Post image for The 150th Wing: Medium Quality Screen Captures

Last year, someone added me to the Facebook group Medium Quality Screen Captures. Suddenly, my newsfeed was full of even more inane or absurd content, cheesy viral marketing, and clickbait than I was accustomed to filtering out. Or rather, documentation of the above net detritus. In screen capture format, the viral videos don’t play, the outrageous headlines can’t be clicked on, and the maddening ill-informed political rants can’t be replied to. These base junk-products of the endless stream of web content are reduced to a neutered archive through the miracle of “post-photography”. In a sense, the informal collective performs a similar function to the VHS-remixing art group Everything is Terrible—skimming the surface of the media we’re semi-non-consentually bombarded with daily online rather than mining the bowels of late-night infomericals and low-budget religious films. In either case, the results are hilarious.

Post image for The Printing’s on the Wall: Eva Wylie at ICA Baltimore

In Eva Wylie’s solo exhibition with ICA Baltimore, the printmaker silkscreens collage-like imagery directly on the walls.

Post image for Inaugural Toronto Art Book Fair Pages City’s Independent Print Culture

The rise of art fairs has not been all that bad. Yes, we’re stuck with the same galleries showing the same work, but we’ve also seen a rise in alternative venues, the most common being art book fairs. Whether it’s LA or New York, the fairs often have a frenetic energy, particularly the sections dedicated to artist-made zines, which in addition to artist books, often include performances, the sale of related ephemera (think buttons and stickers) and zealous trading. Fair sections divide exhibitors by rare book dealers, distributors and artists. Even the poorest of us can afford something at the fair, which means every visitor can leave with a sense of being able to directly support the livelihood of artists.

Here in Toronto, the arrival of the new Toronto Art Book Fair (TOABF) — which opens today in a historic schoolhouse in the West End, and runs to the end of this weekend — has been enthusiastically received by the local arts community. In fact, much of my Instagram has been filled for the past week with artists like Micah Lexier and Lido Pimienta proudly snapping the wares they’ll be selling. With a tightly-curated 75 vendors participating, it appears the free public event has been far more successful than either Art Toronto or the recently-ended Feature in attracting the involvement of international vendors. Art Toronto mostly attracts galleries outside Canada under its FOCUS curated section (for the 2016 edition in October, it’ll be Latin America) and because Feature was organized by Montreal’s Association des galeries d’art contemporain, it was criticized by local gallerists for its Quebec-heavy regionalism. Further, since Toronto isn’t a “traditional art capital”, those fairs have been challenged in representing a discerning edit of the local commercial gallery scene.

Post image for Chroma Lives: This is What a Tasteful Condo Showroom Looks Like

The Yorkville neighborhood is to Toronto what the Upper East Side’s Park Avenue is to New York. In a word: bougie. Back in the 1960s, it looked considerably different; as Canada’s equivalent to Greenwich Village, it was known for its waify bohemians, coffee house folk scene and a gallery district anchored by influential commercial gallerists like Walter Moos and Mira Godard. But offices and hotels were eventually built, followed by high-priced condo developments amongst the still remaining Victorian rowhouses now listed for over a million each. Yorkville’s biggest attraction is now it’s “Mink Mile”, a high-end luxury shopping strip that caters to the affluent residents of Rosedale and Forest Hill.

Given all this, perhaps it’s not surprising that at first glance, one could mistake the group exhibition Chroma Lives for an interior design showroom. Located in the presentation center for the Yorkville Plaza condo development on Avenue Road, curators Erin Alexa Freeman and artist Lili Huston-Herterich have filled the space with household items like walnut furniture, succulents planted in unglazed ceramic pots, and clothing hung on a rack. Not much distinguishes this simulacrum of affluence from present-day realities, especially at a time when luxury real estate has been engineered to include art walls and humidity systems to attract art-centric buyers.       

Post image for IMG MGMT: Ruin Value

I keep a folder of images on my desktop, culled from internet searches and random meanderings around the net. There isn’t much curation involved in these images, and I’m not always sure why an image calls to my collection, but themes arise nonetheless. A unifying quality is the bleak reality that’s laid bare by the breakdown of a system– bygone expressions of power like Brutalist architecture, panopticons, and military camouflage. I feel ambivalent about these images, uncomfortable with taking pleasure in the aesthetic forms that hides insidious subtexts.