Home » Toronto Biennale? Montreal Biennale!

Toronto Biennale? Montreal Biennale!

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.

tcac-thursday-march-18-2011-i-love-you-petal.png
The TAAC panel last night. Image: P Elaine Sharpe.

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.


Image: dishgalleryandstudio.clayandglass.on.ca

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.


Image: montrealstateofmind.com

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.

4 Responses to “Toronto Biennale? Montreal Biennale!”

  1. Lonnie Mowers says:

    Several panelists in the article’s included photo appear to be asleep. Perhaps due to a general malaise of yet another fruitless biennial discussion that never leads to action because of Toronto’s cultural insecurity.

  2. AC says:

    But do you think the notion of discussion itself has value? What do you think of these events put on by the Toronto Alliance of Art Critics?

  3. Lonnie Mowers says:

    I think the Alliance of Art Critics could hold some valuable discussions. But Nuit Blanche and the Biennial were not good choices. What about issues concerning critical debate, theory, writing, or perhaps art?

  4. marion lewis says:

    MYTHS plays Electric Eclectics Sound Art and Media in Meaford ON in the last week of July. See Myths, they are an amazing band. Also lots of art in the woods! go to electric-eclectics.com for more information.Or facebook. Just had to share, MYTHS is a art rock group that gives women in music a big boost!

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