NEWSNews in Brief: New Ontario Cultural Strategy, Open Letter to Mélanie Joly, Accusations of Art Plagiarism
JULY 22, 2016
BY CANADIAN ART
Natasha Chaykowski, the new director of Untitled Art Society in Calgary.Our editors’ weekly roundup of Canadian art news.
After the announcement that Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly would be working with an “Expert Advisory Panel” consisting of 12 professionals, largely from the broadcast, media and film industries, a number of arts representatives voiced complaints about exclusion. This week, an open letter on behalf of 30 organizations, ranging from the Screen Composers Guild of Canada to the Artists Run Centres and Collectives Conference, has been published, calling for “further clarity regarding the composition” of the panel, and a request for “representative inclusion” across disciplines.
After a year involving a number of community consultations, the Ontario government has released their first Ontario cultural strategy. Constructed around a series of four goals, the strategy aims to: promote cultural engagement and inclusion; strengthen culture in communities; fuel the creative economy; and promote the value of the arts throughout government. Plans are in place to work towards these goals over the next five years.
Calgary gallery Truck announced on Tuesday that Ginger Carlson has been appointed executive director of the organization. Carlson comes to the position from Untitled Art Society in Calgary, where she was director. Prior to UAS, she has works at the school and public programs educator at Contemporary Calgary, and held posts at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, National Museums Liverpool and Art Gallery of Alberta.
Natasha Chaykowski has been hired as the new director of Untitled Art Society in Calgary, taking over for Ginger Carlson. Chaykowski was most recently a participant in the Walter Phillip Gallery’s Curatorial Research Practicum at the Banff Centre, and she has co-curated the annual emerging artist exhibition at InterAccess in Toronto, and won the 2014 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators alongside Alison Cooley. She was also awarded the 2015 Canadian Art Editorial Residency.
Another accusation of a restaurant displaying plagiarised art has surfaced in Toronto (after an incident between Kelly Mark and Dundas Street West restaurant Old School). Now, Israeli artist Amit Shimoni is arguing that a bar on King St. West, Early Mercy, has replicated his Hipstory series, which features portraits of iconic figures in contemporary dress. Shimoni was notified of the plagiarism when Noa Osheroff, the sister of Shimoni’s dealer, Yair Osheroff, was in town and visited the restaurant. Now, Shimoni and Osheroff are preparing to sue Early Mercy.
Must-Sees This Week: July 21 to 27, 2016
JULY 21, 2016
BY CANADIAN ART
Lorna Mills, Hand Job (still from animated GIF), 2014. Mills is included in an exhibition opening this week at Birch Contemporary in Toronto.Lots of great art exhibitions open across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are closing. (And remember to visit our Exhibition Finder, or download the Canadian Art Finder in the App Store or Google Play for even more worthwhile shows that are already open.)
TorontoTrinity Square Video partners with Mercer Union to screen recent video work by artistsBridget Moser and Jon Sasaki during Big on Bloor 2016 on Saturday July 23 at 9:30 p.m. An untitled group show at Diaz Contemporary features Toronto-based artists Derek Coulombe, Nestor Krüger, Kristie MacDonald, Janine Miedzik and Haley Uyeda, who all look at “methods of translation, whether language/image transitions, borrowed sign systems or the cross-pollination of technique across disciplines.” The show opens July 21 at 6 p.m. Coinciding with Gallery TPW’s current exhibition “Working Conditions,” curator Sam Cotter organizes a film program to examine labour, visibility and self-determination, which features Harun Farocki’s Workers Leaving the Factory and Andrew Norman Wilson’s Workers Leaving the GooglePlex on July 22 at 7 p.m.
