I’ll keep this short and sweet. This is the other part of Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is everything is anything – this time, at Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). While, of course, the aesthetic is similar to the works at the ROM, this part had a very different feel. I left this show feeling more Canadian than ever, as if I was in on an inside joke that Coupland was telling and that would, inevitably, leave non-Canadian viewers with a different sense of the exhibition. As you can see from the images, there were also several references to other, more famous works of art only this time, they didn’t bother me. On the other hand, I felt like they really contributed to the dialogue of what makes art “typically Canadian” and the pre-conceived notions of art from the true north in other parts of the world. While Coupland makes it perfectly clear that he intends to be a part of this dialogue, I’m still wondering if nature and landscape in art as a Canadian trademark is something that the artist feels we should be moving away from but if it is then this turns into a Catch-22. In re-opening this conversation, he is once again introducing Canadian art with what has become known as stereotypically Canadian imagery into the contemporary canon even though he is referencing the ultimate examples. Personally, I find these works beautiful and evocative of the Canadian spirit, tradition and the wider dialogue but there is something to be said about changing the perception of visual art from Canada in the rest of the world and not going overboard with this sort of imagery or even using it as a clutch. I won’t name any names but a few years ago at The Armory Show in New York, I was so excited to stumble across the first booth from a Canadian gallery and was devastated to find that their entire booth was made up of photographs of trees.
Ok, so maybe not so short and sweet after all but since I could pretty much go on forever, I think I did alright for a blog post.