The Mann Art Gallery Intergenerational Métis Mentorship Project officially launched Friday with the first installation of a series at the gallery. This is similar to a project last year and sees local artist Leah Dorion mentoring emerging Métis cultural educator and artist Ashley Smith.
Dorion and Smith, will create three temporary art projects in outdoor spaces surrounding the Mann Art Gallery and E.A.Rawlinson Centre in July and August. Each installation will be up for several weeks.
Along with Dorion and Smith, guest artist and last year’s mentee Danielle Castle will also be participating in the project. Seeing the project continue for another year was important to Dorion, who said it’s amazing to see it happening again.
“We didn’t know if they would see the value in it and they totally understood that mentorship isn’t just a small one time thing,” Dorion said. “It has to keep going, and they funded this and they understood that this needs to be a long-term mentorship process.”
“They put the real support behind this to keep the mentorship with Dani—and we still have Dani involved in a peripheral way—but to expand it to Ashley now is just a beautiful continuation,” she added.
The first project saw the installation of cardboard bison painted in English and Michif depicting traditional Métis values and images. The bison were painted in a workshop on Monday and at earlier dates. Several artists contributed.
“It’s colourful and loving and joyful and it’s made by intergenerational hands. We have had all ages work on the figurines, from Elders to little kids,” Dorion said.
The project, which is similar to one from last year, is a pride for Dorion.
“I have been cooking this up for quite some time and seeing if it would be something that is viable. It has been a while in the making,” she said.
On Monday there was a first time visitor to the gallery who wound up joining the workshop.
“He just came to check out the gallery and then he said ‘yeah I’ll paint’ and joined in. We just started talking about the values and what the buffalo meant and now he is going to have a piece going out,” Castle said.
Dorion echoed the joy on the part of the project participants in having someone find it in this way.
She said the growth of the program brings a fresh perspective from Smith, who will grow and expand both her and Castle’s own perspective.
Castle explained that as a Métis woman, seeing the project grow was exciting.
“It’s really inspirational, (and) it’s amazing that Leah is able to continue through the gallery to pass on her knowledge, which is the most exciting part to me. Leah is a knowledge keeper. She passes on that knowledge, so the more people she can pass it on to, the better. Sharing is one of our values as Métis people and the more we can share the better it is for all of us because it’s a core fundamental value for us to share,” Castle said.
Smith met Dorion while she was a student at SUNTEP and while studying there she found a connection to her Métis roots.
“I really became passionate about my Métis identity, who I am, the teachings, the values and just connected to all of the teachings. And I am just so grateful that i get to have the opportunity to continue to learn,” Smith said.
Dorion said that the circle will grow with Castle and Smith if the project is funded again next summer.
“The circle will grow, we will keep doing workshops together, I can just see this as evolving,” Dorion said.
The overall intent is to create highly visible, accessible and educational contemporary Indigenous (Métis) art in public spaces in the Prince Albert celebrating the Métis culture and teaching youth and emerging artists values and techniques. The project is a way to temporarily “Indigenize” our public spaces surrounding the Mann Art Gallery / E.A. Rawlinson Centre using natural and traditional materials in an accessible and fun way
“And this way through the gallery, through the public, we can share our stories, we can share our teachings, we can share our values,” Castle said.
The whole project will involve public art connected to the gallery and Rawlinson Centre over the summer months.
“I knew they needed to be done, I sit on a couple of Indigenous advisory committees, I am on the Indigenous people’s advisory committee for the museum. And I realized that this story of Métis land use and Métis arts just needed to happen and it needed to be done through arts, through the artistic process,” Dorion said.
The project Friday was scheduled for two hours but so many people came to help that it went much faster than expected.
“This is amazing that we have this kind of help,” Dorion said.
The other projects include a Willow Meditation Walkway, which is expected to be installed in July in Scarrow Park by the Provincial Court and finally a lobstick in late August.
“We are going to do some workshopping just like we do with the bison figurines. We are going to go do the selection of the materials ourselves with our team. And then we are going to set everything and then we will open up when we are ready and prepped. We are going to have community members contribute to the lobstick and the willow path,” Dorion said.
Castle is also excited about the lobstick idea.