In conjunction with Emily Mast’s exhibition “The Cage is a Stage,” the free day-long interdisciplinary forum “Why Look at Cages?” will examine human and animal captivity and questions of social control in human and animal contexts at the Jackman Humanities Institute and the University of Toronto Mississauga on July 22 from 10 to 5 p.m. This month’s instalment of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty’s monthly Social Justice Speaker Series will focus on the topic of colonialism on Thursday July 21 6 p.m. at CRC; at the talk, Sigrid Kneve and Ruth Koleszar-Green will “explore the history of colonialism in Canada, what it looks like here in our neighbourhood, and how we can move towards decolonization.” At Birch Contemporary, “TenderPixels.CorruptedFiles,” curated by Rebecca Travis, brings together works by David Hanes, Fabienne Hess, Lorna Mills and Louise Noguchi that “variously explore the pixel as a soft and ‘tender’ component,” opening on July 21 at 6 p.m. On July 23 Akin Projects and Xpace Cultural Centre present the summer edition of the Akin Gallery Crawl, which begins at Mercer Union at 12 p.m. and ends at Xpace at 5 p.m. with drinks, making stops at Daniel Faria Gallery, Gallery TPW and others along the way. Coldstream Fine Art opens Canadian painter Bill Patten’s “Eye Candy” on Thursday July 21 at 6 p.m.
CalgaryVictoria-based artist Graham Macaulay’s exhibition “vessel / fold” closes at Untitled Contemporary Art with a reception on July 21 at 6 p.m. Macaulay assembles multi-media structures that speak to each other around domesticity and sentimentality. The following day on July 22, Alex Waber’s “Place In Time” opens at Untitled Contemporary Art at 8 p.m. In his new photo series, Waber explores “the representation of experience and memory through qualities of the physical photograph and their parallel changes over time.” TheEsker Foundation hosts a screening of Harun Farocki’s 2012 work A New Product, which “transforms a mundane situation into theatre of the absurd, blessed with acerbic wit and a sharp critical sense” on July 28 at 7 p.m.
WinnipegSpend all day July 21 at Plug In ICA: at 10 a.m., Michif writer and curator Cathy Mattes will speak about her curatorial practice as part of “Wood Land School: Thunderbird Woman,” this year’s iteration of Plug In ICA’s Summer Institute lead by artist Duane Linklater and curator Jaimie Isaac. Later at 7 p.m., the free rooftop summer party will open “The State,” featuring work by Vahap Avsar, Duane Linklater, Christian Jankowski andMaryam Jafri. In addition, Darryl Nepinak’s short film It’s the Norval Morrisseau will screen at dusk.
LondonNSCAD alumna Elise Boudreau Graham’s first solo show “If It Makes You Happy (It Can’t Be That Bad)” explores “tensions of increasingly individualized brands of feminism and queries the ways in which the personal has become political” at Good Sport. The opening of “If It Makes You Happy (It Can’t Be That Bad)”on July 22 at 7 p.m. will also launch the first issue of feminist art publication Bad Sport featuring Shellie Zhang, Samra Habib and others.
HamiltonHamilton Artists Inc.’s inaugural Summer Screening Series presents outdoor screenings ofBUGS by Life of a Craphead and DOORCUTS by Zak Tatham. Life of a Craphead will be in attendance and will participate in a short artist talk and Q&A session following the screening on July 21, beginning 9:30 p.m. Charles C. Hill, former curator of Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada, leads a talk about collecting work by the Group of Seven at the Art Gallery of Hamilton on July 21 at 7 p.m.
Vancouvergrunt gallery presents Amanda Strong’s Four Faces of the Moon, a multi-media installation based on her new stop-motion animated short film, on July 21 at 7 p.m. Building from Strong’s personal story, the film uses elaborate sets and puppets to peel back the layers of Canada’s colonial history, and Strong connects the oral and written history of her family as well as the history of the Michif (Métis), Cree and Anishinaabe people and their cultural ties to the buffalo. Gallery 295 officially closes with a party on July 23, beginning at 5 p.m. Former CBC radio personality and photographer David Wisdom hosts an evening at the Vancouver Art Gallery where artists present image and music pairings, beginning at 7 p.m. on July 26. Irish artist Isabel Nolan, who currently has a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, gives a talk at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design on July 26 at 7 p.m.
