Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stars, Deaths and Disasters

Andy Warhol/Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters, 1962-1964, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, closes October 22. Avoid long line-ups and crowds. Skip it all together. I had been planning on going to this show for weeks and I finally scraped together the $15 (student rate, though technically I have graduated - don't tell) only to be sadly disappointed. Shows at the AGO have taken a nose-dive recently - small collections crammed into tiny rooms, blocked off cubicle-style and packed to the gills. Perhaps timing is to blame; the gallery is currently under major reconstruction and only a fraction of the space is open to the public. Of the six or seven accessible rooms, two were gift shops and one a cafe. Project Transformation Commercialization? Andy Warhol would have approved, I guess... No doubt he would have been chuffed, too, by the droves of art appreciators keenly tuned into David Cronenberg's portable audio guide. Cronenberg's commentary was interesting (as were Dennis Hopper's anecdotes), though due to over-crowding it was impossible to pause long enough before each piece to listen to the entire recording. Rather than allocating separate screening rooms for the films that were included in the show (as has been the case in past shows), these were projected instead on the walls and exhibited alongside Warhol's prints. While aesthetically the result was pleasing, crowding was again problematic. On an up note, the self-portrait gallery (boasting my mom Jeans' mug) was well worth the price of admission and the tiresome Henry Moore display has been revamped with Julian Opie stripper stick-figures. There's also a neat Opie installation at the corner of Bloor and Jarvis, in front of the Rogers building (cllick on the link for details).
A Related Aside
After a post summer school anti-reading campaign (that Contemporary British Fiction course really did me in) I ploughed through Widow Basquiat, Jennifer Clement's collection of poetic vignettes chronicling the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat's muse Suzanne Mallouk. Scenes overlap footage from Downtown 81 (which documents the 1980s New York art/music scenes, stars Basquiat and features appearances by fellow MUDD Club scenesters John Lurie, Esther Balint, Debbie Harry and others) and Julian Schnabel's revision Basquiat. Clement's literary adaptation is beautifully executed.


  • At 8:56 AM, Blogger Hannah said…

    Footnote: Julian Opie's installation at Jarvis and Bloor is out of service. Jeremy informs me that the front has since been smashed in. Poor location choice, I suppose.


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