“It is an awesome addition to the project. The lobstick is a really cool because now it is telling and teaching another story about culture. Seeing it get passed on is phenomenal and I hope that they can continue to do that as long as they can,” Castle said.
This project is funded by Saskatchewan Lotteries through the SaskCulture Aboriginal Arts and Culture Leadership Grant (AACL), the Community Initiatives Fund,the City of Prince Albert and Area Community Grant Program and the City of Prince Albert.
Greenpoint This Week: Art Fair, Staycations and More – greenpointers.com
Happy Weekend Greenpoint!
This weekend, The Other Art Fair is back in town, with affordable artworks ready for your post-quarantine redecorating plans.
If you’re eager to get out, plan a staycation in the neighborhood, for a change of scenery, without a sink full of dirty dishes. If you prefer your own pillows, consider just spending a day at one of our local outdoor pools. The newly opened Le Doggie Cool also has open cafe hours this Saturday, for pups to play in their backyard pool.
This week, we reported that Brooklyn Bowl is reopening in early September! Get your tickets now for upcoming parties and shows. If you’re looking for a free event, Friday night brings a screening of Frozen to Transmitter Park.
We also reported that a new community fridge has opened on Greenpoint Ave. near Transmitter Park. And shared some unfortunate news about a Greenpoint resident arrested for recording his female roommates without their consent.
Make sure to fit in your last visit to the Leonard Library before it closes for renovations on Monday, August 2. Worry not – Greenpoint Library is still up and running, with computer service and open seating also now available.
Don’t forget to check out our summer 2021 fashion sundae roundup for this season’s best local looks.
The art of the deal: empty storefronts become gallery space to lure shoppers back downtown – CTV News Montreal
With many Montreal storefront real estate lying empty, some landlords have turned to the arts in a bid to bring people back downtown.
Where some would see a crisis in the decimating effect that online shopping and the COVID-19 pandemic has had on brick-and-mortar stores, Frederic Loury, who runs the Art Sousterrain festival, saw an opportunity.
“During the pandemic, I noticed it was a necessity to build a bridge between real estate and emerging artists,” he said.
Loury convinced several downtown landlords to lend available spaces to artists.
One of those artists, Dana Edmonds, now has storefront space in Alexis Nihon Plaza.
“I thought it was a really cool idea because I got to expose art, which doesn’t get exposed a lot,” she said. “It’s hard to get into galleries in the first place, so at least we can show our work.”
Edmonds is sharing her space with fellow artist Florence Gagnon, who said the initiative is giving people who don’t normally go to art galleries a chance to see what local talent has to offer.
“I think it’s a beautiful way to integrate art into places that don’t usually have it,” she said.
For the landlords, it’s a smart marketing opportunity and a way to get people shopping again.
“They were kind of afraid of coming back to Montreal, so basically this will make them want to come back and shop and visit some emerging artists that we have with Art Sousterrain,” said Alexis Nihon general manager Danny Thery.
Edmonds says that while her work might be in a store, she isn’t giving a hard sell to curious window shoppers.
“My work is kind of political, It’s commentary about over-consumption, mental health, climate change. I like the dialogue,” she said. “If I sell something, that’s great. If people just look at garbage a little differently, then I’m happy.”
Thus far, there are 30 stores being lent to artists downtown. Loury said he believes mixing art and retail will become a trend.
“Others have to rethink the model if they want to survive.”
Art Gallery of Ontario reopens with blockbuster Andy Warhol exhibition – Toronto Star
The Art Gallery of Ontario is betting on a blockbuster Andy Warhol retrospective to entice audiences back following a nine-month pandemic induced closure.
The aptly titled “Andy Warhol” exhibition, which opened to AGO members Wednesday, aims to bring biographic and cultural context to one of the most recognizable and divisive iconoclasts of the 20th century. Through 250 art works and ephemera, including a trio of Warhol’s infamous wigs and the manifest from his mother’s arrival at Ellis Island, “Andy Warhol” makes the argument that its subject is, as Kenneth Brummel, the AGO’s Associate Curator of Modern Art puts it, “due for a reassessment.”
