A jovial Mayor Miller uses his camera phone to capture a moment at yesterday’s unveiling of Article 13, an artistic rendering of a new poem by Dionne Brand, far right, the City’s Poet Laureate. In the centre is Louise Garfield, Executive Director of Arts Etobicoke, the Local Arts Service Organization that spearheaded the art alley mural project.
Article 13 is the twelfth in a series of 30 proposed public murals — part of Amnesty International’s Project: Urban Canvas — each one an interpretation of one of the 30 articles of human rights. Article 13 states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” You can read Brand’s poem on the Arts Etobicoke website. The mural was designed by artist Susan Rowe Harrison and painted by William Lazos. Click through to see photos of the mural. READ MORE
In my interviews this week with the four Scotiabank Nuit Blanche curators, each of them acknowledged the challenges of physically accommodating the huge crowds that will descend on the event tomorrow night.
“Nuit Blanche is a victim of its own success,” suggests Zone C curator Christof Migone, above. “My theme, Should I Stay Or Should I Go, is a direct response to the lineups you inevitably see at Nuit Blanche and when you confront one you have to make the decision to stay or to go.”
Consequently, Migone, like his colleagues, made every effort to stage installations out of doors in spaces as open as possible in order to embrace the public’s enthusiasm for this feast of contemporary art. But even a site like the expansive Commerce Court Courtyard, accessible from three sides, is likely to jam up as people stream in to witness Davide Balula’s The Endless Pace (variation for 60 dancers), 2009, above.
If you didn’t go to school at Ryerson University you probably have no idea that the grassy splendour of the Kerr Hall Quad exists between Gould and Gerrard streets, west of Church. Perhaps Saturday night’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and the two commissioned works being staged in and at the entrance to the Quad will introduce you to this normally tranquil little hideaway for the first time. That’s one of the hopes of curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan, left (photo by Angus Rowe MacPherson), who, together with the artists, has selected the location for the performance piece Reunion, 2010 (Ryerson Theatre) and Up, Up and Around: Toronto City Hall, 2010, by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young (Ryerson Quad).
Very nearby will be New York artist Iman Issa‘s four Meeting Point installations, “light box projects stationed through the area that form a little pathway,” explains Robayo Sheridan. “They’re sort of tucked away in alleyways and back parking lots and they serve as proposals for monuments of the artist’s own invention. Those locations I scouted on bicycle, combing through the area to see what would work best, so I think some of the sites will be a surprise to people.” READ MORE
If you’re not a David Bowie fan you probably don’t know (and possibly don’t care) that “Sound and Vision” is the title of a song from the rock star’s pivotal and supremely arty 1977 album, Low. In many ways, the song sums up what curator Anthony Kiendl wanted to say with his Scotiabank Nuit Blanche exhibition this Saturday (October 2) so he borrowed the title.
“I was thinking about the role of pop music in art and vice versa,” says the Winnipeg-based Kiendl, “and at that particular time Bowie was leaving the U.S. and going to Europe to make the Berlin trilogy (Low, Heroes, Lodger). It seemed like an example of someone crossing boundaries and making transitions; he’d been doing film work around that time, as well. I like that it’s a simple title, it doesn’t over-explain or pre-determine the reception of the artworks.” READ MORE
Art Gallery of Ontario curator Gerald McMaster, above (photo by Angus Rowe MacPherson) is the most seasoned member of this year’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche curatorial team and yet he’s the least prone to indulge in art speak and the most open to child-like wonder at the power of contemporary art. Jaded, he is not.
McMaster uses the word “fun” repeatedly to describe several of his zone’s commissioned and open call project selections and he definitely cherishes the evening’s power to provoke and transform the city’s collective perception of contemporary art. On October 2, for the fifth year running, downtown Toronto will become a nocturnal hive for art and art lovers.
“There’s something so fantastic about the buzz of being surrounded by so many other people all out to experience the wonder of the event,” McMaster enthuses. “It’s safe and it’s fun. Nuit Blanche has really created an awareness among Torontonians of art and new artistic practices. People suddenly realize that art is not just for a white cube, it can be a spatial experience.”
“At the AGO,” adds McMaster, “we’re constantly asking, ‘Who is our audience?’ and it’s not always an easy question to answer. But with Nuit Blanche everybody is the audience.” READ MORE