Last night in Toronto’s Kensington Market, a group of about 60 or so gathered to hear two panel discussions – one on the city’s annual “All Night Contemporary Art Thing”, Nuit Blanche, and the other to discuss the idea of a Toronto Biennale.
The event was organized by the Toronto Alliance of Art Critics, of which I’m a member.
Though I had to leave before the second panel, some of the issues raised about Nuit Blanche were the difficulty of getting international, in depth coverage of the event due to its timespan – a single night; the fact that there is no significant institutional memory of the event from year to year; the need for more logistical advice for artists and curators to deal with the crowds; and the intrusion of corporate sponsorship onto the art.
But on the other hand, people seem to enjoy the 24 hour city, the fact that Nuit Blanche happens and then it’s over. And it certainly offers incredible opportunity for the city’s artists. It challenges them to think on a huge scale, and can faciliate an idea that otherwise might not be realized. A good suggestion from one panelist was that the greatest potential for NB moving forward may be the possibility for crossover with other disciplines
While a Toronto Biennale may still be a long way off, the Montreal Biennale is very much alive and kicking. With this year’s theme, Chance, it runs throughout the month of May, and now has a new website, which you can access HERE.
This year’s curators are Claude Gosselin (general director of the biennale, which he founded in 1998) and Toronto’s beloved David Liss (of MOCCA) who have chosen 40 artists from 10 different countries. About half of the artists are from Canada, which is good, as it places Canadians within an international context, and vice versa.
According to the curators, “it is urgent that we recognize chance in the simple way the world unfolds. To recognize chance is to recognize freedom, randomness, the undisplined forces of nature, our nature. To recognize chance is to open ourselves to others, to the undetermined, and to receive the unexpected positively.”
Start planning your road trip, now.