20061111_SalonIndien.jpg

Toronto International Art Fair

Image: Kent Monkman's Salon Indien

Kent Monkman's wigwam has that new carpet smell, and it's giving me a headache. I'm standing inside the heavy Victorian-parlour drapery of Salon Indien, watching "Group of Seven Inches" projected from the chandelier above onto the underside of a bear skin rug strewn on the floor below. As Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, Kent Monkman bears a striking resemblance to Cher in a Bill Blass dress (or lack thereof), and the Guy Maddin schtick goes on a smidgen too long. While hiting the nail repeatedly on the head, Salon Indien revels in campy fun undercutting the serious undertow of colonial language appropriated. If the flick isn't didactic enough, there's a three page legal sized handout to read besides. "This is my first booth, and I could go home right now and have plenty enough to write about", I stated to the MOCCA folks, not realizing how true this statement was.

There is a lot of competent, well-crafted art at the TIAF (Toronto International Art Fair), and not succumbing to sensory overload takes skill. However, this year's fair feels weaker than those previous, while "matchy-poo" art (as in "this painting matchy-poos my couch and that one matchy-poos my curtains") reigns supreme.

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Yet, sometimes I come across work that is so deliciously simple and brilliantly executed, my heart sinks a little with jealous despair. One artist did this not only once to me but twice: Iain Baxter (run and see Still Life Animal Preserve with Ruby Red Shelf at the Corkin Shopland Gallery, booth 901, and his work at the Solo Spaces booth, pictured above).

The TIAF continues this Sunday and Monday, November 12 and 13, 12-7 pm at the Metro Convention Centre. General admission is $16, Seniors/Students/Groups are $12 and children under ten are free.

blogTo's Top Toronto artists picks:

Massismo Guerrera @ Clint Roenisch Gallery, 944 Queen St. W., booth 100 .
Nicholas Di Genova @ le. Gallery, 1183 Dundas St., booth 102.
Melissa Doherty @ Ashley Gallery, Philadelphia, booth 112.
Julie Oaks @ curcioprojects (NY), booth 106.
Robert Waters @ p|m Gallery, 149-1159 Dundas St. East, booth 116.

Top Canadian Galley pick:

The othergallery from Winnipeg, booth 209, always manages to impress.

Top International artist picks:

Marcelo Suaznabar @ Martin Kletzel Contemporary Art, Buenos Aires/Barcelona, booth 606.
Matthew Kucynski @ Ashley Gallery, Philadelphia, booth 112.
Wiebke Bartsch @ GAM Galerie Obrist am Museum, booth 118. (Ask the curator to translate her plates for you. Using his funny voice.)
Sean Ryan and Jiha Moon @ Moti Hasson Gallery, New York, booth 108.
Kim Joon @ Walsh Gallery, Chicago, booth 221.


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