Posts Tagged ‘MOCA’

Now at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is the exhibit “Age of You”. Part of the show is “The Extreme Self” based on a forthcoming book by Shuman Basar, Douglas Coupland, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, of the same name.   Large panels covering two floors of MOCA, lead the viewer through the storyline using graphics, pictures, and a lot of words.  Other works by other artists can be seen among the panels but the panels definitely dominate the space.

Why the title “Age of You”?  What is that all about?  As we increase are use of technology and our dependence on it, our data seems to have become important.   Information about our habits, likes & dislikes, online behaviour, etc. is now a valuable resource.  Our profiles and data can be used to create a model of  ‘you’.   Google knows where you’ve been if you have a smartphone.  They also have an advertising profile for you ostensibly so they can target their ads.  (Check the ads that they insert into these blog posts).  This technology advances faster than our ability to adapt to both it and its consequences.

below: “You’re now becoming your extreme self… and it’s happening to you as you read these words.

large panels hanging in an art gallery, MOCA, three panels. In the miiddle is a large picture of a woman's face with a single tear. Also some words. On the right is Too stupid to fail. On the left

Technology and its effects on people, individually and collectively, has been discussed since the advent of technology.  Often it is the negative effects that are discussed the most.  Today, we use the word “disruptive” to describe companies such as Amazon and Uber, companies that use technology to change the way we do business, and the way we interact with other people, and the way we go about our daily lives.

As I was thinking about technology and its effects, I remembered the Marshall McLuhan quote, “Every technology necessitates a new war”. When I looked up that quote (to make sure my memory was correct), I found this as well: “‘Any form of continued and accelerated innovation is, in effect, a declaration of war on one’s own civilian population.”

below: “We’re now deep into the terminal phase of democracy.  This phase involves voting in leaders whose primary goal is to dismantle democracy.”

large panels hanging in an art gallery, MOCA, Too stupid to fail,

below: Four panels. Four ideas in words in pictures.  “Groups of people make dreadful decisions.” “The majority can no longer be trusted.” “Democracy needs morning after pills.” and finally, on the right, a few sentences on the breakdown of reality-based consensus.

large panels hanging in an art gallery, MOCA, four in black and white

The exhibit references a quote by Isaac Asimov : “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’   But, can’t this be extended to ‘my scribbles are just as good as your fine art?’ And then along comes social media with its anonymity and global reach …. 

So what does all this mean for the future?

Is it art?

One can’t deny that it is thought provoking but part of the reason I asked, “Is it art?” is because of the heavy reliance on words and text.  It’s a book hung from the ceiling.  It also relies on quotes and ideas that originated elsewhere, words that that the artists have collected, not created.

Text is considered to be a design element but words have the added quality of conveying meaning.  Some images carry symbolism but only words can be manipulated into phrases and sentences with different meanings.   There seems to be a trend that involves the use of more text in art.  Art is now a “teaching moment”, like an essay (or book) laid out in a format that suits a gallery.  It’s not enough to be just looked at but it has to be educational too.

The next few pictures are from Vincent Meessen’s exhibit “Blues Klair” now on the Power Plant gallery.  It doesn’t deal with future like Coupland et al. above, instead it’s more a link to the past; it’s a history project.   This is the first paragraph of the words on the wall at the entrance to the exhibit:

words on the wall accompanying an exhibit by Vincent Meessen

A plea to all writers of such words:  Please stop. We’re not stupid but we’re also not ‘experts’ in the latest jargon and this just goes over our heads. …. I found a video on youtube of Vincent Meessen talking about this exhibit – and now it makes more sense.  It’s still a history project though.  It’s also a case, again, of the artist turning a collection of other people’s work into ‘art’.

two people looking at framed pictures and pages of text on a wall that has been painted in blue and white squares

blue and white papers strewn over the floor, discarded, with a framed picture on the wall, and a blue desk in the middle

Jumping back to the future – jumping to Hito Steyerl’s exhibit “This is the future” at the AGO to be more specific.   She too uses words.  And multimedia.  And she too pushes the limits of what art is.  (Or can you argue that those limits are long gone?)

