Archive for June, 2005

05w26:1 Cancon

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 26 number 1 (cancon)


The Daves I Know | Alison Gillmor
“David: Then & Now is a photography exhibition that marks increments of time in a very intimate way: by recording the way the passing years are marked onto our bodies. Sponsored by Plug In ICA (Winnipeg’s Institute of Contemporary Art), the public art project features black-and-white before-and-after photos of men named David, placed in bus shelters around the city. In each case, a life-size photograph taken in 1993 is matched with another taken 10 years later. Don’t expect any Fox TV extreme makeovers, though: there is a continuity here that is gently reassuring.”

Doodle Dandies | Sascha Hastings
“Last fall, I wandered into Weird Woods, a show by artist Seth Scriver at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects on Toronto’s trendy Queen West gallery strip. After half an hour of looking at Scriver’s quirky little drawings of bushmen and furry blob creatures, I left with a nagging thought: is this the spawn of the Royal Art Lodge? Now don’t get me wrong – I love the Royal Art Lodge, Canada’s most successful artist collective since General Idea, the Regina Five and, long before them, the Group of Seven. […] Baerwald and Enright feel that a lot of it started back in the early 1980s with American artist Raymond Pettibon, who adopted a comic-book style of art, combining drawings and text that referred equally to pop culture and ‘high’ culture, philosophy and politics. But Pettibon was something of a voice in the wilderness amongst a generation of artists who preferred photography, slick video and vivid Neo-Expressionist paintings. According to Baerwald, it was a new, younger generation of artists who, in an attempt to define themselves in contrast to their elders, revived the somewhat forgotten art of drawing. Mulherin notes that at recent art fairs, she’s seen more and more works on paper, especially by emerging artists showing with younger galleries. She says that Toronto artist Shari Boyle was reluctant to display her drawings for a while precisely because she felt there was too much drawing around.”

Surface Tension | Alec Scott
“Lemieux’s popularity is easy to explain – at least on one level. He painted pretty pictures, ones that aren’t technically difficult to read and feel. He imbues all his pieces, particularly his winterscapes, with a magical luminosity. His subjects are generally accessible: families (remembered from his childhood) wearing their Edwardian Sunday best; unspoiled agricultural landscapes; and nighttime skies hinting (but not too broadly) at the infinite. Even during the post-Pollock 1960s and ’70s, Lemieux remained resolutely on the figurative side of the great figurative-abstract divide – unlike, say, his great friend Paul Emile Borduas. Formally, Lemieux’s compositions are as well balanced as the shots of a skilled amateur photographer. But there’s more to him: if a first glance at his work reveals an orderly prettiness, take two uncovers dark currents swirling under the apparently calm surfaces.”

Painting the Town Red | Megan Williams
“When it’s not even noon on day one of the press preview of the art exhibition at the Venice Biennale and there’s already a massive lineup outside the Canadian pavilion, you know the exhibit inside has struck a chord. Rebecca Belmore’s part-sculpture, part-video installation – aptly named Fountain – is a technologically complex and exquisitely executed piece of art. It begins with a simple, veil-like sheet of water falling across the inside of a darkened room. Slowly, clouds begin to take shape on the water’s surface – the opening images of a two-and-a-half-minute video loop that’s projected onto the liquid from behind. The images change as the camera begins to move across a driftwood-strewn shore and then toward a pile of wood, which bursts thunderously into yellow and orange flames, rendered almost crystalline as they flicker through the waterfall screen. Then, Belmore herself appears, with short-cropped hair, jeans and a sweater, and flails in the shallow water, struggling to fill an old pail. Looking exhausted but resolute, she emerges from the water, plods slowly toward the camera and then hurls the bucket’s contents at the lens; it’s no longer water, now, but blood. Through a downward stream of red, Belmore gazes accusingly out at the viewer.”

