Posting Notice: Comprehensive Insanity

by | Dec 7, 2010 | Curatorial | 0 comments

A quick note to say that my already-sporadic updating will be even more sporadic as I try to prepare for my comprehensive exams up at York University this Friday. So, even though I am overdue to post another list of great Canadian exhibitions (and there are some good ones coming), you will have to wait a little longer until I survive this madness.

Trying to compile this informal archive of exhibitions has posed some interesting challenges. There is little to no internet presence for some of these shows, for instance, especially ones mounted before 1990. “Aurora Borealis,” for example, which was on Christopher Régimbal’s list and was described by Kitty Scott as “the last great Canadian group exhibition”, has no photographic documentation available online and even scanter textual description. Is this because it was mounted before the Internet existed? Or does it say something more about what does and does not make it into “official” online archives?

I’ve also been struck by several people’s observations about how geographically specific these lists can be. Even if you haven’t seen every show you’d consider for your list, many of them seem to have relevance to the particular place that was formative to each author’s early art-viewing experiences. Especially as I consider what I’d include on my own list, I realize how many of the shows were curated in or traveled to Vancouver. I’m curious about what this says about place and particular patterns of reception. I, for instance, had never heard of the “Aurora Borealis” show until now, whereas the “6: New Vancouver Modern” exhibition at the Belkin is familiar to me, and is appearing on several lists, despite its Vancouver-centric premise.

Some questions to consider until I get back from comps insanity. In the meantime, you could also consider submitting your “Best of 2010” list to Sally McKay at L.M. at their blog. It’s always some of my favourite holiday reading.