Friday, August 26, 2005

RBC Painting Competition Finalists

Chris Kline's painting Lost Number, Is this one of the best 15 paintings in Canada?

It is always interesting to see the kind of work that makes it through to the finals of a juried show. Given that what constitutes "good" painting is highly debated, these juried shows tend to take a democratic approach to the selection, and quite frankly, how often has the majority been "right". Although there is some interesting painting in this annual Royal Bank of Canada Painting Competition, the painting above has been selected as one of the 15 finalists from across Canada. I can't imagine the kind of paintings that were not selected, given the inclusion of this piece. A "majority" of these painters create paintings dependent upon the reworking of post-painterly abstractionism and depend upon photos for source material.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Toronto Graffiti

I have always considered the finest art gallery in the City to be the laneway just south of Queen between Spadina and running west to Bathurst and beyond. Here you will find a great range of work which is constantly updated, is often site specific, subject to enropy, and there is no admission charge. If you want on of the works for yourself, you simply photograph it and have it blown up, copyright free of course!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

If Everything is Art, Then Nothing is Art

Marcel Duchamp's "Urinal" or "Fountain"
Mark McGowan pulling a television set 6 miles, with his ear.

The concept that ‘anything can be art’ was first introduced to the art world through the actions of Marcel Duchamp in 1917. His decision to include a common Urinal as part of an exhibition turned the definition of art on its ear.
Duchamp had recognized that through Modernism, much of what gave value to art in the past (time spent, skill, etc.) had been challenged by abstraction; leaving a vacuum in terms of value. By including a urinal (on a sculptural base, and with a signature- although a pseudonym), he had reduced the characteristics of art to its bare minimum. To be Art, an object simply had to be signed and exhibited in a legitimate art institution. This later became defined as "The Institutional Theory of Art" and these objects defined as "ready-mades". The fact that this revolutionary act signaled the end of Art was not lost on Duchamp- he spent the latter part of his life playing chess rather than creating endless ready-mades. Much of what is now defined as Post-Modernism, or Post-Post Modernism (Po Po Mo) is simply the regurgitation of the this first act of insurrection and nothing more. In the end the only value in such a system is in the originality of the concept, hence the term "Conceptual Art".
Galleries today, (dependent upon Capitalism for their very survival), rely upon a vague sense of Value, despite Duchamp’s near 100 year old comment on value. They depend upon certain Artists being valued over others and this is represented by the price of the artwork. When Duchamp gave up painting to create Ready-Mades, he essentially moved from the medium of paint to the medium of life, the medium of ideas, making Galleries irrelevant except to a false sense of value and a false sense of currency.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Wasting Water for Artsake

In an extra ordinary art performance environmentally conscious artist Mark McGowan is intending to turn on a cold water tap in the House Gallery in Camberwell, London and leave it running for one year wasting 15 million litres of water.

My toilet is running, perhaps I should be documenting the process.