Who We Are

We’re the Vancouver Art Gallery. Our permanent collection is full of local and contemporary art. If you’ve spent most of your life looking at great art (e.g. art of enduring historical value) you won’t recognize anything much in our collection. Somewhere–deep in our storage vaults–we apparently have some Dutch paintings from the 17th century, but we basically never take them out. (We’re going to take them out in 2013 but pair them with some contemporary art so that you don’t really need to look at those silly old Dutch paintings. When you come to them simply let your eyes glaze over!)

Speaking of which–if you’re coming to our gallery for international art you’d best go elsewhere. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria–a metro area about a tenth the size of ours–has an outstanding collection of Japanese prints. Do we own any Asian art? Not that I can tell. Africa, Oceana, Latin America? Not even on our map.

We’d like to tell you that we have good art from our local region–but frankly, Berlin (that’s over in Europe boys and girls) has art from British Columbia that blows away anything in our collection. Go see it!

You said Emily Carr? We LOVE Emily Carr. She’s our idea of a real historical Canadian artist. Hell, she’s practically all we know from Canada. Haida masks, Jean-Paul Riopelle, B.C. Binning (yes, he’s even from B.C), or anything in Canada from before 1900? We’re not really interested.

Parody–The Town of Doggy Sparrow, South Carolina

News has broken today of groundbreaking for a town to be called Doggy Sparrow in South Carolina. Doggy Sparrow will be located near Love Angel Valley where in 2002 the obscure Wrong Sisters established a cemetery for deniers of global warming. Wilma Wrong, (Olive Wrong’s sister) was quoted as saying “This here cemetery is for them folks who like us who don’t believe in progress. Damnit, we like to be backwards. Here in Doggy Sparrow everyone will go underground head first! ‘Cause that’s the part they used most in life.”

Why We Need the Tabloids – NYTimes.com

Why We Need the Tabloids – NYTimes.com.

The tabloids may test the limits of the ethically or legally acceptable, but they are often doing so in the service of a popular desire to see behind the facade of public life. They rely on the appeal (a very human one) of seeing elements of our societies that are often shamefully hidden away from view.The tabloids are the newspapers most dutifully dedicated to ideas of exposure, and are willing to take risks in the service of that goal. It may be the case that much of what they expose is perhaps of little social import, but this is more a matter of taste, and the tabloids certainly never claimed to be tasteful.  Certainly the fact that the American tabloids first broke important news stories, like the extramarital affair ofJohn Edwards, the former United States senator and Democratic vice-presidential nominee, suggests that they are not merely peddling insignificant gossip.Watching the painfully choreographed, and highly policed, red-carpet arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton at a recentLos Angeles polo matchreminded me why intrusive journalistic tactics are often called upon. They exist to break down the barriers of access that keep social elites at a remove from ordinary people. The tabloids, throughout history, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been predicated on chipping away at that division. They play a fundamental role in democratic cultures, especially in societies characterized by the pull between the demands of a mass society and the persistence of social and economic inequality.

Agreed. The problem lies not in the nature of the tabloids themselves but in the corresponding failure of the broadsheet media (e.g. The London Times) to hold business to the same standard the tabloids hold individuals. Finding out about John Edwards’ extramarital affairs is good for democracy, but so too is bringing down Murdoch/News International for failing to investigate the wrongdoings of large businesses such as News International itself. What this scandal really reveals is the way in which economics and the power of business impedes democracy.

Film Comment: “Kick-Ass”

To criticize movie violence is the surest way to be branded a scold, a moralist, a worrywart who refuses to understand that movies are not real. As someone who often revels in the visceral thrills of cinematic action and the bloodthirsty satisfactions of dramatic vengeance, I’m not inclined to fit that stereotype. But I also think that the uncritical defense of brutality on film, especially of the unimaginative, half-jokey sadism that drives this latest superhero movie, can be evasive and irresponsible. It also disturbs me that, unlike naughty language or sexuality, violence is rarely seen as scandalous these days.

via Film – Brutal Truths About Screen Bloodshed in ‘Kick-Ass’ – NYTimes.com.

Indeed. Your children would be far better off watching pornography than in watching the gruesome violence of this film.

Willoughby’s Apology

My article on Willougbhy’s Apology in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility has been published.

Jane Austen is My Home Girl had this to say:

The most recent edition of Persuasions On-Line (the journal published by the Jane Austen Society of North America) features a very interesting article about Willoughby’s apology in Sense & Sensibility….

check it out.