Pointedly, “Andy Warhol” casts its subject as a product of circumstance. The first half of the exhibition is devoted to establishing Warhol’s working-class bona-fides: his humble upbringing as a child of Eastern European immigrants in Pittsburgh, moving to New York to work on commercial and advertising art before establishing himself as a figurehead of the counterculture. In contrast, the latter half moves beyond the biographical into Warhol’s obsession with mortality and religion, a perspective made all the more visceral when he was shot in 1968 by the feminist author Valerie Solanas (Solanas also shot art critic Mario Amaya, who happened to be at Warhol’s studio at the time and would, the following year, become the chief curator at the AGO).
Presented across a massive section of the Gallery (twice the typical floor space to allow for physical distancing), the exhibition reframes the Pop Art Svengali by spotlighting some of Warhol’s lesser-known works while postulating that, as the homosexual son of poor Catholic immigrants, he was uniquely positioned to become the eminent art world translator of American culture.
To achieve this vantage point, the exhibition fleshes out the artist’s work as pointedly flawed and acerbic rather than the sleek, machine-like superficial mirror that has become the artist’s modern caricature. As such, seminal pieces including 1962’s “Marilyn Diptych” and 1964’s “Jackie Triptych” are presented couched in Warhol’s macabre obsessions and Catholic guilt, while the lesser seen “Ladies and Gentlemen” series, in which Warhol was commissioned to create portraits of New York’s Latin and African-American drag queens and trans women, is given pride of place, bluntly asking the viewer to confront the necropolitics of the work, both of its time and of modern day.
“We want to take Warhol as we understand him and make him strange again,” Brummel, who curated the AGO presentation following its debut last year at the Tate Modern in London, explains. “Our goal is to enrich understanding of Warhol as this bifurcated figure; more than a myth with a past.”
In parallel, the AGO presentation subtly points out Warhol’s ties to both the gallery and the city. This connection is brought to bear via a selection of works exclusive to the Toronto stop, including multiple commissioned portraits of the ballet superstar Karen Kain and, fetchingly, a neon Wayne Gretzky, whose placement in juxtaposition to “Oxidation Painting” (which Warhol created by coating a canvas with wet copper paint and getting his friends to urinate on it) serves as a commentary on the artist’s own fraught relationship with celebrity, commerce and the art world.
Moreover, by purposely positioning the retrospective in divergence with the polished colourful imagery and pithy quotables that have come to define Warhol as a pop culture figure, Brummel says he hopes it will help salvage the artist’s reputation as a precursor for the disposable nature and lavish absurdisms of modern art.
“The reality is every good painter has to reckon with the cult of admiration,” he says, pointing to the late-era series, “Stitched Photographs,” in which the artist toyed with his own authenticity by stitching a series of reprinted photographs together to form a repeated pattern. “And Warhol was a formidable precursor.”
In the works since 2017, “Andy Warhol” had been intended to debut at the AGO in March of 2021 and joined exhibitions across the sector and around the world which had been delayed or cancelled due to the pandemic.
According to CEO Stephan Jost, while it undoubtedly caused a number of logistical and financial headaches, the pandemic also allowed for something all too rare in the field: a moment to reflect.
Speaking during a brief interview under a posthumous self-portrait of Warhol, Jost explains that over the past year he “learned to stop talking and listen.”
“[The pandemic] allowed us to ask ourselves what are we actually doing and why are we actually doing this? That’s framed as an existential question, but it actually reminded people why they do what they do,” he says. “What I discovered was, on a basic level, we’re doing fine and that’s because everybody, from the night guards to our board, pulled their weight. That gives you a lot of confidence”
In addition, Jost says the break gave the heads of many of the city’s cultural organizations a chance to retrench and consider how best to reinvigorate what has been one of the hardest hit sectors.
“We used to meet maybe quarterly and now it’s every two weeks,” he says of the group, which includes representatives from the National Ballet, Harbourfront Centre, Canadian Opera Company and Soulpepper Theatre. “We’re all trying to figure it out and it’s actually been great to find a common learning.”
As for the near future, Jost says he’s excited for the gallery to come “roaring back,” beginning with the Warhol exhibition, which runs until Oct. 24, to be joined by, beginning Oct. 9, a blockbuster exhibition focusing on Picasso’s Blue Period.
“It’s the best exhibition schedule the AGO has ever had,” Jost exclaims. “We want to be all in on culture.”
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