"Yes, there is Canadian art." So says Denver. Yes: Denver.
This morning, a reader sent me a link to a story in the Denver Post by its Fine Arts Critic discussing a show of young Canadian artists there. He seems dumbstruck that not only are there people actually making art in Canada -- the shock! -- but that -- Good God! -- it's contemporary, topical, technologically savvy, and relevant! (The show includes Toronto artist Alex McLeod (above) and Sobey nominee Brendan Tang.)
Of course, we have to take this for what it is, which is a piece by writer in Denver. Nonetheless, I don't care much for his tone -- as though he were an anthropologist wandering the rain forests of Borneo and coming across a lost tribe. If he spent any time in
Berlin, Basel or Frankfurt (or New York, for that matter!) he wouldn't
be so surprised; the Canadian presence is more powerful there than it is at home, for heaven's sake.
Whatever the case, the piece is complimentary, smacks of a fair degree of ignorance, particularly for someone whose function is assumably to cover art (ever heard of Jeff Wall? Stan Douglas? General Idea? Michael Snow? Hello?). Which we like, don't we? Then again, when our own museums privilege figures like Anselm Kiefer and Julian Schnabel over our own talent, it's hard to blame anyone for being surprised by Canadian art. And I suppose I have to admit to being less than versed on what Denver has to offer (America, as defined by the twin poles of New York and Los Angeles, somewhat more so). Above all, though, it strikes me that Denver, of all places, oughtn't look down its nose at, well, anyone.