Art

A sea of contingencies

Federal elections, Olympic ceremonies, the actions of a unit of sharp shooters, a theater premiere–all count as public events. Other events of overwhelming public significance, such as child rearing, factory work, and watching television within one’s own four walls, are considered private. The real social experiences of human beings, produced in everyday life and work cut across such divisions. –Alexander…

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Art

The Creative City

The “Creative City” has become a common byword in today’s increasingly globalized world. Metropolitan centres the world over are mobilizing their cultural resources in a bid to brand themselves as global “cultural” cities, with hopes that this strategy will have a positive impact on the local economy and strengthen peoples sense of place and civic identity. During the headlong rush…

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Art

The state of art criticism and critical theory

Oscar Wilde’s famous quip that “The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is unread” partially applies to art criticism. The problem with most art criticism is that it is both unreadable and unread. Paradoxically, however, as an obscure subculture of writing, art criticism appears in a truly large number of venues: several hundred international…

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Art

Art diasporas

The French philosopher Henri Bergson defines the present as “ungraspable … the past devouring the future: It’s a conceptualization that suggests turmoil, flux and the idea of “a gap”; or maybe, not a gap so much as the impression of what we construct in place of not being able to “grasp” it. If we exist between “then” and “when” the…

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Art

From Montreal to the world

The magazine’s ambition “to develop a critical language” for a borderless discourse on current art practices was signalled by Poulin’s design for the craft-paper cover of Issue 1: a reproduction of Vladimir Tatlin’s sketch for a Monument to the Third International (1919-1920). A “hybrid criticism” was sought using tools developed by writers from both sides of the pond. Pontbriand explains…

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Art, Interviews

From Beijing to Paris to San Francisco

Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with Hou Hanru, a prolific curator and writer who has been inventing and reinventing himself and his profession for two decades. In 2006 he was appointed Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of Exhibition Studies and Museum Studies program at the San Francisco Art Institute, and in 2007 he served as…

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