Saturday, September 8, 2007
Nibbling on Morbier
I live in the neighbourhood, so around 9ish I hopped on over to the scene up and down Pine Street. The venues were more spread out than in past years; the crowds seemed sparse. Scènes de la Vie de Bohème?
Drew Matott was deep-frying books! The Free Press implied that was a "different" stunt. But I think they miss the point - to me it was truly "public art" and a talented artist's humourous commentary on our McArtish culture (Recyling the left-over oil for biofuel would have been OTT).
The Freeps headline lamented the "scant" sales, and the comments for that report complained about the challenge for artists to sell their products. Look at the BFP's constant consumerist cry: "Business, culture smart mix at Art Hop." Remove the comma, and you get the picture (or the sculpture, photo, etching, or ceramica). Scant mention of celebration of the arts. I ran into an artist friend, who was celebrating the art for the art's sake. But he had a sad look on his face: "It's all become so commercial," he sighed as he popped a morsel of Morbier into his mouth. I also spied Michael Monte, retiring director of CEDO, surrounded by his groupie fans. You know, there was even a fashion show!?! Shades of the Met's exhibits celebrating celebrities Diana Vreeland or Lagerfeld (buy me! buy me!) What's next? Fashion week in Burlington? Bertha Church négligées? I'm no critic, but to me a lot hanging on the walls was pure schlock - kitschy calendar art or stuff you'd see in an art school student exhibition. But these kinds of events do give a chance for new artists to show their work. Paradox.
A cursory glimpse, sometimes a quick in and out, inside the various galleries showed food and wine were being consumed, for sure. Trendy cheeses, tasty wines. Remember, the Art Hop's major sponsor is Ben and Jerry's. Feed your face, but what about feeding your heart and soul?
Starving artists? The Burlington Bourgeoisie's glamourous dreams: using their money to buy an investment as a shield from the world? Is the Art Hop no longer Counter-culture? What's happened to the South End Art Hop is the same thing that happened to Houston's Westheimer Arts Festival, when I lived in Texas. Commercialism abounded.