On orders from an editor for a package today aimed at pointing out or city's various cultural deficiencies, I've composed a rant -- there's no other fair way to describe it -- targeting this city's institutional weaknesses and continuing reticence to giving the art community here the prominence I believe it has earned.
This is mildly ironic timing, given that I'm off this morning to meet with Shary Boyle (left) at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where's she's begun installing the huge exhibition she's mounting there as the winner of last year's Gershon Iskowitz prize.
At the same time, that's one big thing, being launched in the shadow of a much, much bigger thing, which is the oddly hype-y staging of the Julian Schnabel painting exhibition tied to the premiere of his new film, Miral, at the Toronto International Film Festival.
I'm not a fan of Schnabel's work, but that's neither here nor there; it just strikes me as weirdly desperate and contextually bizarre to pour limited resources into a show by a superstar millionaire painter -- in furtherance of promoting his most recent film, no less -- when there remain gaps in the more vital business of providing a much-needed stage for a vibrant local scene. The Boyle installation is wonderful, and well-deserved. But how much is enough? Not this much -- especially when Toronto artists have been shuffled off to the side of the AGO's Frank restaurant for the well-intentioned but sadly invisible "Toronto Now" series. Dean Baldwin, who had the first spot there, said it best (and I'm paraphrasing): The AGO already marginalizes most Toronto artists generally; why not make it official, and tuck them in the most marginalized space in the building?
Anyway, it's humid. That makes me cranky. And I haven't had a good rant in a while. I started out on this adventure stating plainly that part of my role was as an advocate for an under-represented community. Just a little reminder: I'm still here.
(Boyle portrait courtesy CBC)