While you are enjoying the last few hours of your long weekend, why don’t you sit back, relax and read some art news from the last week?
While you are enjoying the last few hours of your long weekend, why don’t you sit back, relax and read some art news from the last week?
We’d like to bring your attention to a Call for Submissions recently put out by Unit B, an Edmonton collective of small businesses and freelancers.
Unit B is getting ready to put on a second art show and are looking for local artists to submit works in all media. The show will run from June 7 - 21st downtown on 104st.
Deadline for submissions is May 22nd. To learn more and view the full call for submissions, click here.
In case you haven’t heard, Gord Ferguson, an ACAD instructor who was fired from his job shortly after a student publicly killed a chicken on campus as a performance art piece, has been reinstated by ACAD.
We’re glad to hear the school is taking this controversy and ensuing media frenzy as an opportunity to have a conversation (in the form of a symposium) about performance art in the next year: “All these issues that have surfaced in the last three or four weeks connected to the incident, and everything else, have raised some very important questions and issues regarding the balance between academic responsibility and artistic freedom,” said ACAD president Daniel Doz.
We’re curious - what do you think about this situation and the recent developments? Did you sign the online petition to have Mr. Ferguson reinstated? Do you believe that the termination was not intended to involve academic or artistic freedom?
Although it was included in yesterday’s Media Mondays, I would like to share (again) my most recent article for The Wanderer.
And the busy days of summer have begun… why don’t you all take a minute, pause, and read some local arts news? This week includes articles on some new local initiatives, exhibits, and a more general feature on Canadian identity in art. Happy Reading!
This post constitutes the fourth in our Profiles series of Edmonton Art Institutions. In this iteration, we are profiling festivals and markets that are based around the visual and performing arts, or prominently feature the arts in some way. Many of these festivals and markets occur annually in the summer months, so there is much to look forward to!
Kaleido Family Arts Festival/ Deep Freeze Festival: http://artsontheave.org/festivals/kaleido/
These two festivals are put on by Arts on the Ave, a completely volunteer run non-profit society working to develop 118 Ave. into a community arts district. The festivals (and Arts on the Ave’s) goals is to create accessible creative environments.
The Works Art & Design Festival: http://www.theworks.ab.ca/festivalfolder/festival/festival.html
The Works is a non-profit charitable organization that advances the development, awareness and appreciation of art and design in Canada and provides artists, designers and the public a forum for exchanging ideas. The Works is responsible for the annual The Works Art & Design Festival as well as The Places, an initiative designed to place publicly funded works of art in downtown Edmonton. The Works offers internships programs for both The Places and The Works Art & Design Festival.
Art Walk: http://art-walk.ca/
The Whyte Avenue Art Walk is an unjuried outdoor gallery that features the work of local artists, encouraging interaction with the public. It spans 14 blocks of Whyte Avenue as well as two parks. Art Walk is an annual event that spans a 3-day weekend in the summer.
Nextfest is an arts festival that features emerging Edmonton and Alberta artists from many disciplines including theatre, dance, film, visual art, and music. Nextfest usually runs in July at venues along 124 St., many of which are free. Submissions are welcome from all Alberta residents under 30.
Hardcopy: Edmonton’s Artist Book and Zine Fair: http://hardcopyedmonton.wordpress.com/
Hardcopy is Edmonton’s newest art fair, focusing on the sale of artist books and zines.
Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair: http://www.royalbison.ca/
The Royal Bison is an Edmonton-based, twice-annual local festival of the best and quirkiest art, craft and design the city has to offer, with a special focus on providing products for men.
Make It! The Handmade Revolution: http://makeitproductions.com/edmonton/welcome-to-make-it/
Make It! is a fair dedicated to modern artists, designers, musicians and crafters from all over Canada. Their ethos is to produce hip, unique, ethically made goods at their fairs.
Mercer Collective: http://www.onthespotcraftsale.com/mercercollective/
The Mercer Collective is a monthly market put on by On the Spot Pop-up Sales and features the original work of musicians, DJs, artists, designers, “crafty folk”, artisans and writers.
124 Street Grand Market: http://124grandmarket.com/
The 124 Street Grand Market is a summer outdoor market that features an eclectic mix of local goods, including the work of local artists, designers, crafters and artisans.
Found Festival: http://www.commongroundarts.ca/found-festival/
The Found Festival is a site-specific, performance-based festival occurring at the end of June. The Found Festival is put on by Common Ground Arts Society (CGAS) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development, advocacy, and promotion of local emerging artists through interdisciplinary events.
Visualeyez is an annual performing arts festival put on by Latitude 53, created to facilitate experimentation and interaction with an array of various approaches to interdisciplinary and time-based art. Each year, the festival has a curatorial theme that critically investigates relevant aspects or issues of contemporary culture.
Edmonton’s Indie Handmade Market: http://www.edmontonsindiehandmademarket.com/index.html
Edmonton’s Indie Handmade Market is a brand-spankin’ new, three times a year, independent handmade market. Vendors will be selling items that they (or their kids) have handmade. Inaugural market is May 11!
ArtSpirit Festival: http://holytrinity.ab.ca/?p=4131
ArtSpirit Festival is an arts festival celebrating the 100th anniversary of Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The festival will feature work by actors, dancers, writers, painters, filmmakers, and musicians, with many events being free.
Make sure to check out our first three posts, Public Galleries, Arts Writing, and Museums & Archives, which have also been updated! A master list of all previously posted resources can also be found on our Edmonton Art Institutions page. Send us a shout if there is something to add to any of our lists! We are available via Facebook, Gmail and our Tumblr inbox.