below: Two parallel stories, one on top and the other below.   The upper story is about a community where windows are purposely broken, “people are smashing windows tirelessly to generate power”. The other story tells the opposite, windows are left alone and “police with big wooden horses are guarding every window”.  It turns what we believe about society upside down – the ‘good’ people who don’t break windows are living in a gloomy police state.  The ‘vandals’ have sunshine and art.

room at the Art Gallery of Ontario with words written around the walls, and a flat screen TV laying a video in the middle of the room

below: Hell Yeah.  Well okay then, if you say so.  It probably says a lot about me and/our times when my first impression is that it would make a great background for an instagram photo.   There are other blocks of words too (not in the picture) and the whole sequence is Hell, Yeah, We, Fuck, Die.  Why these words?  They are the “five words that have appeared most frequently in the titles of songs in English-language music charts over the past decade”.  And yes, I looked it up.

large blocks, lit from inside, put together to form the words the words hell yeah

And yes, I checked instagram….  The “L” does make a perfect seat!

composite of three photos of people that have been posted on instagram showing them at the Hito Steyerl exhibit hell yeah we fuck die at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Five words.  What do they mean? What five words would you use?

 

‘Age of You’ continues until 5th January 2020.

‘Blues Klair’ is at the Power Plant until 5th January 2020.

‘This is the future’ ends on 23 February 2020

Presenting an eclectic compilation of images so

Have a seat!

below:  But maybe not here, even if they are two comfy sofas!  Comfy but wet.

two burgundy sofas on the sidewalk

Meandering on a day early in November

while the trees were still showing their last hurrah of colour.

colourful leaves, red and yellow leaves on trees in a residential neighbourhood, Neepawa Street

This mural is on Roncesvalles is partially obscured but is still a welcome splash of colour and vibrance.

a man walks by a mural on a fence, a peacock feather and a pink flower

   I love the raccoons!  Pink raccoons

test graffiti on a garage in an alley, also with a pink raccoon painted above the garage door

and blue raccoons on street art that I haven’t seen before.

street art on a garage door in an alley, large heart shaped face with big eyes and red lips, also raccoons,

Crooked lines,

garage doors and fences in an alley, autumn, trees with gold and yellow leaves, as well as leaves on the ground

tight spaces,

small walkway between two light purple buildings that leads to the entrance to another residence

and old glass.  All kinds of alterations.

sign on an old house, now a commercial property, that says Alteration Fast & Best All Kinds Of

old red brick building on Dundas West, sign that says Downtown Rental

 Peeling paint on diamonds  (once red?)

paint peeling on wood, three layers of wood with upper two layers cut in diamond shapes

and water drops on leaves (definitely red).

red leaves of a plant, wet from the rain, in front of a bright turquoise wall

One very pink car.  Whiskey for Whiskers.

pink car in parking lot

Uber 5000’s yellow birdies and friends are still on the side of Tommy’s Gift & Variety.

Uber5000 mural on the side of Tommys

And next door you Coffee and breakfast at Tina’s while your tax returns are prepared.

restaurant and store, rainy day, wet sidewalk and street in front of it, Tina Coffee and Breakfast restaurant, and Tommys Gift & Variety, pink door between the two, two storeys, lots of windows in the storey above Tina's.

 Semi neighbours

two attached houses in the Junction, one painted red brick with dark blue roof and the other light brown with dark red roof and bright red trim, small white picket fence in front of the red house, metal fence in front of the brown house (beige actually)

at the edges of gentrification.

building on the corner of Perth Ave and Bloor West, pale purple paint, a bright yellow happy face graffiti, a sign advertising Drake Commissary

Lights over the train tracks

looking across the train tracks to an old building with street art on the lower level, lights on metal posts over the tracks, tight mesh fence beside the railway as well

and graffiti beside.

graffiti on the concrete bridge supports, Dundas St West over the railway tracks, taken from the West Toronto Railpath

A fine and dandy tractor

a red toy tractor, old fashioned, in the window of fine and dandy on Dundas Street, white back drop behind the tractor, the building is dark grey

and a great idea

words painted on a garage door that say gratitude goes viral

She’s gone green but she’s got the blues.

a paper paste up of woman's face in green and blue (green skin and blue hair) on a very black wall and door

and Ontario’s now orange.

row of stores on Dundas Street, one on the end has a map of Canada painted on the exterior wall, with orange background.

