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Fitness studio owner blends art and fitness in downtown Halifax –



Owning a fitness studio wasn’t always what Christy Sanford planned for her life.

She’s the owner of InesS Studio in downtown Halifax – a fitness studio, now in its 15th year, offering classes in pilates, aerial circus arts and pole sport.

But getting to where she is now – where she can run her own business and blend fitness and art – wasn’t a straightforward journey.

When she was younger, Sanford says her father told her she could pursue two options for education: the arts, where she could risk either becoming wildly successful or losing everything, or the sciences, where she could finish her degree and have an easier time finding employment.

Sanford chose the latter and enrolled at Dalhousie University for biology. But after doing less physical activity and trying to improve her grades, she says she “lost herself.”

After two and a half years, Sanford dropped out of the program, packed things up and moved across the country to Western Canada. It was in Whistler, B.C. where she re-found her love for fitness and spent an entire year snowboarding.

But her trip to Western Canada didn’t last long; Sanford was in a car accident and suffered a back injury causing her to move back to Nova Scotia. To rehabilitate, Sanford picked up pilates. She also decided to go back to school, this time choosing NSCAD University where she first studied jewelry but eventually switched into the design program.

“My fine arts degree really came into play when I opened the business,” Sanford says. “I had this fitness background, opened this business and now I can make my own website, make my own videos, so it finally came all together. However, there are too many things that I can do which is also my biggest fault, that I just kind of continue working indefinitely.”

While studying back home in Nova Scotia, Sanford explored various forms of art that would impact her life even to this day.

“I got into breakdancing while I was at NSCAD and DJing, so I found a home in the hip hop community,” Sanford says. “And within that I became Atlantic Canada’s first female breakdancer and female DJ and I won medals and all of that stuff.”

On top of breakdancing and DJing, Sanford found an interest in photography and film. Many of the projects she filmed were for her breakdancing group and she thought she’d pursue video editing. But the idea of working for a company she didn’t like and working with computers all day didn’t seem enjoyable. Instead, she decided to get her pilates certification, but only as a means of paying the bills and not entirely sacrificing her artistic vision.

“I found that I enjoyed working with people much more than I liked the computers, so I continued to do that more and I continued to still dance and breakdance and be involved in the hip hop community,” she says. “I guess with my love of breakdancing and my love of DJing, I had a new passion in life and a new goal of wanting to be really fit and healthy.

“I wanted to not just be a good girl breakdancer; I wanted to be able to beat the guys on the same level.”

Then in 2005, Sanford says her father encouraged her to open a business.

“He told me to go get my own loan, he wasn’t going to give me any money,” she says. “So, I did because I knew that I was privileged where I had my education paid for and many of my friends had huge student debt and no job. I was going to take out a loan and have a job, so I just wasn’t scared.”

She started InesS Studio very small, first only offering pilates classes and adding pole sport a couple of months later.

With Sanford’s background being in breakdance, she found that pole dance wasn’t her style and hired a teacher for the studio. It quickly became popular and helped Sanford opened the studio in a larger space within a year.

IMG_0146-2(Chris Stoodley/

Then, nine years ago, Sanford had her daughter, and around the same time, pole competition was becoming popular. In an attempt to get back into shape, Sanford wanted to hold and compete in her own competition in Atlantic Canada.

She organized the first three Atlantic Pole Fitness Championships, a regional competition that qualified for the national competition.

“After a few years of that, I got tired of competing and just wanted to perform just to create art,” she says.

To further her art, she then took up circus arts and decided to add circus arts classes to the studio. Now, InesS Studio offers a youth aerial circus program where students learn acrobatics such as aerial silks, aerial hoops and trapeze. The studio also offers adult classes in the same categories.

Sanford also decided to create more art by starting two separate events.

She started Halifax Theatrix, a local pole and aerial competition where participants showcase their talents in categories such as pole comedy, pole art and aerial hoop.

