For a while now, VoCA hasn’t been trotting off to art fairs the way we used to. This year, the New York Amory almost went unnoticed to us. But then we noticed that some people, curators, dealers…are choosing to remain home this year, too.
New York’s Armory Show. Image: thearmoryshow.com
Is it the end of the art fair?
A new non-fair, called the Independent, is on from March 4 – 7 at the Dia building in New York, and is billed as a “hybrid model and temporary exhibition forum.” It is the subject of THIS fascinating article in the Observer.
The article states that “New York is going through a moment right now—that the glitzy, frivolous culture of the boom years is giving way to a new era of intellectual engagement and open-minded community among art lovers.”
Johan Lundh’s evening of critical discussion at Fillip’s offices. Image: firtheaglandlundh.net
That same “new seriousness” can be found, here and there, in Canada, though our market wasn’t as deflated as that of the U.S. in the recent economic downturn. Nonetheless, upstart journals such as the excellent Fillip Review from Vancouver and Toronto’s publication Hunter and Cook, run by artists Tony Romano and Jay Isaac, show us that the art world wants to talk. Also, galleries around town are working discussion into their programming. The Toronto Free Gallery is a not-for-profit space that has long been doing this with events that express their mandate to provide a forum for social, cultural, urban and environmental issues.
The Toronto Free Gallery’s executive director, Heather Haynes. Image: photojunkie.ca
New festivals, like the Flash Forward photography festival (coming next fall to Liberty Village in Toronto) aim to blend exhibition opportunities with lectures, workshops and public art – in short, to provide a place for artists and the public to learn, and engage with art in a new, real, hands-on way.
This is also echoed by the Young Patrons groups sprouting up in this city. At various price levels and interest points, they range from the AGO’s NEXT, to the ROM’s Young Patrons Circle to the Canadian Art Foundation’s New Contemporaries (which – disclaimer – I help organize), all of which aim to generate interest, engagement, education and discussion about arts and culture.
Finally, the recent interest in art criticism that is blossoming in Toronto, particularly, in both serious and less serious ways, (and that took off with THIS VoCA post) is heartening.