Sunday, November 13, 2016

Art Gallery Of Alberta Exhibition Choices A MESS

Today I visited the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) after a long absence. Over the last year I have not gone to the gallery because the work being shown always held no interest for me. I would check their website over and over again hoping to find something on display with some heart to it, something that might have some emotional connection for me. I was continually disappointed by the curatorial staff choices. 

Today I decided to throw caution to the wind and visit. I was EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED, yet again. In the whole gallery there were 2 maybe 3 small works of minor interest. Nothing that made me want to go back and have a second look. Whenever I go to galleries (usually in Europe) I am pulled back again and again to certain pieces. I always visit 2 times, sometimes 3 or 4. I love art that has human feeling, art that tells the story of what it is to live in this world, art that expresses the human spirit. The AGA has disappointed me again in this regard. Most of what they choose is weird ass conceptional arty farty things, usually joined with some meaningless ARTSPEAK. 

I hate artspeak, the glorification of the nothing to make it seem like something. Art should speak to people on its own without useless VERBAGE to prop it up and tell us how we should feel and what it is about. Art should draw people in, slap them across the face and wake them up to a new reality, a new way o thinking. Art should connect to the viewer and draw real emotion out of them. In the past at the AGA I have seen too many weird ass conceptional shows, toilet paper unrolling in forests, cleaning products on tables, Styrofoam animals etc. Today's exhibits included a room filled with humidifiers venting a misty fragrance! What the fuck is that? The exhibition room " --- New Works gallery" as per normal was completely empty of visitors. Why is it the "New Works" room almost always empty? No one is visiting, should that not be a tell to the AGA staff?

I so tire of the conceptional art the staff at the AGA continues to force feed the art lovers of Edmonton. If I took a shit and put it on a large white plate and placed fossilized cockroaches in it, then made up some bullshit, pretentious, self righteous artspeak. Would it become art worthy of gallery space?

Artist Statement:
"My art deals with the reunification of the human internal element back into the energies and movements of shared references to mystic polemic origins of the nomadic homo deligerious species from the primeval roots in our shared soils of civilized organic insectaphelia."

Do I have viable art here?  Would they allow my plate of fecal matter and BS artspeak artist statement a prime position of importance within the Art Gallery of Alberta? 

There is too much conceptual art at the AGA and not enough exhibition choices that emotionally involve the visitor. Would people come to see my literal plate of crap? Of course not but that is what is being chosen and shown over and over and over again in the gallery. Edmontonians dislike (possibly hate) what the curatorial staff is choosing to exhibit, hence the lack of visitors and the money problems the AGA has. The gallery loses hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of dollars a year. Why are changes not being made?
I have been member of the AGA since it reopened in its beautiful new building 5 plus years ago. My disappointment on what is being exhibited and my frustration with the wasting of a wonderful and beautiful facility has reached a breaking point. I have therefore decided to leave the AGA and cancel my membership. I love art, I try to open my mind to all that I see. But I am so tired of being unmoved by what is being shown in the AGA galleries.

I would rather buy film with my membership money or to donate the funds to the people I photograph. I could use the AGA membership money to buy rubber boots for the children working the garbage in Mae Sot, Thailand, where I photograph. I will devote my time and money to try and tell HUMAN stories that have an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION FOR REAL PEOPLE. Goodbye AGA, I am sad to lose you as a friend, but you have let me down too many times in past years.

I would like to say to the AGA curatorial staff,  change course, choose work that has some humanity in it and some emotional power to it, something that draws a response from the people of Edmonton. Get away from your arrogant I am smarter than you, high brow arty farty conceptional art attitudes and choices and instead choose "ART WITH A HEART."

Update* I forwarded this blog entry to some of the upper ups at the gallery. Hopefully they will have an open mind to my frustrations and will consider changes to their future curatorial choices.