Friday Links: Dreams and Fairytales

Hopes, aspirations and just plain delusional bullshit are the flavour of the week with today’s Friday Links.

Francesca Woodman (Source:

Is a Toronto Biennial on the horizon?: After a recent complaint about promises unkempt by MOCCA and The Power Plant, Leah Sandals reports that the two organizations have finally released a PDF report on an April forum held in Toronto to debate the possibility of a Toronto art biennial. Her post includes a link to download the report, as written by Power Plant director Gregory Burke, Power Plant curator Jon Davies, independent critic/forum moderator Peggy Gale and MOCCA director David Liss.

There’s only so many ways to paint a bigot: Unsuprisingly, one of Smithsonian Secretary Clough’s rare media interviews prior to his first public appearance yesterday to account for his decision to pull A Fire in My Belly from Hide/Seek went to Lee Rosenbaum, a.k.a. CultureGrrl, a.k.a. that standalone art blogger who insists that bowing to right-wing extremist homophobic nutjobs is perfectly reasonable given that the right of gay and lesbian artists to equal representation is so “emotionally charged” and potentially unsuitable for a national institution. Uh-huh.

In fairness, both the New York Times and Washington Post were also pretty easy on Clough in neutrally reporting his refusal to admit that he made any sort of error in judgment; thankfully Christopher Knight takes the necessary step of calling bullshit where we all see it, and also links to Ben Davis’ ArtInfo post relating Clough’s decision to side with homophobia while acting as president of the Georgia Institute of Technology. I wish I were shocked, but I’m really, really not.

Let Glasgow Flourish: I’m far from being the only Canadian to have studied their MFA at the Glasgow School of Art, and current student Scott Rogers’ report for Canadian Art Online on his current experience as a student gels with my reminiscences in a way that makes me mildly home-away-from-homesick. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another city with the same balance of creative work ethic and utterly unintimidating social networking as what seemingly still thrives in their art community.

Unmasking the myth of young genius: Though positioned as a review for a film I likely won’t be able to see any time soon, Will Brand’s article at Art Fag City on The Woodmans is a great introduction to the story of Francesca Woodman, a young emerging photographer who committed suicide in 1981 at the age of 22 and has since enjoyed considerable critical attention. Whether her five years’ of photography warrants the tortured-genius myth she has garnered after death remains an open question.

And on a similar note: Katie Beck for the BBC reports on the the photographic legacy of Vivian Maier, a New York-born woman who spent her formative years in France before settling in Chicago after World War II to work as a nanny, where she assembled a body of photographic work that is only now being recognized as a potential treasure trove two years after her death.

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