Additionally, she started Spinning with the Stars, a cirque-style show along the lines of the television show Dancing with the Stars. Over the years, it’s featured several “Hali-famous” people including Coun. Lindell Smith, mixed martial arts champion Chris Kelades and Trailer Park Boys stars Cory Bowles and Leigh MacInnis.

And while the COVID-19 pandemic has affected numerous businesses around the world, it hasn’t affected InesS Studio too harshly.

Over quarantine, the InesS Studio still offered classes through Zoom. In fact, Sanford taught some of her breakdancing moves to the participants in the youth program.

Now, in-person classes have resumed, and Sanford says you already have to be physically distanced to do pole sport and aerial arts.

Increased cleaning is one of the only things that is entirely new for Sanford as an intense disinfecting of the equipment and ceiling apparatuses to meet COVID-19 protocols creates more work.

But Sanford says her team, both the front desk staff and instructors, have been a great asset.

“The people who are here they’re just 100 per cent here so I feel like our team is really strong right now,” she says.

And in the near future, the pandemic isn’t holding back Sanford and her business.

Before Christmas, the studio will offer fast-track classes for more advanced students. There will also be holiday group classes where groups of eight or 10 can take a class for a team-building exercise or staff party. Sanford also says she’s preparing for a student showcase.

All of this adds to the fitness community Sanford is building in Halifax.

“We started off as a pilates studio and then we added pole. It used to be that people would do the first six weeks and then they’d never come back,” she says. “Once, I started taking over the program and working on how to make people successful … so that they’d want to do the next level, then I think people started to keep coming and create those class relationships and then the community really started to build.”

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Defining Art Moments in 2020 – The New York Times



#masthead-section-label, #masthead-bar-one display: none

The Most Important Moments in Art in 2020

This was a year of protests and pivots. Monuments fell, museums looked inward. On the bright side, galleries persisted despite the pandemic’s grip and curators rolled out magisterial retrospectives.

Credit…Clockwise from center: Sue Coe, via SaveArtSpace and Art at a Time Like This; Carlos Vilas Delgado/EPA, via Shutterstock; The Estate of Noah Davis; Charlie Rubin for The New York Times; The Estate of Philip Guston and Hauser & Wirth
  • Dec. 4, 2020, 5:03 a.m. ET

Holland Cotter

The year was a 12-month stress test. When I asked friends “how are you?” the repeat answers came: “anxious,” “depressed,” “bored.” The first two I could relate to, but bored is something I rarely am. As a journalist, I’m addicted to art-specific information, to taking it in, parsing it, sorting it, trying to make sense of it. And there’s been a ton of it this year, all pretty intense. So as long as I’ve had a laptop, a home library, and at least some access to “live” art, I’ve been OK in lockdown mode. Here are some things that have kept me focused.

Art, fundamentally, is information. It’s as much about issues as about objects, about how we live and think, ethically, politically, emotionally. This has been clear in exhibitions that have expanded our knowledge of what’s in the world, near and far. Among those I revisit in my mind are “Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” at MoMA PS1”; and “Sky Hopinka: Centers of Somewhere” at the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College. And to those, I’ll add three Manhattan gallery shows: a museum-ready survey of portraits by the still-undersung Benny Andrews at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery; a solo of work by Frederick Weston (1946-2020) at the Ace Hotel; and, at David Lewis Gallery, a reconstruction of rooms from the Los Angeles home of the reclusive artist and filmmaker John Boskovich (1956-2006), who called his living room the “Psycho Salon” and made it a rousing place to shelter.

The Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Va. was among the public art projects that came under scrutiny after George Floyd died in police custody in May. Protesters reclaimed the site by decorating the statue’s  pedestal with Black Lives Matter slogans and memorials to victims of police violence. 
Credit…Steve Helber/Associated Press

And there were objects that projected information loud and clear, as was the case with commemorative political monuments after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Two that made news this year were in Virginia. In Richmond, protesters transformed a colossal statue of Robert E. Lee into a jubilant paean to Black Lives Matter. And in Charlottesville, the scene of a violent 2017 Unite the Right rally, a new “Memorial to Enslaved Laborers” was installed at the University of Virginia, on a campus famously designed by Thomas Jefferson, a slaveholder, and built, brick by brick, by enslaved Black people.