HalifaxIn conjunction with MSVU Art Gallery’s permanent collection exhibition, “The Department of Prints and Drawings,” featured artists (and NSCAD printmaking instructors) Ericka Walkerand Dan O’Neill will offer illustrated presentations about their respective practices on July 21 at 7 p.m. A range of artists who use clay to figurative ends, including Teresa Bergen, Shary Boyle and Michael Flynn, are brought together in “Clay Bodies I,” which opens at theArt Gallery of Nova Scotia on July 23.
SaskatoonJuly 21 at 7 p.m., AKA Artist-Run reveals the outcome of Bridges Art Movement’s (BAM) July residency. The residency by the Saskatoon artist collective concludes with “BAM: Immersive Spaces,” and includes Cynthia Blanchette, Andie Palynchuk, Aralia Maxwell, Joanna Speed and David Stonhouse, who have collaborated to create an immersive environment within the gallery.
Our weekly must-sees, published each Thursday, are chosen from opening and event announcements sent to email@example.com at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, visit canadianart.ca/exhibitions.
July 18, 2016 - July 25, 2016
Free This WeekFestivals, tunes, receptions and celebrations are on the schedule this week
AMY JO ESPETVEIDT
Stephen Avenue Walk #IAMDOWNTOWN Summer StageJuly 18 – 23, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Stephen Avenue Summer Stage (Centre Street & 8th ave SE)
Back for performances Monday through Saturday, head to the Summer Stage this week for performances from Wildflower, Fromage Chaud, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Global Fest Iranian Brazilian Pavilion Dance Groups, Domino and Y Brothers.
Pop-Up Piano SeriesJuly 19 & 21, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Wee Little Piano Book Exchange at Fifth Avenue Place (420 2nd St. SW) & Piano Bar in Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW)
Curious who will be tickling the ivories this week thanks to Downtown Calgary? On Tuesday hear Meagen Kelln fuse folk music with classical piano and on Thursday it’s singer and songwriter Debra Power’s turn at the keys.
Pop-Up PicnicJuly 20, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Fifth Avenue Place (420, 2nd St. SW)
Princess Party is the theme of this week’s Pop-Up Picnic. Downtown Calgary will transform the corner of 5th Ave. and 2nd St. into a fairy tale wonderland full of enchanting music with appearances from Cinder Princess and Beauty Princess.
ProArts Presents Jesse Plessis’ Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club BandJuly 20, 2016, 12:10pm
Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (604 1st St. SE)
Beatles fan? Then you need to head to ProArts’ free lunch hour concert this week. Featuring piano duo Bente Hansen and Jesse Plessis, their most sought-after performance is Plessis’ arrangement of the complete Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Without lyrics to help the listener understand the meaning of each song, Plessis has explored ways to express those same meanings pianistically. The result is a reimagining of each song that, although not faithful to the original, the original feeling stays intact.
Summers on 17th: Kids Day WednesdaysJuly 20, 2016, 2:00 – 6:00pm
Tomkins Park (17th Ave., between 7th & 8th St. SW)
Gather up the kids and head down to 17th Ave. for a fun-filled afternoon of activities in the park. Each Wednesday this summer check out free kids crafts, books, games, a story from the Calgary Public Library, face painting and free dance classes.
Blue on the Avenue featuring Bill DoweyJuly 21, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Stephen Avenue Summer Stage (Centre Street & 8th ave SE)
Join host and curator Mike Watson for this exploration of local blues music on the heart of Stephen Ave. This week features Bill Dowey, one of the most convincing and dedicated blues artists in Canada.
+15 Window Closing ReceptionsJuly 21, 2016, 6:00pm
Arts Commons +15 (205 8th Ave. SE)
Join Stride, Untitled Art Society, TRUCK and more to close out the current +15 Window Gallery exhibitions! It’s a great chance to see Ashley Bedet’s Goal-State, Graham Macaulay’s vessel/fold and Paul Robert’s Either Ore before it’s too late.