Not long ago, I heard the opinion that if a piece of art is purchased because it happens to fit well in a particular space, then it just becomes decoration. Having moved recently and being tasked with finding a place for wall hangings and general knick-knackery in the still unfamiliar nooks and crannies of my new home, I think about this often. While I understand the logic of this statement when applied to the purchase of pre-made, pre-digested canvases from Home Sense to match that MALM dresser, I can’t help but raise an eyebrow to such a generalized conclusion.
Ikea: Purveyor of many fine art prints. Image via ikea.ca
On my walls, I have prints that I love but I also have antique mall chotchkies and even a framed piece of wrapping paper that I thought was pretty. I consider all of the above ‘decoration,’ but it also serves a larger purpose in its reflection of myself in my home, and that makes me happy. So what’s the big deal if we’re acquiring things we love to fill our homes? What exactly is the problem with late-night Etsy searches for various fabric and paper goods to be hung on walls? I must point out that few have the time and the resources to purchase a piece of art before thinking about where it might go in the home, all in the name of avoiding falling victim to ‘decoration.’
I have a feeling that the underlying notion in the statement in question is that through the act of ‘decorating’ with art objects, we reduce their status to something whose value lies in its ability to take up space. The autonomy of the art is taken away with every distracted glance from the mouth-breathing masses.
Don’t get me wrong, the ability of a piece of art to hold its own in a space is indeed an important property. My personal pet peeve is when a gallery labels or didactic panels take it upon themselves to tell the viewer exactly what they should see. However, I also feel that a crucial aspect of art viewing is that context matters. I feel strongly that how a piece of art is received depends a great deal on the choices made in its display.
For a case study, let’s take a look at something outside the home. I’m about to make a confession. Are you ready, Internet? I genuinely like the Talus Dome. I think it’s an interesting, beautiful sculpture and a refreshing departure from some of the attempts at public art found in the downtown Edmonton area (or the monstrosity in front of Southgate). However, this is not to say that I like or agree with the choices made in its display. It’s unfortunate that the vast majority of viewers are those barreling down the Whitemud, hardly giving it a second glance. I believe that the sculpture would have been received differently were it installed somewhere it might be given more opportunity for interaction with the piece. While public art is a great investment in the city, in this particular instance it was a missed opportunity at making art accessible to as many people as possible. Again, context matters.
Talus Dome. Image via Tumblr
So maybe the work of art isn’t completely autonomous after all. Without philosophizing too much, there really is a bilateral relationship between the object and its environment, with the latter having just as much influence on the piece as the other way around. The environment in which these things exist contributes to their perceived value just as much as the qualities inherent to the piece itself. A cat drawing may not mean that much hanging on an empty wall by itself, but if it’s my cat drawing hanging on my wall surrounded by other things that have meaning to me, then the sum of its parts become something more. Maybe when a piece is in the right environment – the right context – then the decorative becomes the meaningful.
What do you think? My vision of what makes art successful may be quite different from another’s. When we display art to fit in a particular space merely ‘decorating’ or can more of a balance be found?
Note: I use the word “art” or “piece” inclusively, but mainly pertaining to visual art.
Start off your week right with a look back at art news from last week, in our oh-so-handy staple, Media Mondays! (Otherwise known as media round-up). This week’s focus is on looking forward to what’s in store this summer (and beyond…) in and around the city’s arts communities:
By April Dean
(As with love and with art)
On Saturday April 27th people took the time to look at art slowly; it was Slow Art Day. Tori & Chelsey have already shed some words about the day and the happenings, but I think it is a really important concept – to slow down in life in general.
Giving things the time they deserve.
Letting them reveal themselves, in unmeasured increments.
Some connections are instant – others build.
Lightning strike or s l o w b u r n,
Both get hot, one takes time.
There is so much art in the world and so little time, how do we decide what to spend our time looking at? Should we just want to be excited about it all? I’ve tried this, it’s hard to sustain – and lately I’ve been changing my mind a lot about what I want to look at and spend time with.
Sometimes I forget I’ve only seen something on the Internet, until I really see it – I mean, in the same-room-with-the object kind of seeing – and all of a sudden it is a completely different and dimensional and tactile and emotive thing, and I understand it or know it or am interested in getting to know it, whereas in “Internet world” I would have dismissed it – not my type of art.
Maybe we can draw a link to online dating (or so I hear, I honestly wouldn’t really know). The overwhelming amount of visual information available to us might encourage us to be flippant or ill informed or ultimately unaffected, but I suspect the overwhelming array of visual art that exists requires the opposite approach. We need to take more time. We should be more critical. In addition, if we’re really invested in this visual art thing we should be ready for some discomfort, be ok with indecision, sit with it, let the art change your mind, be open and receptive without being definitive.
The worst thing that happens is you lose 2 hours of your life that you will never get back (we do this with cats on the Internet everyday). The other possibility is you might start to understand or even really love something you thought you hated. Alternatively, if you spend enough time gazing at the things you think you love, really looking at them, turning them over in your mind, you could find yourself completely bored with them and determine they are no longer deserving of your time. I hereby call an end to fast-formed opinions and quick judgments and reserve the right to change my mind about art. By all means take note of your initial responses, listen to your gut, keep your eye out for those red flags – but try to let a piece of art change you. Go see it five or more times, try to summon it in your mind when you’re apart and pay attention to the differences between the real art and the image in your mind – by date five you could feel completely different.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, April! As always, it’s a pleasure to have you on the blog. Check out April’s first guest post here!
In case you haven’t heard, Gord Ferguson, an ACAD instructor...