There are some great shows opening this week around the city including shows at both OCADU Student Gallery (this Thursday) and its Graduate Gallery (Friday). Friday is a great night to have a gallery crawl since there is also an opening at Cooper Cole and VideoFag that evening as well. Also the AGO is having it’s monthly “First Thursdays” party with work by Meryl McMaster and pop-up talk by this year Sobey’s winner Duane Linklater with DJ extraordinaire Alicia Nauta on the decks.
The big event this week is the Buddies and Bad Times art auction “ArtAttack”, which will raise money to support the theatre. Flipping through the catalogue work by Tristan Lansdowne, Alex Kisilevich and Brendan Fernandes caught my eye, so it should be an exiting event for those bidding on work, or just taking in the sights. I donated a drawing to the auction so I will be there watching nervously as my piece gets bid on.
Charity art auctions are a good way for organizations to raise some funds, which helps them continue on with their programming and events. However their existence in the art community is up for debate, some love them, while others feel they do more harm then good. As an emerging artist should you donate your work to an art auction?
Of course the answer depends on your situation and the organization that you are donating work to. The issue with art auctions is that the work generally gets a lower price then it would normally sell at a commercial gallery, and collectors can choose to stock up on art at the charity art auction instead of buying work at full price through a dealer. This can sometimes make it difficult for the commercial galleries to survive. If you are a young, emerging artist —perhaps you just finished school or are still in school — charity art auctions are presented as a way to get “exposure.” I do believe that for some people they are nice way to have your work exhibited, since some auctions have organized gallery exhibitions that run for a period after the initial sale. And some galleries have auctions that are organized around a 50/50 structure, where the gallery gets 50% of any sale, and the artist gets the other 50%. Xpace’s annual fundraiser tries as much as possible to not take advantage of the generosity of the fantastic artists who donate their work and intend the fundraiser to be an opportunity to exhibit some work as well. I encourage you to ask questions in order to weigh the pros and cons of being involved: is your work going to be hung on a wall with 200 other work where it will disappear in the mass? Is there a catalogue that is being circulated? Is there a reserve bid? The truth is you never know what good thing could potentially happen, or who might be in the audience that could potential link you to your first gallery representation, buy a work from you later, or maybe give you great advice or direction. At the very least you might drink some free alcohol and have a nice evening with fellow artists.
I think the idea of doing anything for only “exposure” is not a good idea, if you want exposure make a website, or walk around a busy street holding your paintings. Being an emerging artist myself, the opportunities to have your artwork seen are always a challenge. I heard about the Buddies “ArtAttack” art auction and contacted my friend who works at the theatre and asked if I could donate a work. Because I love Buddies, I want to show I support their efforts, and I like what they do for the art/queer community. So I encourage other people to donate to charity art auctions for spaces they are really connected to. That way you can feel good about supporting that organization specifically, not only for exposure or to help build your career. Don’t throw your work around and give it away to everyone that asks because you simply won’t be able to survive, but do support the one or two organizations with a work you love, but won’t miss.
Here are a few exhibitions I think are worth checking out this week
If you are free on Thursday November 7th the OCADU Student Gallery at 52 McCaul is having an opening party for CONDOMAXIUM™: Another Project by Tough Guy Mountain™, which begins at 7pm. The information and images I found seem cryptic and out of an amazing 90s video game. I love their aesthetic and hope to piece together what’s the difference between a condo and a CONOMAXIUM.
Visit their websites http://www.toughguymountain.com/home.html
On Friday November 8th start your night nice and early at the OCADU’s Graduate Gallery (205 Richmond) for a the joint project by the first year curatorial students and the Interdisciplinary Art Media and Design Students, including an artist’s discussion at 630-730 about the exhibition “What Are You Made Of? The Graduate Gallery is OCAD’s best kept secret mostly because the door is always locked, but once you find your way inside I believe you will enjoy the work on display by the talented graduate students who are addressing the subject matter of identity.
Facebook event -> https://www.facebook.com/events/455216541262350/
Starting at 7pm on Friday an exhibition I am involved with called “Wildlife Queer Zoology” will open at “VideoFag” (187 Augusta Ave) from 7 to 10. This project brings together the work of seven artists to address ideas of queerness in animals, or how humans use animals as symbols to discuss their queer identity. The show should be quite exciting since it showcases work in a variety of mediums, including artwork by Alexis Boyle, Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea , Humboldt Magnussen, Michael Rennick, Danielle Nicole Smith, Corinne Teed, and Mary Tremonte. Mary and I have collaborated on a hankie that combines our drawings that will be for sale throughout the duration of the exhibition. I will be doing a super short performance while DJ Mary Mack will be playing throughout the night.
More info -> https://www.facebook.com/events/528697373874250/
Finish your night off with a trip to Cooper Cole gallery on Friday November 8th for the opening of Todd James’ recent painting exhibition. I love the bright colours and garish figures in the work. It reminds me of work by Japanese artist Misaki Kawai, when I peeked through the window of the gallery earlier today. I am on the fence whether I like the work or not, but maybe this is perhaps because Todd James is the same person that made the bears for Miley Cyrus’ controversial MTV awards, or maybe I just need to take a closer look.