Historic Calgary WeekJuly 22 – August 2, 2016
Free, donations welcome
Chinook Country Historical Society highlights our cultural, institutional, industrial, architectural, sporting and military heritage with over 60 events. There are talks, walks, concerts, family events, museum visits and more. All events are open to the public and are free of charge with one exception.
Fiestaval Latin FestivalJuly 22 – 24, 2016
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)
Festival season heats up this week with Fiestaval—a free multicultural celebration of Latin American culture featuring live music, dance, authentic food and handicrafts, beer gardens, a kids area and more!
Lougheed House 125th Anniversary PartyJuly 23, 2016, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Lougheed House (707 13th Ave. SW)
Put on your best frock or bow tie and party like it’s 1891 to celebrate Lougheed House’s 125th Anniversary! Calgary’s history and contemporary culture collide with live performances of music, comedy and First Nations’ dance. The day also features historical talks, crafts, free iced tea and, of course, cake.
Trio: Laurie D. Graham, Joan Shillington, and Micheline MaylorJuly 23, 2016, 5:00 – 7:00pm
Shelf Life Books (1302 4th St. SW)
Head to Shelf Life books this Saturday for an evening of excellent poetry with Joan Shillington, Laurie D. Graham and Calgary’s Poet Laureate Micheline Maylor.
Summers on 17th: MarketSpotJuly 23, 2016, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Tomkins Park (17th Ave., between 7th & 8th St. SW)
Summer is here, which means so are Summers on 17th! Featuring MarketSpot, a collaboration between Market YYC and Artspot, these two local organizations have teamed up to bring music, art and local vendors to Tomkins Park each week. Stop by to check out the ever-changing roster of live music, reading racks supplied by the Calgary Public Library, artisan vendors, live performances, produce markets, kids crafting activities and more.
BY LEAH SANDALS
From its superstar mayor Naheed Nenshi to its NDP premier Rachel Notley, Calgary has become one of the most diverse, cosmopolitan and politically progressive cities in Canada.
But the Calgary Stampede—still billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth, in true Western-maverick fashion—continues to have a very defined and singular aesthetic.
Growing up in that city, it became clear to me—through subconscious and more overt means—that blue jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat were the most socially acceptable uniform for those 10 days of summer. This lesson was underlined one July morning in the early 2000s when my brother, during a summer job home from university in Montreal, went to work at a downtown corporate communications firm and was ostracized for failing to wear jeans.
So it has, in recent years, been interesting for me to see the ways that Stampede aesthetics have been reworked, redirected and reframed by contemporary artists.
In 2009, Calgary-based Blood artist Terrance Houle posed in a loincloth amidst a pre-existing Stampede-related sidewalk display, resulting in the photo series Saddle Up! In 2010, Vancouver artist Paul Wong shot video at the Canadian Rockies International Rodeo—a gay rodeo 45 minutes’ drive from Calgary in Strathmore—for part of his installation 2 Hot 2 Handle. And in 2013, Toronto-based Cree artist Kent Monkman made The Big Four, a work inspired by the complex history of First Nations incarceration and cultural preservation that intertwine in the Stampede’s Indian Village.
This year, 2016, also offers rich artistic reflections on Stampede and related aspects of Western culture. In a show that recently wrapped at Untitled Art Society, Calgary-based artist Nicole Kelly Westman and Vancouver-based artist Del Hillier melded glam-style western wear, wanderings around prairie roadways, and copious bottles of Budweiser into their project Presenting Two Left-Footed Loocee and Delvis Cache. In “Field Portraits of Contemporary Western Culture” at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge, curator Wayne Baerwaldt brings together photography of cowboy culture—including pics by Saskatchewan cowboy poet Jon Bowie, himself a rancher. And in “Dark Horse,” currently on view at Stride Gallery (just 10 minutes’ walk from the Stampede Grounds), Yvonne Mullockpresents what might be the world’s only horse-operated printing press—as well as monoprints of cowboy hats that she and the Arabian horse Shere Kaan made with the device, and video documentation of their process.