The lockdown created dire economic crises for art institutions. Possibly even more destabilizing and harder to address long-term was the mounting pressure on museums to conduct moral self-inventories and to begin correcting systemic racial and social inequities. In the event, the learning curve for reform wasn’t just steep; it was a roller coaster.

Last May the Baltimore Museum of Art planned to auction works from its collection to pay for — among other things — equitable staff salaries, only to be hit by a firestorm of protests. A few months later, four museums collaborating on a Philip Guston survey — the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Tate Modern — were critically slammed when they decided to postpone and rethink a show that included some of that artist’s Ku Klux Klan-derived imagery.

In both cases, art institutions had legitimate arguments to make, but didn’t make them convincingly, and had to pull back. The Baltimore Museum dropped its auction plans, at least for the present. And, in a compromise gesture, the Guston postponement was reduced to two years from four. What a workshopping of the show will produce remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: our major museums now have two-year gaps in their exhibition schedules. How about filling those gaps with art that, unlike Guston’s, is nonwhite, nonmale, and noncanonical, an option that might have been considered from the start.

Following staff layoffs during the pandemic, art institutions felt pressure from inside too. This year, continuing a trend from 2019, museum workers, voicing grievances based on racial discrimination and economic exploitation, have increasingly sought to unionize. In some cases, the efforts have gone smoothly. In others they’ve hit pushback. Together the results prove two facts: Institutions long assumed to represent the best in us can also represent the worst; and solidarity works.

Credit…Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA, via Shutterstock

After three years of foot-dragging, the French Senate signed off on a bill in November promising to return a group of looted objects to Africa: 26 sculptures, now held by the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, will go back to Benin, and a sword (on loan from France’s Army Hospital to the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar) will be permanently repatriated to Senegal. But the returns feel dutiful and small. A 2018 report commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron of France estimated that some 90,000 African works are in French collections. “African heritage cannot be a prisoner of European museums,” Mr. Macron said. But clearly it still is, which made the news that the architect David Adjaye was designing a museum in Nigeria specifically to house returned objects most welcome.

Credit…Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds and Fort Gansevoort

A concentration of Indigenous artists lit up New York galleries and museums this year. They included, along with Sky Hopinka at Bard, Edgar Heap of Birds (Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho) at Fort Gansevoort; Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit and Unangan) at Peter Blum; Jeffrey Gibson (Choctaw and Cherokee) at the Brooklyn Museum; and the Indigenous Canadian painter Kent Monkman (Cree) at the Met. In addition, the Met, which stands on Lenape homelands, hired Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha Indigenous Mexican) as its first full-time Native American curator.

Latinos constitute the second largest ethnic and racial group in the nation. They’re a powerful political and cultural force (some have embraced the gender-neutral term Latinx), yet look for them in our big museums and you’ll barely find them. This past July, after years of advocacy, a bill proposing the establishment of a National Museum of the American Latino in Washington was finally passed by the House of Representatives. Once the Senate and the president sign off, it’s a done deal. That deal should be sealed, and soon.

Credit…Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

The Met’s experiment in off-site expansion closed with the March lockdown and never reopened. I wonder how many people noticed. In reality, projects never really achieved liftoff. Attendance stayed low. Critical reception was tepid. There was a lingering sense that the Met itself was relieved to see it go. (The Frick will take over the lease next year.) Yet, without the Breuer we would have missed important shows, ones that no other New York City museum was willing or able to offer. Superb career surveys of Siah Armajani, Kerry James Marshall, Marisa Merz, Nasreen Mohamedi, Mrinalini Mukherjee and Lygia Pape led the list.

