Tag Archives: Canada

What to do with a prize-winning cow on stilts that gives no milk?!




It’s cold enuf for Swedish ice candles



New “snow-roller” prototype: making wallpaper-style patterns on snowy roads & walkways

Jean-Francois Jacques and his team want to transform the look of snowy streets in Gatineau Quebec…



Canada’s Conservative government plans to build a colossal “Mother Mary” Zombie Statue in Cape Breton national park

The federal Conservatives have seen their numbers falling in recent polls, and are determined to use the tax-payers purse for last gasp attack ads & major spending announcements leading up to the upcoming fall election.  This drunken spending spree includes several expensive new multi-million dollar monuments in Ottawa — the proposed Hollocaust Memorial (who doesn’t remember the Ottawa Hollocaust?!) & the proposed Memorial to Communist atrocities (by which, I am sure Harper is referring to Tommy Douglas’s socialist Medicare plan to provide free health care to all Canadians).

But I digress.  This post is about the OTHER proposed spending…to build a 26 metre tall statue of a middle-aged woman dressed like Mother Mary, with her hands stretched out zombie-like.  It is to be located along the beautiful Atlantic coastline overlooking the ocean in Cape Breton National Park.  Supposedly, this statue represents “Mother Canada” (which smacks of “Mother Russia” of Stalinist fame, and so is entirely appropriate to represent the current Harper regime).  All that is missing is the glowing red eyes, with built-in lazer ability, to serve as a sort-of ghoulish lighthouse, or for fighting off Godzilla and other giant alien sea creatures that may emerge from the depths to attack Canada’s East coast…


The Left Coast Public Art Registry is cool!

This online app shows locations and images of Art in public places, in and around Vancouver BC.  Nicely done IMO.



Made In China — clothes as 3 story art facade in Hogtown

A 3 story tall clothing installation in Toronto; http://www.torontolife.com/galleries/make-three-storey-facade-clothes-nuit-blanche/083a1bf86a608482d94b7c2309fee071/#nuit-blanche-made-in-china-9


Art snob, me.

“Art is in the eye of the beholder” is a cop out. There, I’ve said it. I believe that not all art is equally good, and that artworks can be (roughly) ranked in order of their goodness and artistic value. Does this sound elitist or snobbish? Perhaps. I am not suggesting that I am fully qualified for this expert ranking, but rather I am appealing for some expert artistic judgement in the use of public funds for building art and sculpture in public places.

Would “elitism” be decried in other fields, such as science and law? Surely not. I believe there is scope for expert judgement concerning art as well.

And what exactly is the problem? Well, I believe there is a trend towards more “politically correct” and “understandable” art, which has translated into more realism and less abstraction. In this photographic digital era, with a preoccupation about megapixel clarity, there is also a populist appeal for realistic images which are easily decoded by the largely art-ignorant public. This has created a bloom of “charm bracelet” art in the form of over-large puppies and other cutesy unicorn-in-formaldehyde sculpture. (Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst are the most egregious examples).

Ensuring Regional representation, rather than artistic excellence, has also led to a downgrade in the quality of art in public places. For instance, the National Gallery of Canada recently installed a string of 2D metal horse sculptures outside its front entrance. These were done by an artist from Western Canada (where the current Prime Minister’s party is from). These cut-out horses have very little artistic merit IMO, and are the latest example of charm-bracelet art. IMO the public funds for this installation would have been better spent on a more thought-provoking sculpture by Richard Serra, Henry Moore, or Eduardo Chillida (The NGC still does not not have any sculptures on display by these modern masters, but it is very proud of the giant Bourgeois spider outside the main entrance).


Waiting for Godoe, en France

Notwithstanding the solid appearance of the centuries-old brick buildings and walled rose gardens everywhere you look, houses in France somehow feel quite temporary and uncertain. Despite their solid-as-brick appearance, these buildings are ghostly, even though many have been rebuilt and repainted since the last war in 1945. Many of these red brick houses are still chipped like old china plates, from shrapnel and bullets. Like an invisible fog, a foreboding air hovers when driving around Normandy and other World War I/II battle sites. These days, small bucolic villages and flat grassy pastures are populated with grazing sheep and sleepy cows, beside thousands of white concrete headstones, arranged row on row. Long-digested atrocities, ancient Abbeys hold secret graveyards where POWs were executed and quietly hidden under the old tree in the garden. Old WWI trenches are a common sight, snaking out across farmers’ fields as long grassy zig-zag mounds. And each spring, long twisted lines of chalk push up to the surface through the ploughed soil as remnants of old buried trenches remind us of the millions of Allied and German faces who were casualties in these bloody wars to end all wars.

Photos of Canadian WWI War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France, and old trenches and grassy shell craters with sheep.






Mississauga’s Absolute World Towers wins Emporis prize for best skyscraper

Although Mississauga Ontario has long been seen as a drudge (I used to live there), it has recently emerged from its plain suburban chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly.  A new pair of skyscrapers, Absolute World Towers, won this year’s international architecture prize for best skyscraper.  Check it out.  I think you’ll agree this is a fine example of creative art in public places!