It’s this latter exhibition by Yvonne Mullock—with its physical reversal of the animal and the human, its leveraging (and destroying) of the iconic cowboy hat, and its humorous take on collaboration—that intrigues me the most at the moment.
“Dark Horse” is of a piece with Mullock’s past works, which also offer a dose of the wry and the whimsical, the chaotic and the collaborative: Last year, Mullock and artist Ann Thrale made a huge version of a game of pick-up sticks and dropped it in a dog park, documenting the results as Dog Pick-Up Sticks. In 2014, she created a teeny-tiny handmade version of the classic “white hat” that symbolizes not only Stampede, but Calgary in general (greeters wear them at the airport year-round, and “white hat ceremonies” are often held to welcome guests and dignitaries). And in 2013, she crafted what she called Beaver Made Ready Mades—bronzes cast directly from beaver-chewed sticks found in an inner-city neighbourhood near the Stampede Grounds.
Last week, I caught up with Mullock by phone to ask her more about “Dark Horse,” cowboy hats, and her Stampede must-sees.
Leah Sandals: Why make art about the Stampede, or cowboy culture, or cowboy hats, yet again? What continues to compel you about this topic?
Yvonne Mullock: Well, I’ve had a long-term relationship now with Smithbilt hats. It started off with the commission of the small white hat [in 2014], and the work in “Dark Horse” is kind a continuation of that theme.
Also, when I did a residency at the Banff Centre recently, I started playing around with printmaking. I was very interested in the idea of the destructive act of printmaking, especially monoprinting, and how the outcome of that is really like a record of the printing process.
So Smithbilt offered me what I would call deadstock from the 70s for a new project. Another interesting kind of fact about the cowboy hat is that they have particular styles that are fashionable, and you can date them specifically by the depth of the crown, so certain styles stop selling after a while. I flattened some of these using a hydraulic press, and they turned out really interesting.
Then, I started to think about this idea of continuing to work with Smithbilt hats, but using them to print with. And then I thought about how the energy to flatten the hat could actually be replaced with the weight of a horse.
LS: So in a way, the work, to you, is more about the hat itself than what the hat represents?
YM: Yes, the hat is what I tend to obsess over in my work.
It’s such an interesting object—it has a utility to it in that it protects your head from the weather, but it is also a beautifully hand-made object. I have a background in making and sewing, so watching the process of these hats being made is what I was really fascinated with at first.
Also, the tools that Smithbilt uses to make the hats are still the original 110-year-old machines. There’s just this simple steam process to shape the hats, and they are all shaped by hand.
So it’s not about the Stampede per se—it’s about the bringing together of all of those things.
Also, the Stampede is an event that started off as an agricultural showcase, and I come from a long line of dairy farmers in Cheshire, England—no horses, really, but agricultural shows were something that me and my family went to a lot when I was growing up.
Overall, most of my work is research-based. I first came to Canada by coordinating a textile project, a quilting project, at Fogo Island Arts in Newfoundland. I really love meeting people who make things and understanding that in a first-hand rather than leaning about it in a book.
LS: So…. I’ve never heard of a horse-operated printing press before. Can you tell me more about how you developed this device and how it was used?
YM: Sure. The work was made in close consultation with artist Ann Thrale, who is gifted with wood. I brought her my rendering of it, and she added elements to it, like a pulley system.
The horse handler for the work was artist Karly Mortimer, who has been riding horses since she was tiny. I went out to her family’s ranch to look at and discuss the needs of the horse, so the device got a little bit adapted by her advice of what a horse is comfortable walking into.