I was heartened this year to follow the work of a new generation of sharp-minded art writers, among them Hannah Black, Nikki Columbus and Tobi Haslett, and to read the emphatically cleareyed commentary of the artist Coco Fusco. The voice I missed was that of the art historian and curator Maurice Berger, who had for more than three decades been taking the pulse of America’s racial politics as reflected in art and its institutions. He died in March, at 63, of complications from Covid-19.

Given the closures and stretches of stay-home quarantine, it makes sense that a lot of the season’s most memorable art was open-air. Who could forget the words “Black Lives Matter” painted, huge and in caution-yellow, on the street in front of the White House and before Trump Tower in Manhattan? In advance of the 2020 election, the online site called “Art at a Time Like This,” founded by Barbara Pollack and Anne Verhallen, collaborated with SaveArtSpace to place politically pointed billboards by 20 artists — among them Sue Coe, Abigail DeVille and Dread Scott — throughout New York City’s five boroughs. And a collective of artists, led by Frank Sabatté, a priest and textile artist, associated with St. Paul the Apostle Church on Manhattan’s West Side installed their annual exhibition not inside the church but on the railings outside it, where the public could see it in safety and nature — weather and time — could determine when the show would end.

Roberta Smith

The main story everywhere this year was the coronavirus: how it disrupted or reshaped specific spheres of activity, or left parts of them largely unscathed. The art world witnessed dizzying combinations of these outcomes, which are still unfolding. One surprise was the almost instantaneous financial fragility of museums and the stalwartness of art galleries of all shapes and sizes. When the virus arrived, an especially strong art season had been underway.

Credit…The Estate of Noah Davis

An early sign of the New Year’s strengths was a solemnly beautiful survey of the truncated career of the painter Noah Davis (1983-2015) at David Zwirner in mid-January. Davis combined realist figuration with touches of painterliness and color that added a resonant symbolism and elegiac calm to his scenes of almost-everyday African-American life. The display came to seem like the start of an amazing run of gallery shows by Black artists this season. They included Walter Price at Greene Naftali; Titus Kaphar at Gagosian; Ficre Ghebreyesus at Galerie Lelong; Leilah Babirye at Gordon Robichaux; Jonathan Lyndon Chase at Baby Company; Gideon Appah at Mitchell-Innes & Nash; Tschabalala Self at Eva Presenhuber (through Dec. 19); Nina Chanel Abney at Jack Shainman (through Dec. 23); and Theaster Gates at Gagosian (through Jan. 23, 2021). And reigning over them all is “Rope/Fire/Water,” an overdue survey of Howardena Pindell’s alternating forays into abstract painting and politics at the Shed (through April 11).

Credit…UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Eli Leon Bequest

In Northern California, before the coronavirus lockdown, a life-changing, history-altering exhibition was briefly available at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum: the first full retrospective of the great quilt-artist Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936-2006). Her colorful, ingeniously improvisatory work is widely accessible and effortlessly evades any label that might occur: craft, outsider, abstraction, Pop. The 60 pieces in this show (which has not yet reopened, but will) were part of the museum’s 2018 Eli Leon Bequest, a 400-artist, 3,000-quilt cache of African-American quilts that if handled properly — a building of its own might be in order — could become one of the university’s defining attractions.

One of the best exhibitions yet mounted by this venerable alternative space was Jonathan Berger’s installation “An Introduction to Nameless Love,” which opened in March and reopened again in September. It filled the space with shimmering texts of cut metal that delved into unusual relationships, including that of the turtle conservationist Richard Ogust and the diamondback terrapin that pointed him toward his calling. The floor beneath the letters was their exact opposite in terms of material: It was black, matte and slightly soft and made of thousands of small cubes of charcoal that expressed their own kind of tenderness.