To remove or add yourself to this list, go here

emailed by Timothy on Thursday 30 June 2005 @ 1:00 PM

05w24:2 Body Issues

by timothy. 1 Comment

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 24 number 2 (body issues)


The weird and wonderful dieting advice of Karl Lagerfeld | Amanda Fortini
“Four years ago, when the couturier Karl Lagerfeld dropped 92 pounds in 13 months, a public obsessed with the vicissitudes of celebrity weight took notice. […]Never one to miss a lucrative opportunity, Lagerfeld, who has designed for Chanel since 1983, codified his diet secrets in book form. Since its 2004 publication, The Karl Lagerfeld Diet has sold nearly 200,000 copies in Europe and Asia, and last month it was released in America. Not that you would know. […]Perhaps most alien, and potentially alienating, is the book’s unapologetic emphasis on appearance. Lagerfeld repeatedly states that fashion, specifically the desire to wear the superslim fashions of the aptly named Hedi Slimane (who designs for Dior Homme), motivated him. When discussing their belief in the importance of one’s exterior, Lagerfeld and Houdret, clearly a like-minded pair, don’t mince words. ‘In order to have a place in society,’ Houdret writes, ‘both men and women have to be active, good looking and above all young?and therefore slim.’ Lagerfeld, ever extenuatory, puts it more concisely: ‘A respectable appearance is sufficient to make people more interested in your soul.'”

Beauty and the Beast | Matt Feeney
“It’s a family sitcom tradition that spouses are ill-matched looks-wise, but until recently, the mismatch has usually consisted of a beautiful actress, whose glamour is partly obscured behind the clutter of everyday life, and a comparatively plain actor. Think golden-haired Meredith Baxter Birney and undistinguished Michael Gross on Family Ties or dishy Suzanne Pleshette and the comically featureless Bob Newhart in the original Bob Newhart Show. In these sitcom marriages, the husband was at least shown to compensate for his obvious lack of studliness by being what Tony Soprano would call a good earner?or at the very least a mensch. In the current sitcom lineup, by contrast, several shows pair extremely attractive women, who are often clad in plunging tops and tight jeans suitable for a Maxim photo spread, with TV husbands who are not only not studly, but downright fat, and a couple who are not only not mensches, but are ugly on the inside, too.”

The Big Picture 33 | R.M. Vaughan
“Apart from being a load of goofy (and kinda hot) frat stunt fun, Zits’s restaging of Klein’s experiments resonates with a media-saturated awareness of the male body as both an object and the focus of objectification. The collages are gorgeous representations of conflicted appetites and conflicted self-image. The contrast between the silhouettes left behind by Zits’s models (round and lumpy, like real people) and the pictures of hyper-fit, over groomed men culled from magazines – images of masculinity chosen by men who look nothing like this exaggerated ideal – is both revealing and appalling. There is no small amount of self-hatred, or at least dismorphia, evident in this division between the actual and the desired.”

Navel Gazing | Laura Kipnis
“One problem with this brand of global feminism is how closely it resembles narcissism on a global scale: Women everywhere mirror me. Instead, Ensler should have interviewed a few anthropologists since according to Kulick and Meneley’s Fat, bodily attributes like pot bellies actually have entirely different cross-cultural meanings. Fat connotes very different things in different cultures or in subcultures like fat activism, gay male chubby-chasers, and hip hop. Fat may be a worldwide phenomenon – and increasingly so – but not everyone is neurotic about it, or they’re not neurotic in the same way. Take the chapter by anthropologist Rebecca Popenoe, based on her fieldwork among desert Arabs in Niger. […] In Niger, failing to achieve the prevailing beauty standard isn’t a personal failure; it just means someone has bewitched you, or you have a thin constitution. […] Of course, masculinity has always been afflicted with its own bodily anxieties; it just compensates for them differently (or overcompensates). […]Only feminism-for-dummies defines body pathologies as a female franchise alone, especially since that just buttresses the illusion of masculine invulnerability all over again – traditional femininity via the back door.”

To remove or add yourself to this list, go here

emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 14 June 2005 @ 6:48 PM

05w24:1 John Currin

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 24 number 1 (john currin)

All these articles are from late 2003 – Timothy


Defending John Currin | Charlie Finch
“Currin is conservative in the best sense of the world: he seeks to perceive what is authentic within the purview of his bent vision, and what is authentic to Currin is the unclassifiability of desire and the conviction that all life is essentially erotic. Other than Currin’s stated template, Lucius Cranach the Elder, the piece that best approximates Currin’s enduring genius is Vermeer’s Girl in the Red Hat, in which the attenuated red fur of the hat begs to be taken sexually, with permission from its wearer’s smile. This sensuous aspect of Currin’s work drives the politically correct art elite nuts, much as his limpid palette, so reminiscent of Wayne Thiebaud, leads to accusations that John can’t paint.”

