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In the Air…

…In London:

Sales were up at Frieze art fair in London apparently, but collectors are bargain-hunting. Artists continue apace, and you’ve got to hand it to Swiss artist Christoph Buchel for bravely exhibiting a pair of his old, worn socks on the floor of Hauser & Wirth, for sale at €20,000. Not sure if they sold.

Christoph Büchel Socks, 2009. Image: artfagcity.com

Editions are big news. White cube gallery in London exhibited as White Cube Editions at the Zoo art fair, offering affordable but highly branded prints and multiples by artists.

One of Damien Hirst’s Blue Paintings that are being slammed by critics in London.
Image: slamxhype.com

The latest trend seems to be blatant piss-taking (Hirst on Francis Bacon, Elmgreen Dragsett on Giacometti, the Korean artist Gimhongsok on Jeff Koons, or one of Stephanie Syjuco’s artists who have copied Gimhongsok’s copy of Koons.) This seems to point to a lack of creative inspiration among artists, perhaps a fatigue of having to create new, inspiring artwork. It’s as if they are creating lesser, imitation editions of great work and it’s an interesting trend to keep watching.

In related news, in THIS op-ed in the NYT last week argued that today’s conceptual art will go the way of the dodo bird. It’s craftsmanship and technical skill that will serve art in the long term, not “witty” conceptual ideas. VoCA thinks the writer certainly has a point.

…and in Canada:

Brendan Flanagan, Fog, 2008. Image: angellgallery.com

Ambitious Canadian painter Kim Dorland, who abruptly left Le Gallery for Angell not so long ago, has left Angell for Metivier Gallery – Jamie Angell had better hold on to Brendan Flanagan, who VoCA thinks is one of Canada’s most exciting young painters.

I’ve been corrected: It was Brendan Flanagan who left Le Gallery for Angell Gallery. Shortly after Flanagan arrived at Angell, Kim Dorland left Angell for Metivier.

Don’t forget that eminent art critic and Princeton prof Hal Foster will lecture in Toronto on November 3 at OCAD.

2 newish Toronto art tv shows – Late Night in the Bedroom and Artstars*, fronted by the kooky Nadja Sayed – join Magenta TV and of course Qtv, the show from cbc’s popular arts and culture show.

Oh, and we also think Shary Boyle was robbed of this year’s Sobey Art Prize, which went to the hit-and-miss but very glitzy and of-the-moment art star David Altmejd.

3 Responses to “In the Air…”

  1. Curse of Greg Curnoe says:

    Its nice to see ambition and glitz rewarded in Canada. I may not see eye to eye with the work but he represented Canada in Venice and has an impressive international exhibition record. Can’t say the same thing for Ms. Boyle.

  2. AC says:

    That’s true. I think it’s interesting to see who gets shortlisted, since between artists who no longer live here and those that aren’t quite ready to win, it must be a tough choice. Maybe it points to the increasing irrelevance of national art prizes.

  3. Bruno Champagne says:

    Couldn’t agree more with the NYT Op-Ed. Pieces like the Cristoph Buchel Socks make me want to punch someone — anyone, really — in the junk.

    As for the Sobey, I’d be pretty disheartened to know that it was Mr. Altmejd’s superior exhibition record that clinched the prize for him. While I certainly understand that an award of this stature is an investment in the artist and that to look smart, a committee needs to minimize it’s risk in that investment, I believe that any of the artists shortlisted were in a good career position to capitalize on the extra funds and media attention that come a long with the award. I actually think that national art prizes are extremely relevant, as they’re one of the few opportunities for young Canadian artists to land mainstream media attention.

    Returning to the theme of craftsmanship, I actually find Mr. Altmejd’s to be far, far below the standard that we ought to hold a top-shelf artist too. (Every time I see those mirrors connecting in sloppy butt-joints on their corners I shudder.)

    We could find no shortage of artists out there with a predilection for glitz and glamour, its focusing it into a cohesive vision that we ought to be rewarding.

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