Opening just weeks before the shutdown, the Museum of Modern Art’s magisterial retrospective of Donald Judd’s objects was so impeccably selected and installed, it seemed that even that famously exacting Minimalist would have approved. His sense of color, scale and materials has rarely been so clear. The retrospective inspired a cluster of Judd shows in galleries around town. Most notable was Gagosian’s exhibition of one of Judd’s largest, least-seen efforts, an untitled 1980 installation piece in unfinished plywood that had not been exhibited in New York since 1981. It presented a grid of horizontal compartments subdivided by inserted planes, most on the diagonal, that divided the piece into a series of rhythmically contrasting volumes, planes and edges. They implied some kind of musical instrument delivering an exultant blast of sound.

Credit…Agnes Pelton, via Whitney Museum of American Art

A chapter was added to the history of women’s contributions to abstract painting with a small career survey of the painter Agnes Pelton (1881-1961), which came to the Whitney Museum of American Art from the Phoenix Art Museum. It was a beautiful show, full of inventive shapes levitating in tinted atmospheres with evening stars and spiraling lines; these canvases navigated their own fusion of geometric and organic forms and high art and popular art sources, especially Walt Disney’s “Fantasia.”

As the art world closed down, online gallery exhibitions kicked in and “viewing rooms” became a thing. These were largely fancified versions of online access already common to gallery websites, except that you usually had to sign in and as a result perhaps feel slightly surveilled. Once there, images might slide seductively past, alternating with close-ups and whole views and pithy quotes from some writer or cultural figure. On the fancier sites, especially, it seemed like we were all in on the sales pitch. By the fall, its was clear that, with or without bells and whistles, viewing rooms and online exhibitions had become an art world staple, a way for galleries to expand their real estate, if only digitally. It is definitely not as good as the in-the-flesh experience, but it is another way to show, and see, more art.

Credit…Karma, New York

It was just a gallery group show, but its size, inclusiveness, theme and timing made it special. It was the first show that I and probably others saw after four or five months of sheltering in place. Between the absence of the art galleries and my absence from the city, I had come to feel rather feral, unfamiliar to myself. The vibrancy of this late-summer show snapped me back. It was a breath of fresh air, a sign of real life emphasized by the floral motifs. The more than 60 artists were an intergenerational, stylistically diverse group, but they all confirmed, as with one voice, the persistence of art and the instincts to make it.

The multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite’s magnificent first show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in October was an engulfing sci-fi pastoral that included a large digital video projection densely populated with sexy androgynous avatars and other groups of creatures and humans performing Mr. Satterwhite’s angular choreography, smashing disco-ball meteorites or just standing around looking cool. The show also included sculptures and neon-light wall pieces that riffed on Caravaggio, Manet and maybe Bruce Nauman with Black protagonists. Visitors could sit on a thronelike rattan chair reminiscent of Huey Newton’s and experience the video in virtual reality. The pulsing techno music was built on four songs by the artist’s mother, who could also be heard singing them. One provided the show’s title — “We Are in Hell When We Hurt Each Other.” The idea that inflicting pain on others only deepens one’s own could not be more germane.

Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Until it happened once, it was hard to understand what it meant — the Museum of Modern Art’s big plan to rotate a third of its permanent collection every six months. The first rotation was supposed to open in May as the Spring Reveal.Ultimately, it became the Fall Reveal and opened in November. It was exhilarating to finally grasp how profound it will be to have MoMA’s collection trade its chiseled-in-stone fixedness for permanent, in-progress fluidity. Everyone — curators, visitors, scholars and artists — will have a new relationship with the museum, its vast holdings and the histories they can tell. The mind boggles.

Luther Price, Ron Gorchov, Siah Armajani, Paul Kasmin, Germano Celant, Maurice Berger, Zarina Hashmi, Ian Wilson, Beverly Pepper, John Baldessari, Jack Youngerman, Kevin Consey, Virginia Wright, Suellen Rocca, David C. Driskell, Thomas Sokolowski, Tina Girouard, Keith Sonnier, Rafael Leonardo Black, Renato Danese, Jason Polan, James Brown and Alexandra Condon, Mark Prent, Joanna Frueh, Genesis P-Orridge and Emma Amos.

