June 26, 2009

For many years now, I’ve participated in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. It is a great place to meet up with old friends and colleagues. I’ve also been introduced to many new artists. In particular, I think of first seeing Natalia Laluque’s Canadiana Project several years back.

This year will prove to be particularly challenging to imagine anything in the ordinary. Metro civic workers are on strike. But how will this play itself out on Nathan Philips Square? Will volunteers clear the rubbish bins? Will the underground parking lot be barricaded and off-limits?

A similar thing happened several years ago when a Garbage Strike threatened to de-rail the Exhibition. As a precaution, the show dates were moved to Labour Day of 2002, I think it was. This had a detrimental effect for both buyers and sellers of artwork. Circumstances had put a strain on the fragile supply and demand equilibrium. For this year, the show will go on as scheduled and it should be a good one. Unlike any other outdoor show before, this years will be fraught with restlessness and insurgence. In a parallel exhibition at Lennox Contemporary, will be Rejects a kind of Salon des Refusé held by some of the artists rejected by the TOAE jurors. This recalls the words of Napoleon III: “Let the public judge!”

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