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Between Adaptation and Death

I love high-minded art gibberish - speeches so specific and wordy that only the speaker knows what they're about. OCAD's Criticism & Curatorial Practice majors held their first annual symposium yesterday, entitled "Between Adaptation & Death". Grasping desperately for the meaning of the complex words and references flying at me I listened as seven speakers addressed challenges, trends and suggestions for the future of today's art world.

The first speaker, Liz Pead, seemed concerned that few artists today take the time to learn the traditional, nitty-gritty craft element of art production. A couple hours later, Johan Lundh expressed the belief that traditional production of objects and images is becoming extraneous. According to him, curatory work and the provision of context is now one of the most exciting creative fields.

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Shirley Yoon, commenting on Liz Cohen's artwork (pictured above) says "its about multiplicity and what arises from the blurring of boundaries. These liminal spaces allow for the inception and fruition of new identities to take shape: identities that are neither one nor the other and remain in a fixed state of flux." Yoon says Cohen's 'Body Work' -- showing the artist as super-sexy porn doll in a very masculine auto-body shop - requires the proper context to be understood as art and not typical car magazine photography. These thoughts take us back to Johan Lundh's comments about the provision of context as art's new calling.

Whether nervous or excited, everyone seemed to feel that the present moment is a pivotal one. New and better ways of seeing are essential. Nowhere is this better understood than in art. Great artists are willing and able to open your eyes to entirely new worlds - if you can understand a word they're saying.

*OCAD photo by Wandrlust on Flickr
*Bodywork image from Liz Cohen's series "Body work"


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