Jason Farago

The only virtue of this washed-out year: When the circus stopped, the art world could no longer lie to itself. For years, boosters told us that shows were “essential,” fairs “unmissable”; we discovered we could do without them quite well. And institutions reputed as “progressive” had to admit their intransigence. If 2021 is to be a year of reassessment and reconstruction, let’s at least promise to do it seriously.

Credit…Victor Llorente for The New York Times

The year’s most intelligent and most despondent exhibition came not from an artist, but a musician: the Detroit D.J. Carl Craig, whose conversion of Dia Beacon’s basement into a vacant nightclub pipes techno into a bloodline of minimal and industrial art stretching from Dan Flavin and Philip Glass back to the Bauhaus. With its bright, liquid beats, through its chest-jouncing bass line, “Party/After Party” crescendoes into a staggering amalgamation of popular revelry and high art, and a vindication of Black electronic music’s inheritances and influence. And then every nightclub on Earth closed — instantly converting Mr. Craig’s installation, five years in the making, into a memorial for when pleasure was still possible and bodies could still touch. This show was a feat from day one; Covid-19 made it an adventitious masterpiece, a taxidermied stage for all we have lost. (Through summer 2021.)

Two profound shows with nothing in common except one question: Can you paint Auschwitz? I cannot, pleaded “Gerhard Richter: Painting After All,” the German artist’s icy summation, up for just nine days at the Met Breuer — whose culminating “Birkenau” series began with an effort to paint photographs of the extermination camp, and ended up as streaky, speechless abstractions. I must, cried “Ceija Stojka: This Has Happened,” the Roma survivor’s burning retrospective at Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofía — whose runny, unrestrained paintings of Auschwitz bore witness to a genocide still in danger of being forgotten.

Credit…Camille Henrot for Mask Crusaders

Mid-March, desperate days, and Camille Henrot suddenly realizes: her studio is sitting on a stockpile of masks, gloves and respirators used for work with hazardous materials. The network that she, Shabd Simon-Alexander and their fellow Mask Crusaders built quickly channeled 150,000 items of P.P.E. from artists and museums to frontline workers. Soon after came Pictures for Elmhurst, an online fund-raiser of print-on-demand photography by Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Demand and 185 other artists, which raised $1.38 million for New York’s hardest-hit hospital. Both reaffirmed that artists already have the capability to build new systems, and can get things moving in a matter of days.

Two artists, of quite different styles but sharing a rare benevolence, recommitted themselves during the lockdown to the daily practice of painting. Mr. Liu, a Chinese painter stuck in New York when flights stopped, showed at Lisson Gallery his sympathetic watercolors of isolated pedestrians and trees flowering in empty parks, many painted en plein air (with mask on). Ms. Sillman, a virtuoso of motion, brought to Gladstone Gallery not only commanding new abstractions but a pandemic surprise: small, tender floral still lifes, ardent promises of new life.

Credit…Donald Judd Art; Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Zack DeZon for The New York Times

His specific objects are, as the curator Ann Temkin said during a lockdown talk, “the original self-distancers.” MoMA’s note-perfect retrospective, when it opened in March, let us encounter all Judd’s art with no barriers between our bodies and his boxes. When I revisited in autumn, and clocked how each minimal sculpture directed my movements around it, I discovered how thoroughly Judd had prefigured our pandemic dances. (Through Jan. 9.)

Art criticism is carbon-intensive; I’d planned this year to burn an appalling amount of jet fuel to visit Raphael in Rome, Matisse in Paris, Artemisia Gentileschi in London. I saw none of them — but in February I got to the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium, for “Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution.” For this one time only, eight panels of his altarpiece came out of Ghent’s cathedral and were shown as individual paintings. They are so beautiful, so stupefyingly perfect, they feel almost sacrilegious.

