan, Liselot van der Heijden, Neil Weirnik, Norman White, Kil-young Yoo

Jennifer at simpleposie and I were chatting IRL about Free Parking Gallery the other day. It was a one-year curatorial experiment that had an enormous impact on artists of my generation in Toronto. By renting a raw space, shamelessly putting themselves in their shows, curating a whole pile of artists they liked, and providing free beer at openings, Free Parking showed me and my artist peer group that we could create our own discourse based around the practical-yet-radical assumptions that other people's art is exciting and putting on art shows is fun. It was a massive influence on Lola magazine, which we started up pretty soon after Free Parking shut down. Every generation of artists has to find a way to articulate their own context. Free Parking Gallery showed that generous, DIY, artist-initiated curation is a darn good way to go about it.

persona volare

2) Persona Volare (2000-ongoing)
artists/curators: David Acheson, Carlo Cesta, Michael Davey, Reid Diamond, John Dickson, Rebecca Diederichs, Brian Hobbs, Lorna Mills, Lisa Neighbour, Chantal Rousseau, Lyla Rye, Kate Wilson, Johannes Zits

Persona Volare is a large, self-curating, artists' collective. I love this model. Before all the unused buildings in downtown Toronto were razed for condos, the city was bubbling over with artist collectives who would rent big temporary spaces and set up huge, rangey, diverse exhibitions. Nether Mind and Chromosome were famous ones, but I arrived in Toronto about a minute too late to catch that action. I remember Mud, Spontaneous Combustion, The Sex Show. Heather Nicol's big group shows at the Shaw Street school and Wallace Studios are reminiscent of that time. Persona Volare's first two shows, in 2000 & 2003, happened at the tail end of available real estate. They took place in an empty office building on College Street. Since then, they have shown together at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, Rodman Hall in St. Catherines, the Tree Museum in Gravenhurst, and the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound. I love the self-organised nature of Persona Volare. I'm impressed that a group that large has lasted this long. Emergent, consensual administration can be a nightmare, but there's something about this group that seems to click. The exhibitions hold together through a kind of organic dynamic. The works are always diverse and they resonate well with one another, but never in an over-determined way. The collective doesn't seem to worry too much about articulating why they are together in a curatorial sense — they just are, and it works.

belmore wild

3) House Guests: Contemporary Artists in the Grange (2001)
curators: Jessica Bradley, Christina Ritchie, Jenny Rieger
artist: Rebecca Belmore, Robert Fones, Luis Jacob, Elizabeth LeMoine, Josiah McElheny, Elaine Reichek, Christy Thompson

I feel badly for the AGO. Even now, post-Transformation, the place sometimes feels haunted by the Boultons, that multi-generational Family Compact brood of social-climbing dunderheads who used to own The Grange. I sometimes think the best thing that could happen to the AGO would be to bulldoze The Grange and replace it with a skate park. Next best thing was the exhibition House Guests, where contemporary artists were invited to infiltrate the mansion. One of my favourite pieces was Rebecca Belmore's Wild — in which she made up the master bed with animals skins and slept on them. Her visceral presence as a First Nations woman in the master bedroom of The Grange made a simple statement—Aboriginal Canadians have been made invisible by British Canadians. The other overtly political work was Luis Jacob's In All Directions. Jacob invented an 'angel' out of lights that was dashing through the parlour, trying to get out. In the catalogue Jacob suggests that “It may indeed be more accurate to view the [AGO] itself as an annex to the Grange — as the gallery is linked architecturally and ideologically to the house from which it originated. These roots are nourished and perpetuated by the Gallery through its donated collection and sponsored programming.” House Guests was a brave project, an important piece of self-criticism that could easily have brought the wrath of wealthy patrons down on the gallery's head. It was like a kind of curatorial purge, an attempt to slip away from the clutches of the past. Unfortunately, Toronto's historical roots as a muddy little colony full of self-serving British colonials simply will not go away, and the Grange remains a physical reminder of the ties that bind the AGO to the city's colonial legacies.

landscape show

4) Speaking about Landscape, Speaking to the Land, AGO (2005)
curator: Richard William Hill
artists: Rebecca Belmore & canonical Canadian art history greats

Despite ongoing troubles at the AGO, there have been some really excellent and hopeful curatorial developments. In 2005 (pre-Transformation) Richard Hill put Rebecca Belmore's giant megaphone Ayem-ee-aawach Ooma-mowan: Speaking to the Mother, into the middle of a large gallery with paintings by from the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, David Milne, Jack Chambers, Paul Kane, and Cornelius Krieghoff. It was an in-house critique, shaking up traditional approaches to the historic Canadian collection by putting canonical works into a somewhat confrontational conversation with a contemporary First Nations artist. It was a powerful curatorial statement about the ways that museums shape historical narrative. Happily, the AGO has continued this trend post-Transformation, and Gerald McMaster's curation of the JS McLean wing puts a number of works by First Nations artists in direct conversation with the works from the colonial cannon. You can still hear the ghosts of the Boultons rattling their chains, but at least in this wing of the Gallery they aren't setting the agenda.