A family outing

an adult bike locked to a ring, two kids bikes and a toddlers push car locked to a second ring, on a sidewalk on Dundas West, cars and buildings in the background.

below: The building with the giraffe pattern on top, at Bloor and Dundas West, is still there.

giraffe building at Bloor and Dundas West, with traffic and pedestrians in front
giraffe pattern brown and gold wall on top and brown below, movie posters and a bike

below: The murals painted by Wallnoize are still there. They were painted in the spring of 2015 and I posted a lot of photos of them shortly after that.

people walking on a sidewalk that passes by a long mural painted by wallnoize, many small murals joined together, apartment buildings with large trees with yellow autumn leaves in the background, Bloor West,

below: The murals run under the Bloor Street underpass (railway tracks overhead), on both sides of the street.

a woman walks along a wet sidewalk under a train bridge, railling on one side, street art on the wall on the other side.

below: The new MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is now open on Sterling Road. The renovations to the old Tower Automotive building aren’t totally complete; most of the area is a construction site. But the museum opened earlier this year. Access from the West Toronto Railpath is available.

chainlink fence along a path leading from West Toronto Railpath to Sterling Road, with new MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in the background, what used to be the Tower Automotive Building

But hey! Why stop here?…. more about the new MOCA follows ……

Late in 2015, or thereabouts, MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art), as it was then known, moved out of its old location on Queen Street West.   It has taken a few years, but the new expanded MOCA has recently opened.  Its new home is the former Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road.

below: As seen in 2013 before renovations started.

Photo taken 2013, The ten storey Tower Automotive bulding. In the foreground is the land left vacant after the demolition of the sheet casting machining buildings in 2010.

below: Today. Not much has changed on the exterior. There was graffiti and street art around the lower parts of the building that has all been removed….

chainlink fence along a path leading from West Toronto Railpath to Sterling Road, with new MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in the background, what used to be the Tower Automotive Building

below: Except for part of this mural by Jarus.  This photo was taken in November 2014 and is the back corner of the building.  Enough of the mural remains that it is recognizable.

graffiti on the back of the Tower Automotive building, a tall brick building - the backside of a naked woman who is lying on the ground. Much larger than lifesize, painted by Jarus.

The main exhibit at the moment is a group exhibition called ‘BELIEVE’

part of a life sized sculpture, or installation, of a figure dressed in a beaded hood and mask

below: Sitting Bull and the whale, part of ‘Columbus Suite’ by Carl Beam (1943 – 2005).  This work was produced in 1990 and was previously shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario.   Beam was

artwork by Carl Beam, called Columbus Suite, one picture from a series showing Indian chief on top and a black and white vintage photo on the bottom

The whole series consists of twelve etchings starting with ‘New World’ (a turtle, representing North America) on the far left.   Ten of the remaining etchings features a portrait of a well known person who was persecuted, assassinated, or similar including Jesus Christ, Louis Riel, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy and Sitting Bull at the far right.  The remaining image is composed of four pictures of the artist at various stages of his life; it’s title is: “Self-Portrait as John Wayne, Probably”.

all works in the Columbus Suite by Carl Beam

below: Against the far wall is a work by American artist Barbara Kruger.  Like a lot of her art, it consists of large letters/words.  In this case, doubt +belief =sanity.  In this rendition of the artwork, other small words appear as well between the main words (red background) and in both cases they say ‘forever feeling’.

Also in the photo, there is an installation on the floor.  The artist is Dineo Seshee Bopape from South Africa and she has called this work “And – in The Light of This. _________”

inside MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) which is an old industrial building, with original concrete columns, art installation on the floor and another on the far wall. On the wall are large words doubt, belief, and sanity.

below:  Another installation at the MOCA now is ‘Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape’ which is a video by Andy Holden (until 18th Nov).  The video is an hour long and the trailer can be seen on youtube.  There, the description of the video is: ” The world is now a cartoon and an exploration of cartoon physics might help us understand the world we now inhabit. “

people in silhouette sitting on a bench watching a video at MOCA

‘BELIEVE’  features the works of Can Altay, Matilda Aslizadeh, Carl Beam, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Awol Erizku, Meschac Gaba, Kendell Geers, Barbara Kruger, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Rajni Perera, Jeremy Shaw, Nep Sidhu, Maya Stovall,  and Tim Whiten.   It closes on 6 January 2019.