Credit…The Estate of Philip Guston and Hauser & Wirth

This summer’s oceanic antiracism protests have had many good repercussions for our museums, and one gross one: performative white guilt as PR strategy. Get real, said hundreds of American artists, who countered the pathetic, condescending four-year postponement of “Philip Guston Now” with a ringing public call for true accountability. The four museums organizing the show told us that Guston’s later paintings, with men in hoods reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan members, risked being “misinterpreted” today. What the artists maintained is that you can’t face up to white supremacy through withdrawal; you have to think hard, read deeply, reach out, get to work.

The pandemic’s puncturing of nonprofit budgets led the Association of Art Museum Directors this year to relax guidelines on liquidating their collections — and institutions from Syracuse to Palm Springs and Baltimore to Brooklyn decided to flog their family jewels. On deaccessioning, I’m not a strict constructionist. Selling art that hasn’t been shown for decades can sometimes be justified. But strategically raiding your galleries for cash is a scandal; equity and preservation are not at odds; and woke austerity is still austerity.

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The capstone of the Met’s bust of a 150th birthday, this rich self-scrutiny reordered the prizes of the museum by date of acquisition, rather than creation, to map the growth of a collection widening from Eurocentricity into a real universalism. The most urgent painting here is one of the Met’s very first purchases: Anthony van Dyck’s “Saint Rosalia,” vanquisher of a 17th-century epidemic, whom I’ve adopted as my Covid protectress. (Through Jan. 3.)

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

When art left me, when it all buckled, the bovines of the Berkshires steered me right. The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., kept its grounds open through the pandemic’s bewildering first months, and there I’d watch a dozen cows munch and mosey across the museum fields — a Constable tribute act, taking it one day at a time. In summer, the Argentine artist Analia Saban erected “Teaching a Cow How to Draw,” a fence whose rails illustrate principles of drawing for the animals; they seem to like it.

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Wine View: Art and wine are a perfect fit – Beach Metro News



Andy Warhol’s label art for the 1975 Chateau Mouton Rothschild.


Wine and the world of art are a perfect fit. While some may say that winemaking is a craft, others, myself included, put it plainly in the category of creatives. Both are symbiotic. They share an affinity.

Wine is often depicted in both secular and religious paintings. From Renoir, Monet and Cezanne to biblical references of Jesus and the wine press.

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, Baron Philippe de Rothschild started a tradition of commissioning artists annually, using their labels as canvas, to create illustrations of their own imaginations. This has continued to this day with artists from across genres. From Jean Coctu to Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol to Prince Charles, Lucien Freud and Jeff Koons, to name a few, all have created what are now collectorʼs items.

Randall Grahm of Bonnie Doon fame in California has done the same with his quirky sense of humour and love of play on words. He has garnered many accolades for his wines over a 35 or more year history. I remember when his Cardinal Zin came out. It was such a wonderful play on words yet captured our imaginings for the cross reference to a biblical term and the incredible artistʼs rendition. Humour. Randall was radical!

He too has artists that he collaborates with each with their own stylings and fun machinations. Even a fellow from Toronto, Gary Taxali.

In Niagara, our own Henry of Pelham Estate have been supporters of the arts.Bobbi and Paul Sr. Speck, parents of the Speck brothers, have a long affiliation with artists. As it says on their website: “During the 1970s, our parents offered free studio space to a number of Canadian painters and sculptors who passed through the Annex area of Toronto, where we lived growing up. We now proudly display their art throughout the winery buildings and offices, including upstairs from the tasting room, and invite our visitors to enjoy their work.”

More recently, November of last year, 13th Street Winery opened their first art gallery on their vineyard site.The Manns, like the Specks, are also supporters of Canadian artists from painters to sculptures, and all have a home in Niagara.

Lakeview Wine Co., in honour of the 50th anniversary of the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery in Kleinberg and to celebrate our Group of Seven Artist, have labels depicting their incredible interpretations of our distinct Canadian landscapes.