Luckily, our horse—Shere Kaan—was very food-motivated, and he liked hay a lot.
A filmmaker and artist friend, Noel Bégin, also helped with the documentation—which was a relief, because then I could be in the film as the printmaking assistant. The horse is the printmaker, in my mind.
LS: What is it like to be a printmaking assistant to a horse? It’s an idea I find really funny.
YM: Well, I love printmaking, but I am a horrible printmaker. I can’t do editions for the life of me, because I am not a perfectionist and I get my fingerprints on it.
So rather than that being a battle, I thought, well, maybe I can just show the disruptive act of the printmaking, and then that in itself is the artwork.
I really like this idea, in my artwork, of losing control a bit—where I set up the limits, and then let the collaborative relationship or setup dictate the outcome.
In my mind, it kind of makes sense that the horse is the printmaker, because he’s the one exerting, he is the one walking on the platform of the press, and every time he does that differently, so the outcome is different.
Each print is different, too, depending on the hat and the material it is made of. Different materials absorb ink differently. Some are better quality wool than others.
Anyway, if you watch the film, you will see that I show the horse the print after each session. He’s got a really expressive face, Shere Kaan, and for the last print he actually kind of looks at it, then he nudges it. He’s a very likeable horse.
LS: You have collaborated with humans in the past, too, like on your rug hooking project Hit & Miss at the Esker, or that past work you mentioned with the quilters in Newfoundland. What about collaboration appeals to you, overall?
YM: I’ve done a lot of different kinds of residencies, and eventually, it seemed, the only way I could make something would be to work collaboratively. It is a process I really enjoy.
Also, I know that I’m not someone who has certain skills—and rather than being depressed about that, I can use the skills I do have and then meet people who have another set of skills, and learn from them, and come to a process of understanding what they do. I’m really fascinated with the history of how things are made. And I like to be involved with that making.
I guess part of the beauty is of working collaboratively is that it might take 30 years to get really good at making something—and when you collaborate, you get this wonderful gift or privilege of working with people who have that kind of skill.
Getting into a new mindset is also great. I’ve worked with paddle makers and taxidermists and scientists—the scientist’s process and rules are also fascinating.
LS: What else would you like viewers to know when they encounter or think about “Dark Horse” or a related work?
YM: Well, in “Dark Horse,” I am interested in this in the Stetson hat being a symbol of the West, and being an icon of romanticism about prairie life.
Also, there’s something here, specifically, about making in Calgary—we have hatmakers here that are still doing what they’ve done for a hundred years. That’s really amazing.
The image of a cowboy and his horse is also really interesting—that idea that the work of one is the work of the other. They work in tandem, intuitively.
Fashion and clothing is another aspect I always come back to in my work. This idea of a flat piece of cloth that can be shaped on the body still kind of blows my mind when I think about it.
Not so say that I’m blown away by what I do personally when I am sewing! But I think the fact that a piece of cloth can cover the human body and protect it is pretty awesome.
The way that intertwines with so many other things also intrigues me. The Stetson hat is traditionally made from wool, which keeps the head cool when it’s hot, and warm when it’s not. Wool comes from a sheep, and the natural lanolin and oil in it naturally protects the wearer from the rain. It is a resilient material.
Basically, there’s a lot of rich ideas here. I could talk about them for days!
LS: One last question: What do you like to do during Stampede?
YM: I love seeing the miniature horses. I think that’s in the first week of the Stampede. And after the miniature horses come in, there are the big shire horses. Then there’s the people who do gymnastics on top of the horses.
And my favourite part—not to sound cheesy—is wandering around the whole agricultural area. There’s a teaching tool of how cows give birth there every year. And there’s livestock, and different breeds of cows. I guess it’s in my blood, really.
“Yvonne Mullock: Dark Horse” continues until July 15 at Stride Gallery in Calgary. And the Calgary Stampede runs July 8 to 17.
UAS in the News
Updates about articles written on exhibitions and the society.