5) past now, MacLaren Art Centre (2010)
curators: Lisa Myers and Suzanne Morissette
artists: Meryl McMaster and Luke Parnell

Lisa Myers and Suzanne Morissette are emerging curators with a kick-ass exhibition under their belts. past now is on view at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie until Feb.21. The way that these artists' works speak to one another demonstrates a fine-tuned curatorial sensibility. Both Parnell and McMaster are really technically skilled, and the aesthethic clout of their work is really satisfying. And both of them are making very nuanced statements about the conflicted role of traditional craft practices and representations in First Nations art history. McMaster uses digital photography (but no photoshop) to create eerie layered portraits that reclaim a kind of Romantic image of the Indian from Colonial history. Parnell is a wood carver who situtates himself firmly within the tradition of the great West Coast carvers, yet his pieces are very of-the-moment and potent with a personal/political historical narrative. The exhibition is eloquently speaking to a past, now, without making any essentialist claims nor giving pedantic, didactic lectures. Either artist on their own would be wonderful to see, but placed together, their conversation resonates and grabs you by the throat.


Bonus (6) Unreal, York Quay Galleries at Harbourfront Centre (2010)
curator: Patrick Macaulay
artists: Tyler Clark Burke, Jason Dunda, Christy Langer, Sto, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, Jennie Suddick, the slomotion, Jason van Horne

I pick this engaging and utterly contemporary little exhibition in the vitrines at York Quay Galleries as a typical example of the ongoing curatorial brilliance of Harbourfront Centre's Patrick Macaulay. Disclaimer: I have co-curated an exhibition with Patrick that is also currently on view at York Quay Galleries so I'm biased. But I have seen Macaulay's curatorial brain in action and it is an awesome process to behold. He has a giant and ever-growing rolodex of contemporary Canadian artists in his head. His light yet poignant thematic touch creates the kind of dynamic discourse that makes exhibitions into idea-producing engines. He is dedicated to engaging with his public, which represent an unchartably vast demographic. Macaulay's exhibitions speak to art world experts and un-art-initiated audiences of all ages. The York Quay Galleries, comprised of many very public exhibition spaces, is veritable hive of contemporary art activity.


Bonus (7):The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion at AGYU (2009)
curator: Philip Monk
artists: General Idea

Philip Monk can be pretty funny. His re-staging of two 1970s exhibitions by General Idea was contextualized as an historical tongue-in-cheek collaboration with the artists. It was humourus and exciting in a time-travel kind of way. I was too young to be there for General Idea, and the show was like a little window into an influential piece of the past. It was great to take my class of Canadian art history students there and watch them try to sort it out. They looked pretty puzzled, and I imagined that's just how people must have looked in the 70s too, when they were trying to parse the fact/fiction dynamics of General Idea's installations. Monk's layered histories worked simultaneously as a recorded document and an in-the-moment art experience, a real curatorial coup.

- sally mckay 12-13-2010 2:17 pm [link] [26 refs] [add a comment]

Sunday - Aaron Neville & the Neville Brothers

One Love

Use Me

If I Had a Hammer

- L.M. 12-12-2010 6:08 am [link] [1 comment]

owl rob.1 inside a cat
drawings by Rob Cruickshank
Libby Hague's free radicals project for the Art & Science Exhibition currently showing at Harbourfront involves a series of puppet shows by various performers that Libby is taping and editing for Youtube. Come by this Saturday and witness Zenexistential Puppet Theatre's Generic Creation Myth.

Zenexistential Puppet Theatre
VB and Rob Cruickshank
A Generic Creation Myth
Saturday Dec.11th, approx. 3pm
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Update: some images here and here and here. (This photo by tobadogs shows one my favourite moments: puppets putting on a puppet show.)

- sally mckay 12-10-2010 2:47 pm [link] [8 refs] [1 comment]

Michael Caines - Perfect Happiness at Mulherin Pollard Projects, 317 10th Avenue, New York

Twin Set 2010 india ink on paper

Lil' Kim 2010 india ink on paper

Perfect Happiness 2010 india ink on paper

- L.M. 12-09-2010 1:32 pm [link] [add a comment]