Then thereʼs Rudy Kurniawan who appeared on the wine auction scene as a young, hip guy with loads of dosh, a wealth of wine knowledge, Burgundy in particular, with apparently good connections. Check out the documentary Sour Grapes.

Another cohort, Hardy Rodenstock of the book The Billionaireʼs Vinegar claim to fame, was selling bottles of wine from great vintages as well as bottles owned by President Thomas Jefferson.

Now, these two “artists” were part of a different kind of art….the art of the scam!

Hereʼs to the spirit of adventure!


Jacqueline Corrigan is a Certified Sommelier (graduate George Brown College Sommelier Program); a Member of the International Sommelier Guild; and a graduate WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust – Britain).

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Just Art auction for Iranian refugee family an opportunity to give 'a gift with meaning' –



A family of recently arrived refugees from Iran is learning that art is vitally important to any new home, not because something is needed to go on the walls but because, in their case, art in a sense “is” the walls.

Art will help put a roof over their heads and shelter around their sides and keep them warm through a cold Canadian winter.

The people in this city who paint and create and sculpt and so forth are artists because of the way they see and are they ever seeing this holiday season, seeing to the needs, those critical first-year needs, that refugee families find themselves facing as they adjust to a new life. Housing, health care, language classes to name a few.

So the Just Art online art auction that starts Friday, Dec. 4, could not come at a better time for an Iranian family of three — a mother and her two grown daughters who have arrived since September, after waiting five years in Turkey, and were among the first refugees allowed into Canada after a six-month suspension of immigration resulting from the pandemic.

“Guide and Lights” by Mike Kukucska.Mike C Kukucska

The impetus for the auction was, interestingly, furnished by an artist, Rachel Hawkes Cameron, who was in the process of leaving Hamilton as the new family was arriving, almost as tough they were passing each other on opposite ways through the door.

Hawkes Cameron did not want to leave without contributing to the fundraising part of a larger effort she had wanted to help with, the sponsorship of the family by a team of volunteers connected with St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church on Locke Street (a team from the church had already sponsored a Syrian family earlier this decade).

But how do you fund-raise during a pandemic? This, says sponsorship committee volunteer Sarah Wayland, was the frustrating riddle.

"Full Moon and Waves" by E. Robert Ross.
“Full Moon and Waves” by E. Robert Ross.E. Robert Ross

“So many small businesses are tapped out,” she says. “We decided to focus on the art.”

It was Hawkes Cameron who donated an abstract painting of her in the absence of anything else she could give and that started a great momentum.

Now more than 40 Hamilton area artists, both established and emerging, have contributed almost 60 pieces, in a wide variety of price ranges, to the online auction that will run from Friday to Dec. 10.

Some of those featured are Sylvia Simpson, E. Robert Ross, Tom Wilson, Lee Munn, Sandee Ewasiuk and Gordon Leverton.

Once the call went out, especially through the Kirkendall neighbourhood hub Facebook page, the creators stepped up.

"Looking on the Brighter Side" by Lee Munn
“Looking on the Brighter Side” by Lee MunnLee Munn



“Just Art resonated significantly with me, as my art subjects are homes, and I attempt to capture the beauty of the home in the community they serve. I’m proud to participate, knowing that all proceeds will support this refugee family of three women settle in our community,” said Hamilton painter Gordon Leverton.

The public is invited to bid on works between those dates, Dec. 4 and Dec. 10, by visiting

Wayland says that the team conservatively estimates that the family’s first year costs will be $46,000.

“Rents alone — they’ve really gone up (in Hamilton),” says Wayland.

“This is an opportunity to give gifts with meaning.”

Cannisters by Louise McCann
Cannisters by Louise McCannLouise McCann

Jeff Mahoney

Jeff Mahoney is a Hamilton-based reporter and columnist covering culture and lifestyle stories, commentary and humour for The Spectator. Reach him via email:

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