Talk of the Town | Mia Fineman
“There are some wildly different ideas about exactly what Currin is up to?New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman sees him as ‘a latter-day Jeff Koons’ trafficking in postmodern irony while Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker finds him a blissfully sincere artist tapping into the timeless values of ‘mystery, sublimity, transcendence.’ But everyone is unanimous about one thing: John Currin can paint.In almost every review, Currin’s technical skill is acknowledged with a kind of breathless wonder. And to be sure, lately he has adopted a suave, Old Master-ish style, rendering the smooth, luminous skin of his nudes with real conviction?a marked departure from the intentionally crude technique of his earlier paintings. But this critical fixation on Currin’s painterly technique raises the question: Why are we so surprised that a successful contemporary painter is good at putting pigment on canvas? “essay continues with an html slide show

Art Market Guide 2003 | Richard Polsky
“Now that Currin’s prices are in the same league as the above artists, you have to ask yourself — who is this painter and what is he doing selling for all this dough? In terms of esthetics, John Currin has surprisingly received universal praise from the art world press. There has been all sorts of talk of how expertly his works are painted, coupled with a lot of psychological nonsense about the human condition. To my eye, all we have here are intentional kitschy, thrift-store portraits of people with exaggeratedly wide eyes. Sure, they’re skillfully painted, but why shouldn’t they be? In this day and age, the art world considers being a good draughtsman and having a command of color and composition to be something remarkable.”

To remove or add yourself to this list, go here

emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 14 June 2005 @ 2:25 PM

05w23:1 New Old Masterism

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 23 number 1 (new old masterism)


Going Going Gone | Donald Kuspit
“The attempt to create beauty as perfectly as possible has led these artists to emphasize craft — not at the expense of vision, but as its instrument. Sol LeWitt once wrote that ‘When an artist learns his craft too well he makes slick art,’ but the New Old Masterism makes it clear that one can never learn one’s craft too well, and the result of doing so is not slick but uncanny. For superior craft intensifies sight so that it becomes insight, which is what occurs in highly crafted Old Master art. The New Old Masterism restores the idea of the work of art as a carefully considered and composed object rather than an improvised sketch, that is, as an integrated, organic whole rather than a partial expression.”Note: article date 15 Sept 1999

Why it’s ok not to like modern art | Julian Spalding,,7-672489,00.html
“I have never met anyone who told me they loved modern art. No one ever came up to me, their eyes glowing with pleasure, telling me I just must see, say, the new wall drawings by Sol Lewitt in the 1970s, or the smashed-plate paintings by Julian Schnabel in the 1980s, or the life-size, glazed porcelain figures by Jeff Koons in the 1990s. […] It is all too obvious to anyone not in the art world (though always denied by those within it) that a rift has opened between the art being promoted in contemporary galleries and the art that people like to hang on their walls at home. […] Any work of art worthy of the name has an instantaneous effect on first viewing. An artist might bring all sorts of feelings and thoughts into play, but unless he or she manages to make them all contribute to one encompassing, illuminating whole, the work of art will have no heart, no ‘life’ of its own. Looking at a great work of art makes one feel more fully aware of one?s thoughts yet no longer wearied by them, more exposed to one?s emotions yet no longer drained by them, more integrated, more composed ? more, in a word, conscious. It is the light of consciousness that great works ignite in our minds. It is this quality of luminosity that unites the divine visions of Piero della Francesca with the nightmares of Goya. This is the light that will return to art after the eclipse has passed. A found object, whether it is a brick or a urinal, cannot by itself inspire you with a heightened level of consciousness, just because it is selected and placed in a gallery. The man who designed the urinal did not make it to inspire ideas about art, but for men to urinate into.”

Queen Street’s New Old Masters | Timothy Comeau
“Dan Hughes’s show is just down the street from Mike Bayne’s, which just closed at Katherine Mulherin’s gallery, which I wrote about here and which mentioned Kuspit’s defense of superior craft ‘enhancing sight to produce insight’. I’m afraid that the only immediate insight I got from Dan Hughes’s show is that varnish makes paintings very shiny. (That and what follows after a couple of days reflection …). My own recent experiences with practicing the craft of painting, in relation to rendering and toward the achievements of the Old Masters is that craft alone clearly isn’t enough.”

To remove or add yourself to this list, go here

emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 08 June 2005 @ 1:15 PM

Make Poverty History

by timothy. 0 Comments


Make Poverty History

Dear Timothy Comeau:

Thank you for supporting the Make Poverty History campaign. Your name has been
added to the ballooning list of supporters who have committed to the goals of
this campaign.

