Sunday, April 22, 2007

VAG trip

Today we went to the art gallery, where there is a superb batch of shows on just now. On the main floor is a show of dramatic photographs from 1840-2004 or so, and it was so great I bought the catalogue. It was exciting because it goes straight to that crossover area between painting, photography, theatre sets, and illustration, an area I've been thinking about writing about for a while. Eve Sussman's video piece on Las Meninas is worth the price of admission.

On the second floor was the work of French/Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. Not all the works were entirely successful, but some were really well thought out - the two pillars of Tibetan scrolls, for instance. As for the recent controversy over his use of live critters, I can't really take sides. On one hand I don't get particularly upset over the idea of some scorpions and spiders and so on eating some insects in captivity and forced environment. On the other, I disagree with the artist's stance, which is basically, "It's art, don't censor me, fuck off." There's got to be some ethical stance in artmaking. Whether animal rights in this case is an ethical dilemma is hard to determine. But it does make one wonder where to draw the line.

On the third floor was Herzog's wonderful, quiltlike compositions of Vancouver city scenes. The image I have swiped above shows the neighbourhood I live in - my building is just visible at the extreme right side. It's that bright grey one. Those tiny trees in Pigeon Park there are now huge. I'll see if I can get a shot of what it looks like now.

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