Now it’s time to make sure every person you know does the same. Poverty
eradication is possible, so let’s encourage hundreds of thousands of others to
get on board.

There is no time to lose. Please forward this message to everyone in your
address book.
Tell them to join with thousands of others across the planet to
once and for all make poverty history.

Thanks again. We’re excited to make poverty history? with you.

Liz Bernstein
and the MPH Campaign Team
tel 613.241.5293


Dear Friend,

Today, I became part of an unprecedented global call to action to end poverty:
Make Poverty History

Right now, there is active campaigning in over 50 countries around the three
core demands: More and Better Aid, Make Trade Fair, and Cancel the Debt. In
Canada, we’re also campaigning to End Child Poverty in Canada.

You’ve just got to be a part of this campaign.

Go to and sign on to the campaign yourself.

There is no time to lose. It doesn’t matter who or where you are, your voice is
*critical* to the success of this campaign. This is a rare chance to join me and
thousands of others across the planet to once and for all make poverty history.

What are you waiting for? Join me and click in!

Timothy Comeau

What you can do right *now*:

* Sign on to the campaign
* Tell Paul Martin to commit to a timeline for 0.7%
* Click others into action – forward this message to your networks

/”If everyone who wants to see an end to poverty, hunger and suffering speaks
out, then the noise will be deafening. Politicians will have to listen.”/
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 07 June 2005 @ 10:35 PM

05w22:1 The Collaspse of Globalism

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 22 number 1 (The Collapse of Globalism)


John Ralston Saul’s ‘The Collapse of Globalism’ | Timothy Comeau
“Ah the isms, can’t live with ’em, can’t have good arguments without them. And for the past thirty years, we’ve seen a flourishing of isms, one that could almost be said to have sprung from the fertilized soil of the World War’s dead a generation prior. To some they were flowers, to others they have been weeds. And JRS is one who’s seen them as weeds. I’ve come to find them somewhat noxious myself, which is one of the reasons that I’ve grown fond of his thinking, and over the winter I read most of his books. It is also for that reason that I was particularly excited when I learned in March that he had a new book coming out. There was also a geeky pleasure to know that with the publication of a new text he’d be speaking in Toronto at some point, which turned out to be sooner rather than later. JRS spoke at U of T’s MacMillan Theatre a week ago now, which I eagerly attended and like the keener I am took a seat dead centre in the third row because lectures for me are more exciting than rock concerts. “

The Collapse of Globalism by John Ralston Saul | Paul Kennedy,,2102-1616368,00.html
“There are few middle-of-the-road voices to be heard here. Egged on, one suspects, by their publishers, authors participating in this debate tend to advance a more extreme – or, shall we say, more dramatic – picture of events. Just recently, the foreign-affairs correspondent of The New York Times, Thomas Friedman, published his new book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Globalised World in the 21st Century. Deeply impressed by the communications revolution and the free flow of capital, and reinforced by interviews with high-tech entrepreneurs from Boston to Bangladesh, Friedman argued that globalisation is intensifying, making societies ever more ‘flat’ – that is, conforming more and more to free-market western practices. This debate is now joined by the Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul, with The Collapse of Globalism. Saul has written various books of fiction as well as non-fiction, and he brings a great breadth of literary and cultural knowledge to his task. But he has his own axe to grind in this debate over globalism, and his own arguments to advance. […] But his story is about the losers or, better put, about the backlash against globalism and globalisation. And he is striving, yearning, faltering and then rising to find what Hans Kung, the great German theologian, described as a ‘global ethic’ to help us pick our way through the debris of the 21st century. The Collapse of Globalism is an angry and, I think, an unbalanced book, for the same yet opposite reasons as Friedman’s. Each is groping a particular part of our elephant of globalism. For his part, Saul sees, not the ‘flattening’ of our world, but the increasing storms and dislocations, and the increasingly powerful movements and protests against unbridled capitalism, especially in the developing world. And he means to frighten the reader, not only to his point of view, but to take action. This is a sort of manifesto, rather like Rachel Carson’s The Silent Spring, or Donella and Dennis Meadows’s Club of Rome report, The Limits to Growth.”

Long links made short by using TinyURL (
To remove or add yourself to this list, go here

emailed by Timothy on Saturday 04 June 2005 @ 2:38 PM